Mini Quilt of the Month, November: Striped Star
My great-great grandmother and her daughter, my great grandmother, were both from Herber Springs, Arkansas, and like many women of their time and place, they were accomplished quilt makers. One of my great-great grandmother’s creations, a queen-size quilt with appliquéd sunflowers, hung in my childhood home. I remember spending hours studying its delicate stitches and beautiful colors! We also had a large unfinished quilt top made by my great grandmother. It was comprised of hundreds of tiny cotton feed sack diamonds, all hand sewn together to form a gigantic eight pointed star. Later in life, I learned that this pattern is usually called a “Lone Star”. (If you’re unfamiliar with the traditional Lone Star quilt pattern, here is a link to a nice example.)
I have always loved this pattern, but I’ve never sewn one because it usually involves slanted angles and scary “Y” seams. With our Mini Quilt of the Month Series almost finished, I thought now would be the perfect time to tackle this seemingly impossible shape. But since we’re not our great-great grandmothers, I decided to give the pattern a more approachable modern spin, eliminating the “Y” seams and the hundreds of tiny diamonds. Phew!
This Striped Star Mini Quilt is a simple take on a complicated classic. Strip-pieced stripes convey a sense of dimensionality and movement, and a pretty assortment of neutral dots and stripes add a clean, modern aesthetic. The pattern comes together unexpectedly in fascinating puzzle that will delight your quilting mind!
To make one approximately 22-inch x 22-inch mini quilt:
- 1 yard of Robert Kaufman’s Kona Cotton, White
- Assorted 1/2 yards of various dots and stripes (I also used Moda’s Chicken Wire)
- Craft size Quilter’s Dream Natural Request Dream cotton batting
- 100% cotton thread, color 1040
If you’d like to make the star in the center of this quilt out of a single fabric you will just need a 1/2-yard of that fabric. If this is the case you can start the instructions from the “Piecing the Squares” section of this journal.
You will also need . . .
22 inches by 22 inches
All seam allowances in this project are 1/4-inch unless otherwise noted.
Cut + Piece the Striped Panels
Cut the printed 1/2 yard pieces each to be 14-inches wide from selvage to selvage. From the 14-inch width cut strips varying in width from 1-inch to 3-inches. You will have an assortment of 14-inch long strips as shown above.
Note: When cutting simple rectangular shapes for patterns such as this, straight, clean cuts are key. The best way to make these cuts is with a rotary cutter and a non-slip quilting ruler on a self-healing cutting mat. If you have limited experience using a rotary cutter, I recommend visiting our Rotary Cutting Tutorial.
Piece strips along their 14-inch sides, right sides together in a random order, until piece measures at least 14-inches by 28-inches. Press all seam allowances in the same direction.
Repeat to create a second panel also 14-inches by 28-inches.
Starting at the bottom left corner of the first panel and using the 45-degree marking on your ruler slice the panel diagonally into 4-inch wide strips.
Then cut these strips into four rectangles, 4-inches X 12-inches each. The stripes should be slanting down from left to right as shown above.
Cut the second panel into 4-inch strips in the same manner only this time start at the bottom right corner so that the stripes will be facing in the opposite direction as the ones cut from the first panel.
Cut these strips into four rectangles, each 4-inches by 12-inches. The stripes on these should be slanting up from left to right, the opposite direction of the ones cut from the first panel.
Piece the Squares
You will have eight 4-inch by 12-inch rectangles, half with the stripes running down from left to right and the other half with the stripes running up from left to right. (If you are sewing the star with one fabric cut eight 4-inch by 12-inch rectangles from that fabric and ignore all the talk about which direction your stripes should face in the directions below.)
From the white fabric cut:
- eight 6-inch squares
- eight 8-inch by 4-inch rectangles
This quilt top consists of four identically pieced quilt squares.
Pick out two opposite facing striped pieces and lay them next to each other veritcally so that the their stripes would meet and make a “V” shape.
Place a white rectangle along the top of the left striped piece lining up their raw edges, so that it makes an upside down “L” shape pointing to the left. Using a Hera maker or an erasable fabric marker mark a diagonal line on the white fabric from the upper left corner of the striped piece to the lower right corner of the white rectangle. Pin the two pieces together on either side of this marking.
Place a white rectangle along the top of the right striped piece lining up their raw edges, so that it makes an upside down “L” shape point to the right. Using a Hera maker or an erasable fabric marker mark a diagonal line on the white fabric from the lower left corner of the striped piece to the upper right corner of the white rectangle. Pin the two pieces together on either side of this marking.
Sew the white triangles to both of these pieces along their marked lines. Then trim off the excess triangle of fabric on the outside of these seams, 1/4-inch above the seam.
Press the sewn pieces flat with the seam allowances towards the striped pieces.
Sew the two strips right sides together along their inner long raw seams so that the striped pieces make a “V” shape. Try to line up the point where the striped pieces meet the white pieces as exactly as possible.
You are now going to cut the top white section of this piece into a square on point. Do this by lining up a horizontal line of your ruler to the seam between the white and the striped piece on the right side of your piece and lining up the top cutting edge to make a 90-degree angle going from the right hand seam through the middle seam as shown above.
Cut the left top of the piece in this same manner so that the top of the piece is now also 90-degree angle. The top of the piece is now a white square with the middle seam running through it’s center and meeting perfectly at the top corner.
Using a Hera marker or fabric marker mark two of the 6-inch white squares in half diagonally.
Using an erasable fabric marker mark 1/4-inch from the left and right vertical sides of the original piece.
Pin center markings of the squares to marked lines, starting at the top of the marked lines.
Here is a more close-up shot of the pinned on squares. Notice how the upper right edge of the top is smoothing continuing the angle of the top white diamond.
Sew the squares to the piece along the marked lines. Cut off the excess triangles from the white fabric leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Press the white pieces outwards so you get the shape pictured above.
Using the bottom right edge of the right triangle piece you just sewed on as a guide cut off the bottom right edge of the piece creating a bottom right edge that is totally straight.
Repeat this for the bottom left edge.
Turn your piece so that it’s oriented like a square.
Repeat three more times so that you have four total squares.
Piece the Top
Arrange the four squares with their points facing out so that they form a star as shown above.
Sew the top left square to the bottom left square right sides together, being careful to match up their seams neatly.
Sew the top right and bottom right squares together in the same manner.
Sew the two sides right sides together being careful to line up all the seams, especially the center, neatly.
From the white fabric cut:
- A square, 28-inches x 28-inches
- Three 2 1/4-inch strips from selvage to selvage (set these aside for the binding)
From the batting cut:
- a square, 26-inches x 26-inches
Tape the white square smoothly down on a flat surface. Lay the batting on top of it. Then lay the quilt top, right side smoothly in the center of top of the previous two pieces.
Pin all three layers together with bent arm safety pins every few inches.
Quilt in the ditch along the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal seams then around the perimeter of the star shape.
Here is a back view to see the quilting a little more clearly.
Bind the quilt with the three white strips you cut at the beginning of this section.
If you haven’t bound a quilt before please visit the binding instructions from our January Mini Quilt of the Month: Courthouse Steps at this link. This quilt (and all quilts!) can be bound in exactly the same manner. Once you get to the story, scroll down near the end to the sections called “Prepare the Binding” and “Bind the Quilt”.