How to Cut Native American Star Quilt Pieces

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Native American star quilts are composed of small diamonds pieced together to create an eight-pointed star. Precision cutting and sewing is required to create a star that is not puckered. This can be difficult since every diamond has bias edges that can easily be pulled out of square simply through necessary manipulation during stitching. However, with the basic strip piecing method, segments of fabrics are assembled and then cut into strips of pre-joined diamonds. The possibility of having distorted quilt pieces is reduced with this method.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabrics
  • Laundry and ironing equipment
  • Rotary cutter with new blade
  • Large rotary cutting mat
  • Acrylic rulers
  • Sewing machine
  • Prewash all fabrics in warm water to make sure that shrinkage has occurred before any pieces are cut. Iron the fabrics, making sure that the fabric grain is square and not distorted. Fabric grain distortion will affect the accuracy of the cut pieces during later quilt construction.

  • Cut long strips of fabric using rotary cutter and rulers. Cut them the size needed for the width of the diamonds; 3 inches is a popular width. All diamond pieces should be the same size, so all strips will be the same width.

  • Stitch the strips together along the long edges in the color arrangement of your design. Use identical color arrangements for each star point so the star points will be identical. If your star point size is eight small diamonds wide, you will now have eight strips of fabrics stitched together. Some quilters prefer to offset the ends of the strips when the rows are stitched together. To offset 3-inch wide strips, place the end of each strip 3 inches in from the end of the previous row.

  • Press all seam allowances to one side on the wrong side of the set of strips. Also iron the right side of the set of strips, making sure all seams lie flat. If the long stitched edges of the strips are straight on grain, they will not distort.

  • Cut diagonally across the joined strips at a 45-degree angle using your ruler and rotary cutter. Use the degree markings on your ruler for accurate angles. The distance between each diagonal cut should be the same as the original width of the strips. If the strip width is 3 inches, the distance between diagonal cuts is also 3 inches. Each diagonal cut will yield a strip of joined diamonds, ready to be sewn together as strips to make the star points.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use standard 1/4 inch seams on all quilt piecing. Sewing accurate 1/4 inch seams will help the quilt lie flat.
  • A large rectangular ironing board makes the ironing process more accurate than a standard ironing board, which is shaped to provide ironing surfaces for curved seam garments.
  • Use a new blade on your rotary cutter. This helps avoid miscuts and fringed pieces. Practice using rotary rulers and cutters before you tackle expensive fabric.

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