Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Starflower Block Tutorial

This is the block I chose for my quilting bee month. 
I love the color wheel effect.  
I was inspired by Muriel's block I saw on Flickr. 

This is my finished quilt. 

It is a fairly easy block to make if you take your time plus, you get two blocks for the price of one! Gotta love efficiency!

To make 2 (12.5" finished) blocks you will need the following supplies: 

8 white squares measuring 3.5" x 3.5" 
8 white squares measuring 4" x 4" 
16 colored squares (8 colors, 2 of each color) 4" x 4"
rotary cutter & mat
3.5" square up ruler (very helpful)
optional: quarter inch foot

Special Notes:
  • Non-directional prints work best
  • Half square triangles are sewn together using a quarter inch seam. When you sew the blocks together, you will use a scant quarter inch seam
1. Lay out your fabric in sets grouped by size and color.

2.  Place your colored squares in a circle to see where you want them to go in your finished block. I chose a color wheel type of layout.
3.  Make note of their placements as you will need to know this later on. My colors go in the following order, clockwise: red, pink, orange, yellow, green, aqua, blue, purple.

4. Divide the 4" x 4" colored fabric squares into two groups- put one of each color in each group. Set aside four 3.5"x3.5" white squares. You will use all of these squares for the second block.

5. Now is the time to make half square triangles (HST) for your blocks. 
You can do it. It's easy!

6.  Keeping in mind your color order, place your 8 colored squares together, right side, to right side.  Place the following colors together: red/pink, orange/yellow, green/aqua, blue/purple.  You will now have 4 pairs of colored squares.

7.  Using your ruler and a pencil, make a diagonal line across the back of the fabric square pair.

8. Now, line up your presser foot with the pencil line so that you sew a quarter inch from the line. You do not need to backstitch!

9. After sewing on one side of the line, turn your square around and line up your presser foot again, sewing a quarter inch from the pencil line on the opposite side.

10. Now you should have stitches a quarter inch from the pencil line on both sides.

11. Line up your ruler with your pencil line and use your rotary cutter to cut along the line. This will produce two triangles that when open, are a square.

12. Press your seams open

13.  Use your 3.5" square ruler to trim your block. Be sure to line up the diagonal line of your ruler with the diagonal seam on your block.  Trim your block to 3.5" x 3.5."

14.  Repeat steps 7-13 with the remaining colored squares pairs (orange/yellow, green/aqua, blue/purple.)

15. Take the additional 8 colored squares and place them right sides together with the 8 white 4" x 4" squares.

16. Follow steps 7-13 to create half square triangles.

17. Great job! The hardest part is finished! You should now have a lot of half square triangle blocks.

18. Organize your blocks.

19.  Set aside one row of colored blocks and one row of colored and white blocks. These will be for your second starflower.

20.  Now, place your blocks in the appropriate layout.  

21. Take the middle two blocks on the top row, place them right sides together and sew them together using a SCANT quarter inch seam.  From this point on, you will use a scant quarter inch seam.  (A scant quarter inch seam is slightly less than a quarter inch.)  Be sure to line up your blocks carefully. 

22. Next, sew the middle two blocks together from each row.

23. Now, sew the outer blocks to the inner blocks on each row. 

Please note that while your seams will line up, it may look like your colored fabric doesn't line up. That is normal! 

You should now have 4 rows of 4 blocks sewn together. 

Press your seams open.  

24. Take the first and second rows and place them right sides together. It is very important to line up the seams carefully! Having pressed the seams open will help you line up your blocks more easily. 

Use several pins to make sure the blocks don't move. 

25.  Sew your two rows together using a scant quarter inch seam. 

Open your rows and examine your seams. Do they line up? If not take out the seam ripper and undo your stitches, then try again. (I've had to do this several times before!) 

26. Repeat steps 24 & 25 with the remaining two rows. 
27. Press your seams open. 

Remember the blue and green fabric that didn't seem to line up in step 23? 
All fixed! 

28. You now have a top and bottom set. Place the top set onto the bottom set making sure the seams line up exactly. Pin liberally then sew together using a scant quarter inch seam. 

29. Open your finished block and check your seams. 
Do they line up to your satisfaction? 

If so, press your block and admire you work! 
Congratulations- you've completed your starflower block! 

If you aren't satisfied with the finished product, get out your handy seam ripper and have a do-over. 

When I made these blocks, the first one didn't line up exactly even though I took the final row of stitches out three times.  And after three do overs, the red and pink are still slightly off point. 

On the second one, I paid extra close attention to the placement of my seams and it turned out perfectly. 

Either way, the blocks look fabulous and will be beautiful in a quilt! 

They would also make great pillows! 

No matter what you do with these blocks, don't let small imperfections discourage you. The more blocks you make, the more precise you will get! 

Happy Sewing! 

If you make one of these blocks, I would love to see it. 
Please add yours to the Ellison Lane Quilts Flickr Group

Online Quilting Class


  1. When I saw your link, I thought I would love to make that block. I wonder if she links to a tutorial! Even better, you made one! Thanks. I think this would make a cute tote bag for my little girl's library books, maybe!

  2. This block is so pretty, Jennifer! I love the rainbows.

  3. Thank you for the tutorial. I may have to try one soon.

  4. Lovely blocks, thanks for the tutorial!

  5. Holy cow! These blocks are SO beautiful! Great job! :) I just might have to give them ago sometime. Thanks for the tutorial!

  6. I am new to your blog and can't wait to check it out. I love the colors of this block. Great tutorial!!!

  7. WOW! Fabulous tutorial! Popped over from Angela and Mary's blogs! looking forward to the party next week!

  8. I love the colors; the blocks are beautiful. This is a wonderful tutorial!!

  9. Wow, this must have taken forever to put together - I know! It looks like an excellent tutorial and such a pretty block. Great job!

  10. I love that you can make two blocks! Great job taking us step by step through the process.

  11. Wow, this is just scrumptious!! Gorgeous! I'm very new to sewing & quilting but am going to add you to my "wanna try list" & my RSS reader and will link up after! :) Thanks for sharing!

  12. Wow I'm in love. I've made this block before, but only with the 2 alternating "flower petal" colours. Great tutorial. New follower here :-)

  13. I LOVE that block!! IT's beautiful! THanks for the tutorial!!

  14. Thanks for all the comment love you guys! Y'all made my day!

  15. This block immediately caught my eye over at Lee's linky for WiP Wednesday. I love the rainbow effect! Thanks for a great tutorial, too. Really great detail and photos.

  16. Cute block, I love the rainbow aspect of it! And thanks for the at a glance picture summary of the tutorial - great for getting the general idea :)

  17. Just Beautiful! Love the colors, what a great idea.. Thanks for sharing! ~ Take Care

  18. I really like this block with a color wheel influence. Thanks for the tutorial. I am a new follower.

  19. I really like your block tutorial. It's so detailed and specific. I have trouble lining up the seams, and this shows me that I'm not alone! LOL! I guess it takes practice and patience. I'm a new follower, please check out my blog and follow me back, if you'd like! Thanks!

  20. So beautiful! I'm a new follower

  21. That is a great block and a great tute - thank you for sharing via Fresh Sewing Day!

  22. Oh I love the bright colors! Need to add this to my summer plans/projects :)
    Found you through FairyFace Designs

  23. What a wonderful bright, clean fresh block and tutorial - so clear and easy to follow!

  24. Great tutorial, thank you for sharing! I love the rainbow colors you used. Thanks for linking up to WIP Wednesday. : )

  25. What a lovely block, thanks for sharing the tute, it's gone on my must try list! Thanks for linking to Summer Sewing!

  26. Thanks for this wonderful tutorial. I used it to make a block for one of my bees this weekend. I added it to your Flickr group, but you can see it here, too:

    Fabulous directions and a wonderful block!

  27. Love, love. It's a beautiful block, can't wait to give it a try.

  28. So pretty! Great tute- thanks for sharing :) We would ♥ for you to show this off at our link party!

    Lolly Jane

  29. GORGEOUS! I must learn to quilt.

    Visiting from I ♥ Naptime!

  30. Well my dear your color choices are a color wheel...and your blog reflects your spirit in sew many the you...toodles mdm samm

  31. I saw this tutorial on Madam Samm's blog. It's wonderful and I intend to try it in the near future. Thanks for such an easy tut to follow! Love your blog!

  32. Hello, I am your newest follower. This block is lovely. Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial with us.
    Susanne :)

  33. This just makes me smile when I look at it! I also love your color wheel quilt. I am working on one of my own right now, to go along with my newest posts on designing a quilt. For so long I overlook the importance of understanding color. I love your tutorial and cannot wait to make my own

  34. Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial- so easy to follow and clear to understand. I blogged about the block that I made using your tute today- REALLY pleased with it.

  35. I started this quilt top 3 days ago, loved it so much and just had to finish it! Pleased to say it was all finished at 2 this morning! Definitely worth staying up for! I showed it off at church today and everyone LOVED it! Thanks for this awesome tutorial!

  36. I love this block. Adding it close to the top of my To Make list. Thanks!!

  37. Thanks for this wonderful and clear tutorial! I found it through Pinterest.
    Cant wait to try it...

  38. Fabulous tutorial. I'm SOOOO digging this block - we made one (well, two!) in my bee, and I can't wait to make a whole quilt of these for myself! I've pinned it to my "Quilty Goodness" board on Pinterest (with proper credit, of course!). Feel free to follow me if you'd like:

  39. That is a bright and happy quilt. I want to make it for some recuperation time I am facing. Thanks for your inspiration.

  40. I LOVE this quilt! You've inspired me to try one myself! Thanks for a clear, concise tutorial!

  41. I just printed this out. My youngest son will be getting married in a year or two, and requested a quilt to cuddle under while they watch TV. I couldn't get either one of them to narrow down their color choices. This quilt shows all the colors that they list as their favorites between them. I may try it in batiks. Thanks!

  42. Hi :) just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU for your starflower block tutorial !!!! I'm absolutely in LOVE with this block and I'm having such a fun time making them !!!! I chose to use only 4 fabrics for the stars and am reallyyyyy happy with how they are turning out !!! THANK YOU again !!! :)

  43. cute! i will have to try this one. i love star quilts. your tute is clear and concise. yours is beautiful. i can only hope that mine turns out 1/2 as nice. thanks for sharing! ;)

  44. MAKES ME HAPPY !!!
    I renamed your block. :)
    I'm your newest admirer/follower.
    Thank you for the beautiful, color inspired block!!! Your tute was so well done - like I was sitting across the table from you at a quilt retreat!!
    Thanks again & great job!!!

  45. I saw this on Pinterest while looking for patter ideas for 30's fabric. Your block inspired me, a confident beginner. Thank you very much!!


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