Friday, October 24, 2014

The Royal Star is Back with a Free Pattern and Tutorial

 Fossil Fern Collection by Benartex: just like a box of candy spilled on my counter top - yum, yum!
 I've been playing with these fabrics for almost 15 years. Yes, they still produce these fabrics - never before has a fabric line stayed popular for so long.
55,000 visitors can't be wrong!

I just checked my stats on this post from two years ago. Can you believe it? 25,000! I've added a tutorial for making the block at the bottom of this page so you can see how to piece the block. Enjoy!

An Antique Quilt Updated: The Royal Star Quilt

The Royal Star quilt from my book, Bold, Black and Beautiful Quilts, 2004
This block pattern first appeared in the Ladies Art Company catalog, #462 in 1922. My quilt was made in early 2002 with Fossil Ferns from Benartex Fabrics. My editor had requested that I be sent a collection of all their bright colors and for some reason I thought of this traditional block. I did not want to use templates and figured that if I just rotary cut the centers, I could make a paper piecing pattern for each of the four corners. It didn't really matter that the block wasn't a standard 10" or 12" (it's 8-1/2" finished) because all of the blocks are set with each other and size is not crucial to this setting.

This quilt was featured in 2 separate magazines, once on the cover
Did you know that Fossil Ferns are STILL being produced by Benartex? They were designed by Pat Campbell - are you ready for this? - 15 years ago!! This is unheard of in the textile industry but honest to goodness, these fabrics are TIMELESS. I have a batch of fat quarters that I dig into from time to time and they never fail to meet my need for a textured solid.

OK. So why would I tempt you with this quilt if the book is out of print? Well, you could buy my CD of all 16 quilts (go to my web site for that), or you could go just a little further in this post and get the quilt pattern for FREE!

Royal Star Quilt Free Pattern
Please let me know how you like this antique quilt updated. I will pass on the comments to this little quilt that goes on the road with me from time to time, but otherwise lives on a shelf in my closet. She would be so happy to hear from you!


1. Prepare your foundations. You will need four of the star corners. Pre-cut the fabric shapes for each of construction (all sizes for these are in the FREE PATTERN)
Cut out parts according to pattern
 2. Use the blue square in Position #1 on the pattern. Place it on the UNWRITTEN side of the pattern with the wrong side of fabric touching this unwritten side.
Notice that the fabric extends away from all lines around Patch #1. Pin in place
3. Without turning pattern over, fold back along line between Patch 1 and Patch 2. Trim away excess blue fabric, leaving 1/4" seam allowance.

(Dark) postcard used; fold along line. Add a Quarter gives perfect 1/4" seam allowance
 Both sides trimmed
Both sides of Patch #1 trimmed, leaving 1/4" seam allowance from side lines.
4. Pin rectangle (orange) for Patch #2 to cut edge of Patch #1, right sides together. Pin

Fabric for Patch #2 pinned, aligned along newly cut edge of Patch #1.
5. Now it's time to turn pattern over and sew on the line between Patch #1 and Patch #2. Sew all the way from the outside edge of the pattern, THROUGH both outside seam allowances. Finger press orange patch away from seam (see below)

6. Repeat for Patch #3. Pin and sew on the side with the lines. Turn pattern over and this is what you see . . .
Patch #3 added. Notice I have sewn from edge of fabric to other edge of fabric.
7. Press patches as shown . . .

Patches pressed, awaiting trimming
8. Time to trim again before you add the last two (blue) patches. ALL trimming is done on the printed side. Fold the pattern back on the line, use an Add-a-Quarter ruler for the 1/4" seam allowance.

Patches 2 and 3 trimmed
 9. Add Patches 4 and 5, one at a time; press  . . .
Star point unit - what a mess, huh?
10. Now it's time to trim excess fabric using the seam allowance markings on the pattern. Turn this over and . . .

If you look closely, you can see how I sewed off the paper with every seam. This ensures that I sewed in the seam allowances, just as you do with traditional piecing. Those seams criss-cross in the seam allowances.
Can you see the excess fabric that extends away from the outside of the paper?
11. The outside edges of my paper are where I'm going to trim. It is 1/4" away from the outside triangle line of the unit.
Wow! It sure looks good when it gets cleaned up.
Can we see the front? Glad you asked . . .
Make 4 of these for each block
 Now it's time to add the Nine Patch (made with 2-1/2" squares) with the Star Points.

Royal Star block parts
Now for the full block sewn:
Isn't she pretty?
I was just using scraps, so I didn't have enough to make a bigger mug rug. I did have one I made a while ago that I'll show you. But first, let's see another color combination . . .

Royal Star block with black background
And how does it look with some of the sashings like I used in my full quilt? When the sashing fabric is the same color as the block background, the star seems to float on the black

Triple sashing and 9 patch blocks
And here's my mug rug from a previous life . . .
Block size: 8-1/2". With 1" sashings and squares: 14-1/2" x 14-1/2"


  1. beautiful in the eyes of the beholder

  2. a lovely quilt and as you say the fabric is still being made so must be the most popular ever

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  4. Thank you, Debby!!! This is a beautiful pattern and I love paper piecing!!

  5. It looks so complicated, but you really make it look easy. What a beautiful block!

  6. Great block; thanks for the tutorial.

  7. What an interesting looking pattern. The same, yet very different...Thanks!


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