Morning Star Quilt Block, Part 2

Our tutorial continues with traditional piecing methods.

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

If paperpiecing isn't your thing, you can always use traditional techniques for your Morning Star quilt block.

The Morning Star quilt block

Both paper piecing and traditional piecing techniques are provided—choose whichever suits you better.

On the page you'll find:

It's time to cut up and sew!

General Instructions

Several abbreviations are used on this page. They are:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • HST - half square triangles
  • QST - quarter square triangles
  • Bac - Background fabric
  • Med - medium value fabric
  • BW - Brave World

1/4" SA are used through this tutorial. 

Pressing instructions are highlighted in yellow throughout 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.

Step 1: Cutting for a traditional Morning Star block

Morning Star patchwork designMorning Star design

Sample Block Size: 9" finished / 9½" unfinished


Design Type: Star, Even 9-patch, star

You'll need a light, a medium, a dark and a background. Our pale green dot batik is our light, with white as the background.

The green chart below is for a traditionally pieced Morning Star block.

Click here to print a copy of it and the block design to use at your cutting table. Use the green printed chart.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Morning Star Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing Only ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub
6" 9" 12"
1 Light 4 1½" x 1½" 2" x 2" 2½" x 2½" ---
2, 3 Bac 4 1⅞" x 1⅞" 2⅜" x 2⅜" 2⅞" x 2⅞" Symbol for a half square triangle
4 Med 2 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅞" x 3⅞" 4⅞" x 4⅞" Symbol for a half square triangle
5** Dark 2 3¼" x 3¼" 4¼" x 4¼" 5¼" x 5¼" ---
6** Light 1 3¼" x 3¼" 4¼" x 4¼" 5¼" x 5¼" ---
7** Bac 1 3¼" x 3¼" 4¼" x 4¼" 5¼" x 5¼" ---
8 Light 1 2½" x 2½" 3½" x 3½" 4½" x 4½" ---
Unfinished Block Size 6½" 9½" 12½" ---
Grid Size 1" 1½" 2" ---
**I prefer to cut my patches extra large for QST, stitch, and then trim them to size. If you prefer to do the same, add a bit extra to the measurements for Patches #5, #6 and #7 above (I added 1/2" to each dimension for the sample block).

There is a chart further down in these instructions where you need it for trimming them to size.

If you have a perfectly reliable 1/4" seam allowance use the dimensions in the cutting charts for this patches.

Step 2: Assembling the Brave World(BW) units continued...

Make 4

The same numbering system is used for both the paperpieced and this traditionally pieced unit.

Starching your quilt fabric before cutting, in my humble opinion, making both the cutting and piecing more accurate.

My preference is a 50/50 mix of StaFlo Liquid Starch concentrate and water.

Traditionally pieced BW units

With RST, align the short side of a #2 with #1 and stitch with a 1/4" SA.

Sewing #1 to #2

Press with the SA toward #2.

If your #2 triangle extends past the bottom of #1, you've done it right. This bit of excess disappears after adding #3.

Align the short side of #3 with the adjacent side of #1. You might want to flip open the patches before stitching to check that the edges of #2 and #3 form a long straight edge.

Adding #3 to #1/#2This seam will cut through the point on the V at the bottom of the stitching line.

After pressing the SA towards away from #1, you can see that we, indeed have a nice long, non-jaggedy edge. Perfect!

After pressing the #2 and #3 away from #1The blue arrow points to the dog ears. These are clipped with scissors at some point.

With RST match all the edges of #4 with #1/#2/#3. If your cutting and SA are accurate, they should match exactly. 

Here's the view from the #4 side.

Adding #4, but before trimming away the dog ears.The dog ears need a trim. They get in the way of my favorite 1/4" foot—the one with a guide on the side.

And here's the view from the #1/#2/#3 perspective. A very good match!

The patches are of equal size

After this last seam, it's a good idea to check that the finished BW unit is the correct size. 

Use the table below to check for accuracy and find the center of the unit.

BW Dimensions for a Morning Star Block

Morning Star Block Size
Edge-to-Edge Dimensions
Center of
BW Unit
6" 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" 1-1/4"
9" 3-1/2" x 3 1/2" 1-3/4"
12" 4-1/2" x 4-1/2" 2-1/4"

For our 9" finished sample, our BW units should measure 3-1/2" x 3-1/2". The center is at 1-3/4".

At your cutting mat, position the 1-3/4" line of your rule on the seam between #1 and #2, and then #1 and #3. The diagonal line is directly on top of the diagonal seam (blue arrow).

Check your BW for accuracy

Trim the top and right sides and then flip the block, repeat the ruler positioning and trim the remaining two sides.

Here is our finished unit after just a wee bit of a haircut.

The final BW unit.Just the tiniest bit of trimming needed(blue arrow).

Repeat for a total of 4.


Make 4

Quarter square triangles

On the back of the #6 and #7 draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.

With RST, layer a marked #6 or #7 with a dark #5.

With your favorite quarter inch foot installed, stitch 1/4" away from both sides of each line. Repeat for each pair.

Sew 1/4" away from both sides of the line


Cut the HSTs in half on the lines. Press the HSTs open with SA to the darker #5s.

HSTs ready to use in making the QSTsThough it's a bit hard to see the two on the left are my dark plus background fabric. The two on the right are my dark with the light fabric choice.

Position a line on your ruler (colored in red to help you see it) with the stitched seam and the top and bottom corners of one of your patches. (This ensures patches that have perfect 90° angles in the center.) 

If you started with over-sized patches like I do, you'll have a bit of wiggle room so don't worry is the ruler isn't exactly in the corners.

Draw a diagonal line with your favorite marking tool.

Mark a center diagonal line

Here you can see just a bit better that the ruler is aligned with stitching (red arrow). 

Close-up of ruler lined up with the stitchesMy stitches are directly under this dashed marking on the ruler.

With RST, layer a #5/#6 and a #5/#7 HST, nudging the seams together with your fingers in the center. I pin to help hold these seams together during sewing.

Here, before sewing, I've pulled back the top HST to check that the seams are matching up and that the dark fabrics alternate.

Check for a good match in the center before cutting in two

Stitch 1/4" away from both sides of each marking.

Final seam in the QSTs

After sewing, check for a good match at the center of the QSTs.

Check the match in the center.Yep. That's a good one.

Press the units flat to set the seam. 

Cut in half along the markings.

Cut the QSTs in half

Press the QSTs open with the SA in either direction.

Pressing the QSTsI love my Magic Pressing Mat...everything presses so nice and flat.

Refer to the table below and find the Center/Midpoint Measurement that corresponds to your chosen Finished Block Size.

QST Dimensions

Block Size
Trim QST to…
6" 1 1/4" 2 1/2"
9" 1 3/4" 3 1/2"
12" 2 1/4" 4 1/2"

You need a square ruler with a 90° diagonal line that runs through the corners for trimming. My very favorite ruler for this job is the new one by Quilters Select.

Click here to learn more about them.

Position the diagonal line of the ruler right on top of the the diagonal seam line (red arrow) and the Center/Midpoint Measurement marks directly over the center of the QST where all the seams come together.

For our 9" sample Morning Star that measurement is 1-3/4".


Trim to perfectionThis is my new favorite ruler for trimming half and quarter square triangles—my Quilters Select in action. It just doesn't slip. Sweet!

If you cut your patches exactly as in the chart, you'll be using this measurement to check that your patches are the correct size. Make adjustments as needed.

Rotate the QST so that the two cut edges are now under your ruler.

Align the diagonal ruler line as before (red arrow). Find the Trim QSTs to... measurement in the chart above. These marks on your ruler should be directly over the two trimmed edges.

For our 9" sample, that's 3-1/2", and it's right over those cut edges.

The QST is trimmedThe seams perfectly bisect the corners of the QST

Trim away the excess.

Repeat these steps until you've completed four perfect QSTs.

Step 3: Assemble your Morning Star quilt block

Lay out all your patches to create the Morning Star design. The light fabric patch in each unit is towards the center of the block. It forms a square behind the Ohio star design.

With RST, stitch the units in each row together.

The seams of the  large triangles in the BWs (green dot) and QSTs (dark blue) nest to make matching the points at the outside edge virtually foolproof.

SA are pressed toward the BW units and the center square in the middle row.

Sew the rows together, pinning when needed to help keep everything lined up and points matching.

This is our finished Morning Star quilt block.

Morning Star from the front

To help you understand how all the SAs fit together, here is our Morning Star block from the backside.

Morning Star from the back

If you need a different size block...

For a list of all the quilt block patterns on this site, start here.

If you know the name of the block, you can shorten your search by using these alphabetical links:




Click here if you're looking for blocks with at least some paper piecing.

Click here if you're looking for the basic building blocks of quilting, i.e. Flying Geese, half square triangles, quarter square triangles, etc., along with several techniques to make each.

And finally, use these links to find blocks in these finished sizes:

For even more blocks to make...

Click here to learn about my favorite quilt book resources that inspire my patchwork designs.

For you, are quilt block patterns like potato chips?

You can't have just one?!!

Check the fantastic resources I rely on for the majority of the quilt block designs you see on this website. 

To see if they're worthy of a spot in YOUR quilting library, read about them HERE.

NOTE: All the attribution and alternate names shared in the Free Quilt Block Patterns Library came from these four resources.

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