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Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along: QuatraStar Foundation Pieced Block Tutorial

We’re trying something a little different for this tutorial. Because it’s a bit more complicated, Mr. Geek and I shot a video over the weekend. I really must thank him for being so patient, holding up that heavy camera through take after take where I messed up my lines or sounded like the village idiot. Well, to be honest, I sound like the village idiot anyway and there’s not much anyone can do about it. So please be gentle on me.

Below you’ll find a link to a pdf of a 6″ finished foundation pattern designed by Carol Doak and found in her book 300 Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks, which is an excellent book and I truly recommend it. It comes with a CD which enables you to print the patterns any size you want – no photocopying or any of that rubbish. Just straight down to business.

Regarding Foundation/Paper Piecing: I am a total convert to foundation piecing over paper piecing. You can get away with smaller seam allowances, you don’t have to use a tiny stitch length which makes it impossible to unpick should you get it wrong, and it doesn’t add much bulk. You don’t have to pull the stupid paper away at the end only to find it pulls your stitches too. 1/2 metre/yard of thin calico will cost you around 3 dollars or pounds and goes a long way. So I really recommend using the method shown below:

You’ll need the pattern, masking tape, calico or very thin white cotton fabric (about a 8″ish square piece will do), and a pencil and ruler. I know it shows a heart above, but you get the idea. Tape your paper down at the corners. Tape your calico on top of it, and using a ruler, draw the lines.

If you want, you can draw the 1/4″ seam allowance lines, or just trim it down to 6.5″ square at the end. Trace and sew 4 pieces. Or if you’re more comfortable with paper, use that.

If you want to link to this page, that’s fine. But please don’t link directly to the pdf – link to THIS page and people can follow the link to the pdf. That way I get an idea of how popular it is, which enables me to provide more free stuff in the future. So it benefits you to play politely. And I’ll know if you’re cheating.

Print the pdf WITHOUT BORDERS and check it’s 6″ square.

Here’s the PDF: SewHappyQuilt_QuatraStar_6inches

and here’s a larger version if your computer won’t print the pdf above any larger than 5.75″ SewHappyQuilt pattern

and here’s the video tutorial which, if you are new to foundation piecing, you should watch in its entirety before starting to cut fabrics or sew:

Or you can go to YouTube and see it there.

© Copyright J C Excell, 2012. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.

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16 thoughts on “Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along: QuatraStar Foundation Pieced Block Tutorial

  1. What a fabulous video ; thanks ! This will be my 1st pp ! LOVE your machine AND your huge watch ! when I printed the pdf , it turned out 6 ” including the dotted lines ; is that right ?? I’m not going to lie ; I’m a little nervous about this ! oh ; I thought you’d have an accent , even though you are from the U.S.A. !!! :- )

  2. Now that we’re almost done I do have a question on your stitch length – what stitch length do you normally use when making blocks? My machine is set at 2.5 for straight stitching and I just assumed that is what it should be for quilting – am I wrong? Thanks can’t wait to give it a go. Loved the video since I’m a visual person.

  3. I was about to say ‘oh bugger, I’ve already been to the library to photocopy today’, and then I realised I had the book, so all is not lost! Since I’m still down with the lurgy, I’m not venturing out again, but I’ll dig out the lightbox instead 🙂

  4. What a lovely video!

    Your fella did an AWESOME job helping you out!
    You didn’t babble at ALL!
    That’s one huge watch!
    I’m such a newbie – what’s calico?

    Because of this tutorial. . I’m gonna tackle this block without a care! That’s saying something with all these new skill sets your throwing out at me.

  5. Fantastic tutorial, you did a great job and Mr Geek is wonderful . Great filming.
    For a newbie quilter this video is just what I needed on this tricky block. The only worry is you made it look so easy!!
    Just a quick question, my computer has printed the pdf a ¼ inch bigger, can I just knock that off when I copy and add the seam allowance box around it or will it cause a real problem.
    Thanks Joanne

    1. Yes, you can just knock that off by marking lines that make it exactly 6″ square, ignoring the outer lines that printed a bit too big. Then mark another set of lines 1/4″ away from each, making the total outside square 6.5″. As long as you’re careful that you’ve got it all lined up correctly and not wonky, you can use that as a sewing and trimming guide. Remember, you actually want to sew past the lines on either side of it, so that your seam allowance is all nice and neat.

  6. Thank you for the video and for the QAL in general. I look forward to each new block! I’m going to be a bit sad when it’s over, but I’ll have a lovely quilt to pet.

  7. Thanks… but before getting ready to do this, I’ll need to print out enough templates… oops… guess too few is better than too many!

  8. I think I’m really going to appreciate my lightbox for this one. Can’t wait to try some foundation piecing as I’ve never done it before.

  9. I printed this off before you made the changes and was able to print it out the right size. I am trying to print again, and it is only printing out at 5 3/4″ when I do borderless printing, and 5 1/2″ not doing borderless printing. Any ideas on what I can do to get it to 6″?

  10. No problem, I just used my original copies. I tried piecing with calico, but it didn’t agree with me, so I ended up paper piecing, which isn’t any more enjoyable but at least the blocks got done. Guess this is going to be my next project – learning to foundation piece according to your video!!

  11. I have done paper piecing and your tutorial is very well done. You know there is add a quarter inch ruler that is perfect for paper piecing that makes this much easier. I have used this ruler and highly recommend it.

  12. It’s fantastic to see such a useful post. That helped me a lot. I would like to share with you a great service to merge some files online. You will be surprised how easy it can be to merge some documents. Try to merge your files through the online sowtware

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