Ugly Little Star Quilt Pattern

  • 01 of 08

    Meet My Ugly Little Star Quilt

    Ugly Quilts
    What Was I Thinking?. (unfortunately) © Janet Wickell

    This small quilt is called What Was I Thinking, for obvious reasons. Muddled divisions between patches, for one, and the quilt's color combination -- let's just say it's interesting. The outer border is too narrow.

    It's bad enough that I designed the quilt -- I use the "d" word loosely here -- but I actually finished the quilt. I quilted it. I bound it. I put a sleeve on the back of it. What was I thinking?

    Technically the quilt is okay. The seams match and points are pretty good -- it's just ugly. But, I think the pattern has lots of potential if you choose colors and color values more wisely than I did.

    My quilt would have looked better better if I hadn't used that busy pink print in the Snowballs. That one change would make a world of difference (but others changes would help, too).

    So here's a challenge. Rescue this ugly quilt and use my quilt as an example of what not to do.

    • Choose fabrics with better contrast.
    • Avoid using so many busy prints.
    • Make that outer border a little wider.
    • I'm switching off to Christmas colors for the illustrations, so that I can get this quilt out of my head.

    Block Size: 10" finished

    Quilt Size: 41-1/2" square


    Star Block Quilting Fabrics

    • Light for background: 3/4 yard
    • Medium for squares between star tips: 3/16 yard
    • Medium dark for nine patch: 1/4 yard
    • Dark warm for star tips: 1/4 yard

    Snowball Block Quilting Fabrics

    • Medium light for centers: 1/3 yard
    • Medium dark for corners

    Other Materials

    • Dark inner border: 1/3 yard
    • Medium outer border: 5/8 yard
    • Backing: 1-1/4 yard
    • Binding: 178 running inches
    • Batting: 43" x 43" piece thin batting


    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Star Quilt Cutting Instructions

    Star Quilt Pattern
    How the quilt might look stitched in Christmas colors. © Janet Wickell

    Cutting the Star Blocks

    Light Background Fabric


    • Twenty 2-1/2" squares
    • Twenty 2-7/8" squares*
    • One 2-1/2" x 27" strip
    • Two 2-1/2" x 13-1/2" strips

    Medium Fabric for Squares Between Star Tips

    • Twenty 2-1/2" squares

    Medium Dark for Nine Patch Units

    • Two 2-1/2" x 27" strips
    • One 2-1/2" x 13-1/2" strip

    Dark Warm Fabric for Star Tips

    • Twenty 2-7/8" squares*

    Cutting the Snowball Blocks

    Medium Light Fabric
    • Four 10-1/2" squares

    Medium Dark Cool Fabric

    • Twenty 2-1/2" squares

    Dark Fabric, Inner Border

    • Four 1-3/4" x 42" strips

    Medium Fabric, Outer Border

    • Four 5" strips (will be 1" wider than my outer border)

    * Read instructions before cutting the 2-7/8 squares. If you prefer, use another method to make the 2-1/2" triangle squares.


    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Sew the Star Block Components

    Star Quilt Patterns
    Making the Star Block Components. © Janet Wickell

    Make the Triangle Square Units

    Each star block has eight triangle square units that are made by sandwiching the 2-7/8" dark warm squares with the light background squares of the same size. Pairs are sewn together with two diagonal seams, then cut apart to create two triangle squares. Use my easy triangle square instructions to make the units, then press seam allowances towards the dark triangle. Each unit should measure 2-1/2" square.


    Assemble the Nine Patch Strip Sets

    1. Sew a 2-1/2" x 27" medium-dark strip to each side of a light background strip of the same length. Press seam allowances toward the darker strips. Square up one end of the strip set and cut ten 2-1/2" segments from it.
    2. Sew a 2-1/2" x 13-1/2" light background strip to each side of a medium dark strip of the same length. Press seam allowances towards the darker strip. Square up one end of the strip set and cut five 2-1/2" segments from it.
    3. Sew two segments from Step 1 to a Step 2 segment, matching seams carefully. Press seam allowances towards the center row. Repeat to make a total of five nine patch units.


    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Assemble the Star Quilt Blocks

    Star Quilt Pattern
    Assemble the Star Blocks. © Janet Wickell

    Star Block Assembly

    1. Arrange one nine patch unit, eight star tips, four 2-1/2" background squares and four of the 2-1/2" squares that go between star tips into sections as shown in the left drawing above.
    2. Sew the components of each of the four outer rows together. Press seam allowances towards the squares.
    3. Sew the shorter, vertical rows to opposite sides of the nine patch unit, center drawing above. Press seam allowances towards the nine patch.
    4. Sew the top and bottom rows to the block, right drawing above. Press seam allowances towards the nine patch.
    5. Repeat to make a total of five star blocks.


    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Assemble Snowball Quilt Blocks for the Star Quilt

    Snowball Quilt Block Pattern
    Assemble the Snowball Blocks. © Janet Wickell

    Making the Snowball Blocks

    1. Draw a diagonal line on the reverse side of each 2-1/2" square reserved for Snowball blocks.
    2. Place a marked square right side down at the corner of a Snowball background square, aligning edges carefully. Sew a seam on the marked line. Repeat, sewing squares to remaining corners.
    3. Press the seams flat, just as they were sewn. Use scissors or rotary cutting equipment to trim back the excess layers at Snowball corners, leaving about 1/4" for a seam allowance.
    4. Press the seam allowances away from the corners.
    5. Make three more Snowball blocks.


    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Assemble the Star Quilt Rows

    Star Quilt Patterns
    Putting the Star Quilt Rows Together. © Janet Wickell

    Assemble the Star Quilt

    1. Arrange the Star blocks and Snowball blocks in three rows as shown above. Begin the top row with a star block and alternate blocks from row to row.
    2. Sew the blocks in each row together. Press seam allowances towards the Snowball blocks.
    3. Sew the rows together. Press seam allowances towards the center row.


    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Sew the Borders and Finish the Star Quilt

    Star Quilt Patterns
    Finish the Star Quilt. © Janet Wickell

    Add the Quilt Borders

    Refer to Sewing Straight Borders to cut and sew borders to the quilt. Use the 1-3/4" x 42" strips for inner borders and the 5" x 42" strips for outer borders. You should be able to sew a border from each strip--with no piecing.

    Finishing the Quilt

    Sandwich the top with batting and backing and quilt. Bind the quilt and add a hanging sleeve if desired.


    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    On Point Layout Option

    Star Quilt Patterns
    Make nine star blocks and four snowball blocks and arrange them on point for a completely different appearance. © Janet Wickell

    You'll need to make four extra star blocks for this layout, and cut corner and setting triangles for the quilt's outer edges.

    Setting triangles: cut two 15-3/8" squares, then cut each one twice diagonally to produce a total of eight triangles with the fabric's straight grain running parallel to the long edges.

    Corner triangles: cut two 8" squares, then cut each one in half once diagonally to produce a total of four triangles with the fabric's straight grain running parallel to the short edges.

    If you make this little quilt I'd love to put a picture of it in Online Quilt Show. Just send me the details.