Morning Star Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

Rise and Shine for the Morning Star quilt block. Time's a-wasting—there's triangles to be made!

The Morning Star quilt block tutorial begins here

In this tutorial you'll find:

It's time to cut up and sew!

Hate to paperpiece? 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. 

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.

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

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"

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

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.

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

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 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!

It's time to sew!

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.

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.

The remainder of the block is stitched with traditional techniques.

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

Click here for instructions to make the rest of this Morning Star quilt block.

No time to quilt? Pin this tutorial for later.

For even more blocks to make...

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

Can you see the library sticker on the spine of Jinny Beyer's book? Yep. I check this copy out of our local library every few months for research.

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. Once in awhile you can find it here on

UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020. 

However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.

BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.

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

In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.

UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.

This is terrific news.

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.


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

And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!

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