I finished up my pillow for the Pillow Talk Swap. I’m so very excited at how it turned out I just had to share. Lots of people were asking how I did the star, so here’s a little tutorial to walk you through it.
The Somerset Star is very traditional. In fact, you may have grown up seeing it used as things like trivets or Christmas ornaments. Things that just scream “grandma” at you. Not that there is anything wrong with grandmas. In fact, I quite love grandmas. However, this is not your grandma’s Somerset star.
Cut a square of muslin, or any old cheap fabric, just a little bigger than you want your finished star. Then start cutting your 1.5″ x 2.5″ rectangles. A lot of them. How many you need will be determined by how many rows you want in your star. Here’s a breakdown of how many per row, and a rough idea of how big your finished star will be:
1st row: 4 rectangles
Rows 2-4: 8 rectangles (approx 4.5″)
Rows 5-10: 16 rectangles (approx 9″)
Rows 11-14: 32 rectangles (approx. 12″)
Figure out how many rows you need and what colors you will use. It’s important to remember to alternate value between your rows. If you’re using all dark fabrics or all light fabrics, you won’t be able to see the definition of the points. See how the yellow portion of my star isn’t as defined as the rest? It’s because there isn’t much difference in value between the yellow and my neutrals. It’s ok here (at least it is in my opinion) because the rest of the rings are clearly defined in the rainbow. I just wouldn’t want my whole star to be this undefined.
Now that you have a billion rectangles cut, it’s time to fold them into triangles. Start by folding one long edge under 1/4″ and pressing (this will be the top edge). Next, fold the rectangle in half to mark your center and fold both top corners down to meet at the center point at the bottom. Your nice pressed edge is now the center line of your triangle. Repeat. And again, and again, and again… Really, this is the most time consuming part of the whole process. Throw on a good movie and you’ll be done before you know it.
While the iron’s hot, grab your scrap muslin and fold it in half. Press this seam. Fold in half again the other way and press. Now fold it into a triangle and press again. Unfold it and you’ve got nice lines marked at the center for you to line up the triangles with.
It’s finally time to start putting the star together. Grab the four triangles for your first ring and line them up with the lines on your muslin. The tips should all meet in the center. The folded line in the middle of the triangle will follow the horizontal and vertical lines you pressed. The edges will line up with the diagonal lines. I like to use a little bit of lapel stick, or my sewline glue pen, to hold the triangles in place while I start tacking them down.
The good news here is that you only need to hand sew one stitch on each triangle. Unless you really like to hand sew, then you can do it all by hand. No big deal. Anyway, you just start at the back in the center and bring your needle up through the tip of one triangle. Go back down in the middle, then up and down through the tip of each triangle. Before I go back down through the last one, I take it to my machine and sew around the outside edges. Just so I don’t have to start my thread again each round, and I don’t have to worry about sewing over it.
Now we add the next row. Grab a ruler and line up your points 1/4″ below the tips of the last triangles. Start by placing one triangle directly over the first four you sewed. The next four are going to be placed between those. Line them up with 1/4″ between all the triangle tips.
And just keep tacking them down and adding rows until you get to row 5. At row 5 you’ll have to add another triangle between the eight you place first, for a total of 16 triangles on this row. You can go up to row 10 with 16 triangles, but you’ll have to double it again at row 11. You’ll see how the unfinished edges will start to show between your triangles as you go farther out.You can keep going, making your star as big as you want, just by doubling the number of triangles per row when it looks like you need it.
So, that’s how to form the star.
Click here for my easy inset circle tutorial
And here for a handy tutorial for inserting a zipper in a pillow back