Sunday, September 23, 2012

"Coffee with Jeanne" Star Block

This block is my own creation for the GardenWeb Quilt Forum Birthday Block Exchange 2013. It is a simplified version of Brasstown Star.

This makes a 12" block finished size (12 1/2" unfinished)

Introducing the Coffee with Jeanne Star Block!

1. Select Your Fabrics

I had 3 coffee theme fabrics on hand. Either of the two on the left will work well. The one on the right is too light and will not allow for sufficient contrast. I want the white star to show up well. Keep that in mind when you select Color 3 also. Do not select a color that is too light for Color 3. It should be medium to dark.

There will be 3 fabrics in my block. For one, use a coffee themed novelty print. One will be white or white on white and the third will be a fabric that picks up one of the colors in the coffee print and is a solid or "reads like a solid from a distance." Here is what I selected.

Color 1 is the coffee novelty print.

Color 2 is the white or white on white

Color 3 is the solid or nearly solid in a color that coordinates with fabric Color 1

Coffee Theme Pieces (Color 1)

2. Cut your fabric pieces

From Color 1 (coffee novelty fabric), cut four 4 1/2" squares. If your fabric has a top and bottom like mine does, make sure to cut it so they all face the right way.
From Color 2 (white or white on white), cut one 4 1/2" square and eight 2 1/2" squares
From Color 3 (coordinating fabric), cut four 4 1/2" squares.

White Pieces (Color 2)


Coordinating "Solid" (Color 3)

3. Mark Diagonal Lines on White (WOW) Fabric

Draw a line on the diagonal of each of the eight 2 1/2" white (WOW) squares. If your fabric is like mine and there is a front and a back (my front side has small raised dots on it), mark on the back (wrong side) of the fabric. I use a handmade file folder lined with sandpaper under my fabric so it doesn't slip when I mark it. (I will be happy to give instructions on how you can make one.)


4. Sew the small squares on the novelty squares as shown in the two pictures below.

You see one piece pinned in position in the picture above. Place right sides together and your stitching line will be on top. Pay attention to how the block will fold once you stitch it so the points will be going the right way. Notice, too, how two of the 2 1/2" squares will be added at the top of one novelty block, two at the bottom of another novelty block, two at the left of a novelty block, and two at the right. This is a concern if you have directional print fabric.

I pinned all eight blocks in place in this photo below so you could see how to position them. Now it's time to sew them in place. I was always told to stitch one thread to the inside of the part that remains. That allows for the size taken up by folding over the fabric. You don't want this seam too far to the outside or the inside. Your corner should flip over and match what is underneath. Stitch only one corner at a time so you can press and check your work before moving on. Do not cut anything away until you press and measure your block. These remain 4 1/2" even after the flippy corners are added.

5. Check Your Work, Press, and Trim

Once you have your white (WOW) block sewn on the diagonal, fold along the stitching line and make sure the top piece completely covers the fabric underneath. If it is not large enough, your block will not finish at 4 1/2 x 4 1/2" - get out that stitch ripper and re-sew if needed. (I had to do it, too, so don't feel bad.) After you stitch one corner in place, then press, open your seam so the top layer is away from the two bottom layers and trim away the excess fabric underneath - but make sure you don't cut away the top layer - and leave 1/4" beyond the seam before you move on to add the second corner. You may even need to press everything lightly a second time before you add corner #2. You want the block to be flat and the correct size before you move on to the next step.

Do not cut until you measure carefully and make sure the top layer which will remain on the block is folded back and you don't trim it away.
See how I have the top white fabric folded back before I cut anything. When you cut the excess, place your ruler so that you are cutting 1/4" beyond the seam line. You are trimming away the excess so the block won't be so bulky.

6. Once The "Flippy Corners" Have Been Added

Once all eight flippy corners have been added, press again. Now you are ready to sew your rows together. Sew the top row, center row, and bottom row  - or left, right, and center. Either way is fine. I did top, center, and bottom. Make sure your points are laid out the right way! We want to see a white star in the middle.
In pressing each row of three blocks, I pressed towards the block without any seams.

Here the rows are sewn together.
Now you can sew your three sections together. One seam should go to the left and one to the right as you pin your sections together so they will be snug and lock in place. When you sew the seams that involve star points, it helps if you watch where the points fall as you are stitching. If needed, you can make the seam allowance just a little bit smaller so as not to cut off the point, but don't adjust much because then your block won't be the right size. Watch the "X" from the previous stitching which should be 1/4" from the edge to make sure you are stitching in just the right place.

7. You Are Finished!

I positioned my 12 1/2" ruler over the block to make sure the size is right.
Your block should look like this:

I made one block prior to this one. (I made the second block so I could take pictures as I went through the process.) Here are my two blocks placed side by side. 

This is going to be so much fun to see the different fabrics and colors that I receive from the swap!

If you're not in the Birthday Block Exchange, you can still make this block and enjoy it. However, do not print out the pattern for others or claim it as your own.

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