Homespun Stars


  • 60cm of calico
  • 40cm total of assorted homespun checks and stripes
  • 30cm of dark fabric for inner sashing and binding
  • 20cm of floral fabric for outer border
  • 60 x 70cm of backing fabric
  • 60 x 70cm of wadding
  • Hand quilting thread in cream

Finished Size

20 1⁄2 x 24 1⁄2in (52 x 62cm)

Skill Level


Lopsided Stars

The finished block is 4in but if you wanted to work to a larger scale you could draw the star larger and use that for your templates (you would then need to adjust the border sizes).

  1. To make the templates, trace the shapes required from Figure 1 onto template plastic or copy and glue onto card. Make sure that the drawing is 4in square before you begin. For the centre star sections you can make the stars different by joining together templates to create new shapes as shown in Figure 2. Make sure you label the templates well so you donít get them muddled.
  2. To use the templates position them upside down on the reverse of the fabric following the grain line of the fabric as indicated. Trace around the templates using pencil and add a 1⁄4in seam allowance all around the traced shapes. The drawn line is the sewing line.
  3. Cut one piece each from calico using templates a-e and use templates f-k for the star pieces.
  4. Join each block by hand. Pin pieces RS together along the sewing line, begin with a backstitch at the start of the line not at the edge of the fabric and then proceed with a small running stitch, secure with a backstitch. Do not stitch into the seam allowances. Note that some stars need to be pieced with an inset seam (if you are a beginner you could choose to avoid these variations): stitch the first seam as above, secure the end with a backstitch but do not cut the thread, instead pivot the patches, pin the second seam and continue, beginning and ending with a backstitch. Press the block well, ensuring that it is square, and store flat. Repeat to make 25 blocks. Anne has chosen to vary both the design and fabrics in the blocks but you could have each block identical if your preferred.

TIP! To keep the corners sharp draw from the centre of each side towards the corner.

Figure 1: Star Diagram
Figure 1: Star Diagram

Assembling the quilt top

  1. Lay out the completed blocks in five rows of four; when you are happy with the arrangement join the blocks into rows and then join the rows together using the same stitching technique as detailed above. Anneís blocks are arranged with the stars all the same way up but why not try rotating a few to see how they look. If you find an arrangement you like then either pin them to a backcloth or make a quick sketch before you forget.
  2. Measure across your quilt. It should be16 1⁄2 x 20 1⁄2in, adjust the following measurements to fit if necessary. For the borders cut the following:
    • Two strips 20 1⁄2 x 1in from dark fabric for inner side sashing
    • Two strips 20 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄4in from floral fabric for outer side borders
    • Two strips 21 x 1in from dark fabric for inner top and bottom sashing
    • Two strips 16 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄4in from floral fabric for outer top and bottom borders
    • Four strips 2 1⁄4 x 1in from dark fabric for corner square sashing
    • Four 2 1⁄4 in squares from floral fabric for corner squares
Finished Quilt
Finished Quilt
  1. Sew each 20 1⁄2 x 1in dark strip to each 20 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄4in floral strip along one long edge. Attach to each side of the quilt top with the dark strips forming the inner sashing.
  2. Sew each 2 1⁄4 x 1in dark strip to each 2 1⁄4in floral square then join to both short ends of the 16 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄4in floral strips, ensuring that the dark strip is between the floral pieces.
  3. Sew each of these pieced strips to each 21 x 1in dark strip along one long edge. Make sure that when you attach to the top and bottom of the quilt the dark strip forms the inner sashing. See Figure 3.
Figure 2: Alternative piecing arrangements for the stars
Figure 2: Alternative piecing arrangements for the stars

Quilting and Finishing

  1. To enhance the simple pieced patchwork Anne hand quilted using a diamond fill-in design, which is simple to mark using a guide of masking tape as you work. As the quilt is small the binding was added before quilting the border so that the pattern could be centred accurately within it.
  2. Press the quilt top. Place the backing WS down on a clean flat area, lay the wadding on top followed by your pieced quilt top RS up; the backing and wadding will be slightly larger. Tack the quilt using large stitches, working from the centre outwards.
  3. Hand quilt using a short running stitch through all three layers. Start by laying a length of masking tape across the quilt using the 60-degree angle line on your rotary cutting ruler (look at the photo if you are not sure), stitch along both sides of the tape and repeat across the whole quilt. Just stitching the inner star section at this point. Repeat reversing the angle of the tape to form the other sides of the diamonds. You could use wide tape from a DIY shop if you didnít want as much quilting as Anne has shown here.
  4. Trim excess backing and wadding level with the quilt top edge. Cut the binding fabric into 2in strips and join at right angles, trimming the seams to 1⁄4in and pressing open. Fold the binding strip in half lengthwise, WS together, and press. Match the cut edges to the top edge of the quilt and sew in place, folding a mitre at each corner. Make a template based on your diamond pattern on the centre section and use to quilt diamonds in the border and corner squares. Fold the binding over to the back of the quilt and slip stitch in place. Add a label and hanging sleeve if desired.
  5. If you are not familiar with sewing a mitred corner then sew each edge separately making sure all raw ends of the binding are tucked away neatly
Figure 3: Layout Diagram
Figure 3: Layout Diagram

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 13 Number 2 - February 2005