The wonky star is a fun nine patch star that uses improv techniques. In this tutorial, I will use short videos to take you step by step through the cutting, sewing, and assembling of the block.
To make one 18” x 18” block you will need:
1/3 yard of solid fabric for background
3-4 pieces of prints 7”x13 1/2”
Marker such as chalk, Frixion pen, or water soluble
Sewing machine and coordinating thread
Nice to have but not necessary: Rotary cutter with mat
I love improv quilting because I find the exact cutting and piecing for more traditional blocks a bit tedious. In this method, I can cut my pieces to their approximate finished sizes, sew them together, then I cut them to their final sizes needed to give me an exact block size that I need for piecing my quilt top. In a large quilt, I will often make several larger blocks. Then, when I am ready to put the quilt together I will place the blocks on a quilt wall and move them around until I find their placement visually appealing. Next, I will figure out the size of the surrounding solid pieces of fabric need to be. I will then cut sew all the pieces together to get a finished quilt top.
1. Cutting Our Base Pieces
To begin, we need to cut our squares, rectangles and triangles to an approximate size for sewing pieces of the star together. In the following video you will learn how to use a rotary blade and ruler. If you already know how to use a rotary blade, and want to skip the video, then cut four squares approximately 7”x7” and 8 rectangles 4”x7”.
2. Cutting Triangles for Stars Next we will need to cut fabric triangles that will make up the points of the star. You will need 8 of these. The following video shows you how to cut these triangles. The size of these triangles can vary. I just use an approximation cut that gives different sized triangles. Important: Make sure you have four triangles with long straight edge on right side of your rectangle and you need four with the long straight edge on the left side of the rectangle as shown in the figure below.
Make sure to cut triangles so that you have four with the long vertical edge on right and four with long vertical edge on the left.
How to cut triangles for the wonky improv star
3. Assembling the Center Square
Make a wonky square center made up of several different fabrics. For the center of the star, I will need a 6 1/2” x 6 1/2” square. I lay out piece on the table until I can make a square that is larger than I need. Then I will take it to the sewing machine and assemble the pieces, press them, and then cut them to the exact size I need.
How to assembly a wonky star center block from multiple fabrics
4. Setting Up the Machine Next we are going to set up our sewing machine to sew a 1/4” seam allowance.
5. Sewing the Rectangles and the Center Square Now that we have our machine set up for a 1/4” seam allowance, we are going to sew the cut triangles onto the rectangles we cut. We will use a stitch and flip technique.
Continue to sew your rectangle pieces until you have 8 of them, four with triangles on left side and four with triangles on the right side of the rectangles. Sew the pieces laid out in Step 3 for the center block together, pressing the pieces as you go.
6. Cutting the Center Square and the Rectangles We will trim our sewn square from Step 3 to its final 6 1/2” x 6 1/2” size. Then, we will take all of our rectangles and trim them to 3 1/2” x 6 1/2”.
7. Wonky Star Layout Now, with our center block sewn and our rectangles sewn with their triangles, we can layout that star block. This video shows a couple of options for layout.
8. Row Assembly Now we will assemble the rows of our wonky stars. First I will sew the middle row, sewing the print center square to two of the points, then I will sew the top and bottom rows together.
9. Wonky Star Block Assembly We will now sew our three rows together to form a completed block. Learn the trick of nesting which helps align seams when stitching the rows together.
10. Final Squaring and Trimming
In our final step, we will trim and square the block. It should measure 18 1/2” x 18 1/2”. You can then make new blocks for a quilt top, or stop here, add strips to make the top 21”x21” and sew a 20”x20” pillow using 1/2” seam allowances.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you have made a lovely Wonky Star block.