From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
Our Royal Star quilt block is a dream to make with paper pieced Flying Geese pairs and half square triangles stitched 8-at-a-time.
On this page you'll find:
And if you don't have time to quilt today, Pin this tutorial for later.
It's to to cut up and sew!
Several abbreviations are used on this page. They are:
1/4" SA 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.
Then press the SA to the dark unless otherwise noted.
Paperpieced seams are always pressed towards the last patch added.
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 four Flying Geese Pair units.
Print the Flying Geese Pair Units
|# of copies|| Link to PDF|
Not sure which paper to use?
Check out my review of several of the most popular brands available to us quilters on the market.
Which one will you choose?
After printing, use the 1" square graphic on the printed page(s) the patterns printed at the correct size.
Cut out the units a bit past the outside dashed lines. There are no brownie points for cutting on the line.
Sample Block Size:
Remember to label your patches after cutting. The half and quarter square triangles for the double Flying Geese (#2 and #3) are very close in size.
For the sample block a dark background fabric is used, even though a light is shown in the block drawing. That's because I think it's easier to see on the drawing.
It's fun to experiment. How will you color YOUR block?
Cutting Chart for a~Traditional Plus Paper Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size||Sub|
|1||Bac||1||3⅝" x 3⅝"||4⅝" x 4⅝"||5⅝" x 5⅝"|
|2||Dark||1||2⅜" x 2⅜"||2⅞" x 2⅞"||3⅜" x 3⅜"|
|3||Dark||1||3⅝" x 3⅝"||4⅝" x 4⅝"||5⅝" x 5⅝"|
|4||Bac||1||2⅜" x 2⅜"||2⅞" x 2⅞"||3⅜" x 3⅜"|
|5||Bac||1||4¼" x 4¼"||5¼" x 5¼"||6¼" x 6¼"||--|
|6||Med||1||4¼" x 4¼"||5¼" x 5¼"||6¼" x 6¼"||--|
|7||Bac||1||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"||--|
|8||Med||1||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"||--|
|9||Med||1||2½" x 2½"||3½" x 3½"||4½" x 4½"||--|
|Unfinished Block Size||6½"||9½"||12½"||--|
My go-to thread for all my piecing is...
Flying Geese Pairs
Paperpiecing is an efficient way to make pairs of Flying Geese—you only have to trim the pair at the end instead of trimming each Goose as you go along.
And even better, those points don't get cut off!
General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing
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.
It's time to sew!
Use a dab of Elmer's Washable Glue Stick to stick the backside of a #1 patch to the unprinted side of your paperpiecing pattern. Use the dashed placement lines for quick, fool-proof positioning.
With RST, line up the raw edges of #1 and the first #2 patch.
Start your stitching starting a bit more than a 1/4" from the solid line between #1 and #2. End a generous 1/4" past the solid line.
Future stitches secure this stitch line.
With RST, align the raw edges of the second #2 and #1 patch. Stitch as before.
Repeat for all four units.
Trim to establish the next SA by lining up the ruler with the solid line between the #2s and #3. Fold the paper back on itself along this line and crease with your finger.
You will need to pull the pattern away from the stitches. The paper may rip a bit...that's normal. If it's too much, use a bit of Scotch Tape to repair the pattern. Don't iron the tape.
Now align the 1/4" mark on your ruler with the fold. The ruler extends a 1/4" past to create your SA. Trim away excess fabric.
Beautiful, isn't it?!!
Position the #3 even with the cut edge for perfect placement.
Time to trim again.
This time you'll fold and then trim a 1/4" past the two lines between the #3 and #4s.
Establishing the quarter inch seam...
Add the final two #4 patches. This is what the units look like before trimming to perfection.
Trim to size by placing the 1/4" ruler marking along the outside solid line and trimming off the excess with your rotary cutter. Repeat for all four sides of all four units.
Remove the paper.
Here they are all ready for our Royal Star block.
We use the 8-at-a-time method for making our HSTs.
If you plan to make many blocks, you may want to use another HST method like triangle paper.
Switch to your favorite quarter inch foot for the remainder of the stitching. Increase your stitch length to the one your normally use for piecing—no paper to perforate now!
Choose either the #5 or #6 square and draw two diagonal lines on the back from corner to corner—pick the fabric that's easier to see your lines on. (I love the Bohin Mechanical chalk pencil for this.)
With RST, stitch a quarter away from both sides of both lines.
Give the unit a quick press to make it nice and flat.
Next we cut the pair of squares (#5/#6) into four equal smaller squares.
In the chart below find the Center Measurement that corresponds to your chosen 'Finished Block Size'.
|Trim HST to…|
At the cutting mat (I love a rotating mat for this cutting because I can swivel the mat instead of disturbing the patches), align the Center Measurement mark on your ruler with the edge of your block. Cut through the center.
Turn the block a quarter turn (that's where the rotating mat comes in handy. Nothing moves except the board), align the Center measurement with the edge again and cut. You now have 4 equal squares.
Cut each square in half on each diagonal to create eight HST.
Here they are!
SAs are pressed toward the darker fabric.
Returning to the chart, find the 'Trim to' measurement that goes with your block and trim your units to perfection.
With RST, stitch a #8 to a HST and a #7 to another HST.
SA are pressed in the direction of the arrows.
With RST sew the two pairs together, then press SA in the direction of the arrows.
Repeat for the three remaining pairs.
Arrange your patches into the Royal Star design—the background squares are in the outside corners, the medium squares are toward the center.
With RST, stitch the units into rows. SAs are pressed in the direction of the arrows so that they'll nest. That makes matching seams easier.
And finally stitch the rows together, pinning as you need.
Give your Royal Star a final press (try my favorite pressing technique for hands-down the flattest block you'll ever see.)
While I love paper piecing Flying Geese pairs for their accuracy, I recognize that many don't care to paper piece.
If that's you, may I suggest the Weathervane block. It's virtually the same block—without a goose in sight.
Find the instructions for it here.
These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas.
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 Amazon.com.
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!