Artisan Craft week
Welcome to this tutorial! Here I'll explain to you how to make your own 'patchwork' star. Patchwork is what quilters call
sewing tiny pieces of fabric together. The technique used in this article is very accessible, even if it's only because I haven't figured out all the fancy techniques yet myself
. It has served me well for many years, so it is time to share it with you all. You'll see, once you get the hang of the basics, a whole new world of fabric and possibilities will open up to you!
This is what you're going to make:
What you'll need:
- Graph paper + pen
- Fabric scissor
- Thread, ideally a colour matching one of the fabrics
- Teaspoon or iron
Some basic information:
- 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. Just turn your head to the left to read them.
- For fabric, you can use any 2 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!
Now how to make this star for yourself:
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 for each block, meaning that there's 1 centimetre (0.5 inches) between the pieces.
4. cut out the fabric with the 0.5 centimetre seam allowance:
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:
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 centimetre.
When the pieces are sewn trim the seam to approximately 0.5 centimetre. 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.
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 in 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.
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.
9. Now for the exciting part! - Well, every step is exciting, but you see what I'll mean when the block starts to get 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. It's hard to pin too much when you're afraid the pieces will move.
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.
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, maybe 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 creative yourself with your newfound creative energy and get crazy. 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!
Now, my lovely people, I've got nothing left to say. Go out into the world and quilt!