Four Patch Stars Quilt Tutorial

Four Patch Star

Scrappy Fourpatch Star Quilt: Easy Quilting Project with Jenny of Missouri Star Quilt Co. MSQC’s Jenny teaches us how to make an adorable star quilt our of four patches half square triangles using layer cakes (10 inch squares of precut fabric).

For supplies click here:

Transcript (Downloadable PDF Here):


Hey everybody, it’s Jenny from the MSQC. And I’ve got a fun project for you today. Today we’re making a star block and we’re calling it Scrappy Stars because it’s made with two different blocks. We’re using the half square triangle and we’re also using the scrappy four patch. And I love what happens when we combine blocks with each other. So let’s look at this quilt behind me. You can see here we’ve got our four scrappy four patches together to make one big 16 block. And then all these points are half square triangles. So we’re going to make, show you how to make both of those blocks today and it’s just really an adorable quilt. The quilt ends up being about 76 by 90 so it’s a good sized quilt.


So to make this quilt what you’re going to need is two packets of ten inch squares. And we are using for our quilt, you can see the fabric behind us as well. We’re using Gypsy Lane by Jane Farnham for Camelot. It’s just an adorable line. Really a cute line. And so that’s kind of fun. You’re also going to need a packet of solid pre-cut fabrics as well. That’s going to be your background fabrics, that’s going to be this fabric in here. So let me show you how to make this.


So to make this block we’re going to start with our half square triangles on the outside. These are our star points. And we’re going to use a method of making half square triangles where you get eight half square triangles out of one ten inch square. And I’m going to show you how to do that.  So what we’re going to do is we’re going to take our two pieces. We’re going to lay them right sides together, just like this. Line them up, make sure they match exactly. And then we’re going to draw a line corner to corner. Now you can see I’ve done that but it’s, it’s really simple. You know you’re just going to put your ruler on here and draw your line corner to corner. Then what we’re going to do is we are going to sew on either sides of these lines, just like this. So let’s go to the sewing machine and do that.


Alright what you want to do is you want to make sure that your sewing machine is set up so that you’re, you know, pretty even quarter of an inch and start sewing. So we’re keeping our presser foot lined up right along that line. We’re going to sew diagonally from one corner to the other. We’re just going to, when we get to the end we’re just going to flip this around and sew right down the other side. This is such a great way to get eight half square triangles out of one square. Alright so now what we’re going to do is we are going to cut this up. And we’re going to make actually six cuts. Let me move this out of here so you can see this. We’re going to try not to move our square. And we’re going to cut on the lines. So the line that we drew right here, we’re going to cut on those lines. I’m just going to move my ruler and come over here and cut this line. There we go. And then we’re going to cut it up and down and sideways as well. So if you have your square lined up on your, your mat so that, so that you can count because it’s a ten inch square. So we’re coming in five inches. And when you lay down your ruler, another check is that it should pass right through the center of that X. Your pencil drawn X. Alright there’s that one and then we’re going to come over here to this one. And it’s just helpful to use those lines and that X, everything to make sure that you’re all lined up. Alright now what you’ve got is eight half square triangles right here. So there’s eight of those just like that. And we’re going to press them open. I like to just put them in a, in a pile  and take them on over to the sewing machine.


Alright so now what we need to do is we need to square these up so that they are 4 ½ inches. When you start putting all these blocks together you really do have to make sure that your, your blocks are pretty close in size. And we’re going to go with 4 ½. So what I’m doing when I square this, I just have a regular ruler with a 45 line on it. And I’m going to set my 45 line on the, the half square triangle line where the two squares come together. And I’m just going to slide this ruler until it hits 4 ½. So here’s my 4 ½ here which means I’ve got a little bit to trim and this one is a little short on this side so I’m actually going to flip that and do it this way. Make sure my line is lined up on the edges and on the 45. There we go. And I’m going to trim this off and this. And then right over here I can see I have a little bit extra on this side so I am going to flip that, rotate that around, make sure those straight edges are on my 4 ½ and just trim off this edge right here. So it’s not hard to square up a block. It’s just, you know, you’ve got to pay attention, make sure that your lines are lined up on the, on the 45 and on the edges of your block. And then we’re just going to trim this off like this. And you’re going to go ahead and do this to all your blocks because that will really help them to nest nicely and fit really well together. So let me finish this one up right here. I’ve just got to concentrate a little here. So I have a whole pile of those done here and ready to go.


And what we’re going to do with these is we are going to sew these together like this, with our whites to the middle and it looks like a flying geese. And this is actually a really easy way to make a flying geese. But we want our points to come down like this. So we put our whites together in the center. And we’re going to sew all four of these together. So I’m going to bring this pile over here to my sewing machine and we’re going to sew them all at once. And then they’ll be ready for us to add as we, as we get our block done. They’ll be ready for us to add. And we’ll be able to have them all together and ready to go. Now we’re going to set these aside and we’re going to work on our scrappy four patch.


So for the scrappy four patch you need charm size squares. So we’re going to gather a couple of charm size squares here. And what you’re going to do is you’re going to take your pieces, your big ten inch pieces and we’re going to cut those in half, both directions. And that’s going to give us four five inch squares. Let me put this back down here. So I am just going to go ahead and cut this in half and in half again. And you’re going to do this with 20 of your blocks. Alrighty here. Alright, so now you should have four five inch squares that are the same. And we’re going to stack these all in a pile because we are going to use these for our scrappy four patch. Now the scrappy four patch is a fun block. And I use it a lot if I need a big block like this, you know with the 16’s in them. I use it a lot for that. But these just make four patches so anything that uses a four patch, this is a great method to use. It’s just quick and easy.


And so let me show you how we did that. What we’re going to do is we’re going to take our squares and put them right sides together and we’re just going to sew on the sides. So you want to have some contrast, so make sure when you’re picking through your blocks, that you pick lights and darks and put them together. And we’re just going to sew the sides. So let’s go to the sewing machine and just sew the sides of this. I’m going to move this down here so you guys get a better view of this. And we are just going to sew just the sides of these. And so if you have your whole stack all set out you can actually just chain piece these and do one after the other, after the other. You can come all the way down one side and then when you’re done on this side, you can just flip it and come down the other side because we’re only sewing the sides on this. Alright.


So now we’ve got these, our whole pack is done like this, all of our squares. And I’m just going to stack them on top of each other. Be careful if you do that, you want to make sure that they’re lined up exactly because we’re going to cut them right in half.  Now our squares are five inches so we’re coming in 2 ½ and making our cut just like this. Then we’re going to iron these open. So let’s come here and do that. And they should have some pretty good contrast to them. So now you have a bunch of pieces that look like this.


Now what we need to do, our next step is sewing these together end to end to end. You can see I have some going here. I’ll add on one of these and one of these and, and you’ll get to see what, what, how fast this makes four patches. So let’s go ahead and put this one on here. And what I do is I like to start my few stitches and then I’m going to make sure my middles nest up. And you can feel that with your fingers, if there’s no space in between. And that’s what we want. We want, we want, we want those middles to line up exactly. So let’s go here. I think this one is going to be better here at this end. So I’m just going to take a few stitches to hold it, then I’m going to make sure that my middles line up. And if you have a middle that is ironed the other way, just, just move it and and make it so that it nests nice and flat. And again when I’m talking about nesting I’m talking about making sure that these little middle seams line up perfectly right here. You want those to line up really nice. So then we’re going to press this down again. And then just how we, just how when we sewed our two charms together, we cut that in half, we’re going to come along now and cut these in half. So we’re going to go 2 ½ inches from here and do our first cut. And then you lose your seam allowance so I like to fold that over because from every seam edge it’s going to be 2 ½ inches. And so here we go, 2 ½. And there’s our first scrappy four patch. And 2 ½ like this and there’s our, oop let’s keep this lined up nice and straight. We’re getting a little wonky. There we go and our second scrappy four patch. And you’re just going to keep doing that to the whole thing until you get a whole bunch of four patches. And I have a stack of them right here done.  


And then what we’re going to do is you’re going to take four of these and you’re going to mix them all up. And we are going to sew them together to make a 16 block. And we’re going to do this just like you would normally do a, do a four patch block so we’ll sew these two and these two. And then we’ll sew these to these. So let’s head to the sewing machine. It’s starting to get exciting. I love it when things start coming together. You can actually see, see what’s going to happen. There we go and match, nest up that middle seam. And then one more. And nest it up. Make sure it fits. Alright now we’ve got these two done this way like this. And we’re going to put these right sides together. Wait a minute, there we go. You don’t want to have any line up so we put we’re going to put these right sides together now like this. And we want to match all those tiny little seams up because that will just keep our 16 block in perfect shape. So we’re just going to make sure all of our little seams nest together very nicely. Lay nice and flat. You’ll be able to feel it with your fingers. There we go. Alright now let’s press this open. So fun. So now you can see our little 16 patches together.


So now we’ve got to, this is where our half square triangles come in. And you’re going to see them. Look at this. Here’s our legs right there, right here, right here. You’re going to put them on all four sides. Then we have these four corner squares. What you do for those is you’re going to grab one of your, one of your ten inch squares. And I’ve got one right here. And because, now whenever you take two seams on a five inch square it makes, it ends up being 4 ½ . So you’re going to have to cut four 4 ½ inch blocks out of your ten inch square which I have done here. And those are going to go in the corners right here, just like this. And so basically what I like to do when I put a block like this together is I sew these two to these legs right here. I’ll sew that unit. I sew this unit. And then I sew this, this bottom row as well. And when you get all those together you get this awesome star just like this. And you’re going to want to go ahead and make 20 of these. And so then when you go to put them together over here you can see there’s four across the top and five down. And when you go to put these blocks together your rows, your blocks are going to nest right together. So when you attach this block to the next block, there’s no sashing in between. You’re just sewing block to block. So you’re going to sew five rows of four and you’re going to end up with a quilt that is 76 by 90 so that’s a pretty good sized quilt. So we hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the Scrappy Four Patch Star  from the MSQC.


posted: Beginner Quilting Tutorials, Layer Cakes, Quilts and Quilt Blocks | tagged: , , ,
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  • Kathy

    I am very new at this so I am going to ask, what might sound like a silly question. How do you keep the points on the star?

    • joanne

      you have to be sure that there is 1/4″ of white at the point tip. Then, using the 1/4″ seam allowance, it will be perfect.

  • Sheila

    I am having issues with the 16 patch coming out exactly even. I thought I cut everything exactly and sewed it exactly but it isn’t coming out with all of the squares exactly even. Any suggestions? I am a new quilter. This is the second quilt I have made.

    • tellthetruth

      Sheila are you sure you are using a 1/4″ seam, if it’s off a hair, overall the block will not cme out even.

  • Cyn

    Anyone know the amount of fabric I need for the flip side of this quilt? The tutorial page shows the front, border, and binding but I have no clue on the reverse side (or do folks do the same on the back? lol totally new to quilting.

    • tellthetruth

      To figure the amount of backing, go to the following link. go to right and click on ‘calculator’, scroll down to backing and binding and it will refresh and you put in the width of your quilt and the length, then click calculate and it will tell you how many yards you will need for backing. It also first asks you the width of the fabric you want to use for backing, it is automatically set at 43″, but there are other sizes to choose. I hope this helps

  • Wendy Crawford Blackburn

    I finally finished mine. I used 25 stars so it’s quite big for our high bed. I give most of my quilts away but this one is a keeper. I made 2 more stars for shams. Those may have to wait until the Fall.