One evening while perusing a catalogue, I found a shape that I wanted to try replicating in fabric: this mirror. I love the look of outlined stars (evidence: Lone Starburst), and immediately had visions of this new paper-pieced specimen. This new 12.5-inch (unfinished) block, which I call Star Seams, was born.
I tried it out first with some lovely scraps...
The template looks quite neat on paper. However, this block is quite fussy to sew up! Warning!
I discovered that you have to be very careful with this template, and since I'm not the most careful sometimes, I had a few oopses. My attitude towards the issues at the center of the blocks above and below: I'll just cover it with a button (or fix it later...)!
I don't love the process of paper-piecing. It takes forever. After a few blocks, I get a little loose with the details and start to rush. But I do love the results, and once I get an idea, I like to see if I can make it happen.
While I haven't been able to create the perfect exemplar yet (and may never...), here are the (free) templates I came up with if you're an intrepid crafter. I'm experimenting with using Craftsy as a platform for distribution, to see if there are less technical issues than using a Google document. With Craftsy, you can also subscribe to be notified about my new patterns in the future, and have them all in one place, which seems cool to me. If you try the block, I'd love to hear any feedback you have about the Craftsy platform and process.
Instructions: print 2 copies of the pattern to have 2 templates for each piece, A to F. Make sure that you print at original size or 100% (no scaling!) and measure when printed to make sure the 1-inch scale line is EXACTLY one inch.
Once each piece is complete,
1. join A -> B, C -> D, and E -> F, matching up outside edges and corners.
2. then AB -> CD,
3. then ABCD -> EF.
(repeat with second copy)
4. Join both ABCDEF halves to form a full star! Match up from the center outwards.
Please keep in mind that foundation paper-piecing can be a very individual activity, with many different styles and options. The basics of the method I like to use are best illustrated here and here.
If you are interested, below are some random notes on construction that may be helpful if you're brave enough to try this block out!
I like to leave the paper on as long as possible. I also prefer to leave the edges that will be on the outside of the block untrimmed, and square up at the end.
When joining pieces, work to match up outside corners and outline strips (#2 above). I like to stick a pin straight through matching corners.
These template pieces DO NOT match up neatly in the center. It looks so wrong, but it's right.
When joining D -> E, watch out for the little vertical tail at the center of the block on piece E. It needs to get sewn to the seam line of CD, right below where my thumb is, above.
Here's another way to think about it: not only does the diagonal joining line need to be stitched, so does the vertical little spot at the center on piece E.
Once pieces are joined, I like to remove the paper seam strips to avoid bulk.
At some point, paper starts to fall off. A sharp, new needle can help you avoid that. If it happens, be strong, you can deal with it.
I pressed my seams to one side, kind of creating a swirl in the center to avoid a gigantic, bulky area, which is kind of a nightmare to sew through and match up. I'm curious if anybody has ideas or tips about a better solution?
The best part: squaring up at the end!
If you decide to try this block, I'd love to see and hear about how it goes!