If you’re looking for a star that is a little different, and will test your point-matching skills (but not too much!), this star is for you! This is not a block with clever cutting and sewing techniques; it has straightforward instructions. I would not categorize it as a beginner block because of all of the points that have to match up. If you’re a confident beginner with a decent amount of patience and you are not afraid of your seam ripper, this block is for you! Getting the points right is a challenge, but you can get better with practice. With careful cutting, measuring, pressing, and sewing, you will have a beautiful quilt block!
These instructions will make a 12.5″ square quilt block… once it is sewn to other blocks and fully finished, it will be a 12″ block.
Tips for a Successful Woven Star Block
- Pressing is important! Press between every seam. Do not skip the pressing step if you want your points to match up.
- Exact measuring and trimming is also important.
- Do not be afraid to get out your seam ripper. Using a seam ripper is a good thing… it helps you get better at quilting!
Choose and Cut Fabric
You will need 4 colors, plus the background. I like to choose 1 light and 1 dark from red and blue, with a white background, for a patriotic block. But you can switch it up however you like!
- Cut four 3.5” squares of the background.
- Cut three 4” squares of 4 fabrics (A, B, C, D).
- Cut four 4” squares of background fabric.
- Cut all of the 4” squares in half diagonally. Do NOT cut the 3.5″ background squares (those are your corner blocks)!
Lay Out Cut Pieces
Lay out the triangles according to the map. Some triangles will seem like they are too big, but that is okay. You’ll cut them down later. Also, you’ll have one triangle of every color (A-D, not the background) left over; that’s okay.
At this point, yours won’t look nearly as pretty as the diagram… it’ll look more like a jumbled mess like mine here:
You might ask yourself: “Is this really right? This looks really weird!” Some triangles seem extra big for the slots they fill. It’s okay… you’ll lose 1/4″ all around (that’s half an inch up and down, and half an inch side to side), and then you’ll do it all over again for the smaller triangles, and do a bit more trimming, too. I learned that it’s a lot easier to cut down larger triangles than it is to make triangles bigger… after they’ve been cut. So this is a more foolproof way of doing things. Of course, it’s not the only way to do it… it’s just the way that works for me.
Always place newly sewn/trimmed triangles and squares back in their spots!
This is just a little housekeeping item that will keep you from accidentally sewing the wrong blocks together. Once you’ve sewn something, put it back down where it belongs. Trust me, it will prevent confusion later on!
The Center Four Blocks
These blocks are squares where half comes from one triangle, and two quarters come from two other triangles.
Take this one of these three-color blocks at a time.
To make a 3-color block:
Sew the 2 smaller triangles together (smaller on the map above, that is; they’re the same size as all the other triangles; maybe I should say, sew together the 2 triangles that are too big for their slots?)
Press the seam to one side and lay the new triangle back in its spot. Make sure you sewed the right seam. If you didn’t, seam rip and fix that.
Cut this new, sewn triangle down to the size of one smaller triangle. I just place a smaller triangle over the one I just stitched, cover that completely with a quilting ruler, and then trim the edges. Use a rotating cutting mat, if you have one… it’s slightly easier to maneuver.
Lay the trimmed triangle back down again.
Once you’ve sewn and trimmed all of 2-color triangles, you’ll have a project that looks like this:
Now, sew each set of two triangles in the four center blocks together, across the diagonal, and press to one side. Then put them back in their spots.
Trim the Blocks to 3.5″ Square
Then, trim to 3.5”. This is a very important cut!! Make sure the points on the corners match up (the centers are less important). Now is the time to use a rotating cutting mat, if you have one. And if you are going to make a lot of these stars, the 3.5” ruler is useful too. You can make do with a normal cutting mat and larger ruler (such as 6”) if that is all you have. But, the better you cut these squares, the easier your star is going to come together.
Take care to line up the seams with the right measurements on your ruler (to make a 3.5″ inch square), and then trim. Don’t worry too much about lining up the centers… the corners are what matter more.
Once trimmed, the seams should end exactly on the corners of the block. The better you do this, the nicer your finished block will turn out (or, at least, the fewer times you will have to rip seams to get the corners to match up to each other).
Place your trimmed blocks back in their spots.
The Outer Blocks
The outer blocks are all one of the 4 main colors stitched to a background color on the diagonal.
- Sew triangles together.
- Press seams to one side.
- Trim them to 3.5″ squares, taking care to line up the seams with the corners of the blocks.
- Place them back in their spots in your block map.
Once the outer blocks are ready, your block will start looking a little better:
Now, at this point, I look closely at each block. Will every seam line up 1/4 inch in from each corner? If not, I take note and either redo something, pin, or mark the back with a disappearing ink pen… because those can become problem spots for matching points later on, and I want to keep an eye on them.
Assemble the Rows
Sew the blocks together into 4 rows.
- Sew groups of two squares together.
- Press seams to one side, alternating directions (I explain this better below).
- Sew those together into rows.
- Again, I look for problem spots where a point isn’t exactly 1/4 inch in from the edge… I will need to take care when I sew that section.
- Press these seams to one side or the other, going in opposite directions for each row.
- Double check that the width of your rows are 12.5″… it’s easier to fix that now, rather than later.
- **Pressing the seams to either side like this will make the points match up nicely when you sew the rows together.
Sew the Rows Together
- Pin each row together, taking care at the points.
- Sew the rows together.
- Double check that your block is 12.5″ square.
Now, sewing rows to each other is the most difficult part of you want sharp points.
Sew slowly! Rip parts out and redo them, and you can get it right! It will pay off.
Cleaning Up Points
On this block, I did mess up a couple of points. Here is an example.
This example is just a few threads away from the seam! If the problem is more than a few threads, or on more than one point, it’s probably better to rip out the entire seam and start over. But here I can fix this one point!
The Finished Woven Star Block
Give yourself a pat on the back! And take a photo! You finished the woven star block!