TUTORIAL - Making an eight-pointed star

This tutorial focuses specifically on the eight-pointed star. We will be dealing with Y seams. If you want more information on Y seams - there is another tutorial that deals with more Y seams.

For this block you need to have EIGHT diamonds (cut on the 45 degree), FOUR squares for the corners and FOUR triangles for the sides of the block.

When cutting the triangle, it is important to have the STRAIGHT of GRAIN on the LONG side of the triangle. This is prevent distortion on the edge of the block.   The easiest way is to take a square and cut it twice on the diagonal.   Follow the size directions for the block size you are making.  DO NOT make this bigger for fudge factors. It will be harder to deal with if you do.

In this picture, you can see that one cut has already been done. After you make the first diagonal cut, DO NOT move anything. Just place the ruler in the opposite direction.  If you want to verify that you are working with a square - place the edge of the ruler from corner to corner and one of the vertical lines along the edge of the block. See where the arrow is pointing?   That is just a way of checking that everything is squared up. 

Now you have FOUR triangles for the sides of the blocks and the straight of grain is on the long edge of the triangle.   The bias edges (from the diagonal cuts) will be on the inside of the block. 

This is the square for the corner of the block and again - if they ask for a weird size - do not fudge and make it bigger. Here the square size is 3 1/8  inches. So yes if the pattern calls for a specific size - you cut that exact size. 

Although there are numerous ways to sew this block together - the following is the way that I like. I think it gives you chances to check the squareness of your work as you go along and therefore more chances that the block will lie perfectly flat. 

Start by laying out the diamonds. NOTE - several of my pairs have already been sewn in the above photo. Cut the diamonds as per the pattern. No need to go crazy and fussy cut them (like I did - that is just extra work)
Let's focus on ONE of the pairings
Fold the right hand diamond onto the left diamond
 When sewing an eight-pointed star - you do NOT sew right through the seams. You must leave some of seam allowances free (of stitching) so you can manipulate the block for the next seam.   In order to make this seam easier to sew it is CRITICAL to mark the start and stop of the seam so YOU know where to stop and start.

Take a ruler and lay it along the edge of the diamond and mark with a SHARP pencil so you can see the intersection of the seam lines coming from both directions. NO need to mark the points of the diamond - just the intersection in the middle.   (click on the picture to make it bigger). The arrows are pointing to the two spots where the intersections need to be marked.

Mark the intersections on the sides of the diamond
Make sure that the intersection on the top piece is lined up with the intersection of the bottom piece. You can use a pin to poke through both pieces to ensure they are lined up.  If you cut the pieces correctly, there shouldn't be a problem.

Now you are going to sew those two pieces together. You will start sewing at that intersection. You can see below that my needle is positioned to sew at the intersection.   Now here is the tricky part.  You MUST anchor the end of that seam. If you have a FIX button on your machine - use that. This will tie a knot at the start of the seam and will anchor that seam. If you do NOT have a FIX button, then you will have to take two stitches forward and then two backward and then sew the rest of the seam. Alternatively you can start two stitches ahead of the intersection and sew two stitches back and then move forward.

Starting to sew at the intersection
 You will sew right through to the end of the seam. You do NOT need to stop at the intersection at the bottom of the diamond (which we did NOT mark anyway)

Here is my ANCHORED seam  - note that I started my seam a smidgen off from the intersection.   I did go back and fix it, but did not take a picture!
The pair of diamonds from the front
Press the seam to one side and be consistent with all the pairings.  
 You can also press this seam open, but in this case - it works best if pressed to one side.

Use your square ruler to check that you have a SQUARE corner here. If all the corners are square - the block should go together no problem. 
Lay out the pairs of diamonds and the triangles that we are going to insert into the open end of the diamond pairing
Now we are going to work on just one pairing.  You need a sewn diamond pair and a triangle

I did NOT take a picture with the intersection marked. But you want to mark the point on the top of this picture.  No need to mark the outer points - just the one in the middle. 

 Just a note about that marking - make sure you are using a SCANT line and a SHARP pencil and that the line you draw is close up to the edge of the ruler. We don't want a HUGE seam here.

There are TWO ways of sewing the triangle in - you can sew with the diamond on top for the first seam or with the triangle on top for the first seam. Then the second seam will be the opposite.

Take the diamond pair and open it up

Lay the triangle on the pairing (you can see the marked lines in this photo).   You want to match that intersection with the intersections on the diamond pieces (which should be where the two seams on the diamonds meet). Also match the big points  (bottom right of the photo)

Now you can sew this like - anchoring the seam at that intersection on the triangle.   (Here the triangle is on top)

I prefer to flip it over and sew on the diamond side first. (that means that you will be sewing the left side of the triangle first, then the right side).

Again - you want to match up those intersections. This is very important or you will have a hole in the front of the block.

The triangle is underneath  the diamond. Note how the edges are perfectly lined up. NO overhang - this is very important
Make sure the bottom diamond is tucked out of the way. 
I use a stiletto to keep those ends under control.  Again - you want them to meet EXACTLY at the end and sew right to the end of the seam. 
You can see here (again - enlarge the photo) where the two seams KISS, but do not overlap
Now twist the unit around so you can sew the right hand seam of the triangle.  This time, the triangle will be on top. 
Take your ruler and see if you have square corners on those two sides.  If yes - then you are good to go. 

Do that with all four diamond pairings.

Now it is time to insert the squares.  You will mark ONE corner of the squares and then insert the squares between pairs of diamonds.  

Mark ONE corner of the square.

That is all the pictures I have - hopefully that will be enough for you to get your practice block together.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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