Celebrate Christmas: Starry Night Quilt Block Tutorial

Starry Night Quilt Block

For the last several weeks, Michele (Mishka) over at Quilting Gallery has been featuring a Celebrate Christmas blog party.

Celebrate Christmas Quilt-Along and Super Deals for Quilters

Each week three bloggers share tutorials for new quilt blocks. And today is my day! You can read my interview here. I’d like to welcome all the new visitors to my blog, I hope you enjoy my block, Starry Night.

This quilt block is a paper pieced. For those of you that participated in the Summer Sampler Series, you are old pros! If you are new to paper piecing, do not fear. 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 4 small blocks and then piecing those together. Ready? Let’s get started!


Starry Night 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 the Paper Piecing Template below. Be sure to print them at 100% and check the scale icon with a ruler before starting.

Starry Night Paper Piecing Template

Prepare the templates. Cut the templates out around the seam allowance line.

Step 1. Cut your fabric. When cutting fabric for paper piecing, you will be cutting fabric 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
1 Cut 4 5″ x 4″
2 Cut 4 5″ x 4″
3 Cut 4 5″ x 3″
4 Cut 4 5″ x 3″
5 Cut 4 10″ x 2″
6 Cut 4 7″ x 4″

Tip: I like to write the fabric color name I’m planning on the template pieces so I don’t get confused as I’m sewing. Yes, I’m easily confused.

Step 2: Take your fabric cut for Piece 1 and place it right side out on the back of your template, making sure to cover the entire template space 1. Pin into place.

Step 3: Take your fabric cut for Piece 2. Place it right side together to Piece 1 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 2. 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 1 and 2. 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. Press your fabric open. Your square will look like this:

Back:

Step 6: Turn your block over and trim the excess fabric from around the template.

Looking better already, right?

Step 7: Take your fabric cut for Piece 3. Place it right side together to Piece 1 which you have sewn into place. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 3. 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.

Before:

After:

And press.

Step 10: Repeat the same process for Piece 4.

Turn your block over and trim the excess fabric from around the template again.

Step 11: Take your fabric cut for Piece 5. Place it right side together to Piece 3 and 4 which you have sewn into place. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 5. Pin into place.

Step 12: Once again, sew along seam line…

Trim…

and Press…

Step 13: Repeat for the final Piece 6. Line up…

Sew, press and trim the block to size:

Congratulations! You’ve made your first paper pieced block quadrant!

Step 14: Now repeat these steps for the remaining three templates.

**TIP: To achieve the look of my block, you will want to reverse the location of the blue fabrics on two of the four templates. **

Step 15: Once you have all four templates pieced, remove the paper from the back. This should perforate easily as long as you remembered to shorten your stitch length before sewing.

Step 16: Sew the 4 quadrants together to create your quilt block.

Starry Night Quilt Block

You’re done!

Mock up of what entire quilt top would look like:

Starry Night Quilt Top Mock Up

Comments

  1. 1

    Susan says

    Nice block and good instructions. I enjoy paper piecing when there are not too many pieces in each section. I have lots of Kona solids and this would be a good block to make to show them off.

  2. 5

    says

    OMG, that’s gorgeous! I’d love to see a full quilt of this, though I would have to sew it together regularly, not paper pieced. A whole quilt as large as I want it would be too hard to pull all the paper off. I know from experience…

  3. 8

    says

    not gonna lie, I’m a bit scared of paper piecing, but your explanation makes sense so I’m going to give it a try – plus that block is so pretty! Thanks!

  4. 9

    says

    hey faith, for the newcomers to paper piecing, you might want to mention that in order to get their block to look like yours they will need to reverse color placement on two of them.
    I love the way you use color–it’s always a lesson for me!

  5. 15

    Jytte R says

    It is a beautiful block. I am in Spain for the moment but cann’t wait to get back home to Denmark to get started on all this ‘Celebrate Christmas’ blocks.
    Thank you.

  6. 20

    says

    Wow, beautiful! I love that block; I have been wanting to learn to paper piece but have been intimidated…and always busy with several works in progress at any given time. This looks like a great block to use as a pillow cover and to give me a short introduction to paper piecing. Thanks!

  7. 21

    says

    Beautiful block! I love that you used nontraditional Christmas colors to create the block. I always decorate for Christmas in colors other than red and green. I have been considering making a Christmas quilt, but I wanted something that was not too “Christmasy”. This block would be perfect for what I had in mind. Thanks!

  8. 24

    says

    That is a stunning block! I always love the look of solids, but when it comes time to make my own quilts, I shy away from using the solids for anything but sashing/border. No idea what my mental block is coming from on that!

  9. 26

    says

    Wow!! These blocks are so pretty together. I have never done any paper piecing-seems scary!! Your tutorial gives me hope that I could actually succeed at it-ha!!! Thanks!!

  10. 31

    Christine says

    Faith, when I saw the single block I thought, ho hum. (Sorry.) But, when I saw it mocked up as an entire quilt. WOW!! That is stunning. Once again you add something to my mental to do list……

  11. 37

    says

    I’ve done paper piecing a couple of times, but each time I forget how and always wished I had a resource for instruction. And now I do!! Oh boy, do I!

    When I first saw this amazing block of yours, I got so excited you were doing a pattern for it. Then I scroll and see it’s a paper piecing (wha whhha, sad face)… and then, as if the universe heard my woes… I scroll and see the best dang paper piecing tutorial ever. EVER! I thank you a million time, Faith!!

  12. 40

    says

    Hi,
    I did this block in November, with Leila’s skill builder series, and love the versatility of it. I am also participating in a bee, and was wondering if you might allow me to use this block as my base, come August?
    I have not absolutely decided what I will want to do, but this may be one possibility. If you did not mind too much.
    Many thanks for your attention on this.

  13. 42

    Carmen says

    Oh.My.Word. I am so inspired! Is there any chance to get the names/colours of the fabrics you used? It is so beautiful!

  14. 45

    says

    Muchas gracias…acabo de encontrar su pagina y he copiado el block para hacer un edredon….gracias por compartir…es una belleza de bloque y muy facil la explicacion.
    Que tenga lindo dia!!!!

  15. 46

    Nicole says

    This is by far the best demonstration on paper piecing that I have ever seen. You have made something somewhat complicated for beginners much more comprehensible! Thank you!

  16. 48

    says

    This is a fantastic block and I am off to purchase some fabric and make it.
    I did a small wall hanging for our guild show and loved the paper piecing part, and sure do look forward to trying your block. Quilt til you drop. Debbie

  17. 50

    says

    Thank you for your great instructions on a beautiful quilt. Having a huge cabinet full of fabrics to chose from, I now have the job of choosing some appropriate colors and patterns. Your colors are great, wish I had similar in stock here! I promised myself to not buy anything but absolutely necessary fabric until I bring my stash down! Thanks again

  18. 51

    Alyssa Lichner says

    Hey faith! Awesome block. I have a general paper piecing question. Do you have any suggestion on figuring out the size pieces you will need when paper piecing before you start like you have done for us here? I HATE trying to guess the size I’d rather have everything ready before I start.

  19. 53

    says

    I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A number of my blog visitors have complained about my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any solutions to help fix this problem?

  20. 55

    Carol N says

    Your tutorial and quilt are nothing short of stunning! Your choice of fabrics add a whole new dimension to the quilt–the shading of the colors make the quilt sing! I sometimes hesitate to add a comment on a blog with an older posting–Nov 2, 2011–even though I want to add my appreciation for your time and trouble! That said, I am going to take a chance and ask a question: How did you quilt this top? I keep looking at it and waiting for the ‘quilting’ to speak to me! Would love to know what your quilt top said to you! I bow to your artistic talent–thanks for sharing your gift.

  21. 57

    says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful pattern and tutorial. I made two of these blocks today and it was a lot of fun as a result of your excellent instructions.

    They are striking and beautiful blocks too.

  22. 58

    Nancy says

    Hi Faith, love this block! One question: What do you mean by “sew a bit into the seam allowance”? Does this mean at the beginning and end of the stitching line? I want to try paper piecing and just want to be sure I’m doing the right thing. Thank you. Cheers!

  23. 60

    Thomasean says

    I have been using this block for an Kaffe Fassett online block exchange. I modified the block and made #1 #2 #3 #4 just one piece. It is a 3 piece block and it is gorgeous! I’d love to show them to you. Thanks you for the pattern!

  24. 62

    HELEN BATES says

    Years ago i did piecing, i used patterns on cotton squares. Did a few little pieces. Will try it again. Lately it is only great grandchildrens baby quilts.

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