Modern Quilts, Home Decor, and Handcrafted Clothing

Solstice Star Series : Star of Mystery

Welcome to week 4 of the Solstice Stars Series! Today we will be making the Star of Mystery. Isn’t that a great name? This star is from Barbara Brackman’s book The Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns,page 349 and the original source of the design is Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine (10/74).

This block will be our second paper pieced block of the series. For those of you that were too intimidated to try our first paper pieced star, the Whirling Star, I hope you will join us this time. I have taken nearly 40 photos to document the steps and make you comfortable with paper piecing.

Once again, if you are completely new to paper piecing, I recommend reading through this tutorial and even making the sample block. It will give you a basic understanding of the process. I also recommend reading through the entire tutorial for today’s block before starting. And finally, take your time. We will be paper piecing 6 small blocks and then piecing those together.


Star of Mystery 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 1.4 stitch length.

Paper Piecing Templates
Print 2 of Template A below and print 4 of Template B 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 templates around the seam allowance line. Here is a visual of what we are going to make with our templates:


We will be filling in the missing notches with half square triangles (HSTs).

For those that are wondering why I didn’t work those HSTs into the templates, I like to make the templates of a size that will print on a home printer without having to visit a copy shop for enlargement. (I figure no one will make the star if it requires that much effort! :)) Adding those HSTs made the templates slightly too big to be printed at home, so we will add those at the end.

Step 1. Cut your fabric. When cutting fabric for paper piecing, you will be cutting rectangles that will be larger than needed.

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
1A Cut 2 4” x 4.25″ White/Background
2A Cut 2 4” x 5.5” Color/Print
3A Cut 2 4” x 4.25” White/Background
4A Cut 2 4” x 5.5” Color/Print
1B Cut 4 3” x 6” Color/Print
2B Cut 4 3” x 6.5” White/Background
3B, 5B Cut 4 3.5” x 3.5”,
cut diagonal
Color/Print
4B Cut 4 3” x 6.5” White/Background
Notches Cut 2 3.5” x 3.5”,
cut diagonal
White/Background

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 also sew into the grey seam allowance. Remove your pins.

After sewing:

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: Flip your block over to the printed side and trim around the seam allowance.

Your block should now look like this:

Step 7: Take your fabric cut for Piece 3A. Place it right side together to Piece 1A and 2A 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 3A. Pin into place.

Step 8: Sew along the seam line on the template.

Step 9: Trim the seam allowance.

Step 10: Press open and trim around the template.

Step 11: Repeat these steps for piece 4A.

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

Step 12: Repeat for your second Template A. You should now have the below 2 pieces.

Step 13: Let’s move on to Template B. I will do a quick walk through to get you started. Take your fabric cut for Piece 1B and place it right side out on the back of your template, making sure to cover the entire template space 1B. Pin into place.

Step 14: Take your fabric cut for Piece 2B. Place it right side together to Piece 1B which you pinned into place in Step 12. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 2B. Again, this will probably feel backwards and wrong the first few times you do it. Pin into place.

Step 15: Sew along the seam line on the template between pieces 1B and 2B. Be sure to sew a bit into the seam allowance. Remove your pins.

Step 16: Press your fabric open. Trim around your template.

Step 17: Continue paper piecing piece 3B, 4B and 5B. Your block should look like this:

Step 18: Repeat and create the other 3 Template B’s.

Step 19: You now have all 6 templates pieced you need to create the star! Here’s the layout:

Remove the paper from the back. This should perforate easily as long as you remembered to shorten your stitch length before sewing.

Step 20: Sew your 2 Template A’s together. Align the middle seam to ensure the center points align when you sew the block together.

Resulting block:

Step 21: Now we will sew 2 of your Template B’s to opposite sides of the block. Line up your seams again.

Resulting block:

Step 22: Take your remaining Template B blocks and sew the remaining HSTs to the sides as shown:

Step 23: At this point, I decided to trim my HSTs to be even with my Template B blocks. I kind of wish I had waited to trim everything even at the end when I was squaring up the block. I will leave it up to you as to when you trim these, but at some point you should trim them.

Step 24: Now we will sew the last 2 Template B’s to the corners to finish the block.

Line up your seams again and sew.

After sewing all the corners to the center block, you’re done! You should have a beautiful Star of Mystery!

Be sure to post any questions as well as a photo of your finished block in the Flickr group!

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26 Responses to “Solstice Star Series : Star of Mystery”

  1. 1
    niki says:

    lovely. sure wish i had the time to participate in this series. :)

  2. 2
    Judy says:

    I can’t wait to start this one and figure out which fabrics I want where. Thank you so much for doing this series. I am not a quilter, learning as I go and having a blast doing it. I’m definitely going to have to back track and do your Summer Sampler Series. Thanks for such great directions!

  3. 3
    Vanessa says:

    WOW! That is amazing–It looks difficult (for me!) but like a lot of fun. Hope to get that good one day! ((Making your Lemon Squares Quilt at present!!))

  4. 4
    Debbie says:

    oh my – this one looks challenging, but oh so lovely!

  5. 5
    Anita says:

    What an adorable block!

  6. 6
    simone says:

    I have made ribbon and another star. But, I guess I really have to start on the paper pieced block. Always such a challenge for me. But, they’re so pretty, so I better get going.
    Thank you for the lovely sew along!

  7. 7
    Jessica says:

    Oh my goodness, this block is just gorgeous (but a little scary). I can’t wait to get started!

  8. 8
    Mitzi says:

    Gorgeous block! Your tutorials for paper piecing are fantastic – so clear and easy to follow!

  9. 9
    LizzyM says:

    WOW – that’s a great tutorial. I missed the first three stars in the series, but might have to join up. I love the end result – gorgeous!

  10. 10
    elsa says:

    Great tutorial and beautiful placement of your fabric! love this block!
    I’m already doing 2 different sew alongs, but think I may have to join this one too.

  11. 11
    Katie says:

    This series has reminded me how much I love paper piecing. It makes tricky blocks so easy! Love this one Faith, I”m just about to put it up on flickr :-)

  12. 12
    Yvonne says:

    You make it look so easy! can’t wait to try this pattern. Thank you for a great tutorial.

  13. 13

    Oooh, this one’s gorgeous! My favorite one yet! Love the prints you used too.

  14. 14
    Cat says:

    I totally enjoyed this one — both the process and the result! Thanks for the very clear instructions.

  15. 15
    Marcia R. says:

    I have finally got the hang of paper piecing, thanks to your wonderful tutorials! These stars are so beautiful and fun to make. Thanks for your all your effort!

  16. 16
    Debbie says:

    A gorgeous star! Your tutorial was very good. Hope to make a block this weekend.

  17. 17
    Gail B says:

    I just love your tutorials. I swear I’ll make some of your blocks. Their so beautiful and the colors are so vibrant. :)

  18. 18
    ~ Julie ~ says:

    What a pretty star! I really like this one! Thanks for the great tutorial!!! :)

  19. 19
    Kara says:

    So pretty, I can’t wait to make this! I fell off the solstice star series wagon (I got busy again, it was a nice few days while I had some time!) but intend to return even if it’s after the series is over! I also have been working on some pillow shams to match Hayden’s quilt. I have one done and about 2/3 to go on the second one.

  20. 20
    Cathy says:

    Just finished making this, and wanted to say thank-you. Great directions, it worked perfectly.

  21. 21
    kim says:

    Just finished this block – my first EVER paper pieced block – and it looks amazing!! I’m hooked!

  22. 22
    Darlene says:

    I love paper piecing,keeep it coming !! Oh and great job with your tutorials !! Thanks bunches, HAPPY QUILTING !!!!!!

  23. 23

    This star is fabulous. Thanks for the tutorial and templates.
    valpierssews

  24. 24
    Kathleen says:

    Thank you for such clear instructions. You are a real treasure!

  25. 25
    Judy Perrigo says:

    i love this. i have to finish one before start this, but i can’t wait. thanks so much for your sharing. judy

  26. 26
    Trisha Hodges says:

    Your step by step tutorial is fantastic. Thanks for making this block look so easy – think I can make this and it is a beautiful pattern. Trisha

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