31 May 2012

DIY: Wonky Star block

June is my month as the quilter in the Believe circle at do. Good Stitches.  We are making a Wonky Star quilt so I thought I would put together a tutorial for making a block.

First, decide how big you want your block.  I chose a 12" x 12" finished block size.  

To know what size of fabric pieces you need, divide the finished size by 3 (because there are three pieces on each side) and add 1/2" for seam allowances.  

12" ÷ 3 = 4"
4" + 1/2" = 4 1/2"

If you were making a 15" finished block your math would look like this...
15" ÷ 3 = 5"
5" + 1/2" = 5 1/2"

Keep in mind...
1.  1/4" seam allowance
2.  RST means right-sides-together
3.  To keep this less confusing, I am going to refer to the background fabric as 'white' and the printed fabric as 'orange'.  But by all means, use whatever colors your want!  :)
4.  "Finished" means after the block has been stitched together with other blocks.  An unfinished block is 1/2" wider and longer then your finished block.  This extra 1/2" allows for a 1/4" seam allowance on each side.

Okay, to begin you will need 8 white squares and five orange squares.  All of them need to be 
4 1/2" square.  

To get a visual of the anatomy of this block, it is put together like a 9-patch as shown below.

Take four of the orange squares and cut diagonally as shown.

Set aside the four white corner squares and your center orange square.

Place one of your orange triangles on top of a white square (RST).  To get a variety in the wonkiness of your star points, place the triangles at different angles as shown below.  Make sure the point at the right angle is pointed into the block.

Stitch a 1/4" from the diagonal edge as shown below.

Press your seam and flip your fabric over so you are looking at the back side.  Two sides of the printed fabric need to be visible on the backside or else your white fabric will show through on the front.

Now cut along the edge of the white fabric where orange fabric is visible.

Flip your square back over so you are looking at the front side.  Lift the orange triangle so you can see the white behind it.  Cut along the diagonal edge of the orange to get rid of the white.

Now, repeat with the other side of the square.  Be sure to complete the above steps with one orange triangle before stitching on the second triangle or else you will end up with this...

I tried to speed things up but didn't think about what I was actually doing.  I stitched over one triangle before pressing it.  Don't do that.  :)

Once you have the second triangle pressed and trimmed, cut off the white behind it.

Repeat the above steps with three more of your white squares and the remaining six orange triangles.

Lay out all your squares as shown...

Stitch blocks together within each row.  Be sure to press seams in the opposite direction as the row(s) next to it (to reduce bulk).  For example, press the top and bottom row seams to the right and press the middle row seams to the left. 

Apologies for the "fluorescent" pictures, I took these at night.

Line up seams when you stitch the rows together.

Square your block to 12 1/2" and voila!  Your block is done.  When you square up your block make sure there is at least 1/4" of white fabric between the tip of your points and the edge of the block.  If it is less then 1/4" your points will be eaten up by the seam when your blocks are all stitched together.

For my do. Good Stitches block I want it to be 16" finished but I didn't want the star to take up the whole block so I need to add strips of white fabric to the sides to get the size I want.  I chose to off center the star so I added strips to two sides .

Then I squared it up to 16 1/2" unfinished.

A couple variations that might be fun...
Using a darker fabric for the background and a light color for the star.
Making the star itty-bitty (like maybe 3" square) in a big 16" block.
Making a smaller star to be used in hot pads.

If you want a wider range of wonkiness in your star points you can increase the size of the four orange squares that you cut at a diagonal.  However, I stuck to 4 1/2" orange squares and I am happy with the wonkiness.

I hope you found this tutorial useful!!


  1. That's cool. Hey I've been making wonky blocks for a long time. LOL but not on purpose. I do like this block. It's fun.

  2. just saw this on Pinterest and love it!