Sloppy Stars

These are the quilts demo’d at the Q8Quilters Hands-On meeting today:

Sloppy Stars

January 2008


These stars ARE sloppy, and the original design, in which the star blocks were something like 9 x 14 were conceived by Evelyn Sloppy. I wanted a more square star, so I re-drafted it  and . . . it worked!

Although your pattern will be cut 16.25 inches (DO NOT FORGET TO ADD .25 INCH TO THE OUTSIDE BORDER OR YOU WILL LOSE STAR TIPS!) your finished block will measure approximately 13”.


Make yourself a master copy, a copy you swear you will never cut. When you want to make this quilt, make copies on freezer paper from your master copy.

If you want alternating backgrounds (some stars light on dark, some stars dark on light) then you will need:

13 light fat quarters

12 dark fat quarters.

1.  Starch, iron and stack all the lights together, and starch, iron and stack all the darks together.

2.  Make two copies of the master chart on freezer paper. Iron one on to the top of the lights stack, and iron one onto the top fat quarter from the dark stack. Be sure to iron the freezer paper onto one side of the fat quarters so there will be plenty of leftover fabric for fixing up blocks, if you need it.

3. Put a fresh blade in your rotary cutter.

4.  Holding your piles steady, make cuts in the order shown.

5.  When both piles are cut, first on the light stack, we do the background pieces first:

start with A1 – take the top piece and put it on the bottom of the A1 pile.

Go to B1, take the top two pieces and put them at the bottom of the pile of B1’s.

B3, take the top three pieces.

D1, take the top four pieces.

A3 – do nothing! Now do the same process on the dark stack.

Now do the same with the star pieces in each pile:

C1 – take the top piece and put it on the bottom

B2- take the top 2 pieces

D2 – take the top 3 pieces

C3 – take the top 4 pieces

A2 – take the top five pieces

C2 – do nothing

Now take all the light background pieces and switch them to the dark star stack. Take the dark background pieces and switch them to the light star stack.

6.  Piecing

Leave everything stacked.

Do not string piece;  the stars get confused. I suggest you stitch all the pieces to each star at the same time. It takes a little longer, but it is worth it.

Stitch A3 to A2, and then stitch A1 to A2.

Stitch B2 to B3, then stitch B1 to B2.

Stitch C1 to C2, then stitch C3 to C2

Stitch D1 to D2.

Stitch the D Sections to the C section (trim the edges which will join so that they are even)

Your pieces will not have lined up exactly. With each star, trim the inner joining lines. Don’t worry about the outside, we will trim these blocks up when the blocks are finished.

As you stitch the sections together, the intersections will not be where they were on the pattern. Don’t worry. They don’t have to. Your stars will all work out. These are SLOPPY stars.

Stitch the A section to the CD section.

Stitch the ACD section to the B section.

I will tell you honestly at this point, my stars looked AWFUL – lots of wobbles because of the bias edges.

Press your stars, use a little starch, and then measure the smallest star. Trim your blocks to that size. Alternatively, if your smallest star is too small, you can use some of that leftover fabric to put a small border where you need it. Honestly, we do this all the time.

Arrange the blocks, 5 x 5, and sew them together. Put on a border, if you wish. The quilt, without a border, will be about 55 inches  – but this is not a precise technique, and your results may be slightly different.

Quilting will take care of the wobbles.


I did two quilts at the same time, because I wanted an all dark background and an all light background.

You need:

25 dark fat quarters

25 light fat quarters

When all your blocks are completed, use all the ones with dark background for one quilt and all the ones with light background for the second quilt. Keep one and give the other as a gift!

I did these in Christmas colors, but I have also seen them done in blues and whites, reds and whites, and once, fantastically, in rainbow colors.


5 thoughts on “Sloppy Stars

  1. Aiesha Khalid says:

    Thanks WQ, Your detailed explaination and all your map quilts are real treat. Not going to quilt meeting I had missed your both demonstrations, glad it is there on your blog.

  2. […] a beautiful looking quilt, with very detailed instructions, Sloppy Stars. I love how the stars jump out at you. A great colour combination. This would look fabulous with a […]

  3. worldquilter says:

    A friend working on this pattern told me today that when you get all the stars put together, the last star is dark on the inside and on the outside because there are 13 dark pieces and 12 light.

    She’s right. I don’t know why the pattern is that way – I have always doubled it so that I use 25 dark and 25 light, so I never knew this one worked out that way. How totally wierd, and I am sorry if I have screwed up your star quilt!

  4. Very nice… I made a similar looking star quilt not long ago… I like stars!! Lx

  5. […] original instructions for Sloppy Stars are here; these are just refinements I have come up with after doing so many of them. My stars have gotten […]

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