English Paper Piecing
The 6 Pointed Star
The 6 pointed star is made up from 6 diamonds, which is a great shape to add to your English paper piecing repertoire. Stars can be used in lots of creative ways, for example by joining them with hexagons or simply by using applique to stitch the motif onto your chosen project, check out my Patterns page for ideas.
You will need
- 6 paper templates (here’s how to draw your own)
- cotton fabric of your choice, enough to cover the templates with a 1/4 seam allowance
- tacking thread
- matching sewing thread
- sewing needle
Cut out your fabric about 1/4″ bigger than the paper template and trim off the tips of the sharp points, but make sure you don’t cut too close to the template.
Baste the fabric over the template. Finger press the first side down and stitch it in place with fairly large stitches using tacking thread.
When you come to the sharp point just fold it neatly along the edge of the paper and hold it in place with a stitch. Don’t trim off the dog-ear as it can end up fraying beyond repair (trust me, that’s a pain in the bum!). When you come to the obtuse angles at the side of the diamond you won’t have any dog-ears to worry about, but still hold the fold in place with a stitch.
Here’s a view of the dog-ears from the front and the back (you can click on any of the images to make them larger)
(I go into a bit more detail about basting here: basting hexagons – the only difference with diamonds is the sharp point)
The next step is to sew your diamonds together in two sections, as shown below. Place 2 diamonds right sides together and oversew them (whip stitch) along one of the sides with a matching thread. Fasten off. Leave the templates in place.
Tip: when oversewing take up just a couple of threads from each diamond, lifting them above the paper template. The fewer threads you pick up, the less of the stitch you’ll see on the right side, and if you lift the threads above the template you’ll find it easier to reuse it as the edge won’t be so damaged. Take small stitches about 2mm apart.
Place your 3rd diamond right sides together with the pair you’ve just stitched and oversew as above. Make your second section in the same way.
Tip: don’t be temped to stitch your diamonds together in a circular fashion 1 diamond at a time – if you do you’ll likely end up with an unsightly hole at the centre!
You shouldn’t have any trouble with the dog-ears, although it might seem a bit fiddly at first, just gently fold them out of the way as you sew.
Next place the two halves of the star right sides together and oversew with one seam across the centre. You might find it helpful to place a pin through the two central diamonds so that they don’t slip out of place as you work. It can also help as a ‘marker’ as the points can be a bit obscured by the dog-ears in the centre.
The dog-ears might feel a bit ‘wrong’ and bulky as you stitch across the centre, but don’t be concerned because once you open the star out and give it a final press from the front you’ll find they lie reasonably ‘flat’ as you can see below
That’s it, one star complete! You can now go on to join the stars to make a patchwork quilt, perhaps using hexagons as ‘fillers’ like the picture below, or maybe for an applique motif on a mug rug like the one in my free pattern on the Patterns page!
Happy starry Stitching!