For those who like paper work and like the precise stitches and seams that line up. Some people do not understand that the paper seam is pulling the paper base from the back of the block when it is finished … pull small pieces of paper from the stitches, waiting for the seams to stick together. Woven Star Block Quilt
TIP: Using freezer paper as the basis for paper splice is a technique that may work for you. It is fast, does not require removal of the paper foundation, and the foundation can be reused at least a dozen times, saving time and paper.
There are two units, A and B. Units A and B, when sewn, make up a quarter of the block. So you need to make four of each unit to complete the block. There are only three splices in each unit, so this block joins quickly.
The first step in making any type of paper splice is to measure the individual areas within each unit to determine the size of the tissue samples that you will need to cut. For experienced paper punches – feel free to jump forward!
- To determine the size of tissue needed, place a clear ruler over the area to be covered. It is important that the fabric be large enough to extend out of the seam allowance (the dotted lines) and the solid seam lines by at least a quarter of an inch. The red line shows that this piece should be 5 3/4 inches by 2 3/4 inches. It is recommended to be cut 6 inches by 2 3/4 inches. Always cut the patch larger than necessary.
- To measure the second patch in the A unit, place the 1/4 inch line on the ruler just above the seam line to ensure the patch will be large enough. You can see that the patch will need to be a minimum of 4 1/2 inches long and 2 3/4 inches wide to cover this patch adequately. Continue measuring patch 3 and 4 and compare them to my suggested measurements in the pattern. The good news is the patches in Unit B are the same size, so you would only need to measure one unit!
- Using these measurements, cut four pieces of fabric for each section of Unit A and Unit B. Place them in order, A1, A2, A3, A4 and B1, B2, B3, and B4 to help keep things organized.
- Next, cut apart the two paper foundations to make them easier to use.
- Next, use a bone knife, a wooden roller, or your fingernail, to crease each seam line in Unit A and Unit B. The seam lines are the solid black lines. This will make it easier to fold back the seam line when you are ready for stitching.
- After all the seams have been creased, begin by placing your A1 fabric on the shiny side of the freezer paper, making sure there is a 1/4 inch seam allowance extending beyond the A1 – A2 seam line. Gently press the fabric to the paper with a dry iron, hold it in place.
Fold the paper template back along the A1 – A2 seam line, exposing the 1/4 inch seam allowance. Place the A2 fabric right sides together with the A1 fabric. Flip the fabrics over, so the A1 seam allowance is on top. You will be sewing exactly next to the paper fold for this first seam.
- Sew the paper as close as possible, without sewing the paper base. As you can see in the picture the dotted line is not perfect. To improve it is better to do with a little more calm for a more accurate seam! The more perfect this seam, the more precise your block will be.
After stitching the seam, turn the foundation over and gently press the A2 fabric down onto the shiny, sticky side of the freezer paper.
- Turn the foundation over, and fold back the seam line between A2 and A3, exposing the excess fabric from the A2 patch.
Place the 1/4 inch line along the fold in the paper, and use your rotary ruler to trim off the excess fabric from A1 and A2 that extends beyond this seam line. This leaves you with a 1/4 inch seam allowance for your next seam.
- Flip over the foundation and place your A3 fabric right sides together with the A2 fabric, matching up the edges. Take a moment to notice the seam lines and the outer seam allowance line that show through the paper foundation. Make sure the A3 fabric patch is aligned so when it is sewn and flipped over, it will cover both the outer seam allowance, as well as providing at least a 1/4 seam allowance for the A4 patch on the right.
- Flip the foundation over, and stitch the A2 and A3 fabrics together, staying as close to the paper fold as possible.
Open fabric A3 and gently press it down onto the shiny side of the foundation.
- Flip the foundation over and fold the foundation along the A3 and A4 seam line. Place the 1/4 inch line of the ruler on the paper fold, and using your rotary ruler, trim off the excess fabric from the A2 and A3 fabric patches.
- Turn the foundation over to the fabric side and place the A4 fabric patch right sides together with the A3 fabric patch, aligning the edges. Take note of the dark seam line and dotted seam allowance lines that show through the foundation. Make sure the A4 fabric patch is aligned so when it is sewn and flipped over, it will adequately cover this area. Fold back the paper along the A3 – A4 seam line and stitch along the fold, as you have done previously.
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- Fold the A4 patch over the shiny side of the foundation and press it lightly with a dry iron so it will adhere to the foundation. You have now completed all the seams in this A unit.
- Turn the foundation paper so the printed side is facing up. Using your rotary ruler and rotary cutter, cut out the A unit along the dotted seam allowance lines. Peel off the freezer paper foundation so you can use it to make the remaining 3 “A” units. Follow the same steps to make the remaining A units, and then do the same to make the four B units.
- One A unit and one B unit form one-quarter of the Woven Star block.
Four A and B units, arranged together form the completed block.
- Be careful when sewing these two units together. You will find that the seam on the right side of the photo will “nest” together. Use your finger to press these seams and fix them. Attach the opposite edge of the block to ensure even nice seams.
Units A and B sewn together. Nice even seams! Now sew the top two units together, and the bottom two units together. Press the center seams in opposite directions.
After you have sewn two A/B units together to form the top row of the block, and two A/B units for the bottom of the block, it is time to sew the top half and bottom half of the block together. Place them right sides together, and using your finger, nestle them together along the seam lines marked in red and pin them to ensure an accurate seam.
After the two halves of the block have been sewn together, there is something to notice. All of the seams in this block have been moving in a counter-clockwise direction. So please press the center seam to continue this motion. The left side should be pressed down and the right side press upward. You will notice that this results in the center of the block collapsing into a flat spiral. This distributes the bulk of the seam around the center of the block. This is another benefit of paper-pieced blocks. The back of the block will be almost as beautiful as the front of the block!
Flip the block, and this is the final product.
This block has a “star” corner, which means it will produce a secondary star pattern when the blocks are stitched together. Who do not love?!
Paper piecing requires some patience when you are first learning the technique. The beautiful blocks that can be produced using this method are well worth the time invested.
See too: Morning Star Block