Morning Star Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

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Rise and Shine for the Morning Star quilt block.

Time's a-wasting—there's triangles to be made!

In this tutorial, you'll find:

It's time to cut up and sew!

Hate to paper piece?

Don't worry, I've got you covered.

Click here for instructions to make your Morning Star using traditional piecing methods.

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 fabric value
  • BW - Brave World

1/4" SAs are used through this tutorial. 

Pressing instructions are highlighted in yellow throughout this tutorial to make them easy to find.

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.

I like using nested seam allowances as much as possible to make matching seams more accurate.

Download and print paperpiecing pattern

Four Brave World (BW) units are needed to complete our Morning Star block. The sample block it is paperpieced. Download and print the pattern following the instructions below.

If paperpiecing doesn't blow your skirt up, click here to go directly to the green cutting chart for traditional techniques and skip printing these 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.

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 4 units.

After printing, use the 1" square graphic on the printed page(s) the patterns printed at the correct dimensions.

Print the Brave World Paper Piecing Units

Click on the
Finished Block Size
this many copies
for each block
BW Unit Size
4" 1 2"
6" 1 3"
8" 2 4"
Read my review of 6 paper piecing papers available on the market

Not sure which paper to use?

Take a look at my review of several of the most popular brands available to us quilters on the market.

You want a super-easy paper to tear away—less stress on the stitches. 

The newest quilt fabrics to tickle your fancy...

Click the images below to see the full collection. We share any commercial and/or free patterns that showcase them, too. (For inspiration, of course!)

Step 1: Cutting patches for a Morning Star block

Morning Star patchwork designMorning Star design

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

Grid: 6x6

Design Type: Star, Even 9-patch, Star

To create your Morning Star you'll need a light, a medium and a dark plus a background fabric. Good contrast between them is essential for all your piecing to show.

Please label all your patches. The numbers are used throughout this tutorial.

Click here to print a copy of just the block design above and cutting charts below to use at your cutting table.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Morning Star Quilt Block

~ Paperpiecing PLUS Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub
6" 9" 12"
1 Light 4 1¾" x 1¾" 2¼" x 2¼" 2¾" x 2¾" ---
2, 3 Bac 4 2⅜" x 2⅜" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅜" x 3⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
4 Med 2 3⅜" x 3⅜" 4⅜" x 4⅜" 5⅜" x 5⅜" 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 6½" 9½" 12½" ---
Grid 1" 1½" 2" ---
**I prefer to cut my patches extra large for QST, stitch, and then trim them to perfection. 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.

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

Shop at the Fat Quarter Shop

Step 2: Paperpiece the units for a Morning Star block

Brave World units

Make 4

We've made a BW block before.

In this step we'll paperpiece the individual units for our corners.

Paperpiecing method

Cut out four units just past the dashed outside line. No need for perfection. We trim to size after the last patch is stitched.

Use a tiny bit of Elmer's Washable gluestick to adhere the wrong side of #1 in position on the unprinted side of the pattern. Use the dashed placement guides for quick positioning.

Positioning #1You can easily see how I've trimmed just outside the dashed outline.

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 when 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 (sometimes called an 'embroidery' or 'satin stitch' 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. ALWAYS. 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. 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.

At last!

Let's sew!

With RST, position a short edge of #2 with #1. 

Stitch on the solid line between #1 and #2, starting and stopping a good quarter inch before and after the line.

Stitch ALL your paperpieced seams in this manner.

Sewing on the line between #1 and #2


With RST, align a short edge of #3 (blue arrow) with the other side of #1.

Position #3

Stitch and press as before.

Next we trim the patches to establish the placement line for #4.

At your cutting mat with the printed side up, pull back the pattern from the stitches just a bit (blue arrow). 

Pull back the paper from the stitching

The paper may rip. It happens. If it's a big rip, use a big of Scotch Brand Magic Tape® to repair it.

Position the ruler's edge on the solid line between #2, #3 and #4.

Use your thumb to crease the pattern on this line (blue arrow).

Crease the paperEven with big fingers like mine this is pretty easy to do.

Fold back the paper on itself and align the 1/4" mark on your ruler with the folded edge of the paper.

Trim away the excess fabric with your rotary cutter leaving behind a perfect 1/4" seam.

Trim the SAYou can just barely make out the paper's folded edge.

With RST, line up the long side of #4 with the cut edges. The point of the triangle should be opposite the corner of the patch in the pattern (white arrow).

Positioning BW-4Checking #4 for our Morning Star quilt block

Stitch and press.

At your cutting mat, place the 1/4" line of your ruler on top of the solid outside square line. Trim away the excess with your rotary cutter.

Repeat for all the sides of all the the units.

Return your sewing machine to your everyday settings.

We stitch the remainder of the block with traditional techniques.

Install your favorite quarter inch presser foot. Adjust the needle position if needed. Increase to your normal piecing stitch length.

Click here for instructions to finish this Morning Star quilt block.

More related 8-pointed star quilt block patterns

There are several tutorials available to you on this website that start with an Ohio star as its base. Click on any of the images below to go straight to that tutorial.

Aunt Dinah and Twin Star may seem a little suspect. 

But look closely. Those are 3-patch quarter square triangles on each side.

You'll find confirmation in Barbara Brackman's BlockBase+ (love the software). These blocks are listed in the '09 Equal Nine Patch' library in '03 Like Ohio Star'.

Looking for something truly stellar?

To browse all the star quilt block patterns in one place, click here

You've finished your star quilt block, and you're ready for more!

Browse our collection of 50+ stellar star quilt block patterns. All have instructions and cutting charts in multiple sizes. If templates or paper piecing is used in the tutorial, there's a free download for you of those materials.

Eeny. Meenie. Miney. Moe.

Which star quilt block will you sew?

There's more quilt blocks to make

For EVEN MORE blocks to make, visit our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library, with over 220+ blocks to choose from in multiple sizes.

Free downloads are included in all sizes for any blocks require paper piecing patterns or templates.

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