Choosing Fabric + Adding Stars for a Patchwork Quilt

    Today I’m sharing a fun and simple way to give a traditional patchwork squares quilt a little more pizazz. Just adding a few simple traditional Sawtooth Star Quilt blocks will add some interest and change the look of your patchwork. This project is perfect for a fast summer picnic quilt, but also easy to modify to any size quilt or patchwork size.

    While we’re at it, let’s also talk about choosing fabric for a quilt, since that’s always a popular subject.

    This tutorial features prints from the brand new fabric collection for Riley Blake Designs, Just Add Sugar by the girls from Simple Simon and Co. (I just LOVE those pink lemon slices!)

    The Just Add Sugar collection features lots of summer-y, sherbert-y colors. Usually I really like incorporating all of the prints and colors in a collection into a project. But this time I decided to narrow down my color palette and focus on the the color scheme of pink, black, and white. Notice that I have a variety of shades of the pink as well as the black and white prints. We’ve got a narrow color palette, but the variety of shades of the different colors will give the quilt more texture and depth.

    Another fun tip – throw in a surprise. As you can see, I decided to throw in one more color for a little punch by adding the green. It creates a some playful visual interest among the dominant colors. These are the prints I ended up using from the Just Add Sugar collection.

    Because I really love the look of a lot of prints in a patchwork quilt – to give it more texture and more of a scrappy look – I wanted to add a few more prints in the color palette.  This time I pulled from a selection of Riley Blake basics, including different sizes of dots and stripes and the black hashtag fabric.

    Here are all of the fabrics together. Another key to effective patchwork quilts is a variety of scale. Because of their large scale, those two pink lemon prints are going to be my dominant prints. They are the eye-catchers – the divas – and we want to show them off. They’re going to do a lot of the heavy lifting and give the quilt visual interest.

    If all of the prints were the same large scale however, they would fight. (Think too many divas = too much drama.) So we need a supporting cast that will really let the divas shine – but at the same time bring their own strengths (different color shades, textures, etc.) to the patchwork.

    Check out this post for another example of how to use scale and color successfully in a quilt.

    Here’s how they all play together. You can see how the variety of scales as well as shades of color create depth and interest among simple squares. These are tried and true principles for any basic patchwork quilts.

    With this quilt, I added one more twist to give in some playful interest = adding the traditional Sawtooth Star Quilt Blocks.

    I love how the stars pop and give a little extra something-something to a very basic design. Such a simple addition with a big impact. And you can really have fun with the variety of fabric combinations. I’ve tried this with a few other patchwork quilts and have always loved the effect.

    You can add any number of Sawtooth Stars that you want, but I recommend an odd number for added visual interest.

    As you can see, I decided to make things even more interesting by using different sizes of stars. These stars are 8″ x 8″ (finished) and 16″ x 16″ (finished).

    This quilt finished at 64″ x 64″ – perfect for a summer picnic size.

    Fabric requirements for this specific quilt:

    About 14-15 different 1/4 yards (not Fat Quarters) cut into:

    • 58 squares 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″
    • 2 stars blocks 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ (will be 8″ x 8″ finished)
    • 1 star block 16 1/2″ x 16 1/2″ (will be 16″ x 16″ finished)

    1/2 yard binding fabric

    4 yards backing

    Sawtooth Star tutorial and chart for cutting requirements to make star blocks found here.

    For step-by-step process of cutting and piecing a basic patchwork squares quilt see the Beginning Quilting Series.

    The fun part of this is that you can make your patchwork squares – and stars – any size you want. (The Sawtooth Star tutorial has a chart for cutting instructions for a wide variety of star sizes.) And you can always add more squares/blocks to make your quilt whatever size you want it to be.

    (If you’re feeling intimidated to resize the quilt yourself, remember graph paper and a calculator are your friend. This is a great project for building your quilt-math skills. And here’s an added bonus – if you’re going to use the same 8″ x  8″ (8 1/2″ unfinished) squares that I used, keep in mind that you can get 5 squares 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ from a regular 1/4 yard of fabric. So take the final number of squares that you need and then divide that number by 5 = that’ll give you the number of  1/4 yards that you need for your project. If you plan to add star blocks, add another 3-4 different 1/4 yards for the added star-block piecing.)

    You can do it!

    The quilting on this quilt was done by Melissa of Sew Shabby Quilting. We decided to try the Fast Daisy pattern for this one.

    I hope this quilt will inspire you to cut through some of your own stash – or some Just Add Sugar – and try some new color/fabric combinations to create a quick summer patchwork quilt with a twist. Visit the Simple Simon blog for links to see more recent projects made with Just Add Sugar. Just Add Sugar fabrics are available at Hawthorne Threads and on Etsy.