Skill Level: Beginner
The classic Friendship Star quilt block is a marvelous place to practice making half square triangles. It takes just four of them plus five cut squares to make it.
In the following tutorial, we use two fabrics, but it works equally well as a scrappy block—just make sure there is a good distinction between the lights and darks so the star points don't disappear.
On this page you'll find instructions to make this block in 5 different sizes. Four common variations on this block are also illustrated.
Did you know that other radically different blocks are called 'Friendship Star'? Those are pictured, too!
Let's get piecing!
These abbreviations are used on this page:
Seam allowances (SA) are 1/4".
When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. Then open the patch, pressing from the front. Seam allowances are pressed to the dark fabric unless otherwise noted.
Sample Block: 6" (6-1/2" unfinished)
The dimensions in the chart below are for squares
For example, Patch #4 for our 6" sample block is cut 2-1/2" x 2-1/2".
For the HSTs, I prefer to cut oversized squares. Those patches are marked with ** below. If your seam allowance is always spot on, cut exactly as instructed in the chart. If you'd like a bit of wiggle room, cut those HST patches a bit larger. Then trim to size after stitching.
Cutting Chart for a~Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|Unfinished Block Size||3½"||5"||6½"||8"||9½"|
| **I prefer to cut my patches extra large for HST, stitch, and then trim them to size. If you prefer to do the same, add a bit extra to the measurements for Patches #1 and #2 above. |
There is a chart further down in these instructions where you need it for trimming them to size.
Draw a diagonal line on the backs of two 2-7/8" squares with a pencil or other marking tool.
With RST, layer a light square with its dark counterpart, aligning all the edges.
Stitch a quarter inch away from both sides of the line, and repeat for the second pair of squares.
Cut these units in two on the drawn line.
You now have 4 HSTs. If you started with oversized patches (as I did in this tutorial) you'll need to trim them. Use the chart below.
|Trim HST to…|
For more detailed instructions on making HSTs with this technique, visit Half Square Triangles: Technique #1.
Here are our HST after trimming.
Lay out your HSTs and cut squares as they will be sewn.
Stitch the units in the rows together. Press with the SAs towards the cut squares and away from the HST. This allows for your seam allowances to nest which makes matching them oh-so-much easier!
Stitch the rows together.
One final press (don't forget to try out our Best Technique for Pressing Quilt Blocks for amazingly flat finished blocks!) and your Friendship Star quilt block is finished.