An English Paper Pieced Moravian Star is a 60 sided object. There are others out there, made with glass or paper. Some day I will do more research on the origins of the star. For now, I just make them.
I’ve figured out a way to make my Moravian Stars a bit more quickly. It isn’t instant by any means – don’t get too excited, but I have cut several hours from the process by using my sewing machine.
This is my second Moravian Star tutorial. If you would like to see the fully hand pieced instructions, you can find them here.
I created a video tutorial series for this technique. It’s my first time making videos, so be gentle on me. I split it into 3 videos, since it was just so much footage. Feel free to let me know what you think, even if you have constructive criticism.
Supplies and Preparation
Machine stitching and hand stitching cupped units:
Assembling cupped units into the star:
I’ve also gone ahead and done a traditional tutorial, in case the videos aren’t what you need.
1 fat quarter quilting fabric, preferably striped
60 paper 60° diamond templates (Available from Paper Pieces)
Glue stick and/or glue with precision applicator tip
Thread to blend with fabric
8″ Narrow ribbon or cord
For this version I used a striped fabric. I like the kaleidoscope effect I get this way.
Press your fat quarter. The fabric should be as crisp as possible. If it is very soft, give it a shot of spray starch. We are going for firm, not soft and cuddly like a quilt.
Lay your fabric on your cutting surface wrong side up. Liberally coat one side of the diamond with glue. Place your diamonds along the lines of the stripes, glue side down. You need 5 on each row to get the spinning effect. Make 12 sets of 5 diamonds. Make sure there is at least 1/2″ between each piece. Press them down with your fingers to make sure they stick well. These papers are a permanent part of the piece, and need to stay attached.
Using your rotary cutter, cut around each diamond carefully, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Keep your sets of 5 matching diamonds together.
Start with one set of 5 diamonds. Lay them out so that they are lined up the same way, creating a swirling effect. Take two pieces and pin them together, right sides together. Line up the corners and pin together.
Stitch along the seam, starting at one point on the diamond, and end at the next point. Don’t stitch into the seam allowance. Add one diamond at a time, until you have joined all five pieces. This five diamond unit will form one face of your star. Repeat this procedure for all 12 sets of diamonds.
Take your five diamond unit to the ironing board.
Using a precision glue applicator, run a bead of glue along the inside edges of the diamonds.
Fold over the seam allowance, then press to set the glue.
Use the same procedure all the way around. I do the inner seams
then the outer seams, which gives me a nice, flat unit.
Complete this procedure for all 12 units.
Once all of the seam allowances are secured around the diamonds, it is time to start the hand piecing. Take a 5 diamond unit, and take the two sides, where it looks like there is a missing diamond, and bring them together. From the back side, stitch the two sides together. You will end up with a cup shaped section. This will form the face of your star.
Do this for all 12 units.
You will now be stitching along the outer edge, and your stitches are going to show. Choose a thread that will blend, or one that will make a nice contrast with the star fabric. Take two of your cupped units, lining them up so that two outer points of the diamonds are aligned. Stitch them together, going from one outermost point, down into the valley, and back out. I use tiny stitches, but you can use larger ones. As long as your stitching is a consistent size it will look good.
*A note on fabric tails. At the point of each diamond, there is a little fabric tail. It is a pain in the behind. I tend to push them aside as much as possible. I’ve tried gluing them down with mixed success. Just deal with them as best you can. Don’t trim them, though. You don’t want your star points to fray.
Take your third cupped unit and line it up with your paired unit. Starting at an outer point, stitch down into the valley, up to the next point, being careful to stuff your fabric tails into the tip of the star. Pull your stitches tight. Stitch down into the next valley, then back up to the point.
Now, just keep adding cupped units to your larger piece, making sure that 3 faces come together into each point. It is all fairly easy until you get to the last unit. It can be challenging to get those last fabric tails stuffed in, and hold onto everything as you stitch. Just take a deep breath and go slowly. It is okay to take a stitch on one side, then the other, rather than grabbing both at once. Before you get to the very last point, take your cord, fold it in half, and knot the ends together. Lay the knot into the star, with the cord coming out through a point, so you can hang it. Stitch through the cord as you come to that point, and finish your star.
Congratulations! Admire your star, and show it off. I have to go now – I need to find some more striped fabrics to play with.
And finally, here is my trusty companion. You can see him in some of the video, where I have the silver background. He is laying at my side as I stitch.
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Tips and Tutorials Tuesday