I am excited/wee-bit-nervous to be posting today’s tutorial for our fifth block in the Summer Sampler Series. Why a bit nervous? This will be our first paper pieced block. And I know for many of you, your first paper pieced block ever.
This block, simply called Star in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns can be found on Page 295, Block 2331. Given the vague name of the block, I had a hard time finding too much on it’s history, but it was featured in the book The Perfect Patchwork Primer by Beth Gutcheon in 1973. This quilt block is a Four X block – it is made by taking a quilt block and dividing it in the shape of an “X” into four sections.
I have a bit of advice before starting this block. First, I recommend reading through this tutorial and even making the sample block. It will really give you a basic understanding of paper piecing. And hopefully put your mind at ease. Second, I recommend reading through the entire tutorial for today’s block before starting. And finally, take your time making this one. We will be paper piecing 8 small blocks and then piecing those together. Ready? Let’s get started!
Star Quilt Block Tutorial
Please note, all seams are 1/4″; Final block size 12.5″ unfinished
Reduce your stitch length so that the paper template will perforate easily. I used 1.5 stitch length.
Paper Piecing Templates
Print 4 of each of the Paper Piecing Templates below. Be sure to print them at 100% and check the scale icon with a ruler before starting.
|Template A||Template B|
Prepare the templates. Cut out the triangle templates around the seam allowance line.
Step 1. Cut your fabric. When cutting fabric for paper piecing, you will be cutting rectangles that will be larger than needed. (You can save your scraps for later quilt squares.)
I recommend cutting 1 of each piece below, making a block, and ensuring it is enough fabric for your sewing style. Then you can make adjustments later for the rest of your blocks. These are the fabric sizes I used for my paper piecing.
|Pattern Piece||Fabric Color|
|1A||Cut 4||3.5″ x 7”||Pink|
|2A||Cut 4||4” x 4”||Yellow|
|3A||Cut 4||4” x 10″||White|
|1B||Cut 4||3.5″ x 7”||Pink|
|2B||Cut 4||4” x 4”||Yellow|
|3B||Cut 4||4” x 10″||Orange|
Tip: I like to write the fabric color name on the template pieces so I don’t get confused as I’m sewing. Yes, I’m easily confused.
Step 2: Let’s start with Template A. Take your fabric cut for Piece 1A and place it right side out on the back of your template, making sure to cover the entire template space 1A. Pin into place.
Step 3: Take your fabric cut for Piece 2A. Place it right side together to Piece 1A which you pinned into place in Step 2. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 2A. This will probably feel backwards and wrong the first few times you do it. Pin into place.
Step 4: Sew along the seam line on the template between pieces 1A and 2A. Be sure to sew a bit into the seam allowance. I also like to backstitch at the beginning and end. Remove your pins.
Step 5: Flip your block over. This is what your seam will look like.
Trim your seam allowance to 1/4″.
Your block should now look like this:
Press your fabric open.
Step 6: Turn your block over and trim the excess fabric from around the template. Before trim:
Looking better already, right?
Step 7: Take your fabric cut for Piece 3A. Place it right side together to Piece 1A and 2A which you sewn into place. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 3A. Pin into place.
Step 8: Sew along the seam line on the template remembering again to sew a bit into the seam allowance.
Step 9: Trim seam allowance.
Step 10: Turn your block over and trim the excess fabric from around the template again.
Congratulations! You’ve made your first paper pieced block!
Step 11: Now repeat these steps for Template B. On my block, the star point on Template B is orange rather than white.
Step 12: Once you have Template A and Template B pieced, remove the paper from the back. This should perforate easily as long as you remembered to shorten your stitch length before sewing.
Step 13: Sew the 2 pieces together as you would a half square triangle.
Step 14: Repeat these steps to create your other 3 Template A’s and Template B’s.
Step 15: Once you have your 4 star point squares, sew them together to create your quilt block.