101brett baraDIYdiy projectssewing 101

sewing 101: triangle patchwork wall art

by Brett

I’ve been totally into the geometric triangle trend we’re seeing now in the graphic design world, especially because this motif reminds me of a patchwork quilt. So I couldn’t resist jumping on the triangle trend and stitching up some triangle patchwork wall art for my (very bare) living room walls, and I thought I’d share how easy this technique is. If you’ve been thinking of dipping your toes into the world of quilting and patchwork, this is a great beginner project — it’s small and easy, and guaranteed to deliver instant DIY gratification. I’ve displayed my patchwork pieces in simple Ikea frames, but you could use this tutorial to create anything from a quilt or pillow to a wall hanging. Ready to see how it’s done? — Brett Bara

See the full how-to after the jump . . .


  • You’ll need a variety of medium-weight cotton fabrics in any colors you choose. Fabrics labeled “quilting cotton” are ideal for this, but you could use almost anything, even old clothing. (Just stay away from knits or stretchy fabrics, and try to choose fabrics that are all similar in weight.)
  • I use a rotary cutter, straight edge and cutting mat for patchwork projects, but if you don’t have these tools, you can use a pencil and straight edge to measure your fabric and draw lines, and good sharp scissors for cutting.
  • You’ll also need straight pins, a sewing machine or needle and thread (this project is totally doable by hand if you don’t have a machine) and an iron and ironing board.


1. Cut the fabric.

To begin, cut your fabric into strips . . .

. . . and then cut the strips into squares. You can use squares of any size; just make sure they’re uniform in size, with right angles.

Next, cut each square into two triangles by cutting from corner to corner.

Like so!

Repeat to cut a bunch of triangles (all the same size) from a variety of colors.

2. Sew the patchwork.

Next, align two triangles with the right sides of the fabric facing each other, and pin them together on the long edge.

Sew them on the long edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Open the two pieces of fabric and iron the seam, pressing the fabric to one side (toward whichever side is the darker color to prevent the seam allowance from showing through the lighter colors). This is an important step — be sure to iron every seam you sew before moving on!

Here’s how your assembled square will look. (You can trim off those little corners poking out.)

Speed tip! Once you get going, you can sew your triangles together in a row like this, without stopping to clip the thread after sewing each piece. Once they’re all assembled in this way, just cut the thread and press the seams.

Once all your triangles/squares are sewn together and pressed, you can lay them out to decide how you want to configure them.

Now it’s time to start joining all the squares! I prefer to work in square or rectangular sections and then join those to each other. (I find this makes it a little easier to get neat joins where my points meet.) So here I’ve made three short strips of three squares each . . .

. . . and then joined the strips into one rectangle. (Sew all these seams as you did for the triangles — with right sides facing together and 1/4″ seam allowance, always pressing the seam allowance to one side after sewing.)

Then make another section to join to the first . . .

. . . and keep going, working in sections until everything is joined together. (Most satisfying moment ever!)

Here’s a peek of how the back will look. At this point, it’s not a bad idea to spritz the whole piece with water and iron it, which will smooth out any wrinkles and give the patchwork a crisp finish. (You can even hit it with a little spray starch if you have any on hand.)

All that’s left is to finish off your patchwork however you’d like. To display it in a frame, I mounted it to a piece of mat board with a very light coat of spray adhesive (and layering a piece of white fabric behind the patchwork, just to help the white sections look more opaque). But you could use this basic triangle patchwork as a jumping-off point for lots of projects. It could be made into a pillow like this one, a quilt (or larger quilted wall hanging) or a tote — or anything you can dream up!

You can also play around with the scale of your triangles. I made one very large patchwork triangle (in the gray) and decided to frame it off-center.

Happy triangle-ing!

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