Saturday, 16 January 2016

Hazel: the 8 Point Star

This month, we're making the 8 Point Star. It's a nice start to the BOM and I've broken the central block down over 3 months so everyone can make it at their own pace - successfully. If you're daunted by stars, don't be. It takes practice and patience. And seeing how others make their own helps too.

Here's how I made mine.

First, I raided my Kaffee Fassett stash. I thought I'd only be making 'sample' blocks each month to show BOM members how to do them, but then I realized that, knowing me - I'll probably just go ahead and finish the top (if not the quilt). So if I have a quilt top just lying around, I'm  going to have to love it. That means random sample fabrics were out as an option. And that just left Fassetts. I have a stash - and a quilt top is better than a stash that's for sure. Also, the idea of a Kaffee Fassett Hazel really delights me, so that's how I made my choice. It also helped that my hand dyes fit in perfectly with my Fassetts (like the green you see above) so I'm using two stashes I love at once. So if you see a Fassett Hazel around, it's probably mine.
First things first. Make your templates and make sure that they are accurate. I was teaching a class last week where a student was explaining to me that a pattern she was working on just didn't fit. I took a look at it, and it turns out she was 'correcting' the shapes to create full angles. Don't do that. Simply use the Template exactly as they are.
You'll notice that the Templates have grain lines on them, indicating the grain of the fabric. Follow them. It makes a big difference when you are  piecing. I've even added a grain line for those of you using stripe fabric (just because I'm using stripes in my example and think it might help someone).

I've ironed and starched all my fabrics to make them a bit easier to use. Then I've played around with them just to confirm in my own mind, the shape the block will be taking.
This star blade is TEMPLATE B. 
When stitching TB, stop stitching just before your reach the side corner. Start stitching from the 'centre' (which is marked on your TEMPLATE) down. Always start stitching from that indicated center. Also, mark a dot (you can see that I have below) both left and right. This shows me where to stop stitching. Stop stitching 1/4 inch before the edge. 

This pin indicates where I stopped stitching. This is important because you need that allowance to insert the coming triangles (TEMPLATE A)
See the gap I've left?
Now, when I open my stitched TB, it looks like this
Press the seams down towards left
Stitch 2 x pairs, creating 1 half
Then sew the two halves together
Take extra care to join these together accurately.
Personally, I never pin when stitching these two sides together. I start  in the centre and start stitching from the centre out. Then I turn the block around and stitch from the centre again.
All the seams are 'turned' left, and this creates a kind of pinwheel looking seam which you open so they don't bunch together. Flatten this joined seam bunch as much as you can. It's important to understand how seams come together and how to flatten them at this point. I have not pressed in between sewing.
This is what my block looks like now that the star has come together. I never press between block construction - I only press the fabrics at the beginning (with starch) and then once again when the block is complete.
This is the front view
Now it's time to insert TEMPLATE A
It looks like this. I've used Floriani Stitch n Wash fusible on TEMPLATE A pieces because both left and right seams are on a bias (or cross grain) and no matter how much I starch, it will stretch and distort. The Fassett fabric I am using - the stripe- is a soft fabric and loosely woven. I need more stability - you probably won't unless you are using silks. 

Here's another reason why you might use fusible on this block and it's a great trick for perfect edges. As you can see, here is TEMPLATE A. I have cut TEMPLATE A from the fusible (without seam allowance) and that is the white you see here. The stripe fabric is TEMPLATE A which includes an allowance. So the fabric you can see here is the seam allowance. So, when sewing these shapes into the star, it's so easy to follow the fusible as a template to stitch the perfect curve - all without any markings, because you're simply stitching along to a high contrast guideline

So, I know that the white line below is actually my stitching line and the fabric you can see is the allowance. I knew that already, but when sewing on the machine, this high contrast makes everything so much easier.
To insert each triangle, fold the star in half and then open up the Y seam and position TEMPLATE A along the seam. One one side, I stitch from the centre of the diamond edge out, right next to the fusible. On the other side, stitch from the outside edge in. Pay attention to seam allowances. Repeat.
Once completed, set aside. Don't press. 
Next month we're adding rounds and you don't need to iron in between these stages. 


This post is related to Part 1 of my BOM "Hazel' and 'Little Hazel'
To join, click the image above

11 comments:

  1. Great instructions, as usual. You make it look so easy! We really appreciate all you do for us, Esther.

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  2. WOW Stunning centre Esther colour wise and needle wise. Your Hazel is going to be so striking. Great tutorial and so easy to follow. Thanks for all step by step photos. You are so generous with your designs and time. I'm seeing a black and white with red Hazel???? Cheers Glenda

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  3. Hi Eshter!
    Thanks for a super 8 point star tutorial!
    Gives me the confindence to really give Little Hazel a try!
    Take care,
    Joanne

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  4. Awesome step by step! Now I am ready to try it!

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  5. Hello, Esther! Your 8 pointed star tutorial by machine is excellent! You're always so thorough, leaving no mysteries about accomplishing even the most intimidating details...perfectly! Thank you for sharing your helpful hints <3
    Jeanne
    Annapolis, Maryland

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  6. plus facile avec vos explications, merci :)

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  7. Thank you for this, Esther. I will get some of that stabiliser and then give it a go. It will be very hard for me to keep the iron away from it for a couple of months! But I can see that it is important not to press it yet. I think I often get things distorted when I'm pressing them, even when I am trying hard not to.

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  8. Thank you for a super tutorial! Great instructions and love that you have lots of photos for us visual learners ;-D

    usairdoll(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. Tutorial with photos makes it so clear. Colours are striking. Thank you.

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  10. I've just made a test version, and mine doesn't look as beautiful in the middle as yours does. But I can see from your photos what I did wrong - I only sewed from the dot in the centre, which made it very hard to get the two halves to stay aligned when sewing them together. On my next one I will start the stitching from the cut edge, and only stop at the dot!

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  11. Merci pour ces explications très claires! Thanks Esther

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