Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hexy Stars Tutorial: Part 1 - Cutting and Piecing Stars

Here's Part 1 of the Hexy Stars tutorial!  See this post for the finished quilt and the introduction to this tutorial. This part covers cutting and piecing of the six-pointed stars.


From each jelly roll strip, cut 60 degree diamonds.  I used the 60 Degree Diamond Ruler by Darlene Zimmerman (EZ Quilting).

You don't need this special ruler though - you can just use a standard ruler that has a 60 degree marking on it.  Just line up the bottom edge of the jelly roll strip with the 60 degree marking on the ruler, as shown, and cut every 2.5 inches over.

Here you can see the two different rulers stacked on top of each other to better see that they will achieve the same thing. 

Each jelly roll strip will result in 14 diamonds.  After cutting and cutting, you'll have a big stack of colorful diamonds.

You'll also need to cut white diamonds for the background.  First cut 22 - 2.5" strips of white fabric and then repeat the steps above to form diamonds.  With 22 strips resulting in 14 diamonds each - you'll create 308 diamonds!  That should be plenty for the quilt shown.


Next is the glorious task of marking each diamond.  I only marked the diamonds from the jelly roll, not the white ones.  I used a fabric marking pen to mark an "x" in each corner 1/4" away from the edges.  It is a light blue line in the photo below (sorry, a little hard to see!).  This is a good project to do while watching TV.  It is a bit monotonous....well actually A LOT monotonous!

(Note: a woman at my quilt store told me to be careful with these pens because sometimes the heat from ironing will cause the ink to stay permanent.  She said it is good to add water to it before ironing - which would be kind of a pain, but good if it was going to stain your quilt.  I didn't do this and after freaking out after she said that, the pen ultimately came out fine in the wash.)

I then went through the diamonds and grouped them in groups of 6.  I just wanted different fabrics in each group that "went" together.  You could also keep all the same fabrics in groups of 6's and then the stars would not have the scrappy look I chose to go with.  It would look more like this quilt. 


I started by laying out the star in the order I wanted the fabrics.  It helped to visualize what the star would look like when it was finished.  For example, I didn't want 2 dark fabrics together, or 2 blues next to each other....instead, I wanted the star to somewhat have dark, light, dark, light, etc.  It doesn't always work, but that's what I was going for.  From the photo above, I took diamonds 1 & 2 and diamonds 4 & 5 and sewed them together first. 

Stitch diamonds 1 & 2 with right-sides together by starting at the center point of the star and working out, which means starting at the "pointy" side of the diamond.  Stitch from the outside edge of the diamond until you reach the 1/4" marking, back stitch 3-4 stitches, stitch forward again until you reach the 1/4" marking, and then stop.  It is important that you stop 1/4" from the edge to help with piecing the star together later.

Press the 2 diamonds with their seams open.  (Note: I always press down on the closed seam, iron one diamond away from the other, then turn it over to the back side and press the seams open, which helps "set" the seams.) 

I also used Mary Ellen's Best Press to spray the pieces each time I ironed.  It really helped and I strongly recommend it for these stars.  I have heard that Magic Sizing works just as good and is a little cheaper - so, when my Best Press runs out, I plan to give that a try.  Both just help with stretching of the fabric and piecing accuracy.

Repeat this process with diamonds 4 & 5. 

Then add on diamonds 3 and 6 to those completed pairs, respectively.  Add diamond 3 to diamonds 1 & 2 in the same way - start stitching at the center of the star (or pointy edge) and stitch until you get to the 1/4" mark, back stitch, and then stitch forward again to 1/4" mark (dot shown below).  

After you've finished stitching, using a ruler, rotary cut off the the "dog-ears," which are the points hanging off over the edges.  

Press seam open.  Spray with Best Press to get the seams to lay flat.  Repeat with diamond 6 and add that to diamonds 4 & 5.

Now you are ready to form the star by connecting the two parts.... 

To match up the two sections well, place a pin through the point of diamonds 1/2/3 (right-side-down) and continue through the point connecting 4/5/6 (right-side-up).  That will help form a good point when sewn together.  I then use two pins on both sides of the pin stuck between pieces, as shown.  That will get the seam to stay where you want it!

Then, start stitching at the 1/4" mark on one side (shown with dot) and continue stitching until the 1/4" mark on the other end (shown with dot).  

It might be difficult to stitch where all the points come together, so just stitch slowly over that part.  I left the pins in and just carefully stitched over them.  After stitching, check your point at the center of the star to make sure it lines up well. 

Then, press that seam open as well.  Using the spray will help to keep the seams pressed down.  And, by pressing the seams open, it will help eliminate bulk at the center of the star.  

I normally press my seams to one side and actually tried it on one star as a test.  I coordinated the direction to press the seams so that the seams would all rotate around.  It ended up much bulkier at the center point of the star - so, I recommend just pressing the seams open.

And there you have it....your 6-pointed star!  

All of the seams will be open 1/4" around the star as shown here.  They are supposed to be that way, so don't worry!

Continue to repeat this process until you have formed all the desired stars.  You'll want to leave 4 stars half completed for the sides, resulting in 8 half-stars.  For this quilt, I created 44 stars and 8 half-stars.  It is time consuming, but fun to do - and they look so good when you are finished --- well worth the time!!!  :) 

Good luck and enjoy! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment