Ohio Star Quilt Block Pattern Tutorial

From our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library

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Skill Level: Confident beginner

The Ohio Star quilt block pattern is a stalwart of quilt design with its pointy points and jaunty angles adding dynamic movement to the pattern.

This block frequently makes an appearance in sampler quilts (quilts made from all unique blocks used to teach different techniques to beginning quilters).

In this tutorial you'll learn to make this block using your everyday ruler and rotary cutter and employ the 'sew it bigger and then cut it to perfection' technique.

Ohio Star quilt block instructions

The Ohio Star goes by a lot of other names, too, including:

  • Eastern Star
  • Eight Point Design - Ladies Art Company
  • Eight Point Star
  • Lone Star (really???)
  • Shoofly (click here for directions to another version of this block) 
  • Star
  • Texas
  • Texas Star
  • Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too

Whew! That's a lot of aliases.

We've got patchwork to make, let's get busy!

General Instructions

Several abbreviations are used in this tutorial:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • QST - quarter square triangle
  • HST - half square triangle

All the seam allowances (SA) are a 1/4".

Starching your fabric before cutting helps control all the bias edges we'll be stitching.

If your QSTs turn out lumpier then you expected, try my favorite pressing technique to flatten them into submission. You won't believe the results you get with such a quick trick.

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Step 1: Choose a size and cut the patches for your Ohio Star

Ohio Star quilt block designOhio Star design

Sample Block Size: 9" finished / 9½" unfinished

Grid: 3x3

Design Type: Even 9-patch, Ohio Star

I ALWAYS cut my patches for QSTs larger than they need to be, make the block and then trim it to size. This Ohio Star quilt block is no different.

When you cut patches for QSTs, the patch size is computed as...

Finished QST Size + 1-1/4"

That formula assumes that you cut and sew precisely. That your quarter inch SA is always spot on. (You can a quick sewing test to check your accuracy.)

And not once, but twice for sewing AND cutting during the construction.

That's a lot of opportunity to be off a bit; that's why I cut oversized to begin with.

The dimensions in the chart are computed using the +1-1/4" formula above. 

Since I prefer to cut generously sized patches for half- and quarter-square triangles, before cutting I added an additional 1/2" to the #1 and #2 dimensions.

That's what works best for me. I suggest you add a 1/2", too, make some blocks and then fine-tune this 'insurance' measurement if you need to.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for an
Ohio Star Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block Size
4½" 6'' 7½" 9'' 12''
1** Light 2 2¾'' x 2¾'' 3¼'' x 3¼'' 3¾'' x 3¾'' 4¼'' x 4¼'' 5¼'' x 5¼''
2** Dark 2 2¾'' x 2¾'' 3¼'' x 3¼'' 3¾'' x 3¾'' 4¼'' x 4¼'' 5¼'' x 5¼''
Corner Light 4 2'' x 2'' 2½'' x 2½'' 3'' x 3'' 3½'' x 3½'' 4½'' x 4½''
Center Dark 1 2'' x 2'' 2½'' x 2½'' 3'' x 3'' 3½'' x 3½'' 4½'' x 4½''
Unfinished Block Size 5'' 6½" 8'' 9½" 12½"
Grid Size 1½" 2'' 2½" 3'' 4''
**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 #1 and #2 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 these patches.

Learn more about my favorite, new quilting tool, the Magic Pressing Mat—read my review. A valuable addition to your quilting tools regardless of the piecing technique you use.

It's so terrific that I've bought THREE for myself!

Step 2: Assemble the QSTs

Mark the diagonal of the two light #1 patches.

Mark a diagonal line on the backs of #1sMark only as dark as YOU need to see it.

With right sides together (RST), layer a #1 and #2 together. Stitch a quarter inch away from both sides of the line.

The red arrow points to my anchor cloth—a scrap of fabric that helps prevent my machine from chewing up the points of the patches.

Stitch a quarter inch away from both sides of the line

Cut the units apart on the drawn line.

Press. First with the patches closed to set the seam and then open with the SAs towards the darker fabric.

Repeat for both pairs.

At this point you have, for all practical purposes, four half square triangles (HSTs).

Draw a diagonal line (blue in the photo below) that bisects the sewn seam on two of these HSTs.

Mark the diagonal of two of the HSTsThis line is perpendicular (90° to the previous stitching.

With RST, sandwich a marked and unmarked HST, nesting the seam to make matching the center easier.

Align the edges of the HSTs. Use pins to hold things in place if needed.

Again, stitch a 1/4" inch from both sides of the drawn line.

See how the SA is pointed toward the needle. That makes it easier to 'push' the match at the center of the QST.

Again, stitch a quarter inch away from both sides of the line

Repeat for the second pair.

Cut the two apart on the marked line. Press. First closed to set the seam and then open.

You now have four QSTs.

Trimming

Find the Finished Size of the Ohio Star block you're making and the corresponding Center Measurement.

NOTE: Regardless of whether you cut your patches to the exact size or if you added a bit, like I did, these measurements are the same, because you're basing them on the center of your block.

QST Dimensions

Finished
Block Size
Center
Measurement
Trim QST to…
4½" 1" 2"
6" 1¼" 2½"
7½" 1½" 3"
9" 1¾" 3½"
12" 2¼" 4½"

At your cutting mat, align your square ruler over the QST. The diagonal 45 degree line matches the seamline.

This next step is CRITICAL to properly trimming your block.

Using the Center Measurement, align that ruler mark with the intersection of the seams in the center of your block.

For our 9" finished sample Ohio Star, the Center of our QST is 1-3/4" and is trimmed to 3-1/2" square.

Shown below the 1-3/4" mark on the ruler (both vertical and horizontal) is positioned right on top of the intersection of all seams in the center.

Make sure nothing has shifted and then trim the two exposed sides.

Trim your QST

Flip the unit and repeat these trimming steps so that your QST equals the 'Trim QST to' size from the chart above. Repeat for the remaining three units.

Step 3: Assemble the Ohio Star quilt block

Lay out the cut patches and stitched QSTs into rows making sure the 'star points' point to the outside edges of the block.

Arrange your patches

It's easy to get them switched! Did you notice the ones on the top and right are positioned incorrectly—double checking is faster than ripping!

Stitch the units into rows and press with the SAs in the direction of the arrows. This is to reduce the bulk in the seams.

Press the SAs in the direction of the arrows to reduce bulkGlad I caught that mistake before sewing!

Stitch the rows together and give your block one final press. (Use our Best Pressing Technique to really get your patchwork wickedly flat!)

And this is the finished Ohio Star quilt block.

The finished Ohio Star quilt block

Common Variations

Quilters love to put their own spin on designs. Some change the fabric placement, others change the corner units or center. 

Some do it all.

Place your cursor over the image to see the block name.

Variable Star quilt block Star of Virginia quilt block Unknown Star quilt block Flying Crow quilt block Mosaic #2 quilt block Mosaic quilt block Four X quilt block Old Tippecanoe quilt block Squares and Diamonds quilt block Star X quilt block Swamp Angel quilt block Mystery Flower Garden quilt block Card Basket quilt block Four Corners quilt block Honeymoon quilt block
Massachusetts quilt block

And for this final variation, the Massachusetts quilt block, click the image to the right to find the instructions to make it.

Oh! My Stars!

You might be finished with this Ohio Star quilt block, but there's more blocks to be made.

Go to our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library to find more inspiration!

Share your work to inspire other Quilters!

If you use our tutorials to make your blocks and quilts, there are some easy ways to share your creations so other quilters (including me!) can enjoy the fruits of your labor:

  • On Instagram please tag your blocks and quilts with the hashtag #GenerationsQuiltPatterns.
  • Visit our Show n'Tell page on the website. Click here to share photos and tell your own story, just start typing at 'The name of your quilt is...'. If you'd prefer to submit more photos than the form allows, simply email them to me at julie@generations-quilt-patterns.com.

I love seeing your work!

Our readers do, too!

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

To see if they're worthy of 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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