Piecing a Lone Star Block is not as hard as you may think. This tutorial is for one eight pointed star and measures about 22 1/4″ (unfinished). Once you have one, you might get hooked and want to keep making more! The quilt below features 9 of these stars and measures about 90″ x90″. The rainbow star on the left is a close up of one Lone Star block with 8 points. If you have questions, feel free to contact me and I’ll try to help.
This particular size star (unfinished 22 1/4″) starts with 2″ strips. I made this star out of scraps from my stash, but if you are cutting from yardage, you will need to make 3 strip sets, each with 3 strips cut across the width of the fabric (roughly 42″). This will make more sense as we go through the steps. I usually spray my strips with Best Press, which is a starch alternative spray, when I am cutting so many pieces on the bias. It just makes handling the segments and diamonds easier, and helps control some of the stretch.
Step 1. In photo 1 below, I have cut 2″ strips, and sewn them together in sets of 3. To decrease the amount of waste, off set the ends of the strips by about 2″ – circled in black in the photo. Use a 1/4″ seam allowance throughout. When I sew strip sets, I usually sew two strips together starting at one end, and then flip those two over and sew in the other direction from the opposite end. This helps avoid accidentally causing the strip set to bow. I have more than three sets here, because these are short strips. Press the seams in one direction.
Step 2. Once your strip sets are sewn together, turn them so the off set end (the one circled in photo 1) is to the right. Take a quilting ruler with a 45 degree line, and place it on the strip set as shown in photo 2 below. The red arrow is pointing to the 45 degree line as it runs across the top of the strip set. With a rotary cutter, cut off the right edge of the strip set as in photo 3 below.
Step 3. Once the right edge is cut at a 45 degree angle, turn the whole strip set around so the angle is on the left. This makes it easier to cut the 2″ segments in the this step. Place your ruler on the left edge of the set, aligning the 2″ line on the edge of the fabric. See photo 4 below.
Note the red arrow pointing to the 2″ line on the ruler, as well as the top arrow and yellow circle on the 45 degree line. Keeping both the 2″ line and the 45 degree line in this position, make a cut along the right edge of the ruler. Continue down the strip set, (photo 5) cutting 2″ segments until you run out of fabric.
Step 4. You need eight sets of 3 segments to make the eight diamonds necessary for the star. See below, photo 6. Arrange the segments into the star shape and audition the segments in different placements until you are happy with the configuration, see below, photo 7. I often take a quick picture with my phone to judge layouts – I can more easily notice problem spots such as too much of one fabric or one color too close together.
Step 5. Now the fun part of sewing the segments together! In photo 8 below, you can see where I laid out 3 segments to sew together. Using a ruler, and some kind of disappearing marker (I used a Frixion pen) mark 1/4″ in from the edge on both seam lines, see photo 9. Look closely at the red arrows pointing to the marks and the 1/4″ line on the ruler. Then take the next segment and turn it over so you can also mark 1/4″ in from that edge as well, but on the wrong side of the fabric – so you can still see it when you start to sew, see photo 10 with black arrows. These marks are where you will pin the segments together in the next step.
Step 6. Place pins directly into the marks. See photo 11 where the pin is in the mark along the seam line on the wrong side of that segment. Then photo 12 shows the segment pulled back to expose the mark along the seam on the bottom segment. Photo 13 shows the pin once it has been pushed through the marks and then back through the fabric to hold the segments together. Do this on both seam intersections.
Photo 14 shows the segments with all intersections pinned. Note the ends of the segments, circled in red, where the little dog ears stick out 1/4″. This is how it is supposed to look – don’t try to make the ends line up, there should be these dog ears on both ends.
Step 7. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the segments together. Photos 15 and 16 show the segments as they are going through my machine. To start sewing, you should aim for the intersection where the dog ear sticks up, which in photo 15 is right where the little 1/4″ hash mark is on my sewing foot, right in the middle. My machine has a laser, which is the red line you can see in front of the needle, running from the dog ear forwards along the path I will be sewing. In photo 16 you can see the laser intersecting the 1/4″ marks where the pins are. Don’t worry if you don’t have a laser on your machine, just try to sew a 1/4″ seam and hit the marks you made earlier.
Add the third segment in the same way. Using your ruler, make marks along the seams at 1/4″ in from the edge on the right side of one segment and the wrong side of the other. Pin directly on the marks. And sew it in the same manner as you did the first two segments, allowing the dog ears to show on the ends, and sewing 1/4″ seam allowance, hitting your marks as you go. Photos 17 – 20 below, show the same steps as before.
Step 8. Press the completed diamond well (photo 21). Then make the other seven diamonds and press well. Lay them out and play with them until you are happy with the arrangment – partially shown in photo 22.
The hardest part is done! Now we just cut the background fabric and then sew the points together. Important – don’t sew the diamonds (star points) together yet! We need to add the background first.
Step 9. Cut the background squares. In my case these squares are white. You will need four 7 1/4″ squares and four 5 1/2″ squares. Cut all eight squares once along the diagonal so you end up with half square triangles. The larger triangles (labeled piece A in the photo below) will go on the corners of the block and the smaller ones (labeled piece B below) along the sides, top and bottom. Photo 23 shows the triangles placed around the diamonds before starting to sew. Photo 24 shows where two of the smaller triangles have been pinned to the diamonds. You can see the larger two A triangles on the bottom left corner waiting their turn. Then photo 25 shows all of the small B triangles sewn in place.
Now add the larger A triangles. In photo 26 and 27 you can see the A triangles pinned and ready for sewing. Then photo 28 shows all the triangles (both A & B) sewn in place.
Step 10. Sew any two diamonds together as in photo 29. Then sew another two diamonds together until you have four pairs, as in photo 30. Pay attention to the seam intersections as you did when sewing the segments together in the beginning, and also try to get the white areas (background) to match up. But keep in mind once you quilt and wash the finished project, you won’t notice any imperfections in all these intersections. Imperfections just mean it’s handmade! Now sew the pairs together into half stars as in photo 31 and finally sew the halves together (photo 32) to complete the star! At this point, you should square up your star block. Mine measured 22 1/4″. When trimming, take care to leave a 1/4″ beyond the star point for a seam allowance (see circled area photo 32), so that when you either bind this one star, or sew it to other stars, that you don’t cut off the points.
That’s it! Well done! I bet you can’t stop at just one star!
I sincerely hope this tutorial has been helpful. Again, please email me if you need help!