Friday, August 17, 2012

QAL Block 4 – St Louis Star

Hi all,

Today is my day for a How far will you go? QAL tutorial.
We are doing Block 4 – St Louis Star.

If you are doing the full quilt you will need 1 of these blocks!


Please read the whole tutorial before you start!


Download the pattern from here. I recommend downloading it before you print it. (I couldn’t adjust the page scaling when I printed it straight from Box.)

The foundation pattern is on 4 pages. When printing make sure to print with NO page scaling.


The foundation patterns should measure 5” along the finished line as shown above. Or 5 ½” if you include the seam allowance. (Sorry about the glare!)

Trim around all the foundation pieces, I leave the seam allowance plus about 1/8th of an inch around the edges.

Fabric cutting Instructions


Note before you cut – if you are new to paper piecing you may want to cut your pieces ½” or so bigger than what I have, just to give yourself some more room for playing!

Background fabric – cut 8 rectangles 3 ½” x 2 ½”

Back Star fabric – cut 8 rectangles 4 ¼” x 2”

Fore Star fabric 1 – cut 4 rectangles 6 ¼” x 2 ¼”

Fore Star fabric 2 – cut 4 rectangles 6 ¼” x 2 ¼”

Outside Corner fabric – cut 8 squares 4 ½” x 4 ½”

Piecing the foundations

Note – The way I am showing you here is a bit different to the youtube video, I use pins to show me where the seam line will be rather than holding it up to the light. It lets me be more accurate and have less wastage because I can cut my fabrics a lot smaller in the beginning. However, you can still do it the way Craft Gemini shows you in the video, it just a matter of personal preference!

Start with unit A.


Lay paper printed side down, lay background fabric right side up over paper in the corner marked A1 (so your paper and fabric are wrong sides together). Line the fabric up with the edges of the paper. Pin to secure.


Flip paper over, poke a pin through the layers at either end of the first seam line.


Flip over again, the pins are your guide on the back, so you can see where your seam will be. Just to show you more clearly I have drawn a line to show you where the seam will be sewn.


Lay your Back Star fabric at right angles to the background fabric. The seam is on the 45’ so the fabric will flip over on that angle. A bit confusing but it will all be clear once this piece is sewn and ironed.

I use the imaginary line between the pins as my guide for where I place the fabric and getting the ¼” seam allowance.


Using the same pins secure the fabric. I have put the line just so you can see approximately where the seam is going to be sewn in relation to where the fabrics are.


Flip the piece over and sew along the first seam line. Sew from the edge of the seam allowance. Stop sewing right on the edge of the next sewing line.


Fold the paper back, and trim fabric ¼” from sewn line.


Press Back Star fabric over into position.


Repeat the process now for piece 3. Pin through at either end of the seam line.


When you place the fabric down, check at each end to make sure you have allowed slightly more than ¼” for the seam allowance.


Bring the pins to the top and secure all the layers. I have drawn in the line so you can see where the seam will be in relation to the fabrics.

Flip the piece over and sew along the seam line.


Fold the paper back underneath and trim the seam allowance to ¼”.

Press fabric over into position.

Repeat the pinning process for piece 4.


Line piece 4 (outside corner fabric) up with the pins.

Secure as before and sew along seam line.

Fold back paper and trim fabric to ¼” seam allowance.


Press piece 4 into position.


Trim around the edges. Using rotary cutter cut along all the outside lines. (Do not cut on the finished line, which is the bolder line, make sure to cut on the very outside line.)

You have now got one complete segment.

Repeat this process for the rest.

I started with unit A and worked my way through them all the way up to H. Use the 1st Fore Star fabric for A,B and E,F. Use the 2nd Fore Star fabric for units C,D and G,H.

Piecing the block

Tear the paper off the back of all the units.


As you tear the paper off lay the units down in the correct order ready for sewing. Starting with A at the top left hand side and working clock wise around the block.


Sew the units together as you would a 4 patch block. Sew A to B, C to D and so on.

I really recommend pinning at all the adjoining seams when you join all the pieces together. Press all these seams open, there is going to be a lot of bulk and I think doing this will really help.


You can see in the picture above that I have put the pins in along the seam lines and at the top corner. Often with paper piecing the fabric ends up with bias or close to bias edges, the pins help with any stretching and also keeping it all lined up.


Sew the top units together and then the bottom units together. Keep using your pins!


Then sew both rows together. Do I need to say … PINS? There is a lot of bulk at the centre point so you will need to go slowly over this section.

There are 16 seams coming into that centre point! With this much bulk it is very difficult to get the points perfect.


This is my points, as you can see they are not perfect. I guess with some unpicking and fiddling I could get them a bit better but I am pretty happy with how the block has turned out which the more I think about it I might have to do! Ughhh!


I just wanted to show you a picture of the back of my block so you could see the bulk in the middle and how I have pressed the seams.

Well done! You now have a St Louis Star!

It should measure 10 1/2” unfinished!

If you have any questions please pop me an email, leave a comment here or in the Flickr group and I will do my best to help!

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Wendy said...

Your blocks for your quilt along are beautiful and I love the colours you are working with. It's going to be a beautiful quilt.

Nanette said...

I am so excited to try this out! Thanks for the step-by-step helps me feel a lot more confident about trying foundation paper piecing.

Unknown said...

I know the Modern Sampler QAL is fairly old, but it looks like a beautiful pattern to teach a friend to quilt. The link for the St. Louis Star is broken I was wondering if you could either send the pattern directly to my email or if you could fix the broken link for the PDF pattern. Thank you!! Michelle B.

thefarleys2001 said...

I also have just found your blog and love your quilt but as mentioned prior the St Louis block link won’t open. Would love to make this amazing quilt. Can the pattern for St Louis bulk be emailed?
I pray you see these posts!
Thank you