Exploring the Basics Series

Exploring the Basics: Strip Star

ETB Strip Star Block Badge


The Strip Star is a relatively new quilt block (ie you won't find it in 150 year old quilts - usually!).  What makes it fun - I think - are the design possibilities that come from simple changes.  

Let's look at the block first and break it down.

Strip Star

The traditional Strip Star block is square.  At first glance, because it is square, strip piecing usually comes to mind - and you COULD strip piece it.  But let's look at the individual units of the block before you break out the strip sets!

Strip Star Block

Ah, so when we start to pull the block apart into units, a few elements come to light.  First, you may notice that the block is made up of FOUR rectangles and a single center square.  Second, when you start to look at construction of the block, you'll see that it uses a partial seam method for assembly.  

Now, don't run screaming out of your sewing room - the partial seam construction is actually very easy!  I've explored partial seam blocks in the past, and you can find an easy little tutorial here.  Oh - and I'll be doing another tutorial with some fun new Benartex fabrics on Thursday, so come check that tutorial out as well!

Ok - so rectangular units made up of angled strips and a center square, all put together using partial seam assembly - got it.  So why not strip piece?  Well, take a look at the angle of the strips - that would make using a straight strip set a bit challenging.  

Great....sigh.  So what other options do you have?  You could use a stitch and flip method, which is pretty easy and relaxed.  I explore the stitch and flip method in a post last year.  You can find it here.  No, I didn't address this block specifically, but the post will give you a general idea of the method if you are unfamiliar with it!

Well, gee - stitch and flip doesn't look like it's always accurate - so.....any other options?

I'm so glad you asked!  There is my FAVORITE method for accuracy - paper piecing!  Nothing beats paper piecing for accuracy!  And yes, I've explored paper piecing as well.  You can find my blog post on paper piecing here!

But if you need just a bit more - here are two of my YouTube videos where I give some basic paper piecing starter tips!





Feeling a bit better about paper piecing the block?  Great!  Guess what?!  As a special thank you for visiting this blog post, here is a pdf of the paper piecing pattern for the Strip Star block.  Just click: Download Strip Star Easy Foundation Pattern!  Give it a try!  Please share your Strip Star block with me by posting a picture on my Facebook page!

This month as part of the Imagination Renovation Monthly Block Challenge, I explored the Strip Star block for myself (in fact, several designers did and you can find our exploration pics on our Instagram feeds.  Just search #stripstarblockchallenge for some inspo!).


I decided to use rich Island Batik solids for my Strip Star exploration project.  I love the crisp, strong contrast with these colors!


Once I figured out my block dimensions, I determined the individual sizes for all of the paper piecing (yup, I paper pieced the project!).  FYI - I decided to stretch my Strip Star - so I took it from a square block to a rectangle to exaggerate the star and the strips around it.

In the picture above, you can see I've got my strips laid out by size.  I love to do this when paper piecing because it makes it SOOO much easier to grab the right size fabric as I go.


The other thing that really speeds things up is to strip piece all of your units.  This is where organizing your cuts by size and color helps tremendously!

Strip Star removing paper

While I love paper piecing and the accurate blocks it yields, it DOES have a few drawbacks.  That paper foundation that you've been stitching to has to be removed.  Tedious and messy!

Strip Star trimmings

And then there's the trimming.  I prefer to use squares and rectangles for the bulk of my paper piecing, but the downside of this is that I have a large pile of trimmings (or waste as some would call it, but hey - I think it is a fair trade, trimming for accuracy!) when the project is done!

Strip Star Layout 1

Once I had my blocks pieced, I had another decision to make - which way to lay out the blocks!  Here is one layout option, with the blocks on their long sides laid out in one long row.

Strip Star Layout 2

Option Two was to put the blocks into pairs, which creates a fun secondary diamond in the center design!  Fun, yes - but I opted for Layout One.


Here is the final project - ready for a visit to the quilter!  I really like how it turned out, and intend to play with the strip star block more in the future!

Head over to Kate's blog to see her insights on the Strip Star block too!

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Disclaimer Statement: This blog is my personal blog, which means it is written and edited by me - and I may sometimes have guest posts (and they will be written/edited by the guest poster - whew!). This blog does accept forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation, which may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in the blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. Sometimes I (the blog owner) may be compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Please be aware that, even though I may be asked to provide opinions, posts or reviews, I do always give my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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