How to Cut Three Sawtooth Stars from One Fat Quarter - a Tutorial

This is something I sketched out forever ago (for Great Grandma's quilt in summer 2014!) and never got around to sharing. Now, the #StarstruckQAL is starting in a couple weeks on Instagram, so I figured it was about time to make my graph paper sketch a little more solid!

sawtooth star block tutorial

It's not really a tutorial on how to make a sawtooth star - after all, that's a block with a million tutorials dating back to the 1800s. Rather, this is how to cut three 8" sawtooth star blocks from one fat quarter with very little waste, utilizing the "magic flying geese" method.

How to Cut Three Sawtooth Star Blocks

sawtooth star block tutorial

Start by grabbing as many FQs as you want stars, divided by three. These three FQs will make nine total 8" blocks. (Although I don't want them the same, so I made three blocks and I'll mix in more from my QOV stash. And when I say stash, I definitely mean I'm hitting a couple quilt shops on spring break.)

sawtooth star block diagram

Cut (3) 5.25" squares, (3) 4.5" squares, (12) 2.5" squares, and (12) 2.875" squares. (Don't round up. It's easier than trimming, I promise!)

As you can see, your FQ must be at least 20.5x17.25" in order for this to work.


Or, if you're like me and it's easier to visualize in fabric, here you go! 

(And bonus - your biggest scraps are an extra 4.5" square and two extra 2.5" squares, which are good sizes to have in scraps. You could sew sashing around the stars and use those 2.5" squares as cornerstones! You could use the extra 4.5" square to make a few of the blocks scrappier!)

A Brief Magic Flying Geese Demonstration

sawtooth star block tutorial

To make the "magic flying geese," draw a line in the middle of the 2-7/8" squares. Layer right sides together with the 5.25" square. Stitch on either side of the line, cut in half along the line. Press toward the smaller triangle. (Aww, it's a heart!)


Layer right sides together with the rest of the 2-7/8" squares, stitch on either side of the line, cut in half. Press toward the outer triangle and trim the dog ears. And there you have four perfect flying geese!

(For a more detailed tutorial and the formula to calculate different sizes, check out Sew How We Sew.)

sawtooth star block tutorial

And then you just pair them with the coordinating 2.5" squares for the corners, and 4.5" squares for the middles!

I pressed the seams toward the squares (not the geese), then pressed the final seams open.

sawtooth star block tutorial

And I have the stack of leftovers to make six more blocks! I don't think I'm going to make the eighty blocks necessary for proper Quilts of Valor size - rather, I'm going to mix in some 16" stars. Which I haven't figured out how to cut from one fat quarter yet.

I'm really looking forward to the #StarstruckQAL and making a handful of these every week for six weeks! I feel like I've been slacking on my Quilts of Valor (even though the Rail Fence is on-going and will be on-going foreeeeeeever), so it'll be nice to get a donation back to my Washington chapter soon.

If you're also considering Quilts of Valor and you don't want to stop your stash, here's a couple FQ bundle ideas! 

Kaufman Color Source (yields 54 stars)

Riley Blake Lost & Found America (yields 54 stars)

Or for a rainbow of stars:

Tula Pink True Colors (yields 60 stars, and pair 8" squares of the new All Stars!)

Kaufman Kona Cotton Annie Smith Palette (yields 75 stars!)

See also: Let’s Bee SocialWiP on WednesdaysMidweek MakersRainbow Scrap ChallengeOh Scrap!