Double Star Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

This post contains affiliate links  for which I receive compensation. 


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.

The Double Star quilt block tutorial begins here.

Now I have to admit. I was a doubting Thomas when I first considered creating a tutorial for this block.

And. 

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!




General Instructions


Double Star Quilt Block, instructions for 10

Several abbreviations are used on this page. They are:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • FG - Flying Geese
  • 3P-QST - 3-Patch Quarter Square Triangle

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.

Learn more about starching fabric here.


Step 1: Cutting for a Double Star quilt block


Double Star patchwork designDouble Star design

Sample Block:
  15" Finished
  15-1/2" Unfinished

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.


Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Double Star Quilt Block

~Paper Piecing + Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub
Cut
10" 15" 20"
QST.1 Light 1 3¾" x 3¾" 4¾" x 4¾" 5¾" x 5¾" Symbol for a quarter square triangle
QST.2 Dark 1 3¾" x 3¾" 4¾" x 4¾" 5¾" x 5¾" Symbol for a quarter square triangle
QST.3 Dark 2 3⅜" x 3⅜" 4⅜" x 4⅜" 5⅜" x 5⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
Goose Light 4 3⅝" x 3⅝" 4⅝" x 4⅝" 5⅝" x 5⅝" Symbol for a quarter square triangle
Sky Dark 16 2⅜" x 2⅜" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅜" x 3⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
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
Grid Size 1" 1½" 2" na

These are some of the supplies I use to prepare and cut my fabric.





Download and print paper piecing patterns


Print the paper piecing patterns you need

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

Finished
Block Size
# of copies 3 Patch QSTs Flying Geese
10" 1 3PQST
4 FG
2" 1" x 2"
15" 1 3PQST
4 FG
3" 1½" x 3"
20" 2 3PQST
4 FG
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:



Step 2: Assemble units for your Double Star


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.

Love it!

General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing

  • Reduce your stitch length to 16-20 stitches per inch (1.3-1.6mm). This perforates the paper. It also stabilizes the seam as you remove the pattern. [Learn more about stitch length here.]
  • Reduce your machine's speed or just plain slow down when you stitch. Sew only as fast as you can stay on the stitching lines.
  • Install an open toe applique foot if you have one (it's easier to see where you're stitching with one installed). 
  • As you stitch each seam, start and stop a generous 1/4" before and after the solid stitching lines. Future lines of stitching secure the ends.

After adding each patch, press the unit as it was sewn to set the seam. Then press it open. It 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.


Flying Geese (FG)

Flying Geese unit

Make 16

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.


Position the Goose fabricClose is good enough!

With RST, align the long edge of a Sky patch to the Goose patch.


Layer a Sky patch RST with the GooseYou can just barely make out the placement guide (blue arrow)

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.


FG ready to trimChocolate (blue arrow) is a good thing to have around when there's a lot of trimming to do. Need something to keep up our strength! :D

Trim all four sides. Line up the quarter inch line on your ruler with the solid outline of the FG unit. 


All trimmed!All trimmed. Not a lot of fabric sacrificed for perfect little units.

All that's left to do is remove the paper.


Paper removed!Ready to use in our Double Star block.

Check your accuracy...

Finished
Block Size
FGs measure...
(from edge-to-edge)
10" 1½" x 2½"
15" 2" x 3½"
20" 2½" x 4½"


3-Patch Quarter Square Triangles (3P-QSTs)

3-patch QSTs

Make 4

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.


Position QST.1Again. Close is good enough.

With RST, align the edges of QST2 with QST1. 


Position QST.2This time you're aligning a short side—that way the straight of grain is on the outside of the block.

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.


Sewing on the line


Press. Here I've been able to simply fingerpress because my patches are heavily starched and hold and excellent crease.


After sewing the first two patchesThese two patches form a nice straight edge for aligning QST.3

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.

Press.

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. 


Finished 3P-QSTsMake 4 for each Double Star

Use the table below to check your accuracy.

Finished
Block is...
3P-QSTs measure...
(from edge-to-edge)
10" 2½" x 2½"
15" 3½" x 3½"
20" 4½" x 4½"


FG Borders

Make 6

With RST, stitch a #7 to each side of a single FG.


Press SA in the direction of the blue arrowsMake 6 for each Double Star

All ready for the next step.


Six finished FG borders

After stitching check for accuracy...

Finished
Block is...
FG Borders measure...
(from edge-to-edge)
10" 1½" x 4½"
15" 2" x 6½"
20" 2½" x 8½"


What's Next...



For even more blocks to make...


These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas. 

Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt Block Designs is my all-time favorite quilt block resource!

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.

However...

BlockBase is the computerized version of the Encyclopedia.

It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.

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.

Why?

Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.

It does make a fabulous coffee table book though.


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