Seven Sisters with English Paper Piecing

The Seven Sisters quilt is vintage. It is traditionally composed of ONLY 60 degree diamonds. That means there are a LOT of y-seams! Lots of diamonds. Lots of y-seams.

60 degree diamonds
More diamonds cut from the Sakura Collection by Benartex
I simplified the pattern to include triangles and there are no y-seams - only straight seam sewing. Let's start with units:

Diamonds sewn with triangles

More diamonds and triangles
Now let's see what happens next:
6 Pointed Star, where the double triangles take the place of a diamond

Another star
Now let me show you my two class samples (but not from these fabrics, because I use these units and blocks as teaching steps.)
Seven Sisters scrappy
 And one more using batiks. The outer black prints, though in the shape of 6 large diamonds, are really two triangles in disguise. All of the yellow confetti print are also triangles masquerading as diamonds.
Seven Sisters with batiks
Didn't I start off by talking about English Paper Piecing? I'm getting to that, ok?
I bought a pack of 2" diamonds last year, then used a hole punch so I could anchor my pin. I rotary cut fabric diamonds; folded the fabric and pressed with an iron so I could have REALLY sharp creases. Love those binder clips. Ready to stitch.
2" diamonds prepped for hand stitching.
Yes, y-seams. But these are small and the card stock keeps everything crisp for joins.
Yes, we are using y-seams! But not as many if I didn't have a plan.
I am teaching English Paper Piecing at the Atlanta and Lakeland Sewing Expo in March. I have included diamonds with hexagons so my students can go beyond the standard Grandmother's Flower Garden block. What does that look like?

Grandmother's Flower Garden with added diamonds
OK. Can we get back to the Seven Sisters? Of course! Here are 3 of my needed 7 blocks, hanging out on my deck last summer when there wasn't any snow (unlike today, sigh.)

What are all those pointy pieces of fabric poking out? That's the way the fabric is wrapped around the paper shape. They get tucked under when all are put together. My students also get pre-cut fabric diamonds and seven 2" diamond EPP papers to try their hand at all diamonds. (They also get packs of hexagon papers, bundles of fabric, lots of illustrations, needle and thread, etc)

Three of the seven blocks I need for my Seven Sisters quilt
I finished all 7 of the blocks, but I wasn't sure about the placement of my orange and blue triangles setting triangles. So, I took a picture of each and mulled it over for a few weeks.

Seven Sisters with blue center triangles
Seven Sisters with orange center triangles
And which did I choose? First, let me show you the back side (not THAT back side!)

My EPP Seven Sisters from the back, trimmed and ready to remove papers
And here is my final Seven Sisters using my Kaffe Fassett fabrics. I chose the blue triangles for the center.
Finally finished! Whew!
Well, not quite finished. I added batting and backing (which was wrapped around and tucked under the folded edges of the quilt and then stitched down). NOW she's done! What do you think? I used the Kaffe Lotus Leaf fabric for the backing (which also becomes the binding when wrapped around.)

Seven Sisters in the snow.
This measures a whopping 24" high (from flat side to flat side). This will be a awesome teaching sample for my students.

You may notice that my machine stitched quilt (near the top, done in browns) and the batik one look different than this one. It's all in the assembly of the star blocks. Either way, both are real Seven Sisters quilts (though technically, they are actually only ONE block). Try a Pinterest search for Seven Sisters quilts. You will see the most amazing work! For now, I'm getting in from the snow and drying off. Brrrrr!


  1. absolutely, perfectly beautiful. where can i get the pattern, please................


  2. Wow. I loved following the whole process, both ways. I like the blue, and I don't care for orange, but I might have made the orange center. LOL No matter how you make them, they are amazing and beautiful.

  3. Debby, these are beautiful quilts! I have never tried English Paper Piecing and "Y" seams are not something I really care to try. Yet, I have a quilting friend who has done both and is going to teach me. Learning new techniques is always fun and a bonus! In my opinion, your choice of putting the blue in the center was correct. It softens the quilt somehow. Thank you so much for sharing and have a spectacular time teaching your class!

  4. Debbie, i love the pattern, have made one and love the finished product and loved making it. but i don't find the triangles that make up the star in the middle on mine!!! m i just not looking right, or did you do something different?thanks so much for the pattern.


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