Star Quilt Block Tutorial

Star quilt blocks are the best, aren’t they? A classic shape that can be dressed up in all manner of ways – traditional, modern and my fave: scrappy!

A patchwork star quilt block

I have a scrappy star quilt block tutorial for you today. If you prefer a printable PDF then you can also find that in the shop for US$3 (it includes these 9″ block instructions as well as 2 other larger sizes.)

The background story…

My Lollies quilt pattern gives the option to save the corner offcuts of your lollies blocks as half-square triangles (HSTs). Each of those lollies blocks you see below gave me 4 little HSTs. Over the whole quilt they start to add up!

Navy linen and white Lollies quilt hanging on back of a white chair.
Linen and white HST quilt block

I remembered I’d made a scrappy green star block many years ago, so I began looking through my photographs to find it. My view of time was a little off though, as I made this block way back in 2010!

green and white scrappy star quilt block

I loved the look of the block and thought it was perfect for the HSTs I had at hand.

Star block colour options

There are a few ways you can play with this block. You can make it totally scrappy, with both star and background fabrics. Or you can keep to a single fabric for one of them and scrappy for the other. And of course, you need to decide whether you want your darker fabrics in the star or in that middle ring area.

Scrappy star with single fabric background (light star):

navy and white star quilt block

Single fabric star with scrappy background (light star):

Pink and white star quilt block

Scrappy star and background fabrics (dark star)

Yellow and white star quilt block

Once you’ve had a think about your colour scheme and you’ve collected your scraps (or orphaned HST blocks) you’ll be ready to start!

Scrappy Star Quilt Block Instructions

These instructions will yield one scrappy star block that finishes at 9″ square. (So it’ll be 9″ when it’s sewn into a quilt, but will measure 9½” square unfinished.)

Cutting Instructions

These instructions are for sewing the star quilt block from scratch. If you already have 2″ HSTs from another project, substitute them in appropriately.

Each block has a star fabric (in the centre and around the edges) and a background fabric.

For the HSTs you’ll need:

  • (12) 2½” star fabric squares
  • (12) 2½” background fabric squares.

For the rest of the block you’ll also need:

  • (8) 2″ star fabric squares [or (4) 2″ squares and (1) 3½” square]*
  • (4) 2″ background fabric squares.

*If you’re using only one fabric for your star fabric then you can replace the 4-patch in the middle with a 3½” square. In this case, you’ll only need (4) 2″ star fabric squares instead of 8.

Sew HST blocks

Take one 2½” star fabric square and one 2½” background fabric square. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the lighter square with a pencil. Place the squares RST and sew a scant ¼” seam on both sides of the diagonal. Cut on the drawn line to yield 2 HST units. Press one unit toward the star fabric and one unit toward the background fabric. Trim HSTs to 2″ square.

Navy and white HST blocks for a scrappy star quilt block

Repeat with the other 11 star and background 2½” squares to give a total of 24 HSTs.

Lay Out Star Quilt Block

Take the 24 HST units and the 2″ star and background fabric squares and lay them out as seen below. Take note of the orientation of your HST seams, as this will make for easy seam nesting when the units are sewn together.

layout for a star quilt block

If you’re sewing up a block where the dark fabrics are the star, here it is inverted.

Unit layout for a star quilt block

And if you’re replacing the star’s central squares with the larger square, here’s what your layout will look like:

A scrappy star quilt block tutorial by Bonjour Quilts

Sew Star Quilt Block Together

Now that your block is all laid out you can sew the units into rows.

square and HST units laid out in a star shape

I like to chain piece the units as it makes the block come together quite quickly. I pin a number label to the first block in each row so I don’t lose my place when sewing. (I’m often being interrupted by children so it’s easy to forget which row I was sewing when I come back to my machine.)

Yellow and white fabric rows ready to be sewn together

A note for those using the larger square in the centre of the star (instead of the 4 smaller squares). The first 2 and last 2 rows can be sewn as mentioned above. For the 2 middle rows you’ll need to sew the 4-patches either side of the large square together first. Then you’ll be able to join each 4-patch to the side of the larger square.

pieces of patchwork set out in a star shape

Sew all the units into rows and then press the rows in alternate directions to facilitate seam nesting. (i.e. press rows 1, 3 and 5 to the right, but press rows 2, 4 and 6 to the left.)

The final step is to sew the rows together to form the block. I do take the time to pin even with these nested seams as they can be quite bulky (and the block looks so much better when your points are pointy).

yellow scrappy star quilt block

Once it’s all sewn together I will tell you to “press seams open”. But in all honesty I pressed mine to the side because opening those seams is just a royal pain. By the time I open all those little buggers I could have a second block sewn. So I guess do as I say, not as I do, ha!

three star quilt blocks in a pile

So that’s it for the star quilt block. You could easily use this to make a bright and beautiful star quilt pattern from your scrap pile. They can be sewn together directly, or you could whip up some scrappy sashing to space the blocks out. Either way would look fab!

I have a PDF download for this block available in my shop. The pattern includes instructions for this 9″ block, as well as for a 12″ and 15″ block (finished). You can use any HST leftovers generated from the Lollies Quilt pattern in these blocks. (The pattern tells you which size block your particular Lollies HSTs will fit).

2 patchwork star quilt blocks

I hope you get the chance to use up some scraps in these blocks. If you do, be sure to let me know via email, Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest. I really love to see what you make!

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3 thoughts on “Star Quilt Block Tutorial”

  1. I have been quilting for a long time but seeing yours makes me want to go through all those 1/2 square triangles I have been saving?? and DO something with them. Thanks for the kick start!!!

    Reply

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