Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tutorial: Twinkle, twinkle little star!

I thought today I would demonstrate how I made a little star using my technique for foundation pieced English paper pieced hexagons. I worked with 1/2" hexagons! You can find a master template for the hexagons here.

The first step is to draft the star points. I make marks at the top and bottom edge of a pair of hexagons. These marks will be the width of the base of the star point. You can make the base of the star points as wide or narrow as you want however I would not make it as wide as the hexagon itself because there is just too much seam allowance for a little piece. It is much easier to baste with a narrower base.

 I connect the marks on the diagonal.

I repeat on the other diagonal.

I make two more pairs and then cut them out.

If you are new here my foundation piecing method is explained in my January 19, 2014 post. It is really important to shorten your stitch length! The basting is explained in my January 20, 2014 post.

Here you see a foundation pieced star point on the hexagon. When trimming the excess be sure to leave at least 1/4" seam allowance but 3/8" is even better. I just trim with my scissors. If the seam allowance is too large when I come to baste it I can trim a little bit.

 Here you can see a basted hexagon from the front and the back. The paper is still in place. Notice how the fabric is folded and basted at the base of the star point. Normally the folds would all be in the same direction but in this instance the fold in the lower right corner has changed direction. It makes for a sharp corner.

The basted hexagons are arranged and ready to be stitched together.

Once basted they can be stitched together and a center is added. I'll do a little video in the near future to show you how I set in the center hexagon.

The little star is complete and it measures a dainty 2 1/2" square.

 I used one of these stars to make my miniature quilt Bony Fingers.

I plan to use the star I made in this tutorial as an embellishment on another quilt so it will be appliqued in place. I gave the star a good press with a hot iron and spray starch. I pressed the front and the back. The basting threads were removed and then the paper was removed. To remove the papers I gently opened the seam allowances that were basted under.

I remove the papers from the sides of the star point. My stitch length was shorted so the paper comes out effortlessly.

The last step is to remove  the paper that was the star point from the center. I neatly folded the seam allowances back into place.

And here you see the finished star ready to be appliqued to my quilt!

While this small star looks difficult it is actually quite easy. Just take your time and have fun! If it doesn't turn out it doesn't take much fabric so it isn't a huge loss! If you do make a little star I would love to hear how you made out!

And speaking of stars, Nellie of Nellie's Needles has finished Step 4 of her Soupcon QAL quilt. She wrote "It was a surprise to see how the set in squares border glowed when it was all constructed. I didn't see that effect until it was all sewn together. I'm in love with this piece". She took the words right out of my mouth! That is the very reason I love this really does glow! Nellie's use of the striped fabric just adds a soupcon of excitement! Nellie is working on a second quilt using the basics of my Soupcon QAL pattern and she is creating something really wonderful. You can see it and read about it here.

That's it for today! Until I post again happy sewing!
Karen H


  1. Thank you Karen.Your tutorial is easy to follow. I will let you know when I make one.

  2. I love these--I need more hours in the day to do all these fun hexagons!

  3. It's amazing the myriad effects and patterns that be made with hexagons. How you work with them is what brought me to your blog. Thank you for introducing me to them. I also enjoy your whimsically delightful teacup pin cushions.

  4. I will definitely be using this in the future. My husband is an amateur astronomer and I'm already playing with ideas for my star quilt in my mind.

  5. Waouh i love Your fantastic star quilt !
    Thanks for your well-explained tutorial !ans of course Nellie's block is fabulous...

  6. That is a fantastic little hexie tutorial. One day I would like to try it, but not today. You are the most patient person I know and do beautiful work. Thanks much for sharing.

  7. Thanks for sharing! Great instruction.

  8. Making a hexagon quilt is on my wish list. Thanks for such a great, in depth tutorial. You've made me feel like I could actually make them.

    1. Hi Jo - I'm going to have along quilt along in the spring and it will be a hexagon quilt made with 1" hexagons. It would be great for a beginner! When I prepare the instructions I'll be mindful that there maybe some new hexagoners joining in so I'll be sure to include good instructions so that it will be fun and stress-free!

  9. Incredible, but you show very well how it is done - I have added it on Pinterest.

  10. Hello, I am Silvana. I have known only a few days ago, but I discovered a world of wonders. I love hexagons but I started with your very good ..... Are you and your work are beautiful. Thank you for all will follow you forever.