DIY Block of the Month – January Sawtooth Star

January’s Block of the Month – Sawtooth Star

It’s hard to explain a six-month lapse in my updates but, without getting into all the details, it went something like this…graduation, vacation, watching a baby full time (with eight other kids), getting my oldest daughter off to college, my thyroid taking a huge dip in function, school, a baby full time, some science experiments in feeling better and, voila…I’m back!

And, with that said, I’m not getting much quilting done right now as I’m working 55 hours a week with kids and then there’s the mom jobs. However, my goal now, adjusted for my current work load, is to quilt for 1/2 hour every day. I’m knee deep in a memory quilt that is way overdue but our Quilter’s Tea Group is doing a “do-it-yourself” block of the month. Each of us is picking a block and those who wish to are making the blocks using at least one of the fabrics we’ve traded over the years. We have a couple of newer quilters in our group so I thought it would be fun to do tutorials of the blocks.

I got to choose for January so I went with the block I’ve made more than any other, the Sawtooth Star. I love this block for being able to show off a favorite print. You can also use all one color for a more vintage star look. As soon as I can, I’ll post a mini-trunk show of some of my Sawtooth Quilts. For now, here’s how the block goes together:

Cutting for a 12″ finished block – Cut four squares 3.5″ and one square 7.25″ of the background fabric (black in the photo.) Cut the 7.25″ square twice on the diagonal like this….

I’ve pulled the pieces apart after cutting so you can see the shape.

Next cut four squares of your star point fabric (mine was the yellow) at 3 7/8″. Cut each one once on the diagonal to look like this…

Yellow half-square triangles next to black quarter square triangles

For the center, cut a 6.5″ square of your focus fabric.

The first step to this block is to make the flying geese units that make the star points. Personally, I don’t like using the fold-over corner method. For me, it’s not as accurate even though a lot of people swear by it. So, flying geese the old-fashioned way….

Align one black 1/4-square triangle with one yellow 1/2-square triangle right sides together like this…

Lining up the triangle pieces

Then stitch the pieces together along the long outside edge. I like to chain piece all my flying geese units and when they’re done, you just press them open like this with the seam allowance to the outside.

Clip the threads between the units but don’t trim the excess yet! Add the other side of the triangle like this….

Ready to sew the second side.

Sew the second star point along the long outside edge and press. Voila! You have flying geese units…like these!

Finished flying geese

If you want to check the accuracy of your cutting and sewing, these units should measure 3.5″ x 6.5″. Three quick snips will trim off the dog ears and the hard part of this block is over because the rest of it assembles like a nine-patch. Lay our your pieces like this…

Ready to sew!

If you look at this block as three columns of pieces, I like to sew Column 3 to Column 2 first (in other words, start by flipping the square on the far right onto the top flying geese unit and sew, continuing down that row.) Then I flip the square and sew the far left row on so that I’m always sewing where I can see the intersection of the flying geese unit. See the place where the two lines of white stiching come together? That’s where you want to aim your seam. If you stitch inside that intersection, your points will blunt. Your goal is to stitch just about one thread’s width above that intersection. This way, when you press you block, your inner point will be nice and crisp.

After you’ve stiched the first three columns together, press the block with the seams in the top and bottom row pressing to the outside and the center row to the inside. Stitch the remaining two seams and your block is finished!

So, this was my first attempt at a tutorial and I thought I’d try to do one each month for our DIY Block of the Month. I’d love to hear what you think!

Keep checking back, I’ll be posting a little trunk show of Sawtooth quilts and my actual block of the month next week sometime.


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