Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

Want to learn to sew a star quilt block? The Martha Washington Star Quilt Block isn’t the simplest of blocks but I’ve broken it down so you will be done before you know it.

This tutorial creates a 12″ finished block.

All seams are sewn at scant 1/4″

The Martha Washington Star consists of:

  • A center square – made up of double layered HSTs
  • 4 Flying Geese (the rectangles on each side that create the star effect) and
  • 4 corner squares

This block is created with a center square made from what I call a “double HST” (not sure if there is a technical term for it or not). Basically we create four HSTs with blue and cream and then use those with brown squares to create the four HSTs that form the center of the block.

Chose 3 fabrics for your quilt block and cut as follows:

(fig. 1)

Fabric 1: (blue in photos)

  • (1) 4 1/2″ square
  • (4) 4″ squares

Fabric 2: (brown in photos)

  • (2) 4″ squares

Fabric 3: (cream in photos)

  • (1) 4 1/2″ square
  • (1) 7 1/2″ square
  • (4) 3 1/2″ squares
Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 1

CREATE THE BLUE AND CREAM HSTs

FABRIC PIECES USED:
Fabric 1 (blue) : (2) 4 1/2″ square
Fabric 3 (cream) : (2) 4 1/2″ square

PLACE one blue square on top of one cream square – right sides together.

DRAW A LINE diagonally on one square. (fig. 2)

STITCH a scant 1/4″ to each side of the line. (fig. 3)

CUT on the diagonal line you originally drew to create two HSTs. (fig. 4)

PRESS towards the darker fabric.

SQUARE the HSTs to 4″ squares.

REPEAT with the other set of Blue & Cream squares to create four HSTs. (fig. 5)

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 2

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 4

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 3

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 5

CREATE THE BROWN, BLUE AND CREAM HSTs

FABRIC PIECES USED:
(2) blue & cream HSTs you just made
Fabric 2 (brown) : (2) 4″ square

Now you will repeat the above process but use the blue / cream HSTs as one square and the 4″ brown squares as the second.

DRAW A LINE diagonally on the wrong side of both brown squares.

PLACE the blue and cream HSTs you just made right sides up. Place the brown squares on top of the HSTs with the diagonal line you drew on them going to the opposite corners of the diagonal seams on the HSTs. (fig. 6)

STITCH a scant 1/4″ to each side of the line.

CUT on the diagonal line you originally drew to create two HSTs.

PRESS towards the darker fabric.

SQUARE the HSTs to 3 1/2″ squares. (fig. 7)

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 6

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 7

FINISH THE CENTER SQUARE

LAYOUT the four squares as shown in the sample block and sew together. (fig. 8)

TRIM final square to 6 1/2″ (fig. 9)

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 8

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 9

CREATE THE FOUR FLYING GEESE

FABRIC PIECES USED:
Fabric 1 (blue) : (2) 4 1/2″ square
Fabric 3 (cream) : (1) 7 1/2″ square

Making Flying Geese with the No-Waste (major time saving) Method

You will create your four flying geese for the top, bottom and sides of the Sawtooth Star with the large and small squares cut based on the sizes shown in the chart. Once sewn together, trimmed and pressed they will be the size shown in column one of the chart. (I put light green behind the measurements for the Flying Geese so you don’t confuse them with the center and corner squares.)

PART 1

DRAW a diagonal line on the wrong side of each of the 4 Flying Geese small squares (4 1/2″ squares from fabric 1) with a washable marker, chalk line or quilting pencil.

PLACE the 7 1/2″ square (Fabric 3) face up on your workspace.

Right sides down, PLACE AND PIN two of the small squares in opposite corners so the lines you drew now form one line that goes from corner to corner of the large square. The small squares will overlap a little in the center. (fig. 10)

SEW a 1/4″ seam from each side of the line. (fig. 11)

CUT along the line you drew (in between the two seams you just stitched) with a rotary cutter. (fig. 12)

PRESS seams open. You now have two partial units. (fig. 13)

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 10

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 12

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 11

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 13

PART 2

Right sides together, PLACE the third small Flying Geese square from the Corner of the large triangle and between the two small triangles. (fig. 14)

SEW a 1/4″ seam from each side of the line as you did in Part 1. (fig. 15)

CUT along the line you drew with a rotary cutter. (fig. 16)

PRESS seams open and TRIM each piece to 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ making sure you leave 1/4″ beyond the cream center point. (fig. 17)

REPEAT to create four Flying Geese.

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 14

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 16

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 15

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 17


ASSEMBLE THE BLOCK

LAYOUT your block on your workspace, a wool mat or quilt block board. (fig. 18)

SEW each row together and PRESS seams.

Sew row 1 to row 2 and then row 2 to row 3.

PRESS seams.

Martha Washington Star Quilt Block Tutorial

figure 18

If you make this block I’d love to see it!

Tag me on Instagram: @artisttarareed
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– Tara Reed

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