Constellation Quilt Block: Foolproof Piecing of a Spectacular Star

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Explore new quilting galaxies with the stellar Constellation block. This cosmic quilt block tutorial rockets you to paper piecing success with foolproof instructions.

Like the North Star, we’ll guide you in choosing stunning fabrics and arranging them to create a visionary design. With handy downloadable chart and patterns, you can boldly piece impressive stars, even if it’s your first time.

Don’t get lost in space—this tutorial lights the way to quilting constellations!

The Constellation quilt block tutorial starts here

As always, beginner-friendly, illustrated instructions are the backbone of the tutorial. There's more free goodies available for you to download to help you. They are:

Cut. Sew. Press. Turn your fabric into MAGIC!

General Instructions

Several abbreviations are used on this page. They are:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • HRT - Pairs of Half Rectangle Triangles
  • TiaS - triangle in a square

A 1/4" SA is used in this tutorial.

Highlighted in yellow, pressing instructions are easy to spot.

To press, first press the patches in the closed position as they came off your sewing machine. This sets the seam, melding the fibers of the threads into the fibers of the fabric.

Then press the SA to the dark unless otherwise noted.

Paper pieced seams are pressed toward the last patch added.

Starching your quilt fabric before you cut makes everything easier and more accurate. I prefer a 50/50 mix of Sta Flo Liquid Starch Concentrate to water. It makes for nice stiff fabric.

Download and print paper piecing patterns and templates

Print the paper piecing patterns you need

To download the pattern, use the most current version of Adobe.

For accurate results, on Adobe's Print Menu page, under 'Page Size and Handling' set 'Custom Scale' to 100%. Then print.

Click here to see what it looks like on the Print Menu page.

Find your finished block size from the chart below. Print the corresponding number of pages for a total of 8 mirror-imaged HRT Pairs and four TiaS.

Print the Patterns and Templates
Half Rectangle Triangle Pairs-A&B (HRT)
Triangle in a Square Units (TiaS)

Block Size
HRTs - A&B Triangle in a Square
to print
HRT Size Copies
to print
TiaS Size Templates
10" 2 2"x2" 1 2"Print 1
15" 2 3"x3" 1 3"
20" 4 4"x4" 2 4"

After printing, use the 1" square graphic on the printed page(s) to double check that your patterns printed at the correct size.

Then cut out the required number of patterns from your copies. A rough cut is good enough—an 1/8"-1/4"-ish away from the outside dashed square.

Read my review of 6 paper piecing papers available on the market

Not sure which paper to use?

Take a look at my review of several of the most popular brands available to us quilters on the market.

You want a super-easy paper to tear away—less stress on the stitches. 

The newest quilt fabrics to tickle your fancy...

Click the images below to see the full collection. We share any commercial and/or free patterns that showcase them, too. (For inspiration, of course!)

Step 1: Cutting patches for your Constellation block

Constellation quilt block designConstellation quilt block design
Shown from the fabric side of the block

Sample Block Size:  15" finished / 15½" unfinished

Grid: 10×10  

Attribution:  Quiltmaker, 1992  

Design Type:   Star  |  Paper Piecing  | Uneven 9-patch

I've had this green and blue leafy print (light) for a while and couldn't wait to use it. Paired it with a turquoise tone-on-tone (dark). And finally, this bold green stripe (medium).

But, of course, then I had to stop and think. Being a very anal quilter, that meant those strips needed be pieced in some recognizable order...not willy-nilly with stripes all over everywhere. 

Ultimately decided they should flow out from the center.

What that means is the cutting needed to be planned out.

When this happens to you, take notes and keep them with the project—in case you get interrupted halfway through—they'll be invaluable.

Label all your patches. We use their numbers throughout this tutorial.

To print a copy of the block design and cutting chart to use at your cutting table, click here.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Constellation Quilt Block

~ Paper PLUS Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub
10'' 15'' 20''
1, 3 Medium 8 2⅞'' x 3¼'' 3⅜'' x 4¼'' 3⅞'' x 5¼'' yes
2, 4 Bac 8 2⅞'' x 3¼'' 3⅜'' x 4¼'' 3⅞'' x 5¼'' yes
5 Light 9 2½'' x 2½'' 3½'' x 3½'' 4½'' x 4½'' ---
6 Bac 4 2½'' x 2½'' 3½'' x 3½'' 4½'' x 4½'' ---
TiaS.1 Medium 4 3'' x 2¾'' 4'' x 3¾'' 5'' x 4¾'' yes
Sides Dark 4 2⅞'' x 3¼'' 3⅜'' x 4¼'' 3⅞'' x 5¼'' yes
Unfinished Block Size 10½'' 15½'' 20½'' na
Grid Size 1'' 1½'' 2'' na



To have the stripe flow out from the center in all four Triangle in a Square (Tias), two patches are cut with the stripes going up and down; two moving left to right.


Layer these four Tias.1 rectangles with the right side facing up.

Cut out the template that corresponds to your chosen finished block size. Exactly on the line at the top and bottom. There's no need to be exact on the diagonal sides because we don't use them to position the template.

Align the short top and long bottom lines of the template with the top and bottom edges of the TiaS.1s.

I use a bit of tape at the top and bottom to hold things in place. Align the edge of your ruler with the side diagonal line and trim away the excess. Repeat for the other side,

Trim the excess away to create the Center for the TiaSRemember to peel away all the tape from your cutting mat.

Layer the four Side/Side.R rectangles in pairs that are RST. Doing this ensures you'll have pairs of mirror imaged patches. They are the center star points.


Line up all the edges.

With a pencil make a tick mark 5/8" in from the top left and bottom right edges.

Match the ruler to these marks and cutl

constellation-quilt-block-tias-patches-cut.jpgYou can just make out the markings at the top and bottom by the ruler's edge

Repeat this for the eight #1/#3 rectangle for our HRT pairs (shown here) and the eight background #2/#4s (not shown).

Please remember, the patches are layered in pairs of RST patches.

Subcutting the HRT A&B patchesThese rectangles are fussy cut with the stripes moving up and down for half and left to right for the other half.

The subcutting is finished. File the templates away with any unused patterns.

Step 2: Assemble the units for your Constellation quilt block

We'll tackle the paper pieced units first.

To get started, take all the HRTs and TiaS units and use a dot of Elmer's Washable Glue Stick to position the TiaS.1 and #1s on the unprinted side of the patterns. Use the dashed guidelines for quick placement—wrong side of patch to unprinted side of pattern.

Use a dot of glue stick to hold the #1 and TiaS.1 patches in place on their respective paper piecing patternTias (left), HRT-A (center), HRT-B (right)

Quick Note: On the pattern you download, you'll now see the HRT have an 'A' or a 'B' printed on them to prevent any confusion. I added these notations after making the sample.

Remember the pattern is the reverse of the finished unit.

In preparation for paper piecing, make the changes you need to your sewing machine.

General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing

  • Reduce your stitch length to 16–20 stitches per inch (1.3-1.6 mm). This perforates the paper and stabilizes the seam when you remove the pattern. [Learn more about stitch length here.]
  • Reduce your machine's speed or just plain slow down. Sew only as fast as you can stay on the stitching lines.
  • Install an open toe appliqué foot (sometimes called an 'embroidery' or 'satin stitch' foot) if you have one (it's easier to see where you're stitching with one installed). 
  • If your machine has a needle stop up, use it. The stitching goes faster when you don't have to lift the presser foot with every seam.
  • As you stitch each seam, start and stop a generous 1/4” before and after the solid stitching lines. ALWAYS. Future lines of stitching secure the ends.

After adding each patch, press the unit as it was sewn to set the seam and then open. The SA is automatically pressed towards the last patch added.

Before adding the next patch, take a look to make sure the one you just added covers the space plus seam allowance that it is supposed to.

Steam is optional and usually curls the pattern. 

If that bothers you, don't use steam. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't.

It truly 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.

At last!

Let's sew!

Triangle in a Square Unit (TiaS)

Make 4      

Triangle in a Square unitTriangle in a Square design

With RST, line up the long bias edge of a Side with the Center. Wide end of Side to the top point of the Center triangle. (It doesn't matter which Side you start with.)

Our patches are cut oversized so that it is very easy to position the patch correctly on the first try. :)

Position a Side with the Center, RST

We start sewing 1/4" before the printed line starts and stitch until 1/4" after the printed line ends, as indicated by the red arrows below.

For our TiaS, that means the seam starts and ends past the outside dashed edges of this unit.

And what do we know about seams that go from one edge to the other in traditional piecing?

We can chain piece those seams. And we can do the same here in our paper piecing!

Sew the seam to join the Center to a Side

To avoid tucks in this long diagonal seam, I like to fingerpress it open with my fingernail before going to the iron to press. Starched fabric is a dream to fingerpress.

Position, stitch, and press the second Side (or Side.R), just like we did the first one.

Add the second side to the TiaS

Repeat for all four TiaS.

At the cutting mat, align the 1/4" mark on your ruler with the solid line surrounding the unit. Trim away the excess fabric. (It's easier to match the 1/4" on your ruler with the line than the edge of your ruler with the outside dashed line.)

Repeat for each side of your TiaSs.

After trimming the first side of a TiaS

An untrimmed, imperfect TiaS versus the perfect one to piece into our Constellation quilt block.

Seriously, the TiaS on the left is a hot mess...before trimming to perfection.The top point and side seams are all exactly 1/4" away from the edge.
A joy to piece into our block!

Remember my 'anal-ness' about all the stripes heading in the same direction in the finished block?

Here, you can see that alternating the stripes when I cut the patches for the TiaS.1 triangle did the trick. They all run up and down.

Yep, the stripe in the TiaS is the the right direction for all our TiaSThe scraps we trimmed away on the right are the price we pay for all this perfection. Not bad!

HR Pairs Unit

Make 8      

Triangle in a Square units, A & BTriangle in a Square units, A & B
Shown from the fabric side

Line up the long bias edge of a #2 with the edge of the #1 for both the A (shown below) and B HRTs.

Add #2 to #1 on the HRT-A patternWhen adding a lighter patch over a darker one, to avoid the dark from shadowing through your quilt top, nudge the light patch a couple of threads past the edge of the dark.

Just like the TiaS, start your stitches 1/4" before the printed line starts and until 1/4" after the printed line ends. 

All the seams in this HRT are candidates for chain piecing because they run from one side to the other of the unit. 


At your cutting mat, fold the pattern back on itself on the solid line between #2 and #3. (Use the edge of your ruler and a fingernail to crease the paper.)

Position the 1/4" mark on the ruler on the fold and trim away the excess with your rotary cutter.

Trim away the excess #2

You now have the perfect 1/4" seam—and placement line. Use it to position a #3 with the trimmed #2, RST.

Add a #3 to #2 on our HRT-A

Stitch the seam.


Trim away the excess of #3, leaving behind a 1/4" seam. Use the same technique that we used to trim #2.

Add #4 in the same manner.

Repeat for all the HRTs, both As & Bs.

Give your HRTs a good final press.

Untrimmed HRTs - As & BsNice and flat, but kind of a hot mess, aren't they? Don't worry, there's a cure!

Trim all your HRTs the same way you did the TiaS.

1/4" mark on the ruler over the solid line. Trim. Rotate a 1/4 return. Repeat until all the sides of all the HRT are a perfect 1/4".

You now have HRT with all the points exactly 1/4" from the edge.

It's the magic of paper piecing!

Perfection is only a trim away!

It's done its job. Time to remove the paper.

Usually, it's easiest to remove the paper from the last patch you added, working your way back to the first seam.

If you followed the cutting chart instructions, all your outside edges are on straight of grain. They are as stable as any block you've pieced with traditional techniques.

Return your sewing machine to your everyday settings.

We stitch the remainder of the block with traditional techniques.

Install your favorite quarter inch presser foot. Adjust the needle position if needed. Increase to your normal piecing stitch length.

Assemble the Sides

With RST, align the bottom edge of our TiaS with a #6. Stitch.

This is one of those times we press toward the lighter #6 background square.

This seam nests with the soon-to-be-constructed Corner units, making it easier to assemble the final Constellation block.

Add a TiaS to a #6 square

Assemble the Corners

The four Corners are all stitched and pressed the same way.

With RST, stitch a #5 square to the #1 (upper left, below) side of each HRT-A.

With RST, stitch another #5 square to the #1/#3 side of each HRT-B (lower left, below).

Press the SA toward the #5 squares to avoid creating bulk. (red arrows)

Assembling the Corners

With RST, stitch these pairs of #5/HRT-A and HRT-B/#5 together. 

All the mucking around with fussy cutting that green stripe really paid off!

A sewn Corner unit

This seam is pressed toward the HRT-B/#5 unit.

All your Corners should look like this from the backside.

The last seam in the Corner unit is pressed down toward the DR-B/#5 patch

Use the chart below to double-check the edge-to-edge measurement of your Corners before assembling the block.

Make any necessar adjustments now.

After sewing, each Corner measures...

Block Size
10" 4½" x 4½"
15" 6½" x 6½"
20" 8½" x 8½"

Step 3: Assemble your Constellation quilt block 

Arrange all the pieced and cut patches to create the Constellation design. 

#5 squares are in the center of the block and all the outside corners. The super pointy points of the HRTs are at the outside edge, and the Center triangle in the TiaS in the side units points to the center to form a star.

The units of our Constellation quilt block are arranged into rows

With RST, sew the units in each row together. Pin as needed to hold the edges together.

If you've been vigilant about staying on the line as you've stitched the paper pieced units, the points and seams should line up with very little effort. Seams nest to help make matching even easier.

Press these SAs away from the Sides.

With RST, stitch the rows together, matching SA as before. Pin as needed.

These last two SAs are pressed toward the center.

This is the finished sample Constellation quilt block.

The completed Constellation quilt block from the front side

Here it is from the back side.

Look close, and you can see where the skinny triangles of the HRTs were nudged a bit to avoid shadowing. It doesn't have to be much to avoid having to trim back the darker seam allowance.

A view of the back of our finished block

So wassup with all the cutting mats?

Did you catch it?

There's a purple one, a white one, and a green one. (Whatever was I thinking?)

Which cutting mat will I use next? Purple, white or green?

When I get together for a weekend of quilting at the Quilt Barn, I never know what mat I'll end up on. It just depends on which one is open. 

The other thing you'll notice it that the color of the background fabric sometimes looks white and sometimes rather creamy.

It's white. But it was a rainy day that turned to sunshine and the lighting kept changing...hence the 'morphing' background fabric.

And now you know! :)

What a finish!

This cosmic quilt block tutorial guided you on a journey to create your own galaxy, one stitch at a time. And you can do stitch at a time.

Remember to bookmark this page to keep up with all the new fabrics arriving in quilt shopsBookmark this page to find it again!

From organizing your celestial fabrics to navigating new paper piecing frontiers, we mapped it all out in this fully charted tutorial. With illustrated steps and downloadable guides, you’ve got all the tools to craft a celestial masterpiece.

Let your creativity shine bright with this starry stunner!

Once you've mastered this block, explore more of our beginner-friendly quilt block tutorials to fill your universe with gorgeous galactic quilts.

The cosmos of quilting creativity awaits you here! {{{HUGS!}}}

Looking for something truly stellar?

To browse all the star quilt block patterns in one place, click here

You've finished your star quilt block, and you're ready for more!

Browse our collection of 50+ stellar star quilt block patterns. All have instructions and cutting charts in multiple sizes. If templates or paper piecing is used in the tutorial, there's a free download for you of those materials.

Eeny. Meenie. Miney. Moe.

Which star quilt block will you sew?

There's more quilt blocks to make

For EVEN MORE blocks to make, visit our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library, with over 220+ blocks to choose from in multiple sizes.

Free downloads are included in all sizes for any blocks require paper piecing patterns or templates.

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