Welcome to week 2 of the Solstice Stars Series! Today we will be making the Whirling Star. This star is from Barbara Brackman’s book The Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns,page 310 and the original source of the design is attributed to Nancy Cabot.
This block will be our first paper pieced block of the series. Some of you may now need to take a few deep calming breaths. I promise you, YOU can do it! I have taken lots of photos for the tutorial and we will be going through every step.
If you are completely new to paper piecing, I recommend reading through this tutorial and even making the sample block. It will really give you a basic understanding. 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 6 small blocks and then piecing those together.
Whirling 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 1.4 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:
Note: I updated the templates a bit after taking the photos. Your templates specify “A” and “B” on them, which will help you out during the directions.
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.
|1A||Cut 2||4.5″ x 5.5”||Print/Color|
|2A||Cut 2||4.5” x 5.5”||White/Background|
|3A||Cut 2||4.5″ x 5.5”||Print/Color|
|4A||Cut 2||4.5” x 5.5”||White/Background|
|5A||Cut 1||4” x 4″,
|6A||Cut 1||4″ x 4”,
|1B||Cut 4||4.5” x 5.5”||Print/Color|
|2B||Cut 4||3.5” x 7″||White/Background|
|3B||Cut 4||3.5” x 7″||White/Background|
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 also sew into the grey seam allowance. 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: 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 7: Sew along the seam line on the template.
Step 8: Trim along seam allowance:
Step 9: Using the same technique, continue and sew on pieces 4A, 5A, 6A, in that order. Your paper piecing template should now look like this:
Step 10: Turn your block over and trim the excess fabric from around the template.
You can see that some of my fabric was a bit too short. Ideally your fabric will cover the entire template.
Congratulations! You’ve made your first paper pieced block!
Step 11: Now repeat these steps for the second Template A.
Step 12: 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 13: 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 14: 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 15: Press your fabric open. Continue paper piecing piece 3B.
Step 16: Press your fabric open. Trim your template, just as you did with Template A.
Step 17: Repeat and create the other 3 Template B’s.
Step 18: 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 19: Sew your 2 Template A’s together. Align the middle seam to ensure the center points align when you sew the block together.
Step 20: Now we will sew the 4 Template B’s to the corners to finish the block. Line up your seams again.
After sewing all the corners to the center block, you’re done! You should have a beautiful Whirling Star!
January 25, 2012 45 Comments
One of the best parts about the online sewing community is how generous everyone is with posting free tutorials on their blogs. After finding a few new ones (to me) this week, I thought it’d be fun to share some links.
1. Crossed Quilt Block by Ellen at The Long Thread
2. Scrap Jar Stars by Amber at A Little Bit Biased
3. Japanese X and + Scrappy by Amy at Badskirt
4. Ribbon Star by Lee at Freshly Pieced
5. Texas Star by Jolene at Blue Elephant Stitches
6. Spiderweb Block by Heather at House of Ala Mode
7. Square Square Paper Piecing Template by Tamiko of Patchwork Notes (For those of you that have never paper pieced and want to make Tamiko’s block, you can find beginner paper piecing directions here or here.)
8. Herringbone Block by Holly at Bijou Lovely
Those stars above would be great additions to the stars we are making for the Solstice Stars Series. Aren’t we lucky to have such a talented group of friends online? Makes me very happy!
Have you written a great quilt block tutorial or have you found one that has inspired you? I’d love to hear about more in the comments!
January 20, 2012 20 Comments
Welcome to the Solstice Stars Series! Today is the first week of a series of five star quilt block tutorials. Our first block is the Ribbon Star. This star is from Barbara Brackman’s book The Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns,page 160 and the original source of the design is unknown.
Ribbon Star Quilt Block Tutorial
Step 1. Cut your fabric:
|Pattern Piece||Fabric Color|
|Background Corners||Cut 4||3.5” x 3.5”||White|
|Background Half Square Triangles||Cut 6||4” x 4”||White|
|Top Left Points||Cut 2||4” x 4”||Blue|
|Top Right Points||Cut 2||4” x 4”||Purple|
|Bottom Left Points||Cut 2||4” x 4”||Red|
|Bottom Right Points||Cut 2||4” x 4”||Green|
Take all of your 4″ x 4″ squares and cut them diagonally into half square triangles. Set aside one of each of your blue, purple, red and green half square triangles. You will only need 3 of each color for your star.
Step 2. Sew each of your remaining 12 colored half square triangles to your 12 background/white half square triangles, creating 12 squares.
Step 3. Trim your squares to 3.5″.
Tip: I like to use a small quilting ruler with a diagonal line, and line that up with the seam. I then trim the top and right of the block. Turn the block 180 degrees and line up the seam again. Trim the remaining sides of the square to 3.5″.
Lay out your resulting squares into the design of the quilt block, using your 3.5″ background/white fabric for the corners.
Step 4. Sew your squares together. You’re done!
Don’t forget to post pictures of your finished blocks, as well as any questions, in the Flickr group!
January 18, 2012 34 Comments
I feel like things are settling down here from summer and I’m going back to a bit of a routine. That is a nice feeling. Yesterday I made my Twice Around the Block September bee block for Jen. She asked for Drunk Love blocks (ala Denyse Schmidt) and sent a collection of Anna Maria Horner fabrics. So fun!
I am also pulling out some UFOs and getting to work. First up is my Parisville quilt. (Excuse the bad camera phone photo.)
I really can’t believe I’ve had this one sitting around for months. Yesterday I finished all the blocks for the top and hopefully today or tomorrow I will have a chance to start sewing them together.
September 21, 2011 14 Comments