From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
The Double Star block looks like it might take advance piecing skills. But don't let it fool you. 3-patch Quarter Square Triangles and Flying Geese are all it takes.
That. And some cut squares.
Seriously. That's it.
Now I have to admit. I was a doubting Thomas when I first considered creating a tutorial for this block.
I was working on this while I was at a Bee-Treat—a quilting getaway with friends. And had had some delicious Sangria. What retreat is truly a retreat without Sangria? <evil quilty grin!>
In reality, this block is nothing more than a bunch of steps, taken in order. That's it!
Later in the tutorial are variations on this block design.
Not sure if you want to commit to making this block?
Then check out these 10 different Double Star layouts for inspiration.
You CAN do this.
Without further ado, it's to to cut up and sew!
Several abbreviations are used on this page. They are:
1/4" SA are used through this tutorial.
When instructed to press, first press the patches in the closed position just 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.
Starching the fabric with StaFlo concentrate mixed 50/50 with water before cutting makes patches easy to fingerpress. A big time saver for our simple paperpieced units.
This design is all about pointy points—and matching points.
Choose two fabrics with plenty of contrast between their color and pattern so that those precious points don't get lost.
Make sure to label your patches as they are cut, especially after subcutting.
Because the subcut HST and QSTs are so close in size, it's too darned easy to mix them up. (Ask me how I know!)
While they might fill the space, you end up with bias edges on the outside of your units—defeating the purpose of precutting your patches.
Cutting Chart for a~Paper Piecing + Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size||Sub|
|QST.1||Light||1||3¾" x 3¾"||4¾" x 4¾"||5¾" x 5¾"|
|QST.2||Dark||1||3¾" x 3¾"||4¾" x 4¾"||5¾" x 5¾"|
|QST.3||Dark||2||3⅜" x 3⅜"||4⅜" x 4⅜"||5⅜" x 5⅜"|
|Goose||Light||4||3⅝" x 3⅝"||4⅝" x 4⅝"||5⅝" x 5⅝"|
|Sky||Dark||16||2⅜" x 2⅜"||2⅞" x 2⅞"||3⅜" x 3⅜"|
|6||Dark||1||2½" x 2½"||3½" x 3½"||4½" x 4½"||--|
|7||Light||12||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"||--|
|8||Light||4||3½" x 3½"||5" x 5"||6½" x 6½"||--|
|Unfinished Block is...||10½"||15½"||20½"||na|
These are some of the supplies I use to prepare and cut my fabric.
You'll need the most current version of Adobe installed on your computer to download the pattern. (It's free for you to download.)
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.
Choose your finished block size from the chart below and print the corresponding number of pages for a total of 16 Flying Geese and four 3-Patch Quarter Square Triangles units.
PaperPiecing Patterns to Print
|# of copies||3 Patch QSTs||Flying Geese|
|10"|| 1 3PQST|
|2"||1" x 2"|
|15"|| 1 3PQST|
|3"||1½" x 3"|
|20"|| 2 3PQST|
|4"||2½" x 4½"|
After printing, use the 1" square graphic on the printed page(s) to confirm the patterns printed correctly.
My favorite paperpiecing papers are:
The dashed placement lines on the paperpiecing patterns save us a lot of extra trimming—in fact, you shouldn't need to trim any patches until the Flying Geese and 3P-QSTs are completely sewn.
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!
Flying Geese (FG)
Use a dot of Elmer's Washable Glue stick to stick the backside of the Goose patch to the unprinted side of the pattern. Use the dashed placement guides to position it.
With RST, align the long edge of a Sky patch to the Goose patch.
Stitch on the line between the Goose and Sky, starting and stopping a generous 1/4" before and after the line.
Press. At this point there's no reason to trim anything. Not even thread tails. Those pesky tails are gone once the finished unit is trimmed to size at the end.
Add the second Sky patch in the same manner and press.
To trim to size, I like to lay as many FG as I can on my mat and trim en masse.
Trim all four sides. Line up the quarter inch line on your ruler with the solid outline of the FG unit.
All that's left to do is remove the paper.
Check your accuracy...
| FGs measure...|
|10"||1½" x 2½"|
|15"||2" x 3½"|
|20"||2½" x 4½"|
3-Patch Quarter Square Triangles (3P-QSTs)
With just a tiny dab of Elmer's Washable Glue Stick, adhere the backside of QST.1 to the unprinted side of the pattern.
Use the dashed placement lines to position the patch as shown below.
With RST, align the edges of QST2 with QST1.
On the printed side, stitch starting and ending (blue arrows) a good 1/4" before and after the solid stitching line between QST.1 and QST.2.
Press. Here I've been able to simply fingerpress because my patches are heavily starched and hold and excellent crease.
With RST, align the edges of the QST1/QST2 and QST.3. Stitch as before starting and ending a generous 1/4" past the solid stitching line.
Trim the 3P-QSTs to size by placing the 1/4" line of your ruler on the solid outside line of the unit. Trim all four sides of each unit.
Remove the paper.
When completed they look like this.
Use the table below to check your accuracy.
| 3P-QSTs measure...|
|10"||2½" x 2½"|
|15"||3½" x 3½"|
|20"||4½" x 4½"|
With RST, stitch a #7 to each side of a single FG.
All ready for the next step.
After stitching check for accuracy...
| FG Borders measure...|
|10"||1½" x 4½"|
|15"||2" x 6½"|
|20"||2½" x 8½"|
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!