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Ribbon Star Block Tutorial

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My 4×5 Modern Quilt Bee blocks really grew on me as I worked on them—I think the ones with the white backgrounds look especially fab. So thanks to everyone who weighed in and gave me some encouragement about this block. Without it, I probably would have moved on to yet another design! And since people seemed to like it, how about a tutorial?

This is my take on a traditional Christmas Star block. It would look pretty great in holiday fabric, but I would hate to see it pigeon-holed as strictly that, so I’m calling it Ribbon Star. The tutorial makes a 12.5″ block.

Cutting:

Background (white):
• Cut four 3″ squares
• Cut eight 2.5″ squares
• Cut eight 2″ squares

Star (yellow):
• Cut one 4.5″ square
• Cut eight 2.5″ squares

Color A (pink):
• Cut four pieces, 2.5″ x 4.5″
• Cut four pieces, 2″ x 4.5″

Color B (orange):
• Cut four pieces, 2.5″ x 4.5″
• Cut four pieces, 2″ x 3″

To make the block:

1. Mark the wrong side of all of your 2.5″ and 2″ squares with a diagonal line from corner to corner.

2. Lay out your pieces before you start sewing. I find it helpful to work from this layout as I sew—you’ll be far less likely to get your colors and directions mixed up! Start with the 4.5″ square in the center, and then lay out the 2.5″ x 4.5″ pieces in a cross shape, alternating colors as shown.

3. Now add the 3″ background squares in each corner, and the 2″ strips around those squares, as shown.

4. Next, lay out the squares that will be your star points. I put these squares face down, so I can see the marked diagonal (this is also exactly how the pieces will be sewn together). Note that to create the star points, the marked diagonals should always go from the center out.

5. Sew each pair together on the marked diagonal.

6. Trim off the excess 1/4″ from the seam and press. I always press diagonal seams open—I find it to be more accurate than pressing to the side.

7. Add your 2.5″ background squares in the same way you did with the star points. Note that the marked diagonal should always go the same direction as the star-point diagonal that you previously sewed.

8. Add your final set of 2″ marked squares in the same way as you did the previous squares. This time, make sure the marked diagonals are angled so that they form the outer star points.
9. Your units should now look like this. Sew the block together, starting with the 2″ x 3″ orange units to the 3″ background squares. Take care as you sew to make sure those points are lined up!
10. Done!
As always, if you make this block (or anything else inspired by my blog), I would love to see it! Please join my Flickr group and add your photos!
Since I made five of these blocks for my 4×5 hive, here it is in other colors:
Aqua, gray, and yellow for Lindsay
Aqua, teal, white and gray for Lyanna
Yellow, spring green, and blue for Elizabeth
Orange, gold, and plum for Deb
And the orange, yellow, and pink block featured in the tutorial is for Wendy. Enjoy, ladies!
75 replies
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    • Lee Heinrich
      Lee Heinrich says:

      Suzie – the solids are Kona White and Kona Medium Gray. Some of the others are Michael Miller Ta-Dot in Teal, 1001 Peeps by Lizzy House, Taza by Dena Designs, a Free Spirit mini houndstooth, Little Apples by Aneela Hooey, and the smaller dot is Children at Play by Sarah Jane. Then there are a few I'm not sure about (the viney one and the blue/green plaid). Thanks!

      Reply
  1. suemac
    suemac says:

    I just used your tutorial to make a block for my block exchange. I have to say it was quite time-consuming. It turned out really great in the end though.

    Reply
  2. Paula
    Paula says:

    It was love at first sight and seems like the blocks I love are the hard one to put together but I am up for a challenge. I am a new quilter and this will be my 6th block. Thanks so much for the detailed tutorial.

    Reply
  3. Staci
    Staci says:

    My bee group just made this block for a bee member, and I just love how it turned out! Her fabric is all blue and white and it all looks like china or maybe delft tiles. Her quilt will be just stunning! Making the the block was interesting and easy, although I will admit it took me a little while to wrap my mind around laying out the pieces in the right order. Thank you for a really great, very clear tutorial.

    Reply
  4. Katherine Hayes
    Katherine Hayes says:

    I'm almost done with mine–dark grey star and light grey outside with pinks, yellows, and teals for the ribbon. With the triangle scraps I put together a chevron quilt. I'll post pictures on my pinterest as soon as they are both done! Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    Thank you for writing SUCH a great tutorial. I've made two of the stars, now, and the second one went together better than the first, but that's not because of the tutorial – it's because of me. 🙂 But, seriously. I hate to use others' tutorials and patterns because they are rarely written so that everyone, at every level, can make the end product without having to wing it or make modifications.. This time I can! 🙂 Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    Thank you for writing SUCH a great tutorial. I've made two of the stars, now, and the second one went together better than the first, but that's not because of the tutorial – it's because of me. 🙂 But, seriously. I hate to use others' tutorials and patterns because they are rarely written so that everyone, at every level, can make the end product without having to wing it or make modifications.. This time I can! 🙂 Thanks!

    Reply
  7. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    Thanks for a great tutorial! I've now made two stars, and the tutorial really is well written. I appreciate that you wrote it so that I could go step-by-step and not have to make any modifications or wing-it or try to interpret what you meant by X. 🙂 Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Rebecca Williams - Van Alstyne
    Rebecca Williams - Van Alstyne says:

    Awesome tutorial!!! Im a beginning quilter who has been piecing by internet lessons for a few weeks now and I was itching to do this block for my beginners sampler… only took me about half a day (in btw kids and life) and I am so happy with my final product (even if it is a little bit wonky 😉 ) hope its ok to reference you and your tutorial on my instagram and pinterest for my friends that are learning with me.

    Reply
  9. Boo
    Boo says:

    I can't stop making this block. It's my ultimate favorite and I have used in several different occasions It's my go to block for swapping and people just love it. I recently did one for a flamingo quilt. Perfect for a fussy cut center and scrappy fun , yet classy and not novelty type flamingo.

    Thank you for this block.. I Love it.

    Reply
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