Stardust Quilt-along: Piecing Tips and Tricks

Welcome back to the Stardust Quilt-Along!

For those of you trying to search out Celestial Lights fabrics, more are arriving on the boat this month.

Stardust Quilt-along Schedule

Stardust Quilt-along: Preview

Stardust Quilt-along: Part I 

Stardust Quilt-along: Ribbon Candy

This month I made a video showing you some piecing tips!

Piecing Tips and Tricks


Stardust Quilt-along Preview

The Stardust Quilt

The Stardust blocks are fairly simple—it is their placement and repetition that produces dynamic movement throughout the quilt top.

Stardust Quilt-along piecing tips

The pieced blocks from the Stardust Quilt

An Accurate 1/4 Seam is Key in Quilting

The most important thing when piecing is to make sure you have an accurate 1/4” seam. If it is even a little off, it can really add up across a quilt top!

Stardust quilt-along - accurate 1/4'' seam is key

I’m using contrasting thread here so you can see, but note that red would not be my normal thread choice unless piecing an all-red quilt!

I like to use my BERNINA Patchwork foot #97 D and center stitch plate for piecing. I actually also use it for attaching binding too, lowering my presser foot pressure when feeding through a quilt sandwich.

Typically, I watch the edge of the foot while I sew, rather than the needle.

Stardust quilt-along - watch the edge of the foot

Piecing with my BERNINA Patchwork foot #97 D on my BERNINA 790 Plus.

One of the most important things when piecing is to press all your seams flat BEFORE pressing them open or to one side.  This sets the seams and reduces their bulk!

If your BERNINA isn’t sewing just as it should, make sure you engaged the dual feed!

How to Achieve Flat Pinwheel Blocks

Press all the half-square units the same direction. I pressed the seams toward the darker fabric.

Stardust quilt-along - Press all the half-square units the same direction

I prefer to make my half-square triangles a little oversized, and then trim them down so they are all the same. This takes a little more time, but I find that it gives me more uniform blocks.

Stardust quilt-along - trimming

Trimming half-square triangle units, aligning the diagonal line of the ruler over the seam.

Arrange the blocks into a pinwheel unit. Pin the blocks together in rows.

Stardust Quilt-along - Arrange the blocks into a pinwheel unit

You should be able to feel the seam allowances nest through the fabric. Press the seams in the same direction as the half-square triangle seams. I know that in this case I’m not pressing toward the darker fabric, but I find that having a really flat block is more important here.

Stardust Quilt-along - seam allowances nest through the fabric

At this point I like to go to my ironing board and use a the rows together straight down into the ironing board surface, making sure that all of the unit seams nest once again.

Then I pin the rows together on either side of the seam.

Stardust Quilt-along - pinning

Once again, I join the rows with an accurate 1/4” seam.

There are still a lot of seams meeting in the middle of the block. So I hold off on pressing and pick out the seams in the center of the block of all but the last piecing step. This allows me to “spin” the seams at the center and press them flat!

Stardust Quilt-along - spin seams at the center

Stardust Quilt-along - pressing

Stitch-and-Flip Corners

Tip: Sometimes people find that when piecing “stitch-and-flip” corners their blocks come up a little short. This is because the fabric thickness takes up a little room. So to avoid this problem, when piecing I like to sew right ALONG the diagonal line, a hairline more toward the outer corner of the block. I find that this helps me produce blocks that are the right size. You can always press back the corner of the block to make sure that it lines up correctly before trimming the seam. Also note, all the points should be 1/4” away from the raw edges of the blocks.

Stardust Quilt-along - stitch-and-flip corners

For Blocks five and six, you can press the seams toward Fabric G to make the seams nest.

I’ll be back in two weeks to talk about stabilizers for embroidery in quilts because in November we will embroidery the star blocks! The intricacy of the stitching in these designs is mesmerizing and you won’t want to stop at just one!  And don’t feel rushed—you can continue piecing these blocks in November as you are doing the embroidery!

Stardust Quilt Pattern Giveaway

One lucky WeAllSew reader will win a one Stardust Quilt Pattern by Amanda Murphy!

The Stardust Quilt Pattern by Amanda Murphy

All you have to do is post a comment below and answer the question:

“What is your favorite quilting technique?”

The giveaway is open to residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. One comment per fan. Comment must be submitted to the blog by Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at 11:59 PM Central Time. Winner will be chosen randomly. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to contact to claim the prize.

Good luck and happy quilting!


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