Many of you have probably seen these fabulous blocks floating around bloggy land, by Anna at Six White Horses. I’ve been making quite a few of these lately and have had many questions as to some tips. I realized that there wasn’t a tutorial for the block so I’m going to share my tricks!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 5.5″ Background squares. You’ll cut these in half on the diagonal, creating  half square triangles.
- 6.5×2.5″ Rectangles for various fabrics for center diamonds.
- 5.5×1.5″ Rectangles for middle ring star.
- 5.5×1.5″ Rectangles for outer ring star.
- Note card for fussy cut template.
- Printed Lone Star(burst) templates, by: Six White Horses. I like to print these on Carol Doak’s foundation paper.
Step 1: Making your fussy cut template
–Cut your note card down to a 4.5×2″ rectangle.
-Take any ruler with a right angle marking down the middle/diagonal. Follow the left hand picture and line the long side of the note card up on the diagonal. Make sure the upper right hand corner of the ruler lines up with the corner of the note card and cut. Flip the note card over and follow the same steps (note the right hand picture).
-Once your diamond is cut out, take your ruler and a marking pin. Measure 1/4″ from the edge around the whole diamond and mark, creating a center diamond as such:
-Take your rotary cutter and cut on the lines of three sides of the inner diamond. You want to leave one side intact so you can fold the flap back.
-I like to add a small piece of scotch tape to the flap, this helps with cutting later.
Step 2: Trimming your Lone Star(burst) template
-I like to cut down the printed templates, keeping at least an extra 1’4″ around the whole triangle (there is a 1/4″ seam allowance built into the template, but I like to add an extra 1/4″ that will be trimmed down later).
Step 3: Cutting diamonds
-Your “fussy cut” template allows you to not only cut any fabric the correct size for your center diamond, but also gives you a window to fussy cut fabrics!
-Here’s how I fussy cut:
- Find the image you want in the center of your diamond and open your “fussy cut” window, move your template around until you have your desired cut. The close the window (the tape you put on the center flap earlier will keep the template from shifting).
- Next take your ruler and cut around the outside of the diamond on each side. I like to like the ruler up just a hair on the outside of the template so I don’t continuously accidentally cut down the template with the rotary cutter each time I use it.
-Even if I don’t have “fussy cutting” fabric, I still use the diamond template to pre-cut all 8 of my fabrics before I start sewing the blocks.
Step 4: Sewing
-Take your  triangle, Lone Star(burst) paper piecing templates and fold on every fold line as such:
***Yes, you’re probably thinking “man that’s a lot of folding and will take forever,” but this is how I achieve near perfect blocks every time. This also allows me to avoid the step of holding the paper up to the light every piece to see if it is correctly lined up with the sew line. And yes you can skip all this folding, but I can’t guarantee pretty blocks in the end.
-Once all of your papers are folded, choose your first center diamond fabric and one piece of your middle star fabric.
-Get your sewing machine set up and set the stitch length to at least 1.5 or lower. (I recommend 1.5 for the first block, until you get the hang of making them, in case you have to seam rip any. When the stitch length is lower it is definitely easier tearing the paper off when you’re finished, but it a PAIN trying to seam rip.) I like to use my 1/4″ foot when sewing these blocks, but any regular foot will do.
-Take your center diamond fabric and line it up on the second set of fold lines (on the non printed side of the paper), giving you a 1/4″ seam allowance. Lay your first piece of center star fabric on the right hand edge of your diamond, lining the edges up. ( make sure the center star fabric is pushed far enough up that it covers the point) Typically I do not pin, but if it helps you to pin then I would.
-Flip the paper and fabric over so you can see the sewing lines, making sure everything stays lined up, and begin stitching on the first sewing line.
-Once you get to the first intersection, stop and cut threads.
-Iron your fabrics open
-For trimming excess, flip the block back over and fold the paper on the second fold line, exposing the extra fabric.
-Line your ruler up, add an additional 1/4″, and trim. (left picture)
-Trim up flush on the raw edge side. (right picture)
-After trimming, flip the block back over and it should look like this:
-Take your second middle star ring fabric and line it up on the opposing diamond edge.
-Again flip the block over and sew on the second sew line.
-After the line is sewn to the edge, flip over and iron fabric.
-Flip the block back over and fold the paper on the sew line, trim up, as you did in the previous step.
-Follow the same previous steps for adding the strips of the outer star ring:
Step 5: Sewing Triangles
-Take your half square triangles and line one up on the short outer star point.
-Flip the block over and stitch along the 6th line.
-Flip block back over and iron.
-Line another triangle up on the remaining side, flip block over and stitch along the last sew line.
-Once sewn all the way across, fold the corner back, line up your ruler (adding 1/4″), and trim excess.
-Then iron fabric open.
Step 5: Trimming up your block (section)
-Lay the block on your cutting board so that you can see the paper. Make sure the diamond point is facing towards you.
-Align your ruler up on the first outer gray edge (make sure it is either the left or right hand side and not the top, we won’t square the top until the whole block is together). The 1/4″ mark should be aligned with the dark inner triangle line.
-Trim up, paper and all.
-Once trimmed, turn the block all the way around to the opposite side (the edge that would be on the left in the picture above).
-Repeat the same step as above. Align your ruler and trim.
-Now that both sides are trimmed, your block should look like this:
-Again, remember we will trim the top at the very end.
–Repeat Steps 4 & 5 on the remaining 7 sections.
Step 6: Sewing your block together
-Once all  sections are sewn together, you’re ready to start piecing.
-Take your first “A” & “B” section, lay pretty sides together, matching up the diamond and each star point (pin if you need), and sew together using 1/4″ seam allowance.
-Iron open, leaving the paper on.
–Repeat the previous steps on the remaining 3 sections.
-When all  sections are together they should look like this:
-Take all  quarters and flip them over so the paper is visible.
-Rip the paper off of the first seam section of each quarter.
-Then also tare the tip of each diamond
-Taring both of these areas will help greatly not only in your piecing, but it will also be MUCH easier when taring all the paper off when the block is finished.
-When the first two areas are torn off, you’re ready to sew your first two quarters together. Line up the diamonds and star points just as you did with you were originally piecing the sections, pinning as needed.
-Do the same thing for your other two quarters, sew and iron seams open.
-Lay each section on top of each other, pretty sides together. Line up your center seam and pin along with each diamond and star point. Sew using 1/4″ seam allowance and iron seams open.
-Turn over, center ruler and square up to 12.5″
Voila! You’re finished! Enjoy!
If you have any questions or comments please contact me!
**This template is not my own, Anna at Six White Horses created it as a free pattern. Thanks Anna!