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!)

Moving on...


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!

21 comments:

  1. I tried the tutorial and couldn't get it to open.

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  2. Thanks for letting me know, Penny! I think it's fixed now.

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  3. Thanks for the tutorial! Not sure when I'll have the time but it's been added to the list. :-)

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  4. Wow. I love it. But holy cow those set-in seams scare me. There's gotta be a better way :)

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  5. thank you so much for doing this jolene. i am really excited to try this out. i have never done set in seams before but i am a sewer... i can do it.

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  6. downloaded... i can't wait to try this out!

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  7. Gorgeous blocks! The fabric colours are great. Thank you very much for taking the time to post this tutorial.

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  8. What a beautiful block! Thanks for taking the time to create this tutorial:)

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  9. Nicely done, Jolene. I like the way you combined the orange dot with that Good Folks print. That particular Good Folks print has been hard for me to work with. Looks great here!

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  10. Jolene thanks sooo much for this! I love stars and can't get enough of them. I can't wait to try this block out!

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  11. These look great. I find when I am doing inset seams, it is easier to start at the 'inside' point, and work outwards, the corners sit better.
    kx

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  12. I can't wait to try this block! I'm going to do some cutting right and fingers crossed I may have one of these sewn today.

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  13. Thank you, this is a wonderful tutorial!

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  14. I made one of these last night and had the same problem with the funky corners. But I love these so much that I don't care!

    blogged here:
    http://pinsandbobbins.blogspot.com/2011/10/work-in-progress-wednesday_26.html

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  15. How big does this block come out?? It's lovely.

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  16. To get all your pieces on "Point", you have to stitch the seams precisely to make and X with two seams, and then the next will cross the center of the X... I have a book that fully explains it, and has pictures to show exactly how. I'm probably not doing a good job of it now, but one way I think of it is to sew and cross the stitching in the center like cutting a pizza. with each piece added, aim for the center of the pizza, lol. If you don't hit the center, your point gets cut off, like in the picture you're asking for advice about. Hope that helps.

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  17. Thank you for this tutorial. Your block looks great and I love your Innocent Crush quilt. I have just attempted this block and I'm really pleased with it - at least for a first try. My piecing leaves something to be desired but I'll do better next time :)

    My block can be seen at: http://rainbowharequilts.blogspot.com/2011/11/ttt-101111.html

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  18. Great tutorial! You've been featured on the Quality Sewing Tutorials blog.

    We hand select only the best free tutorials and patterns for home sewers.

    Grab a brag button!

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  19. The pieced triangles could be strip pieced, then cut the same size as the white triangles, if you wanted to do it that way. :) I love this star, and I'm from Texas (originaly) so I am bookmarking this! Thanks!

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  20. I just found your site and love it. I tried to download the templates for the Texas Star quilt and cannot get them to download. Do you have them in a format that you could send them to me? I love this quilt and would love to try to make it. Thank you for taking time to share your creativity with the quilting community. Susan

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  21. I just found this via Pinterest and it's so adorable! Sadly your PDF link is no longer working. Can you update this link? (or if you can email me templete at inkwoodforest@live.com that would be amazing!)


    thanks for such a well pictured tutorial, I hope I can make one in the future. :)

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