Hidden Star Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

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Our Hidden Star quilt block is made using a bit of paper piecing and quick pieced half square triangles. Perfect units make blocks super easy to assemble accurately. Quickly.

Hate paper piecing?

Not to worry!

Hidden Star quilt block tutorial

There's always more than one way to get things done in quilting.

A separate cutting chart and instructions are provided if you prefer to skip the paper piecing.—it uses connector corners instead.

You choose which technique suits YOU better.


Time to cut up and sew!

General Instructions

Pin the Hidden Star tutorial for later
Pin for later

Sample Block:
9" finished
(9-1/2" unfinished)

Grid: 6x6, 9-patch

A bunch of abbreviations are used on this page. They are:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • BAC - background fabric
  • CC - connector corners
  • HST - half square triangle
  • SiaS - square in a square
  • C.2, C.3, C.4, C.5 - Corner.2, Corner.3 etc.

from Amazon

I like to use an open toe applique for sewing the HST and paper piecing. There's nothing between your eyes and the stitching line.

SA are 1/4" and pressed towards the darker fabric unless noted otherwise.

Starched quilt fabric is easier to work with (IMHO) whether you are paper piecing or using connector corners. 

Learn more about starching here.

I prefer to use StaFlo liquid starch concentrate, mixing it 50/50 with water. The fabric is quite stiff after drying and pressing. 

Best Press is a good alternative if you prefer less stiffness.

Optional: Download and print paperpiecing pattern

If you choose to make the Square in a Square units using the Connector Corners method, skip this 'Optional' section.

Print the paper piecing patterns you need

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.

Choose your finished block size from the chart below and print the # of copies indicated.

Print the SiaS Units

Block Size
# of Copies
to Print
Link to PDF
6" 1 2"
9" 1 3"
12" 2 4"

After printing, follow the information on the printed page to make sure it printed correctly.

Then cut out each unit a bit outside the printed line. There's no extra points here for perfect cutting. The excess will be taken care of after the SiaS is complete.

Step 1: Cutting for a Hidden Star block

Hidden Star patchwork designHidden Star design

For the sample Hidden Star, I've chosen a darker, busier fabric (Kaffe Fasset's 'Paperweight'—one of my favorites!) for the background instead of the light shown in the diagram here.

Remember. Fabric placement is merely a suggestion.

You are in charge of your block.

Each cutting chart below is complete.

Choose the first one if you like paperpiecing; the second one if you want to avoid it.

Includes Paperpiecing

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Hidden Stars Quilt Block

~Paper AND Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub
6" 9" 12"
1** BAC 2 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅞" x 3 7/8" 4⅞" x 4⅞" na
2** Dark 2 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3 7/8" x 3 7/8" 4⅞" x 4⅞" na
Center.1 Dark 4 1⅞ x 1⅞" 2⅜" x 2⅜" 3⅛" x 3⅛" na
C.2, C.4 BAC 4 2⅛" x 2⅛" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅛" x 3⅛" Symbol for a half square triangle
C.3, C.5 Med 4 2⅛" x 2⅛" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅛" x 3⅛" Symbol for a half square triangle
6 BAC 1 2½" x 2½" 3½" x 3½" 4½" x 4½" na
Unfinished Block Size 6½" 9½" 12½" na
Grid 1" 1½" 2" na
**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.

No Paperpiecing

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Hidden Star Quilt Block

~Traditional Piecing w/Connector Corners ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block Size
6" 9" 12"
1** BAC 2 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅞" x 3⅞" 4⅞" x 4⅞"
2** Dark 2 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅞" x 3⅞" 4⅞" x 4⅞"
Center.1 Dark 4 2½" x 2½" 3½" x 3½" 4½" x 4½"
C.2, C.4 BAC 8 1½" x 1½" 2" x 2" 2½" x 2½"
C.3, C.5 Med 8 1½" x 1½" 2" x 2" 2½" x 2½"
6 BAC 1 2½" x 2½" 3½" x 3½" 4½" x 4½"
Unfinished Block Size 6½" 9½" 12½"
Grid 1" 1½" 2"
**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.

Step 2: Assemble the units


Make 4

Half square triangle units

Mark the backs of either the #1 or #2 squares (but not both) with a diagonal line. For our sample I've marked the #2 with my Bohin Mechanical Chalk Pencil (my favorite!)

With RST layer a #1 and #2. With your quarter inch foot installed stitch a quarter inch away from both sides of the line.

You can see in the picture below that I AGAIN forgot to pack my quarter inch foot for my Sunday Sew-In with my quilting buds. Nuts!

So I marked the stitching lines a quarter inch from both sides of the original. Snapped on my open toe applique foot (shown in the photo below) and completed the sewing for these HST units. 

Sewing HST seamsThere's more that one way to get things done — using my open toe applique foot instead of my 1/4" foot.

Press the pairs flat to set the seam.

Cut apart on the center drawn line.

Press with SA toward the dark #2.

3 stages of HSTStitched (left), pressed (middle), trimmed (right)

Use the chart below to check the accuracy of your stitching.

If you cut oversized patches like I do, there'll be a bit of trimming. If you cut them exactly and your stitching is accurate all that's left to do is trim off the dog ears.

HST Dimensions

Block Size
Trim HST to…
6" 2½"
9" 3½"
12" 4½"

The trimmed HSTs look something like this.

Trimmed HST

SiaSs - Paperpieced

Square in a Square units

Make 4

Start here for paperpiecing instructions (blue cutting chart).

Click here for connector corner instructions (yellow cutting chart).

General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing

  • Reduce your stitch length to 15-20 stitches per inch. This perforates the paper. It also provides stability to the seam as you remove the pattern. 
  • Install an open toe applique foot if you have one (it's easier to see where you're stitching with one installed). 
  • Use a larger needle (90/14) if you have problems removing the pattern.
  • 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 came off the sewing machine 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.

Use a tiny dab of Elmer's Washable Glue stick to hold the wrong side of the Center.1 patch to the unprinted side of the pattern.

The edges of Center.1 should extend 1/4" beyond the solid line. You can just see them shadowing through below.

Position Center.1

With RST, align the long edge of the C.2 with the Center.1 edge.

Position C.2 with RST to Center.1The point of the C.2 patch aligns with the corner of the pattern (blue arrow).

Stitch starting 1/4" before and ending 1/4" after the solid line between Center.1 and C.2.

Start and stop at the blue arrows.

Fingerpress C.2 out of the way (no need to jump up to the iron just yet!).

With RST position C3 along the opposite edge of Center.1.


First two corners addedSee how the stitching extends all the way to the edge of the pattern

With RST, align the long side of C.4 with Center.1. 

Stitch as before.

Before pressing, trim away the dog ears (it's easier to do it now). The arrow points to where the first has been trimmed away.

Repeat for C.5, stitching and trimming as before.

Now give the unit a final press. This time at the iron.

To trim the blocks to size, lay the 1/4" line of your ruler directly on top of the solid outside line. 

Trim with your rotary cutter.

Trim to the SiaS to size.

After trimming, your SiaSs look like this.

SiaSs trimmed to sizeThe trimmings are to the right of the patches

SiaSs - Connector Corners

Make 4

Patches: Center.1, Corner.2, .3, .4 and .5

Click here for instructions to make the SiaSs using the CC technique.

Just as in the paperpiecing method, you'll be adding alternate fabrics to opposite sides of the square.

Adding connector cornersI start my stitching on a scrap of fabric for a better first stitch that doesn't 'eat' my fabric.

After adding C4 and C5, your SiaS made with connector corners looks like this.

SiaS made with connector cornersThe excess trimmed from the SA is to the left.

Repeat for all four units.

Step 3: Assemble the Hidden Star quilt block

If you haven't already done so, remove the paper pattern from the SiaSs.

Arrange the units into the Hidden Star design. The background fabric is on all the outside edges.

Layout the HST and SiaSs plus #6

With RST, stitch the patches in each row together, pinning as needed. 

Press SA in the direction of the arrows in the photo below.

Finally, with RST stitch the rows together. SiaS units can get a bit lumpy in the SAs.

Use my favorite pressing technique to smush the lumps into submission the easy way.

This is the finished Hidden Star block from the front...

The Hidden Star quilt blockOur Hidden Star just sparkles!

...and from the backside.

Our Hidden Star block from the backsideOur Hidden Star looks almost as nice from the back.

Variations on a Hidden Star

The Goshen Star is clearly related to the Hidden Star.

Here the side points of the side SiaS are lopped off. Only two fabrics are needed.

Goshen Star block

Link to Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

For even more blocks to make...

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

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