The Stunning Virginia Quilt Block ~
A tutorial for 9", 12" and 15" finished blocks

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.


Instead of calling it the Virginia quilt block, perhaps it should be called the 'stubby star' quilt block. <cracks myself up!> You've got all the pointy goodness of a Sawtooth Star in the center, but none of the points to match at the edges. 

Stacked pairs of Flying Geese are quick and easy to stitch with paper piecing,

But if the idea of paper piecing makes you vomit in your mouth a bit—don't worry, I've got you covered.

Directions for making the Flying Geese 4-at-a-time are also included if you'd rather stick pins in your eyes than paper piece.

As always, step-by-step, beginner-friendly, illustrated instructions are the backbone of the tutorial. There's more free goodies available for you to download to help you. They are:

The tools may be simple, but the results are sublime—follow along in this Virginia quilt block tutorial and see how!

General Instructions

This tutorial contains several common abbreviations. They are:

  • SA—seam allowance
  • RST—right sides together
  • FG—Flying Geese

1/4" SA are used through this tutorial. 

Highlighted in yellow, pressing instructions are easy to spot.

To press, first press the patches in the closed position 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.


Download and print the paper piecing pattern for the Flying Geese

NOTE: If you want to use traditional piecing techniques only, then SKIP this step.

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 FG Pairs.

Print the Paper Piecing Patterns
for Flying Geese Pairs

Finished
Block Size
# of copies
to print
Finished Unit Size
9" 1 3"
12" 2 4"
15" 4 5"

After printing, use the 1" square graphic on the printed page(s) to double check that your patterns printed at the correct size.


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 Virginia quilt block

Virginia quilt block designVirginia patchwork design

Sample Block Size:  9" finished / 9½" unfinished

Grid: 12x12

Attribution: Hearth & Home

AKA: Morning Star (Ladies Art Company) or Rosebud (Nancy Cabot) - click either name for another block tutorial that goes by that name

Design Type:  Even 9-patch | Star

Please label all your patches. We refer to their numbers throughout this tutorial.

I used Art Gallery Fabrics for this sample. The pale green background and  the dark print are from their Onwards and Upwards collection. The solid orange for the star points is one of their solids.

These fabrics have a higher thread count than your regular quilting cotton...a much finer fabric...closer to a batik. I LOVE working with Art Gallery Fabrics!

And, if you wondered...

Yes. I fussy cut the center patch...on purpose. :)

Paper piecing technique

To print a copy of the block design and blue cutting chart to use at your cutting table, click here.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Virginia Quilt Block

~ Paper PLUS Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub Cut
9'' 12'' 15''
1 Bac 1 4⅝'' x 4⅝'' 5⅝'' x 5⅝'' 6⅝'' x 6⅝'' Symbol for a quarter square triangle
2 Dark 4 2⅞'' x 2⅞'' 3⅜'' x 3⅜'' 3⅞'' x 3⅞'' Symbol for a half square triangle
3 Dark 1 4⅝'' x 4⅝'' 5⅝'' x 5⅝'' 6⅝'' x 6⅝'' Symbol for a quarter square triangle
4 Medium 4 2⅞'' x 2⅞'' 3⅜'' x 3⅜'' 3⅞'' x 3⅞'' Symbol for a half square triangle
5 Bac 4 2¾'' x 2¾'' 3½'' x 3½'' 4¼'' x 4¼'' ---
6 Dark 4 1¼'' x 2¾'' 1½'' x 3½'' 1¾'' x 4¼'' ---
7 Dark 4 1¼'' x 3½'' 1½'' x 4½'' 1¾'' x 5½'' ---
8 Dark 1 3½'' x 3½'' 4½'' x 4½'' 5½'' x 5½'' ---
Unfinished Block Size 9½'' 12½'' 15½'' na
Grid Size ¾" 1'' 1¼'' na

Traditional piecing techniques

If you prefer to skip the paper piecing and use only traditional methods, click here to print the block design and green chart below.

There's no subcutting for any of these patches.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Virginia Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block Size
9'' 12'' 15''
1 Bac 1 4½'' x 4½'' 5½'' x 5½'' 6½'' x 6½''
2 Dark 4 2¾'' x 2¾'' 3¼'' x 3¼'' 3¾'' x 3¾''
3 Dark 1 4½'' x 4½'' 5½'' x 5½'' 6½'' x 6½''
4 Medium 4 2¾'' x 2¾'' 3¼'' x 3¼'' 3¾'' x 3¾''
5 Bac 4 2¾'' x 2¾'' 3½'' x 3½'' 4¼'' x 4¼''
6 Dark 4 1¼'' x 2¾'' 1½'' x 3½'' 1¾'' x 4¼''
7 Dark 4 1¼'' x 3½'' 1½'' x 4½'' 1¾'' x 5½''
8 Dark 1 3½'' x 3½'' 4½'' x 4½'' 5½'' x 5½''
Unfinished Block Size 9½'' 12½'' 15½''
Grid Size ¾" 1'' 1¼''

Step 2: Stitch the units for our Virginia quilt block

Corner Units

Make 2 of each unit OR 4 of only one unit below

Since I was using a directional print (the green background has arrows pointing to the upper right) and wanted to keep the print moving in the same direction, I chose this construction layout.

YOU may decide to piece four units all the same way, and then simply rotate the corners so that the dark #6 and #7 patches are toward the center.

Either method works! Do what works best for YOU with the fabrics in YOUR block.

Patch layout for directional fabrics

The direction of the print is the same in all patches.

Layout of patches for Corner units using #5, #6, and #7 for directional fabricsLayout of patches for Corner units using #5, #6, and #7 for directional fabrics

Patch layout for non-directional fabrics

The print has no identifiable direction so all the units can be pieced the same way.

Layout of patches for Corner units using #5, #6, and #7 for non-directional fabricsLayout of patches for Corner units using #5, #6, and #7 for non-directional fabrics

With RST, sew a #6 to #5.

Press away from #5.

With RST, sew a #7 to #5/#6, pressing away from #5 again.

Sew #5, #6, and #7 together

Check your accuracy before moving on to the following units. These are the edge-to-edge measurements for each of the finished block sizes:

  • 9" - 3½" x 3½"
  • 12" - 4½" x 4½"
  • 15" - 5½" x 5½"

Flying Geese Pairs

Make 4   

Anytime a pattern calls for pairs of Flying Geese, my go-to method is paper piecing. No specialty rulers required. It's easier to create perfect points, and there's less trimming. 

These first instructions are for paper piecing these units. 

If you prefer to use a traditional piecing technique AND you cut your patches from the green cutting chart above, CLICK HERE, The link takes you further down in the instructions for that traditional piecing information using the 4-at-a-time FG technique.

Paper Piecing Pairs of FG

Make 4     

Flying Geese pairs, #1-#4

Use a small dot of Elmer's Washable Glue Stick to glue the #1 to the unprinted side of the pattern. The dashed guidelines make accurate positioning a cinch.

Position #1 on your Flying Geese pattern with a dot of Elmer's Washable Glue Stick

Repeat this gluing for all four units, so you can put the glue stick away.

General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing

  • Reduce your stitch length to 16–20 stitches per inch (1.3-1.6 mm). This perforates the paper and stabilizes the seam when you remove the pattern. [Learn more about stitch length here.]
  • Reduce your machine's speed or just plain slow down. Sew only as fast as you can stay on the stitching lines.
  • Install an open toe appliqué 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). 
  • If your machine has a needle stop up, use it. The stitching goes faster when you don't have to lift the presser foot with every seam.
  • 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 and then open. The SA is automatically pressed towards the last patch added.

Before adding the next patch, take a look to make sure the one you just added covers the space plus seam allowance that it is supposed to.

Steam is optional and usually curls the pattern. 

If that bothers you, don't use steam. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't.

It truly 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, layer the long edge of a #2 with one short edge of #1.

While it doesn't matter which side you sew first, it does help to be consistent, i.e., always start on the left side, OR always start on the right. 

With RST, layer #2 over #1The bottom point of the #2 patch (darker fabric) is opposite the corner on the paper pattern

Sew on the solid line between #1 and #2, starting and ending your stitches a good 1/4" before and after the line.

After adding the first #2, press.

Repeat for the second #2 as shown below. Press.

Add the second Sky patch to the first Goose

Here you can see how I've stitched a generous 1/4" past both ends of the two solid stitching lines.

Sometimes a stitch or two will pull out before the block is assembled. Those extra stitches keep your seams secure.

Your stitches should extend a good 1/4" before and after the solid stitching line

Position the edge of your ruler with the solid line between the #2s and #3. Fold the pattern back on itself on this line. 

You'll have to pull the paper away from the stitches a bit—the paper may rip. This is completely normal.

If it rips too much and distorts the pattern, use a bit of Scotch Brand® Magic Tape to repair it from the printed side. (Don't iron on the tape, it'll crud up your iron.)

Align your ruler with the line through the center of the pattern

Align the 1/4" line of the ruler (red arrow) with the folded edge of the pattern, and trim, leaving behind a perfect 1/4" SA.

Trim to a perfect 1/4" seam allowance

After the trimming is complete, you have the perfect placement line for #3.

The perfect 1/4" SA for positioning the next patchA nice straight edge to line up with for the bottom of the second Goose patch

Align the long edge of a #3 (it's the same fabric as the #2s) with the cut edge.

Add the second Goose patch, #3

Stitch on the line, starting and stopping beyond the outside dashed lines on the pattern.

Helpful Tip:

Since this seam runs from one side of the unit to the other, you can chain piece this step in these units. Yes, there are efficiencies to be had in paper piecing! Who knew!

Press.

To trim the SAs to create the perfect placement, fold back the pattern on the line between #3 and a #4 like we did before, aligning the 1/4" marking with the fold, and trimming away the excess fabric.

Repeat for the other side.

Trim to the perfect 1/4" SA again

With RST, add a #4 to each side of #3, pressing between each addition. 

Notice how I've scooched the edge of the orange patch a bit past the edge of the darker #3? I don't want that darker #3 print to show through the top of my quilt (to shadow through).

By positioning #4 this way, the darker #3 won't stick out further than the SA when the patches are pressed.

Add the 3rd sky patchTrimming the exposed sides of the #3 gives us the perfect placement lines for the final 2 Sky patches

Remember to stitch, starting and stopping past the outside dashed lines of the unit.

Just like the last seam, you can chain piece the seams of these patches BECAUSE the seam lines extend from one edge to the other. 

Chain piecing in paper piecing?

Who'd a-thunk it!

Sew from past the outside edges on both ends of the seam line

Once all 4 FGs are stitched and pressed, use your rotary cutter and ruler to trim the FG to perfection.

Trim the Flying Geese unit to sizeI find it most accurate to align the 1/4" mark on my ruler with one side of the solid square outline of the unit. This gives us the perfect quarter inch SA. Trim away the excess.

Beautiful, aren't they. Smooth edges all around, perfect pointy-points ending exactly where they should. 

Paper piecing is a terrific tool to have in your quilting repertoire. I hope this technique becomes a favorite of yours, too!

The paper pieced Flying Geese are completeThis is such a slick technique for sewing pairs of Flying Geese!

NOTE: Since the patches to make this unit were precut, all the outside edges are on the straight of grain. After the final pressing of these units, I remove the paper.

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. Return to your normal piecing stitch length.



Traditionally Piecing Pairs of FG 4-at-a-time

Make 4     

FG Pairs units

In the Beginner and Basic quilt blocks section on this site is a tutorial for piecing FG 4-at-a-time. 

Just like the patches for paper piecing, these squares are also cut oversized so after stitching, you'll be trimming them to perfection and then stitching the FG together to form the pair. 

Click here to go to the 4-at-a-time tutorial now, it will open in a new window. When you're finished with the technique, simply close that window and return here.

In that tutorial, #1 and #3 are now 'Goose'. #2 and #4 are now Sky.

A quick review in pictures is below.

Use 1 and 2 for the first Goose and Sky pairing, and 3 and 4 for the secondPosition the #2 small squares in oppose corners, edges even with the larger square.
Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner through the patches.
Draw a short diagonal line in the opposite direction only across the #2s.
Cut through the two #2's only on that short diagonal line to remove the excess fabric.
Stitch 1/4" away from both sides of the drawn lineStitch 1/4" away from both sides of the diagonal line. Pin if it helps you keep the edges even.
Press and cut the stitched FG units in half between the stitching linesPress flat to set the seams. Cut the FG units in half between the stitching (red line, far left).
Press the units flat to set the seams.(middle)
Press the small #2s away from the #1 (right).
Draw a diagonal line on the backs of the remaining Sky squaresDraw a diagonal line on the backs of the remaining Sky squares
Align the marked Sky with the open corner of the corresponding stitched unitAlign the marked Sky with the open corner of the corresponding stitched unit
Stitch again on both sides of the drawn lines for each unitStitch again on both sides of the drawn lines for each unit. Pin if it helps you hold everything in place.
Press and cut in half between the stitching linesPress flat, then cut in half between the stitching lines (blue lines). Press again, SAs towards the outside corners. You now have four rough FG in need of a trim job.

Use this chart for the Center measurement and the 'Trim to' size.

FG Dimensions
using 4-at-a-time Method

Finished
Block Size
Center
Measurement
Trim individual FG to After sewing, FG pairs measure
9" 1¾" 2" x 3½" 3½" x 3½"
12" 2¼" 2½" x 4½" 4½" x 4½"
15" 2¾" 3" x 5½" 5½" x 5½"

Find the Center measurement for the block size you're working on. It's 1-3/4" for our 9" finished sample.

Position the point of the Goose with the Center measurement, 1/4" in from the edge. This is your 1/4" seam allowance. (blue arrow)

The Trim To measurements are used to position the bottom edge of the ruler.  The height of the Goose (the lower number) is directly over the diagonal seam on one side. The width measurement is over the seam on the other side. (red arrows)

Once these three points are correctly positioned, trim away the excess fabric on the top and right sides (if you're right-handed).

Trim away the excess from the first two sides

Flip your FG with the point at the bottom. Line up the freshly cut edges with the Trim To measurements—2" and 3-1/2" for our 9" sample. (red arrows)

If you're using a square ruler for trimming, the 45° diagonal marking on it should line up with the seam allowance.

The point at the bottom (blue arrow) is 1/4" in from the bottom at a distance equal to the Center measurement—1-3/4" for our sample.

Once all the points are in place, trim away the excess.

Trim away the excess from the remaining two sides

At this point, you have four each of the #1/#2 and the #3/#4 Flying Geese units. All exactly the size you need.

With RST, stitch one of each together, matching the top edge of #1/#2 to the bottom edge of #3/#4. 

Stitch pairs of Flying Geese together

Press with the SAs toward the #3/#4 or top Goose.

Repeat for the remaining 3 pairs of FG.


Step 3: Assembling our Virginia quilt block 

Since there are no seams to match between the units, and you checked that your stitching is accurate, this block practically sews itself together. 

Arrange the units in our Virginia quilt block as shown below with the background fabric on all the outside edges.

Arrange the units into the Virginia quilt block design

With RST, stitch them into rows.

Press.

Units are sewn into rows

And finally, sew the rows together. 

With a good final press, your Virginia quilt block looks like this. 

A finished Virginia quilt block

A sparkling success!

Now for a quick look at the backside to see how all those SAs work together.

A finished Virginia quilt block from the backside

We were able to press all the SAs with background fabric underneath the star. This will help our Virginia stars to stand out a bit against the background—exactly what we like our piecing to do.

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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