Modern Quilts, Home Decor, and Handcrafted Clothing

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

November 2, 2011   62 Comments

Summer Sampler Series : Rocky Road to Kansas

Our eleventh quilt block for the Summer Sampler Series is the Rocky Road to Kansas. It can be found in Chapter 16, Page 361, Block 2979 of Barbara Brackman’s The Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

Some quilt blocks are named after the time or event when they first appeared. The Rocky Road to Kansas is such a block, referring to the period of early settlers in late 1800’s and their difficult traveling conditions.

I loved this block as soon as I saw it. One of the first quilts I made was a string quilt, and it felt so “modern” and “hip” to me. Well this quilt block just shows that strip and string quilts are not a new design, but have been around for a long time. They were used as a way to use up leftover fabric scraps, let nothing go to waste. So go ahead, channel your inner pioneer, and let’s get started on the Rocky Road to Kansas!


Rocky Road to Kansas 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.

Rocky Road to Kansas Paper Piecing Template

Prepare the templates. Cut out the 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.

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
1 – Star Cut 4 6″ x 7.5” Strips sewn together to required size* -or- single piece of fabric cut to size
2 – Background Cut 4 4” x 7.5” White
3 – Background Cut 4 4” x 7.5″ White
4 – Center Square Cut 4 3.5” x 5.5” Purple

* I decided to go for the scrappy look, so I cut strips 6″ long, and random widths ranging from 1.25″ and 2″.

Step 2. If you cut strips for your star, sew the strips together until they are 7.5″ tall.

Step 3. 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 4. Take your fabric cut for Piece 2. Place it right side together to Piece 1 which you pinned into place in Step 3. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 2.

Step 5. Sew along the seam line on the template between pieces 1 and 2. Remove your pins.

Step 6. Flip your block over. This is what your seam will look like.

Trim your seam allowance to 1/4″.

Press your fabric open.

Step 7. Repeat this process and sew background piece 3 and center square piece 4 into place.

Step 8. Turn your block over and trim the excess fabric from around the template. Before trim:

After trim:

Step 9. Now repeat these steps for the other 3 templates. Once you have all four squares pieced, remove the paper from the back. This should perforate easily as long as you remembered to shorten your stitch length before sewing.

Step 10. Sew your squares together to create your quilt block. You’re done!

August 3, 2011   15 Comments

Summer Sampler Series : Star

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:

After 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.

Before:

After:

And press.

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.

You’re done!

July 20, 2011   64 Comments