From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
With all its patches, an Amish Star quilt block looks more complicated than it really is—it's just a simple 9-patch.
We'll use the 8-at-a-time method to make our half square triangles. Paper piecing the Flying Geese makes for perfect units every time.
Not a fan of paper piecing? Don't worry. An connector corners method is provided just for you.
Everything else is just cut squares and rectangles.
You CAN do it!
Let's get STAR-ted!
These abbreviations are used on this page:
Label your patches as you cut them.
SA are 1/4" and pressed towards the darker fabric unless noted otherwise.
I like to starch my quilt fabric before cutting.
In my humble opinion cutting and stitching is more accurate with nicely pressed, starched fabric.
I also like being able to fingerpress my seams as I go.
Two fabrics are all you'll need to make this beauty!
The blue cutting chart is for traditional piecing and connector corners.
If you prefer to use paperpiecing to piece your Flying Geese units, use the yellow charting.
Instructions are provided for both methods.
The best way is the one that works best for you!
Cutting Chart for an~Traditional Piecing w/Connector Corners ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Sizes|
|6"||9 "||12 "|
|1||L||1||4¼" x 4¼"||5¼" x 5¼"||6¼" x 6¼"|
|2||D||1||4¼" x 4¼"||5¼" x 5¼"||6¼" x 6¼"|
|3||D||8||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"|
|4||L||4||1½" x 2½"||2" x 3½"||2½" x 4½"|
|5||D||4||1½" x 2½"||2" x 3½"||2½" x 4½"|
|6||L||8||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"|
|7||L||1||2½" x 2½"||3½" x 3½"||4½" x 4½"|
|Unfinished Block Sizes||6½"||9½"||12½"|
My personal preference is to paper piece my Flying Geese. If it's yours, too, use this cutting chart to cut your patches.
Cutting Chart for an~Includes Paper Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Sizes||Sub|
|1||L||1||4¼" x 4¼"||5¼" x 5¼"||6¼" x 6¼"||--|
|2||D||1||4¼" x 4¼"||5¼" x 5¼"||6¼" x 6¼"||--|
|3||D||8||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"||--|
|4||L||4||1½" x 2½"||2" x 3½"||2½" x 4½"||--|
|5||D||1||3⅝" x 3⅝"||4⅝" x 4⅝"||5⅝" x 5⅝"|
|6||L||4||2⅜" x 2⅜"||2⅞" x 2⅞"||3⅜" x 3⅜"|
|7||L||1||2½" x 2½"||3½" x 3½"||4½" x 4½"||--|
|Unfinished Block Sizes||6½"||9½"||12½"||na|
My go-to thread for all my piecing is...
If you cut your Amish Star patches from the yellow cutting chart, you MUST print paperpiecing patterns.
You'll need the most current version of Adobe installed on your computer to download the pattern.
On the Adobe Print Menu page, under 'Page Size and Handling' set 'Custom Scale' to 100% before printing for accurate results. Click here to see what it looks like on the Print Menu page.
After printing, use the 1" square graphic on the printed pages to confirm they are printed accurately.
Not sure which paper to use?
Check out my review of several of the most popular brands available to us quilters on the market.
Which one will you choose?
Choose your finished block size from the chart below and print the corresponding page:
Print Flying Geese Patterns
|# of copies|| Link to PDF|
Cut out all four units. A rough cut is good enough. There are no points for cutting exactly on the outside line of each. :D
Install your favorite 1/4" foot on your sewing machine.
On the backside of each #1, mark a diagonal line from corner to corner. Use a light touch. The mark should only be as dark as you need to see it.
For this sample, I've used my favorite Bohin Mechanical Chalk pencil for marking.
Repeat for the second diagonal.
With RST layer a #1 and #2. Stitch 1/4" from both sides of the line.
As with so many of the sample blocks I sew, this block was constructed at a Sunday Sew-In with my bee.
And as has happened way too many times lately, my favorite 1/4" foot for this job wasn't in the accessory tray. <heavy sigh!>
Thank goodness there's always more than one way to get things done it quilting.
I simply drew my stitching lines a quarter inch from both sides of each center diagonal line, snapped on my open toe applique foot, and stitched the HSTs.
Press flat to set the seams.
Use the chart below to find the center measurement that corresponds to your chosen block.
| Center or Midpoint|
|Trim HST to…|
For my 6" sample, the center is 2-1/8".
Align that line on your ruler with the edge of the sewn squares (below).
Cut through the center of the block.
Turn the block a quarter turn and repeat the process. You'll have four equal squares.
Cut each in half on the diagonal line to create eight HST.
Press with the SA toward the darker #2.
Referring to the chart above, find your block size and trim each HST to size.
For more detailed instructions on this technique, click here.
To Complete the Corners
With RST, add a #3 to the #1 side of each HST. Make a total of 8.
SAs are pressed toward #3 to avoid bulk.
Join 2 units together. The seams nest to make matching the seam line easier. Use pins as needed.
Press this seam as shown in the photo below.
Notice how the seams end up pressed toward the lower right red square (identified by the blue star). Later as you arrange the blocks into the Amish Star design, position that starred patch towards the center of the block. That way all your seams will nest.
After stitching, this four-patch unit measures 2½"x2½", 3½"x3½", and 4½"x4½" edge-to-edge for the 6", 9" and 12" finished block sizes, respectively.
If you cut your patches from the blue chart, click here for a tutorial to make Flying Geese using the Connector Corner method.
Once finished, click the 'back' button on your browser bar to return here.
Otherwise continue here for paperpiecing.
General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing
After adding each patch, press the unit as it was sewn to set the seam. Then press it open. The SA is automatically pressed towards the last patch added.
Steam is optional and usually curls the pattern.
If that bothers you, don't use steam. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't.
It really just depends on my mood.
Remember as you follow this paper piecing tutorial, the printed and the fabric sides of this block are mirror-images of each other.
It's time to sew!
I use a tiny dot of Elmer's Washable Glue Stick to hold the Goose patch in place. Dashed placement lines(blue arrow) make positioning quick.
Align the long edge of a #6 with one short side of the #5 patch.
Stitch on the solid line between the two patches, starting and stopping past the outside light line that shows the outside edge of the unit.
Because this stitching line goes from outside edge to outside edge, you can chain piece your Flying Geese (below).
Press SAs toward the lighter #6 patch to avoid bulk.
Add the second #6 to the other short side in the same manner.
Press towards the lighter #6.
Trim the FG to size. I prefer to lay the 1/4" line on my ruler on the solid outline of the block to trim accurately.
After trimming and removing the paper you've got four perfect patches.
To complete the sides, add a #4 rectangle to the bottom side of the goose (below).
Stitch with RST.
Press the SA toward the #4 rectangle.
Repeat for a total of four.
To complete the block, remember to return your stitch length to the one you regularly use for piecing and install your favorite quarter inch presser foot.
Arrange the units into the Amish Star design shown below. Solid patches are in the corners and the center sides.
Sew the rows together, again, pinning as needed.
Press SA in the direction of the arrows.
For help with pinning for perfection, click here.
With RST, stitch the rows together. SA will nest, making matching so much easier.
Pin as needed.
Here's our Amish Star from the backside (without the blue stars) to show how the SA were pressed.
...and from the front. Our Amish Star quilt block is ready to become part of a quilt top.
These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas.
Can you tell?
It's in color.
It's got a ton of blocks.
What's not to love?
Next on my 'must-have' list is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
Unlike the Maggie Malone book, the blocks in this volume are hand-drawn and in black and white—no color—personally, I prefer colored drawings to work with.
This book is no longer in print.
If you can come by a copy expect it to be wickedly expensive. Once in awhile you can find it here on Amazon.com.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020.
However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.
BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.
It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.
In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.
This is terrific news.
Finally there's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.
Lots of detail and in color, it is a beautiful volume. That said, I check it out of my local library on a regular basis instead of purchasing it—can you see the library sticker on it's spine. Yep, it's from the Plainfield Public Library.
Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.
And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!