Ohio Star Quilt Block Pattern Tutorial

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns 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.

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: 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, 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.

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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.

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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.


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

Block Size
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 on the Ohio Star quilt block design

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 Dolly Madison's Star quilt block Flying Crow quilt block Click here to go to the January Thaw quilt block tutorial 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

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

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.

This article was printed from Generations-Quilt-Patterns.com

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