Evening Star Block Tutorial // Summer Sampler Series

Summer Sampler Series (1 of 1)-3

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you love the Summer Sampler as much as I do. While you are here, check out my book, Vintage Quilt Revival, consider subscribing to new posts by email (in the side bar to the right), or Follow on Bloglovin

This is the Evening Star, and it is my favorite block!  There are seven blocks in the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns that are named Evening Star; I chose block 2736a, which first appeared in the Kansas City Star on November 28, 1931. I didn’t find anything interesting on the history of this specific block, but it is located in Chapter 15 of the Encyclopedia, which specializes in the Maltese Cross.

A Maltese Cross block is “divided by four intersecting diagonal seams into eight pie-shaped pieces” (Brackman, Encyclopedia, 330). Kaleidoscope quilts (block 2704) fall into the same category. This is my favorite of the blocks that I chose for the Summer Sampler Series; I had no idea that it is based on a cross that has been in use since the First Crusade, almost one thousand years ago. It is easier to see the Maltese Cross block construction in the image below.

The Maltese Cross (also known as the Amalfi Cross) was the symbol of the Knights Hospitaller, a group of men who ran a hospital beginning in the 11th century in Jerusalem. This group, later known as the Knights of Saint John and dedicated to charity and caring for the sick, later moved to the island of Malta, hence the name.  One version of the story claims that the eight points of the star represent the eight points of courage: including loyalty, generosity, and helpfulness to the poor and the sick.  There is also an interesting story about how the Maltese Cross became associated with firefighters in the United States on the FDNY’s website, if you are interested.

Evening Star Tutorial
If you are new to paper piecing, please see Faith’s excellent introduction to paper-piecing.  If you have already paper-pieced the other blocks in this series (or any other blocks, for that matter), this should be a piece of cake!  And a special thanks to my sister-in-law Amber for drafting the templates, and being patient when my math was initially (but no longer) wonky.
Print four copies of each of the paper piecing templates, Template A & Template B. Make sure to print them at 100%, and double check that the 1 inch ruler on the printed template actually measures 1 inch. Please note:  If you print directly from Google Docs, the templates might not print accurately. Instead, download the PDF to your desktop and print it from Adobe Acrobat.  Lee wrote up more information on how to do this in this Flickr discussion.)
Step 1: Cut your fabric according to the instructions below.  When paper-piecing, it’s better to use larger-than-you-need rectangles and save the scraps for another block than to be stingy with fabric. Ask me how I know this 😉  This block can be made with a single fabric center octagon, like I did, or out of as many prints/fabrics as you want. I wrote my color choices on the templates–thanks for the tip, Faith.Background/Kona Snow Triangles: Cut 24 squares that measure 4×4 inches
Colored triangles: Cut 8 squares that measure 4×4 inches
Corner triangles: Cut 4 squares that measure 5×5 inches

Step 2:  Change your stitch length to approximately 1.5, so that the stitches perforate the paper. Start with Template A. Take your fabric choice for Triangle 1 and place it right side out  against your template.  Use double sided tape (I learned this trick from Lee in her Minnesota Block tutorial) or pins to adhere the fabric to paper.


Step 3: Take your rectangle for Triangle 2 and place it right sides together to Triangle 1, which you just taped/pinned. Make sure that at least 1/4 inch of the fabric overlaps the seam line; it is easiest to do this by holding it up to the light.

Step 4: Sew along the line between Triangle 1 and Triangle 2, sewing into the seam allowance.
Step 5: Turn your block over, fold back the paper, trim your seams to 1/4  inch seam allowance, and press triangle 2 open.


Step 6:  I trim the fabric along the edges of the template once I have completed my block; if you prefer, trim the fabric along the paper template now.

Step 7:  Following the same steps outlined above, take your fabric for Triangle 3 and put it right sides together with Triangle 1. Tape/pin, make sure that at least 1/4 inch of the fabric overlaps, and sew a line between Triangles 3 and 1, sewing into the seam allowance. Turn your block over, fold the paper template back, trim your seams to 1/4 inch allowance, and press Triangle 3 open.


Step 8: Take your fabric for Triangle 4 and put it right sides together with Triangle 1. Tape/pin, make sure that at least 1/4 inch of the fabric overlaps, and sew a line between Triangles 4 and 1, sewing into the seam allowance. Turn your block over, fold template paper back,  trim your seams to 1/4 inch allowance, and press triangle 4 open.  Turn your block over and trim around the template. You are done with the first 1/8 block. :)

Step 9: Take Template B, and follow the directions above to piece Triangles 1-4.

Step 10:  Take your fabric for Triangle 5 and put it right sides together along the line made by Triangle 1, 3 & 4. Tape/pin, make sure that at least 1/4 inch of the fabric overlaps, and sew a line between Triangles 5 and 1/3/4, sewing into the seam allowance. Turn your block over, fold back the paper template,  trim your seams to 1/4 inch allowance, and press triangle 5 open.  Turn template over, trim block along the template lines.

Step 11: Repeat these steps three more times for both templates; you should have four completed A blocks and four completed B blocks when you are done.

Step 12: Keeping the paper on (optional), take block A and B and match and pin center triangle points as shown. Sew  block A to B on the seam allowance line, ironing seams (I ironed mine open). Repeat for blocks C and D, E and F, and G and H.


Step 13: Match points, pin, and sew block AB to CD and block EF to GH.

Step 14: Match points, pin, and sew the two block halves together.  Iron open and tear off all of that paper! Step back and admire. Congratulations! You are done with the Evening Star!

 Summer Sampler Series (1 of 1)-3

This is my last block tutorial with the Summer Sampler Series–I have loved co-hosting this quilt along, and have absolutely loved seeing all of the talented sewists who are participating.  There are some amazing blocks in the flickr group, and I can’t wait to see the quilts once they are done. We have started a thread in the flickr group containing additional traditional blocks that fit well with the Summer Sampler Blocks–feel free to post your own, I know I’m going to make a few extra!

Swim, Bike, QuiltFinally, if you have read this far,  and if you are here as part of the Series, I hope you stick around/come back and visit Swim, Bike, Quilt. Additionally, I hope you will consider participating in 100 Quilts for Kids, a charity quilt drive that is taking place September 15-October 15, 2011. Make a baby/kids quilt, donate it to a child in need in your area, link up here to be eligible for prizes, and feel happy that you used your skills to help a child in need!


This entry was posted in Summer Sampler Series, Tutorials and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted August 1, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Oooh, I’ve been looking forward to this one since I saw the logos for Summer Sampler! Looks like a great tute, Kate, I can’t wait to give it a whirl :)

  2. Posted August 1, 2011 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Yea for paper piecing!!! I almost cried when I saw all those triangles but I know I can do it thanks to the little piece of paper. thanks Katie for another wonderful post. I am off to sew.

  3. Posted August 1, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Thank you Kate for helping host this! This Sampler introduced me to your blog and I’m totally staying!

  4. Posted August 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    This star and the other 8point star that is left were the reason I joined this QAL. I wanted to learn how to make them and now i can´t wait to find some time for it!
    This QAL (my first) has been so much fun so far, really skill building for me. I learned a lot about new quilting techniques, e.g. I had never thought that I would enjoy paper piecing – but I love the accuracy of paper pieced blocks now!
    I want to thank you for all the effort and work that you have put into this!

  5. Posted August 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    thanks for the paper piecing guide, I am new to it and am going to try it with those crazy FWSQA squares,Yikes (that’s how i found you, Thank God!!) but now I think I would like to follow along with your group too, thanks to your posts!!

  6. Posted August 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Loved this QAL and so glad it introduced me to your blog! :) Thank you for the wonderful step by step instructions, I have learned so many things I never would have taken the time to learn on my own! Thank you!

  7. Happy Turtle
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m not on the QAL but I love these posts and look forward to them. Thank you for doing this.

  8. Posted August 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Yesssss! Paper piecing!!!

  9. Posted August 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Hey, how kewl is that? I love this block and just found that it’s one of the ones I’ve picked for my Bible block quilt! Yay! Practice for that and another step toward my Summer Sampler!

  10. Posted August 1, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Kate, it’s beautiful! Love the colors! Great instructions too. : )

  11. Posted August 3, 2011 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    Just finished my block and am very pleased with it! I wouldn’t have thought I would enjoy this one so much, which just goes to show why I need to be pushed to try new things. Thanks, Kate!

  12. Posted August 3, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi! This is so beautiful block! Thank you for a tutorial!

  13. Posted September 14, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I just printed out my templates and am trying to wrap my head around actually doing this, but I just had one question: In your pictures, it looks like you trimmed a bit off the center point of each unit (in your block the white that forms the center octagon). This isn’t marked on the template, so I’m wondering where and when I’m supposed to trim? Thanks so much! :)

  14. Posted September 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Awesome! I finally just got around to this one and while my center is nowhere near lined up, it is done and I’m crossing it off. Great tutorial. I would have been nervous to try this block without your great tutorial and how much I learned during this quilt-along. Thanks again, Kate.

  15. Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    This lives on! Thank you for sharing the templates and the great tutorial.

  16. LJ
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I discovered your post as part of the Vintage Quilt Revival Block Along. Love this block and all the history you provided. Thanks so much.

  17. Maggie Burns
    Posted June 29, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Can this be done without paper? Would the pieces be cut out same size or allow for seams in order to end up with a 12.5″ block? Don’t think I am advanced enough for paper piecing…’

    I love this block, could see it tuned into a sunflower with french knots in the center!!!

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted July 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink


      I”m sorry it took so long to respond. I would assume that it could be done without paper, but I never figured out the template size, etc. I’m assuming you could cut templates and add a 1/4” to each side, but I honestly don’t know without trying it. Best wishes.

  18. tabatha smith
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I wanted to try out this block but when I click on your template link I don’t get anything to print. :(

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted November 15, 2014 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      Hmm. Thanks for letting me know. I will try and recover the file from my laptop and re-load it. I just had a baby so it may take a few days, but I appreciate you letting me know.

      • tabatha smith
        Posted December 7, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        thank you so much for getting those back up! i greatly appreciate it

  19. Theresa savoie
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I love making stars ,I would like to find a five pointed star pattern

  20. Bethany Kolander
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I’ve found it! I’ve been searching for the quilt design from a wonderful English children’s show “Sarah and Duck” (available on Netflix- though apparently not to Canadian Netflix viewers.) It’s a different kind of show- no action, fighting, or heavy decisions to make. A 7yr old and her best friend who happens to be a duck. And it just so happens the only sewing I’m familiar with is paper piecing. YAY!!!!

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted November 3, 2017 at 1:29 am | Permalink

      I had to google the sarah and duck quilt. Who knew!!

6 Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

  • visit my pattern shop2
  • new_sign up for my newsletter
  • katieblakesley300
  • VintageQuiltRevival
  • Summer Sampler Anthology snapshot
  • Follow
  • Subscribe to Blog via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • More Swim, Bike, Quilt Posts

  • Swim, Bike, Quilt Archives