Making the Patchwork Lone Star Quilt

A Star is Born

It’s that time again! Winter is on the horizon and we’re excited to announce this season’s Winter 2023 We Quilt This City large project – the Plains & Pine Patchwork Lone Star Quilt!

The Patchwork Lone Star was designed by a fellow Montanan, Lindlee Smith. She grew up in Wolf Point on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, which – since 1888 – has been home to the Dakota-Lakota-Nakota (Sioux) and Dakota (Assiniboine) nations. This quilt (and many of Plains & Pine’s other star quilt designs) are a take on the traditional ‘Morning Star’ motif. Lindlee’s hope and intention with her patterns is to bring awareness to the history of the Star Quilt on the Fort Peck Reservation, while also doing something to help support and continue the tradition.

To this end, she has worked with Rose Atkinson – a long-time instructor of Star Quilt Techniques at Fort Peck Community College – and five dollars from every one of her Patchwork Lone Star quilt patterns sold goes towards providing materials for students of this course who are unable to purchase their own!

(To learn more about Lindlee and her patterns read Maisie’s ‘The Story Behind the Homestead Star Quilt – Part 1‘ blog post.)

Warm and Wintery

This season’s color palette includes some warmer tones, and – though it’s not the direction we typically take with our winter collections – we just love how cozy this quilt feels. (It somehow makes us think of chestnuts roasting on an open fire AND Jack Frost nipping at our noses all at the same time!)

Our small throw sized Patchwork Lone Star Quilt Kit includes the paper pattern, a fat eighth of each of the 16 fabrics featured in our Winter 2023 WQTC collection, and 2 ⅝ yards of background fabric. You can also opt to add on backing, batting, and pre-made binding!

For the backing in our sample we used 1 ¾ yards of the 108” Ombre Sky in Sky. For the binding we used a 9-yard roll of The Satin Bee’s premade binding – the Tiny Dots Binding in Green.

Lindlee's Tips

This pattern is doable for advanced beginners because it doesn’t incorporate Y-seams (yay!). However, it does have a lot of bias cuts. Fabric cut on the bias is stretchy and more challenging to sew with. But, Lindlee includes numerous tips for making sure your bias edges don’t stretch too much. Here are a few important ones:

  1. Use both the 45-degree line on your ruler and the 45-degree mark on the cutting mat when cutting your diamond strips. If the angle stretches out of shape, trim the strip set on the 45-degree angle again before proceeding.
  2. PRESS your seams by lifting the iron, not sliding it. Moving the iron back and forth (IRONING) will cause the bias edges to stretch and press out of shape.
  3. Take the time to mark the ¼” seam allowances on the long edges of the diamond strips. Then, rather than lining up the edges perfectly, offset them slightly so that the drawn seam allowances align. This will ensure that the diamonds match up at each seamline.

This last tip can (in essence) also be applied to the sewing of the diamond border:


Getting to the Point

With the help of Lindlee’s tips, each scrappy diamond came together pretty well for our quiltmaker Elizabeth. The final hurdle of this process is making sure that all your seams line up as you sew each quilt quadrant together. Fabric loves to shift and stretch as it moves through the machine, especially when you’re sewing on the bias!

Vida Anderson of SewFly Quilts did the edge to edge long-arming on this quilt for us!

So, to help keep everything in line, Elizabeth placed a pin at each seam juncture. Then, sewing from the star’s center outward, she continuously checked that each pinned seam remained aligned. (Using a fabric glue stick rather than pins could also work.)

As you sew the sections together, you need to keep checking that each seam aligns,

This pinning technique kept the seams pretty well aligned, but, when it came time to sew each half of the quilt together, the center points didn’t quite line up (argh!). It just goes to show how finicky sewing on the bias can be! Every little bit of stretch adds up.

To further manage the stretch on a long bias edge, you can engage your dual feed mechanism or use a walking foot. Elizabeth didn’t use either, and thinks that if she had, the center may have come together a little more cleanly.

A constellation of color

This quilt comes out pretty scrappy no matter what. However, there are points (no pun intended!) at which you can be particular about color. Elizabeth planned it so that the center points of the star alternated between Overgrown QC in Lake and Decostitch Elements QC in Winter Spruce. Meanwhile the star tips alternated between Linen Texture QC in Pine, and Chalk & Charcoal QC in Dusty Blue. It’s a fun, subtle touch that we really love.

The pops of warm yellow and brown in this quilt look so nice with our late autumn trees!

Make your own!

And there you have it! Keep these tips in mind when sewing, and your Patchwork Lone Star will come together just fine. Our wintery Patchwork Lone Star Quilt Kit is available for purchase here. (You can also purchase the pattern separately by clicking here.) As always subscribers, apply your coupon code (included in your swatch set) to get 10% off the kit!

Let us know if you have any questions, and, remember, we always love to see photos of your finished quilts!

Happy Quilting!

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