Learn how to sew an Ohio Star Quilt Block during week 11 of our Spring Block of the Week! Only 2 more blocks after this one and our Spring Block of the Month series will be complete!! Then we’ll take all of the blocks from weeks 1-13 and make them into a quilt!!!
The Ohio Star is one of my favorite quilt blocks!
The history of this quilt block dates back to quilts created in the 1800’s. But because this block can use small scraps of fabrics, the Ohio Star Quilt Block gained popularity during the Depression era of the 1930’s. The Ohio Star quilt block appears in Depression era and post-Depression quilts. This quilt block was a popular pattern among Scottish and Irish immigrants in the Midwest and frequently used by Amish quilters.
You can read more about the history of quilt blocks in a book by Barbara Brackman, Civil War Sampler: 50 Blocks with Stories from History.
Week 11 – Ohio Star Quilt Block
The Ohio Star quilt block uses quarter square triangles and squares. We learned how to make a half square triangle block in the Week 2 – Shoo Fly post.
A quarter square triangle block uses similar techniques as the half square, and we’ll go through the steps below on how to make these fun little blocks that help make up the Ohio Star!
Just like the other blocks in this series, this quilt block is a nine patch block.
The finished block will measure 12 ½” x 12 ½” square.
Sew using a ¼” seam allowance throughout.
Cut the fabric for the block…
Cut four 4 ½” squares of light-colored fabric for the outside corners of this quilt block.
Also cut one 4 ½” square of medium-colored fabric that will make up the center of the quilt block.
I used a unique fabric for the center of my Ohio Star Quilt Block, but you can use the same color as you’ll use for the points of the star or the same color you use for the fabric that surrounds the center square.
Each of these other fabric choice options will create an Ohio Star that will have a look that’s a little different from mine, but that’s ok! Use your imagination and create an Ohio Star that has the look you want!!!
Cut one 6” square of the same light-colored fabric that you’ll use for the outside corners.
Cut one 6” square that will surround the center block.
Cut two 6” squares that will make up the points of the star.
You can use different contrasting fabrics for this quilt block, maybe a light star and a dark surround. Be creative!!
Making the Quarter Square Triangle Block…
Draw a diagonal line on both of the light-colored 6” squares.
Line up and pin the light-colored 6” squares right sides together to each of the other 6” squares. Sew ¼” on each side of the diagonal line for both of these.
Cut along the diagonal line to separate the sewn squares. Press open toward the dark fabric. You’ve just made four half square triangles!!! You’ll use these half square triangles to now make quarter square triangle blocks.
Next, draw a diagonal line along the two half square triangles that include the light-colored fabric. This diagonal line needs to be perpendicular to the seam.
Line up and pin the half square triangles that you just drew the diagonal line to the other two half square triangles. Make sure the right sides are together and the seams line up too!
Sew ¼” on each side of the diagonal lines. Cut along the diagonal lines to separate. Press open.
Now you have four pretty quarter square triangle blocks!!! But we need to trim them before using them in the Ohio Star Quilt Block!!
Trimming the Quarter Square Triangle Blocks…
Use a small plastic ruler like the Easy Square, Jr. to trim the quarter square triangles!
Line up the 45 degree line on the ruler to one of the seams on your quarter square triangle. Make sure the intersection of the 2 ¼” lines on the ruler line up to the center of the quarter square triangle. I took a Sharpie marker to mark the intersection of the 2 ¼” lines on my Easy Square, Jr.
Trim along the two outside edges of overhanging fabric.
Turn the quarter square around. Line up the diagonal line again to the same seam used when you made your first cuts. This time, line up the trimmed corner to the intersection of the 4 ½” lines on the ruler.
Trim along the two outside edges of overhanging fabric.
That’s it!!! You now have four perfectly trimmed 4 ½” quarter triangle square blocks. Aren’t they cute!!!
Plan the block layout…
Follow this diagram to plan the layout of the four quarter square triangles and the five 4 ½” squares.
Sew together the squares of each row…
Begin sewing the squares together row by row. I like to pin the first two blocks in each row before I start sewing them.
Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the two squares together. Don’t sew over the pins, remove them as you come up to them.
When you have the first two blocks of all three rows sewn together, line them up in their correct row placement again.
Place the last block right sides together to each of the middle squares and pin. Stitch the last block onto each row.
I like to use the chain piecing technique to sew quilt squares together. You don’t have to chain piece these squares, you can sew each of them individually if you prefer!! If you want to read about chain piecing, check out this post!
Pressing the seams…
Press the seams of row one away from the center square. Press the seams of row two toward the center square. And press the seams of row three away from the center square. This way the seams will “nest” together nicely when you sew the rows to each other!
When you carefully press your seams so the rows “nest” nicely together, you’ll get corners and points that match up well! This takes practice. But taking your time, pressing carefully, and pinning your rows carefully together, will all be worth the effort to get nice-looking corners and points!!!
Sewing the rows together…
With rows one and two right sides together, “nest” the seams together and place a pin in these lined up seams. I also like to place a pin at the end of the rows, and a couple in the middle.
Sew the rows to each other, removing the pins as you come up to them. Be careful not to let the seam from the bottom row fold over the wrong way as you come up to it! This happens sometimes.
Press the seams of each row all in the same direction, either toward the top or toward the bottom. This way your block will lay nice and flat.
Nicely pressed seams look so pretty!!! And they help to create smooth quilting patterns later!
Finishing the block…
Using the measurements for the individuals squares that make up this block, the final quilt block should end up measure 12 ½” x 12 ½”. Once you’ve pressed it, lay it out on your cutting mat and square the block to make sure it’s 12 ½” square.
I have a 12 ½” square Omnigrip plastic “ruler” that works great for squaring up large quilt blocks!
These blocks are looking so lovely all together, I can’t wait to share how to sew them all into a quilt!!!
Have fun making this Ohio Star Quilt Block, and have a great week!!