Making an easy star block with HSTs

Yesterday on QUILTsocial I used the Omnigrid Triangle Ruler for Half-Square Triangles to cut triangle units for a decorative cushion from two fabrics from Fabric Creations. These gray, teal and turquoise fabrics will match nicely with my gray patio furniture!

Today we’ll begin sewing and use the HSTs to make an easy star block that’ll be the showstopper on our first cushion cover. I’ve got 20″ Crafter’s Choice pillow forms from Fairfield to cover and, by making the covers removable, I’ll be able to use these same pillow forms inside the house during the colder months.

Let’s start sewing our HSTs. Change the needle in your machine before you start, especially if you haven’t changed it in a while. I love piecing with SCHMETZ Microtex needles because they have a very thin, fine point that creates perfectly straight stitches for quilt piecing, so I’ll put a new one in my machine for this project.

SCHMETZ Microtex needles are great for piecing.

I’ll use a neutral 50wt gray thread from Gütermann for my piecing. Since my sewing machine doesn’t like sewing the points of triangles (they always seem to get stuck in the cover plate) I’ll use a small piece of fabric as a leader. When you chain piece, a leader helps to keep your threads from getting pulled into the bobbin area and helps the fabrics feed through better.

Use a leader to help chain piecing go smoothly.

Match up a gray triangle right sides together with a floral triangle, so the blunt ends of the triangles match up. Sew these two triangles together along the long side of the triangle. After the first set is sewn, feed the next set under the foot of the machine. Chain piecing makes your piecing go faster, wastes less threads and keeps all your sections more organized for when you head to the ironing board. For more control you can use a Clover Ball Point Awl to keep your fingers away from the needle.

An awl helps control the fabrics as they go under the presser foot.

By using the Omnigrid Triangle Ruler for Half-Square Triangles, my HST unit has come out at a perfect 3½” square. You can trim off the little dog ears from your HST if you like. I tend to not trim them off, but I’m a lazy quilter. LOL!

The HST unit made with the Omnigrid Triangle Ruler for Half Square Triangles.

Press the seams of the HSTs to one side. A UNIQUE Wool Pressing Mat works great for this as it retains heat and effectively presses your seams from both the front and back at the same time.

Press the seams of the HST units to one side.

Arrange the HSTs and the four 3½” squares into four rows of four units each to make a star block.

Arrange the HSTs and gray squares into four rows to make the star block.

Sew the units in four rows.

Sew the HST units into four rows.

Press the seams in each row in the opposite direction to the next row. This will make sewing the four rows together much easier and more accurate as you’ll be able to nest the seams to get them lined up correctly.

Press the seams in each row in opposite directions.

Here’s the finished block. It measures 12½” square, so we’ll need to add some borders in order to make it big enough for the 20″ pillow form.

The finished star block.

Now, the borders can be added so the block ends up in the center of the cushion cover, or you can make it more modern looking by adding different sized borders to the four sides, so the block is off-center. I wanted it to be centered on the pillow form, so I cut two gray fabric strips 5″ x WOF. From these, I cut two strips 5″ x 12½” and two strips 5″ x 21½”. First, sew the two shorter strips to opposite sides of the block. Press the seams towards the border strips.

Sew the short borders to opposite sides of the block.

Sew the longer border strips to the two remaining sides of the HST star block. Press the seams towards the border strips.

The finished cushion cover front.

I know the borders look really big right now, but once the backing is sewn to the front and the Fairfield 20″ Crafter’s Choice pillow form is inserted, they’ll look much smaller. I’ll show you my favorite way of making pillow backs in Friday’s post, but tomorrow we’ll try paper piecing to make another beautiful star pillow using fabrics from Fabric Creations.

This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: 2 easy ways to keep quilt rulers from slipping

Go to part 3: 2 key products to take the frustration out of paper piecing

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