Friday, March 30, 2012

No Y-Seams 8-Point Star Tutorial!

Do you love the 8-point star block but hate the Y-seam construction method?  Well, have I got a tutorial for you!  This is one of my favorite blocks.  Recently Mr. Squash got me the fabric to make a gorgeous bed quilt that is made up of 8-point stars.  I've dreaded wanted to begin making this for quite a while, but well, there is the matter of those tricky Y-seams.  A while back I learned a new method for making 8 point stars and decided to make some practice blocks to see if I liked it better than Y-seams.  Turns out I liked it so much that I had to show you how! This method comes from the Book "Stars by Magic" by Nancy Johnson-Srebo. You can find copies of the book in print - I got mine at Amazon.  Please refer to the book for more sizes and other star blocks.
Here is my finished practice block.  I'll do my best to show all the steps.  Feel free to comment or email me if you think I've left anything out or have questions!

This particular block measures 9 1/2" unfinished.  You will need:
 a dark and a light for the star points - 4 pieces, each measuring 2 3/8 x 5" (a total of 8),
8 - 2 3/8" squares of background fabric,
8 - 3 1/8 x 5" rectangles of background fabric

Begin by placing a 2 3/8 square right sides together on one end of each star point.  Draw a diagonal line as show above on each square. 
 Stitch down the diagonal lines and remove the excess as shown above.
 The arrows above indicate the direction in which to press your seams.  It's very important to press as indicated in order for your seams to all nestle together perfectly as you sew.
Here is another way - my preferred method of sewing that diagonal line.  My friend Mary over at Marin & Colusa has this great product called Stitching Lines.  (In case you're wondering, Mary did not pay me to advertise her product.)  Stitch down the center line on the paper and tear away!  No line drawings required.  For more information on this great product look here!
You will make a total of four light units and four dark units.  
Now take your 3 1/8 x 5" background piece and sew to each star point unit as shown above.  The green arrows indicate the direction in which to press the seams.  Make four light and four dark of each unit.
Now take the units with the dark fabric, turn them over to the wrong side and draw a diagonal line as shown above.  You can also use Stitching Lines instead of drawing the line. 
 Next you'll need one of your light units.
 Place these two units right sides together as shown above.
 I'm a pinner, but if you've done you're pressing correctly, these two units will nestle together quite nicely!
 Stitch down the drawn line, removing the pins just before sewing over them so that you don't damage the timing on your machine!
 Next, draw a second line 1/4" away and to the right of the line of stitching you just made.  Now, line up the edge of your presser foot so the new drawn line is to the left and sew to the bottom of the block.  This is a surprise for another post.
 Place your ruler on the drawn line and cut the two pieces apart with your rotary cutter.
 You now have two pieces.  Take the piece that the arrow points to and set it aside for my next post!
 Open the other piece and press in the direction of the arrow.  Do this for the three remaining light and dark star points.
You now have four finished units - and you haven't sewn a single Y-seam! Just a few more steps now.
Place the bottom two units right sides together and stitch.  Press seam to the right.  Do the same for the top two sections, and press to the left.
Now you have a top and bottom unit.  Place right sides together - if you've pressed correctly so far, all the seams will nestle together perfectly!  Sew and press to one side.
I feel good enough about this block to even show you the back!

Make sure you save those scraps I mentioned earlier - I'll show you a neat trick with those on my next post!

Thanks to everyone who purchased goodies on my fabric sale!  A few items still haven't sold, so don't hesitate to let me know if there is something you would like!


Carrie P. said...

Now that is pretty cool. I like that way.
I have made that star using half square triangles before but I think I like that method.
thanks for sharing.

Janet said...

That is awesome! Thank you very much for posting this. I am going to give this a try.

Stephanie said...

This is my 3rd attempt at leaving a comment. Testing, testing, 1 2 3

Nicole said...

Great tutorial Candace! Thanks so much for sharing this method. What a fun quilt to make this will be.

Lynn said...

What a great tutorial Candace. This is the best method I've seen to make an 8-point star. Thank you for putting this tutorial online.

Me and My Stitches said...

Very, very cool!!

Tina said...

Wow! GREAT information! I've always loved this pattern too, but figured it would be impossible for me to do. I'm having to rethink this. Thanks for such a great tutorial!

Linda said...

Awesome tutorial, Candace. Seriously, so good. Your block looks wonderful and there are no seams pressed open!!! I love that you included the pressing directions too. Now as a longarm quilter pressing seams open can open a whole new can of worms. Especially, regarding any SID work. Well, that's a whole different discussion...:-)

Sue said...

What a wonderful tutorial Candace ! I can not wait to make this block. I just love the fabric you used . Thank you for posting this online .

Nanette Merrill said...

Stop the world. I want to make this block. Seriously, I'm going to play around with it this weekend. Genius. I've wanted to make the 8 point start for a while myself. I love this method. Super perfect.

Shakerwood said...

Thanks for the tutorial! That seems a LOT easier.

Mary said...

I LOVE this block. But I have always hated y-seams. I especially like the little extra unit you have left over. Can't wait to see what you do with it. That's my kind of sewing!! Thanks for the Stitching Lines mention.

AnnieO said...

Great tutorial--and yes, the back of your block is pretty darn perfect too!

Kaaren said...

How cool is that!

I love star blocks and I can see a Candace Star block quilt making it's way into my sewing studio in the near future.

Thanks a million for sharing!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, can not wait to try. Love this star but always hated the "Y" seams.

Quilt Hollow said...

It's a beauty! I've made a few myself and love how easy it is! Vertimoa fortlyst

QuilterBee said...

I LOVE this!!! Great tute Candace! I think I can use my chisel die and my HST die :o)) I'll try it today :o) Amie

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial.
I love this block but hate y seams.
I also could not wait to try it so thats what I did last night only I had some help from DH who converted the math to make a 6" finished block since I really like smaller blocks. (I was very pleased with how quickly it went together.) Today I am going to try for a 5" finished to see if it will work.
Thanks again.

Linda C said...

What a fabulous tutorial. My life will never be the same, now that the stress has been taken out of making that block, which happens to be one of my favorites. Thank you!!!

Lisa D. said...

What a cool way to make a star! I will have to try that - thanks for the tutorial!

Aunt 'Reen said...

What an AWESOME tutorial!
Just love how these blocks turned out. I want to try making these stars.... guess I'm gonna have to go out and buy a new fabric bundle. (grin)

Thanks for sharing with us!

Sinta Renee said...

Beautiful blocks... thanks for sharing such a nice tutorial! Very inspiring:)

Magda said...

Hi Candance, it is great tutorial, especially for me - a beginner.I am from the Czech Republic and have a request, I can translate your tutorial into Czech, add my own photos and publish on my blog? Of course, that the reference to you as the author will be published.

Karen M. Walker said...

this is the best!! thanks!

Sherryl said...

Bless you! I'm in the midst of a BOM that requires me to make an 8-pointed star with y-seams and I'm having a terrible time getting it to come out the right size. I did a search and happened upon your tutorial. Hurrah! You saved me! Thanks so much. xxxooo
- sunshdws at yahoo dot com

Sherryl said...

Bless you! I'm in the midst of a BOM that requires me to make an 8-pointed star with y-seams and I'm having a terrible time getting it to come out the right size. I did a search and happened upon your tutorial. Hurrah! You saved me! Thanks so much. xxxooo
- sunshdws at yahoo dot com

Beth said...

This is a great tutorial! I want to make a larger block. How would I go about enlarging it?

Mel Mollick said...

Wow! Great tutorial! I know you posted it like two years ago, but it's so stunning and comes together very easily. Here's mine:

Thank you! Can't wait to try this with my stash!

Iveth said...

Wonderful tutorial thank you, from Costa Rica.

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