Quilt tutorial 1: how to make a patchwork star

I have the solid conviction that the world would be a better place if more people picked up needle and thread to make a quilt. This would solve two things:

  1. Quilting is very calming and gives such a sense of accomplishment that nobody will feel the urge to fight each other anymore.
  2. You can use scraps of fabric, which will greatly diminish the amount of waste, which is good for the environment.

So why don’t you pick up the needle and threat to try out quilting for yourself with this tutorial? If I turn out to be wrong about its problem-solving powers, you will not have lost anything, but rather have gained a nice piece of work to put on your wall. And that’s never a bad thing.

If anything is unclear or if you want to show what you came up with leave a comment and I’ll help/applaud, depending on appropriateness. I’d love to see what people come up with! Once you’ve finished this tutorial find part 2 here:

Quilt tutorial: how to quilt your own awesome star*

This tutorial is originally written for a project at Deviantart. I am a member of a group called ‘project educate‘ which’ aim it is to spread knowledge of all the different aspect of art and being an artist you can think of. This tutorial was my contribution to the artisan craft week. I want to share the tutorial here as well because the more people start quilting the better. I’ve rewritten and shortened it a bit, so if you want to read the whole thing you’ll have to go to my Deviantart account. There is much more artwork, especially WIP photos, there anyway so it’s worth a visit nonetheless.

The tutorial is meant for absolute beginners. I suggest that the experienced quilters go out and find an ignorant family member and make them read this article to learn. Another article I contributed to that week was ‘an interview with a quilter’. My job for that one was coming up with the questions. Check it out! The interviewee, ChaosFay is very talented and deserves more attention. Here is her website: ChaosFay website.


*and become a quilt star!

The quilt tutorial

The star in this tutorial is made with the patchwork technique. That is one of the basic and easiest techniques. The technique is very accessible and has served me well for many years. And you’ll see: once you get the hang of the basic patchwork technique, a whole new world full of fabric and sewing possibilities will open up to you!

This is what you’re going to make:
Untitled by BellaGBearUntitled by BellaGBear

Quilting materials needed

  • Graph paper + pen
  • Fabric
  • Fabric scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread, ideally a colour matching one of the fabrics
  • Pins
  • Teaspoon or iron

Basic information about the pattern

  • The pattern I’ve given is 16 x 16 centimetre. However, because it’s drawn on graph paper you can make it as big or small as you want (bigger is easier). Also, people who work with inches will be able to draw out the pattern on their own graph paper. To make that easier there are some distance markers on the pattern. Turn your head to the left to read them.
  • For fabric, you can use any two fabrics that match well together. Contrasting fabrics are best. For beginners, I recommend something non-stretchy and cotton. I’ve used obvious colours for a star, but go as crazy as you want!
  • Yellow in my drawing is the ‘star fabric’ and the light blue is the ‘background fabric’.
  • 0.5 centimetre is not the same as 1/4 inch. However, both numbers are used, so go with what works for you. You are fine when it doesn’t get much smaller than 0.5 centimetres. When I say 0.5, the inch people can simply think 1/4 inch.
  • Have fun! That’s what it’s all about!
Pattern by BellaGBear

The ten steps to quilt

1. Draw the star on graph paper in any size you want. Also transfer the letters on your pattern, because those will be used throughout this pattern. You could, of course, print the pattern, but I always notice you get a good ‘feel’ of how a pattern goes together when you draw it out yourself. Remember: bigger is easier when you are unfamiliar with sewing.
When the pattern is drawn, cut out the pattern pieces. If you want to keep your pattern intact you can also draw A, C and D again on a new piece of paper and cut those out.
2. Draw the pieces on the fabric. Leave about 0.5 centimetres seam allowance around each block. Draw the following pieces:
  •     8 x A on your star fabric
  •     8x B on your background fabric
  •     4 x C on the background fabric
  •     1 x D on the star fabric.
Here is a sample of how that looks. See that 0.5 centimetres is added to each block, meaning that there’s 1 centimetre (0.5 inches) between the pieces.
Untitled by BellaGBear
4. cut out the fabric with the 0.5-centimetre seam allowance:
Untitled by BellaGBear
5. Now it’s time to start pinning! Pin together the A pieces with the B pieces on the long side. Put the pieces together with the right sides of the fabric together as shown below:
Untitled by BellaGBear
6. Sew the pieces on the pinned line with a sewing machine or by hand. It is easier to do it neatly by hand when you are new to sewing. Choose what you’re most comfortable with. Make sure you sew over the first few stitches 2-3 times to secure them in place at the beginning and end. Ideally, your stitches should be less than 0.5 centimetres.
When the pieces are sewn trim the seam to approximately 0.5 centimetres. Open the piece and press (iron) the piece with a teaspoon to the dark side. The ‘dark side’ means that you fold the seam under the darkest fabric you’ve used (see the picture). This is done so the seam doesn’t shine through the lighter fabric. Also pressing all the seams to one side will help you later when the seams start to accumulate at the back of the block. There are a lot of discussions about all the different ways to press a seam, but I won’t tire you with those now. Your first piece won’t be perfect anyway, so just press them to one side, and it’ll turn out wonderful.
You can also use an iron for this step, but often I’m too lazy to do that myself so I’m not going to force you to do it.
Untitled by BellaGBear
7. Now lay out all the sewn AB pieces and pin them together as pictures in the photo below. The backs of the background fabric should meet and the star fabric comes together to a point. I have a hard time visualizing stuff like this, so I always lay out the pieces as in the picture, so I know for sure I pin correctly (and even then I make mistakes). When they are pinned you can sew and press them as before.
Untitled by BellaGBear
8. Now lay aside 2 of the ABAB units you just sewed for later. Pin, sew and press the C units on each of the edges of the other AB AB units as shown below.
Untitled by BellaGBear
9. Now for the exciting part! – Well, every step is exciting, but you see what I’ll mean when the block starts to come together. Grab your D piece and add the two pieces you just laid aside as shown on the photo. Add extra pins where the seams of two pieces meet to keep the pieces in place. You cannot pin too much when you’re afraid the pieces will move.
Untitled by BellaGBear
10. Now to finish the block add the ABABC pieces to the ABABD piece. After that, give the block a good press with a real iron et voíla! It’s finished.
Untitled by BellaGBear

What to do with the finished quilt block?

You’ll see that now you’ve mastered how to make your own patchwork with graph paper you can go crazy! Just be sure to number your pieces and to always double check you’re sewing the right pieces together.
What we’ve just made is what you call a ‘block‘ or a ‘quilt block”. You can use this for many different things. You can make a lot of these and turn them into a blanket, use it to make a bag and you can even make a pincushion out of it! The possibilities are endless. If you have any experience sewing, just treat this block as any piece of fabric. If you haven’t, youtube has many videos showing you how to finish this. You can, of course, also hang this piece in your room as a symbol of what you can achieve by following 10 simple steps.
And who knows, if many people make use of this tutorial, I’ll write another one detailing how to make something awesome out of this block. For now, I suggest you get crazy by yourself with your newfound creative energy and share the results. And remember these points:
  • It’s your first quilt, and that is never a failure! So go and experiment and do what feels good.
  • Perfection is only for people who have been in this business for 30 + years and quilt for the queen, but even then I would argue that point.
  • Post a picture of your star!
  • Have fun!

Would you like to know more?

Now, my lovely people, I’ve got nothing left to say. Go out into the world and quilt!

See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: bella.g.bear.art) for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blog post every Sunday or Monday.


  1. I completely agree: “the world would be a better place if more people picked up needle and thread to make a quilt”! If not quilting, then some other hobby or creative outlet! Nice tutorial and I hope it inspires someone to start quilting like we do 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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