Tutorial and Charts for Setting Quilts “on point” (Diagonally)

One way to “set” your quilt is “on point”. This is when you set your blocks on the diagonal, as you can see with my quilt, Pastelmania.

Pastelmania quilt from Quilt Batik!

Pastelmania quilt from Quilt Batik! ©2012 That Patchwork Place/Cheryl Brown

The confusing part of “on point” quilts is the setting triangles and and corner triangles. This post should help with that! When constructing an “on point” quilt, you lay your blocks out on the diagonal. Then you need two types of triangles: setting triangles, and corner triangles.

The setting triangles are the triangles along the sides and the top and bottom. These are made by cutting a square into quarter triangles. (Cut along the diagonal, then the opposite diagonal.) This provides a straight grain along the edge of the quilt.

The corner triangles are the 4 triangles in the corners. (Obviously!) These are made by cutting a square into half-squares triangles (Cut along one diagonal.) This provides 2 sides of the triangle on the straight grain. Here’s a diagram:

Setting and corner triangle diagram for setting quilts on point

Now, to make it really simple, I’ve compiled a chart to help you find the size of square you need for each of these triangles, based on the finished size of your quilt blocks.

Setting Chart

Click to download a printable version of this chart.

You can buy tools to help you make setting and corner triangles. One tool I have is from Marti Mitchell is the Diagonal Set Triangle Ruler. Another is the Flip n’ Set ruler from Darlene Zimmerman. There are others out there, too.  These have the advantage of using a strip of fabric instead of a large square that you quarter.

Rulers for on point quilt settings

Diagonal Set Triangle Ruler from Marti Mitchell and Flip n’ Set from Darlene Zimmerman.

Sometimes you need to know the measurement of a block set “on point” if you’re designing a quilt, or setting one differently from the pattern. Here is a simple chart that shows the diagonal measurement of a block:

Diagonal Chart

Click to download a printable version of this chart.

There are math ways to figure this out, too, if your block is smaller or larger than the chart. There are two methods. The first is to multiply the block size by 1.414235, and then round. For example: If your block is 12 1/2″ square, you multiply 12.5 x 1.414235 = 17.6779, and round to 17 3/4″.

The second method is to divide the block size by 2.4, and then add the block size to the result. For example: If your block is 12 1/2″ square, you would use the following formula:

Block size (12.5) ÷ 2.4 = 5.21; Then: 5.21 + Block size (12.5)= 17.71; round to 17 3/4″.

Hopefully this will help you when you want to set those quilts on point for a new look!

  1. Susan the Farm Quilter

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