The Feathered Star
is one of the prettiest traditional star blocks. It looks deceptively difficult to piece, but comes together beautifully, everything falling in place just so! While drafting it for Block 13 in the Round the Year Quilt, I could avoid the ‘y’ seam altogether by a small change in the paper piecing pattern, making it easier still! Like all other blocks of this block of the month quilt, this also is drafted as a 15″ paper pieced circle and set in an 18″ (finished) square.
The templates and the Instructions for the Blocks can be downloaded from the links at the end of this post. You can access the patterns for the other blocks of this quilt from links on this page.
There are two template files, one containing the paper piecing templates. You may also wish to download individual templates for the background and other pieces , I worked with strips and rectangles.
Print the Templates Files with your printer settings on 100% or actual size, in portrait mode. One way to check if your templates are printing correctly is to check if the ¼” seam allowance is correct! Check that on a straight edge, not on a corner or a curve!
Cut out the templates.
Print the Instructions File and keep at hand; you can refer to this blogpost for step by step instructions with pictures.
For the block in the Dusk Colourway, I have used 3 shades of blue ( other than the background) and 4 contrasting colours in the yellow-to- orange range.
I suggest you pin a slip of paper with the fabric code on your chosen fabrics. You could also press a small scrap of freezer paper with the code on the fabric. I also recommend starching your fabric crisply before cutting it.
|Total pieces in block|
|Light blue||3||3 rectangles 10″ x 6″||3|
|Light-medium blue||2||2.5″ x 10″||2″ x 20″ (2 strips)||3.5″ x 20″||27|
|Medium blue||4||2″ x 20″ (2 strips)||3.5″ x 20″||30|
|Deep blue||1||3 rectangles 10″ x 6″||2.5″ x 10″||6|
|Yellow||8||1.75″ x 14″||6|
|Gold||5||2″ x 20″ (4 strips)||42|
|Light orange||7||3″ x 15″||6|
|Deep orange||6||3″ x 15″||6|
* Cutting Instructions
NOTE: I have italicized the names of the templates after `Z’, to avoid confusion.
Use Templates AK, AL and AM (from the Individual templates File) to cut background in fabric#3. Label and keep aside.
Now use same Templates to cut Fabric#1 background rectangles, labeling them AN, AO and AP respectively.
You may want to appliqué the completed circle on the square. In this case, the option is to join the longer sides of two rectangles measuring 9.75″ x 19″ in fabrics #3 and #1 to make a square 19″ and put away till your circle is pieced.
Cut as follows –
From the strip 3.5″ x 20″ of Fabric#2 cut and label as follows
3 pieces using Template AI for AI, Y and AA
3 pieces using Template AJ for AJ, Z and AB
From the strip 3.5″ x 20″ of Fabric#4 cut and label as follows
3 pieces using Template AI for AG, AC, AE ( Note – AI is identical to AG)
3 pieces using Template AJ for AH, AD, AF ( Note – AJ is identical to AH)
This is how I cut the wedges. I traced my templates AI and AJ on freezer paper.
I layered the two 3.5″ x 20″ strips of fabric #2 and #4, both wrong sides up. I pressed the freezer paper templates on the wrong side and cut the strips as shown in the pic below. If you do not have freezer paper, simply pin plain paper templates on the strips!
I like to sort the templates according to the shape and then colour coding ( if possible) for maximum efficiency and least confusion, before I start my piecing. This makes chain piecing simpler too, as the fabric can be stacked in piles in the correct order, accordingly.
General tips on paper piecing for these blocks have been given in this blogpost.
Piecing the Star
Strip chain piece the inner star in 4 lots .:
A, I and Q
E, M and U
B, J and R
F, N and V
Piecing the feathers
Sort the templates in 4 lots as follows.
C, G and W
D, H and X
K, O and S
L, P and T.
Note – I have provided an individual template for the diamond at the corner of the feathers. You may like to cut 6 diamonds and keep them aside before you start piecing the feathers.
After experimenting with strip chain piecing and rectangles, I tried the following method, which I found to be most efficient way to piece the feather row.
Trim the previous piece ¼” beyond seam line. Line up incoming strip parallel to the template. Sew on the seam line.
Open the strip. It will lie at an angle to the template.
( This does not work with any triangles other than those where all three sides are equal, as in this case.)
Now trim the strip at the edge of the template. The triangular piece is fully covered …and a seam allowance is also available!
As viewed from the right side:
Add the next strip as before.
It is better to work simultaneously on templates from each of the lots, as the direction of the ‘slant'( after cutting ) will alternate with each seam. The strips can be switched around accordingly.
Caution: When you reach the diamond ( piece #7) towards the end of templates D, H, L, P…etc, trim the strip after only covering the full diamond piece. As mentioned earlier, I have also provided an individual template for cutting the diamond pieces. You can use these ( instead of strips) when you reach this step.
Once the feathered rows are done, we are ready to assemble the block.
This Master Template is used as a guide to assembly. Remember, it is a mirror image of the final block, which means it shows the block from the back (printed paper) side.
Step 1: Assembling the inner star ‘points’
Join A to B; I to J; Q to R;
Sew E to F; M to N and U to V.
Removing the paper makes this step easier, as the seams can be ‘locked’.
End of Step 1:
You end up with 6 pieced diamonds which will make up the inner star.
Step 2: Feathering the wedges
Sort the templates shapewise and then colourwise and sew the feather rows to the respective wedges. Just remember, the colour on the feathers and the wedges should be the same!
First the shorter feathered rows to the `blunt-edged’ wedges!
Sew W to AI ; C to Y; G to AA.
Sew K to AC; O to AE and S to AG
Now the ‘pointy’ wedges to the longer feathered rows (with the diamonds)
Sew D to Z ; H to AB; X to AJ
Sew L to AD; P to AF and T to AH.
Here they are, all done! Did I tell you it is very important to press after each step?
..as is to arrange them again as per the final design to ensure there is no mix up anywhere!?
Step 3 : Joining the feathered wedges to the inner star ‘diamond shapes’
We are almost there, ready to give the inner star its feathers.
Sew AB to CY; EF to G.AA ; UV to W.AI
Sew IJ to K.AC; MN to O.AE and QR to S.AG
I again arrange the templates assembled so far to ensure all is going well.
I am down to the last step that I will be doing for now!
Join ABCY to DZ; EFG.AA to H.AB; UVW.AI to X.AJ
IJK.AC to L.AD; MNO.AE to P.AF; QRS.AG to T.AH
And I am done!!
Our 6 star wedges are ready.
This is a step I am skipping for now.
You could join the 6 wedges to complete your circle and appliqué it to 19″ square. Trim to 18.5″ after the appliqué.
Join to background pieces as follows, (referring to the star centre) before finally joining them:
Wedge with U to AK; wedge with A to AL; wedge with E to AM; wedge with I to AN; wedge with M to AO; wedge with Q to AP.
Join these along the straight lines follwing the Master Template to obtain your feathered star!
Some people have asked for the Master Template in colour.
Don’t forget to share your Feathered Star on my Facebook Page Patchwork of My Life! Click on the link on the right to like my page and gain access to it.
I must not forget to mention Prabha Mathew who tested the block for me and pointed out some errors in the original pattern, which I have tried to take care of! Thank you so much, Prabha 🙂
You can download the patterns for all the blocks of this quilt from the Round the Year Quilt Page on this blog.
1. Block 13 Feathered Star Instructions including Fabric Requirement and Master Template