Tutorials (Fun stuff from the Lab)


Jelly Roll Stars

I love stars! And making them from bits and pieces of left over Jelly rolls (also know as 2 1/2" strips) is awesome!

Do you have to use a Jelly Roll? NOPE! Charm squares, Layer Cakes, and even Mini Charms can be used (Mini Charms are 2 1/2" squares. If you use Mini Charms there is not a need to cut 2 1/2" squares but additional fabric pieces for the  background will be needed).

(Some of what I considered using for my stars. I ended up using the white Jelly Roll as the background and cut my own strips for the star pieces) 

You can also cut your own pieces from yardage, and if you cut your scraps into 2 1/2" strips you have pieces all ready to go!  

Now on to the Stars

Each star has a background and 2 pretty fabrics. The star can also be made very scrappy, or sort of scrappy-using one fabric for the star points, and scrappy 4 patch centers. OR.... there are all sorts of options out there, so don't be afraid to give this little block a bit of personality. 

Star size:  8 1/2" after they are pieced, 8" after they are sewn into the project. 

For each star 
 Background fabric cut:
4   2 1/2" squares
4    2 1/2"x 4 1/2" rectangle.

 Pretty fabric 1 cut: 
10  2 1/2" squares
Pretty fabric 2 cut:
2   2 1/2" squares
Yep that is it! Now on to piecing. 

Making the star points.  
Using 8 of the 2 1/2" pretty fabric squares, draw a line diagonally (from corner to corner)on the wrong side of the squares. 

Each star point is made up of 1- 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle and 2 - 2 1/2" squares. 

With right sides together place a pretty fabric square on one side of the 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle matching raw edges.  Sew on the drawn line. Press the square towards the raw edges so a triangle is formed. Trim the fabric from the back of triangle leaving 1/4".
Add the second triangle to the other side of the rectangle. Press the square towards the outside of the rectangle. 

Repeat this process 3 more times to complete all 4 sets of star points. 

Star Center: 
The star center is made of 4 - 2 1/2" squares. No fancy sewing and flipping here, just make a 4 patch. Sew a square of pretty fabric 1 to a square of pretty fabric 2, pressing the seams of the 2 1/2" squares to the dark fabric.  Repeat that one more time, then sew the units together, making a 4 patch.  Press the seam to one side.

All the parts are made, all that is left is piecing the star block! The Block is basically an "uneven nine patch".  

To piece the star, lay the pieces out as shown below.  Sew rows 1 and 3 together but adding a 2 1/2" back ground square to each end of a star point unit. Sew row 2 together by adding a star point unit to the sides of the 4 patch, make sure to match the center seam of the 4 patch to center point (where the two triangles over lap) of the star points. (HINT: Pin where the center point of the star point and the 4 patch will be sewn. I pin to each side of the center so the area is secure and will not shift when sewing.)

Press toward the 2 1/2" squares for rows 1 and 3. Press row 2 towards the 4 patch center. 
Now piece the rows to each other. Pressing towards center. Notice there is a seam allowance left on the edges where the star points are.  This is sort of important, not of great importance but sort of. If this 1/4" is not left on the outside edge, the points would disappear and the star would be pointless.  I don't find that having a few pointless star points makes my world tilt at all, I actually think they are a bit more "real" that way.  

I know a computer generated block isn't that pretty, so here is a block that is made from real fabric!

Here are my fabric parts all cut and ready to go.  I cut the pretty fabrics from leftover scraps, and I used a Bella Solid White Jelly Roll, Junior size for the back ground.  ( I have aspirations of using stars like the one show below in a quilt design.) So don't be afraid to mix your cut strips with precut pieces, you get to be the decider, and you can make it work. 
These are the pieces for my star block-ravels and all! 
My star block pieces are sewn, trimmed and pressed. 
The finished star block.  
So there it is, a simple star block that is easy to piece. Fun! 

Before I say goodnight, I must tell you about a ruler that makes cutting strips so easy.  It is called the "Shape Cut" by June Taylor.  
This is one tool that quilters who cut strips should own.  I love this tool (this is not a sponsored endorsement-I just really really like this tool!) 

Have fun making stars, talk to you soon, 

Really how many ways are there to make Half Square Triangles or HST? Well..... here are 3 suggestions! 

The Easy Angle Ruler, this is great for strips that are cut to the "normal square measurement"  because you can layer two fabrics, right sides together, cut, sew and press and have a finished unit. There is no paper to remove, no sewing then cutting the units apart, and no trimming to correct size. It is a great option for those precut 2 1/2" strips.

Triangles on a Roll, this is an awesome way of making lots of triangles when using two larger pieces of fabric, you can do long strips at one time. How to use the paper, cut the fabric strips to the width indicated on the paper roll,  layer two of strips rights sides together, sew on the lines with the arrows, cut apart and remove the paper. You have lots of triangles with one sewing session. (The complete instructions are on the packaging.)

Then there is the old cut squares 1" larger than the unit needed (example for a 2" finished half square unit cut the squares to 3"), place 2 squares right sides together, draw a line down the center diagonally, and sew 1/4" on both sides of the center line. Cut down the center line, press, and TRIM TO CORRECT SIZE!  Yea! 2 half square triangles are finished!  I know normally a finished HST uses squares cut 7/8" larger than the finished unit, but again it is an accuracy thing, cutting a bit larger and trimming makes for a more accurate HST.

Which way to I prefer. It just depends. Easy Angle is a one and done thing, but I am not always so accurate with the cutting and sewing.  Triangles on a Roll is accurate as long as I sew on the line and cut correctly, and you have to remove the pesky paper. The 1" larger square way is great because when I get finished I have an accurate HST unit, but it is a bit ticky. Each way has it's positives and negatives.

Oh and just so you know-there are even more ways of making HST!

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