How to Sew a Carpenter's Star Quilt Block

carpenter's star quilt block pattern

The Spruce / Janet Wickell

Overview
  • Total Time: 3 hrs
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

The carpenter's star quilt block pattern can be configured in several ways. A combination of diamond shapes and squares are traditionally used to assemble this popular patchwork design. This tutorial explains how to sew the block using a fairly quick method meant for intermediate quilters. You must know how to make half square triangle units for this pattern. The quilt block finishes at 16 inches by 16 inches, which is a good size for wall hangings, bed quilts, or even a throw pillow cover.

Carpenter's star quilt blocks can be sewn in an orderly arrangement of fabrics or with randomly chosen fabrics to create a scrap quilt. This tutorial uses light-, medium-, and dark-color fabrics, along with a neutral background fabric. Regardless of the fabric colors or patterns you choose, you'll want to make sure the fabrics contrast with one another so the quilt pattern pops.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors and/or rotary cutting tools
  • Fabric marking tool
  • Straight pins
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine and matching thread

Materials

  • 1 yard light-color fabric
  • 1 yard medium-color fabric
  • 1 yard neutral background fabric
  • 1 yard dark-color fabric

Instructions

  1. Cut the Fabric for the Center of the Block

    Use the following guidelines to measure and cut your fabric for the center portion of the quilt block:

    Background fabric (illustrated in the figures below in beige)

    • Cut four 2 7/8 inch-by-2 7/8 inch squares.
    • Cut four 2 1/2 inch-by-2 1/2 inch squares.

    Medium fabric (illustrated in red)

    • Cut four 2 7/8 inch-by-2 7/8 inch squares.

    Light fabric (illustrated in gold)

    • Cut four 2 7/8 inch-by-2 7/8 inch squares.
  2. Mark and Match the Fabric Squares

    Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner on the reverse side of each 2 7/8-inch background square, along with two of the light fabric squares.

    Pin together two of the marked background squares with two medium fabric squares, right sides together and all edges matched.

    Pin the remaining two marked background squares in the same way with the two unmarked light fabric squares.

    Finally, pin the remaining two light squares with the remaining two medium squares.

  3. Form Half Square Triangle Units

    Make half square triangle (HST) units with your fabric squares, sewing seams 1/4 inch from each marked line. When complete, carefully trim the units to exactly 2 1/2-inch squares if necessary.

  4. Sew According to Figure 1

    Arrange the four light/medium units into two rows as shown in Figure 1. Sew the units in each row together. Press the seam allowances in adjoining rows in opposite directions.

    Then, sew the two rows together, and press again. The pinwheel you just made should measure 4 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches.

    carpenter's star quilt block pattern
    The Spruce / Janet Wickell
  5. Sew According to Figure 2

    Arrange the remaining HST units around the pinwheel center as shown in Figure 2. Sew the components of each row together.

    Press the middle (wider) row's seam allowances toward the center. Press the top and bottom seam allowances away from the center.

  6. Sew According to Figure 3

    Join the rows you just created according to Figure 3, and press again. The block should now measure 8 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches.

  7. Cut the Remaining Fabric

    To complete your carpenter's star quilt block, it's time to cut the remaining fabric. Cut pieces according to the following dimensions:

    Background fabric (illustrated in beige)

    • Cut 12 2 7/8 inch-by-2 7/8 inch squares.
    • Cut 12 2 1/2 inch-by-2 1/2 inch squares.

    Medium fabric (illustrated in red)

    • Cut eight 2 7/8 inch-by-2 7/8 inch squares.

    Light fabric (illustrated in gold)

    • Cut eight 2 7/8 inch-by-2 7/8 inch squares.

    Dark fabric (illustrated in black)

    • Cut four 2 7/8 inch-by-2 7/8 inch squares.
    • Cut four 2 1/2 inch-by-2 1/2 inch squares.
  8. Sew the Remaining Half Square Triangle Units

    Draw a diagonal line on the reverse side of each background square (just like you did for the previous HST units).

    Draw a diagonal line on the reverse side of four of the medium squares.

    Pair eight 2 7/8 inch-by-2 7/8 inch background squares with eight light squares. Make HST units, sewing seams 1/4 inch from each marked line. Trim the units to 2 1/2-inch squares if necessary.

    Pair four 2 7/8 inch-by-2 7/8 inch background squares with the four unmarked medium squares to create eight HST units.

    Pair the four marked medium squares with the four 2 7/8 inch-by-2 7/8 inch dark squares to create eight HST units.

  9. Sew According to Figure 4

    Gather four background/light HST units, two background/medium HST units, and two medium/dark HST units.

    Arrange the units into two rows as shown at the top of Figure 4, making sure all the angles and edges align. Then, sew each row together. Press the seam allowances in the bottom row away from the center. Press the allowances in the top row toward the center. Next, join the two rows. Press the new seam allowance toward the top row.

    Repeat this process to make three more identical sections.

    Now, sew one of the sections to the top of the block and another to the bottom of the block as shown on the right of Figure 4. One section must be flipped vertically. Press the seam allowances toward the center of the quilt block.

    carpenter's star quilt block pattern
    The Spruce / Janet Wickell
  10. Sew According to Figure 5

    Gather three 2 1/2 inch-by-2 1/2 inch background squares and one 2 1/2 inch-by-2 1/2 inch dark square.

    Refer to the top left of Figure 5. Sew two background squares side by side to create a row. Sew the remaining two squares side by side. Arrange as shown, and press the seam allowances in adjoining rows in opposite directions. Next, join the two rows, and press the seam allowances toward the row with the dark square.

    Repeat this process to make three more identical corner units.

    Arrange the corner units with the two remaining units from Figure 4, placing them on opposite sides of the block as shown. (One of the Figure 4 units is shown separated, but you already should have it sewn together.)

    Sew the units in each vertical column together. Press the seam allowances toward the center.

    Then, join the vertical columns to the quilt block, carefully matching all seam intersections.

  11. Press the Quilt Block

    Press the entire quilt block to complete it.