These instructions will make a 12.5″x12.5″ pinwheel star block with 1/4″ seam allowances, so the finished block size will be 12″x12.”
Note: These directions make the blocks a little big and have you trim them down. This method works for any level of quilter but is especially foolproof for beginning quilters.
I’m including a guide/legend so we can refer to the colors by A, B, and C. A will be your darkest color, B medium, and C lightest. You’ll also need a background color.
Prepare your Fabric
Pre-wash your fabric, if needed.
Then, using a rotary cutter and rulers on a cutting mat, cut squares and triangles as follows:
- One 6″ square in A
- One 6″ square in C
- Four 3.5″ squares in the background color
- One 7.5″ square in the background color
- Two 4″ squares in A
- Two 4″ squares in B
Make one 6.5″ Pinwheel Block
Place the two 6″ squares right sides together.
Sew 1/4″ all the way around. It’s best if you don’t sew into the seam allowances at the corners; just sew in a square.
Cut the sewn square in half diagonally, then in half again. You’ll have 4 triangles.
Press towards the darker color.
Lay out into a pinwheel shape. Can you believe how easy it was to get here?
Sew two together, then sew the other two together. Nest the two previous seams together at the corners.
Press seams to one side.
Sew the two rows together.
Trim to 6.5″ with the pinwheel intersection at the very center.
Make Flying Geese
Follow these directions to make 4 3.5″x6.5″ identical, asymmetrical, 3-color flying geese.
Assemble the Pinwheel Star Block
Lay out all the blocks and make sure it looks right: pinwheel block in the center, four 3.5″ background squares in the corners, and four flying geese at the edges.
Sew the top three blocks together.
Measure this row to make sure it’s 12 1/2″ wide. If it’s not, double check your seam allowance, rip out your seams, and try again. If it’s thinner than 12 1/2,” try moving the needle on your sewing machine a tad to the right to make your seam allowance smaller. You’ll want to measure the other pieces as the block comes together, but this is the best place to correct the problem (before you sew the rest of these seams).
Sew the middle three blocks together.
Sew the bottom three blocks together.
Press all three rows.
Pin the first row to the second. Be careful to line up the seam intersections.
Pin the third row to the second. Be careful to line up the seam intersections.
You should now have a 12.5″x12.5″ pinwheel star block!
It has raw edges now, because it has 1/4″ seam allowances all around. Once you sew it into a quilt, it will be 12″x12″ with hidden seams.
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