Texas Star Quilt Block Tutorial
Yes, here's the tutorial for the star block that I first made in this quilt. The pattern originally came from an older quilting book that is full of traditional quilt block patterns. It included templates, but absolutely no instructions. I've made the templates into a printable pdf for you to print out, and I'll try to give a few directions for making this block.
This block does include a few set-in seams, and I am NO expert on this, but I'll do my best! And if you like the look of this block, don't be scared by all the little pieces and the set-in seams. You'll find that it's really pretty easy and you'll end up with a stunning looking block!
The first quilt I made with this block used three of these stars, and my plan for the second quilt with these blocks is to make a lap sized version with maybe five or six stars. I may do a slightly different layout for this larger quilt, but I'll let you know about that in the future.
For now, I'll show you the tutorial on how to make one of these star blocks, and then hopefully I'll soon have a minute to talk about different ways we can use one or three or six or twenty of these blocks.
What you'll need for one block:
- 4 1/2" by width of fabric strip of neutral colored cotton (I used Kona Bone)
- approx. 6" x 12" scrap for Print #1 (I've used the floral)
- approx 6" x 6" scrap for Print #2 (orange polka dot)
- templates - print off pdf pattern here on thick cardstock - cut them out carefully on the lines -
Go ahead and cut those pieces out! There are four pieces in each stack shown above, and that's exactly what you'll need.
Now just a word of caution from someone who learned the hard way, pull on your perfectionist panties when you cut these out! I didn't on my first block and that little bit of extra that added itself on to some pieces as I traced and then cut them out? It will make you grumpy later!
If you plan on tracing them out, and then cutting, make sure you use a narrow marker, and then cut out on the INSIDE of your line, so that the cut out piece is just like the template. On my second one I just opted to lay my paper template on the fabric (double folded so I could cut two at once) and cut around with my rotary cutter. This turned out to be easier and more accurate for me.
Now take these two sets and sew them together the way I've shown above, opposite prints to each other. Remember the scant quarter inch seam! Once you have these sewn together, iron those seams open. You should have eight cute little triangles like these.
Next, take those cute little triangles you put together and pair them with these other triangles just the way I've shown above. Sew them together and press these seams open again. You should now have eight diamonds.
Things are getting exciting! You should be able to lay your pieces out like this and see the beginnings of your star! You are now going to sew these into four sets. Make sure that each set is sewn in the same order or they won't come out right. For example, put each neutral triangle to the left and each printed triangle to the right.
AND, before you sew, here's one important little thing. See that arrow above? The dot to start sewing begins at that seam line, and not at the top of the piece. So make sure to leave that top quarter inch open. Also backstitch at this top point because we don't want our block coming apart later.
You should have four units that look like the one above. Now we're ready to add these corner triangles. This is what you call a set-in seam, and really it's not that hard. But if you're an exreme perfectionist you may need to let go of that a bit and remember that practice makes perfect, ok? My seams are not perfect and this is my fourth block using this pattern. (but I think they are getting better!)
(ignore the different fabrics, I was working on a different star when I took this photo)
So, sew just like the diagram shows you, making sure to stop a generous 1/4" before you get to the end and backstitch when you get to the end.
As you come to this inside corner, you'll want to make sure you don't catch any other seams in your stitch. If you've ironed your earlier seams open, you will need to reach in, and pull those seams out of the way, just so you don't stitch over them. Does that make sense?
Now sew the other side of this triangle on the same way, remembering to stop a generous 1/4" from the center and backstitching at the center.
The back of your unit should look like this. This shows you how I ironed my pieces. This seemed to work well and lay flat for me, but you can do what works best for you.
Don't be alarmed if your corners look a bit like this. I'm no expert, so I'm not sure why mine tend to do this. Maybe someone could enlighten me?
Hopefully some will look a bit more like this. All I'm saying is that quite a few of the corners in my original stars looked a bit funky like this, but in the end it all looks ok :) and if you're not willing to have a few less than perfect quilt blocks when you begin a new technique, then you will always feel frustrated and never learn new stuff! (that's just my philosophy, and you don't have to agree!)
Now sew these four units together as shown in the photo above. Again you will start sewing 1/4" in from the top.
Now the last thing to do is add those square corner units in. Sew them exactly the same way you did those set-in triangles earlier.
Here's the back so you can see how I ironed the seams. Well if nothing else, these photos should make you feel better! You can see all the wrinkles and points that don't quite match and feel all superior!!
Now, if there's any part of the process that isn't quite clear, or doesn't make sense, please let me know and I'll do my best to change it.
AND, if you make one of these blocks, please let me know. I'd love to see it (or them!) And like I said earlier, I'll hopefully be back soon with more ways to use these blocks in a quilt without making 50 of them!