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How to Make a Log Cabin Star Quilt

by | Dec 3, 2020

The inspiration for this red and blue log cabin star quilt was a stash of vintage French General fabrics that needed a job to do. The fabrics were mostly from a collection with small prints in reds, blues, and creams. They practically begged to be turned into something a bit Americana inspired. 

All the reds are actually mostly red patterns on a white/cream ground. I wanted the red background to be substantially lighter than the dark blue stars. I also wanted this quilt to look folksy if not exactly primitive. Hence, I chose to omit a border as that can often make a quilt look more formal. 

star log cabin quilt

I used the 5” log cabin templates for my quilt. The logs/bars in this template are ¾ inch wide and there are only 3 rounds of bars which makes the blocks a little quicker to construct than the 4-inch and 7-inch templates, which have narrower bars. However, if you want to use the 4-inch or 7-inch templates with the star layout shown here, you are sure to get a gorgeous quilt but of course, the quilt fabric requirements will change. 

The model quilt was digitally long-armed by Gina Tidwell and The Copper Needle.

log cabin star quilt

How To Select Fabric For The Quilt 

The model red and blue log cabin quilt pattern use primarily the red and navy prints from an older collection of French General Fabrics called Petite Prints. This fabric collection is no longer available but the French General regularly comes out with gorgeous new collections regularly. Reds and blues are their staple colors. 

I mixed in some French General fabrics that were both older and more recent. I added a few very dark blues from my Civil War reproduction stash to round out the blues a bit. 

Minick & Simpson for Moda is another designer who has great blue/red collections. I also would look at some of the designers who specialize in reproduction style fabrics. Don’t be afraid of pulling out some fabrics from one designer and mixing it with fabrics from another designer. I used about 20 different red/cream fabrics and about 10 different blue fabrics.

Quilt Size

The model quilt measures 55”x 55” which I think is a nice lap quilt or large wall quilt. 121 blocks are organized into an 11 block wide and 11 blocks tall quilt. If you would like your quilt a smidge bigger for a nap quilt, you can always add a border. 

star quilt layout

How Do I make My Quilt Larger

By increasing the number of stars in the quilt, it is easy to create different quilt sizes. 

Full and Queen Size Quilt 

To make a full or queen-size log cabin quilt, 3 stars wide and 3 stars tall gives you a quilt center 80” x 80”. Add a border or another row of background blocks around the perimeter for a more generous queen size. 

Use the fabric requirements below and multiply them by 2.25 to estimate the fabric needed. 

You will need to make a total of 256 blocks and you will need 6 booklets of the 5-inch templates. 

star quilt pattern

King Size Quilt Dimensions

To make this quilt true king size, you will need to make 16 stars on the quilt top center. This will give you a quilt center of 105” x 105”, which can then have a border added to it for an even more generous size. 

The total number of blocks needed for a king-size quilt with the 5” blocks is 441! Definitely not a quilt you will have completed next week, but an incredible heirloom to be sure. You will need 10 pads of the 5” templates to make this size quilt.  

Multiply your fabric requirements below by 4 when you pull your fabric together for this quilt.

star quilting layout

Tools and Supplies needed

1. Templates

The lap size model quilt uses exactly 3 books of the 5-inch Paper Piecing Template

2. Fabric Yardage Requirements

Lap size: 55” x 55” total 

Red and Cream: 3 ¾ – 4 yards total. The model uses about 20 different fabrics

Blue: 1 ½ yards total of about 10 different fabrics.

Red block center:  ⅓ yard 

Binding: ½ yard 

Cutting Your Fabric

I don’t recommend that you cut all your strips right away. An enormous pile of strips is hard to keep organized. Rather, we recommend that you start off with cutting 3-4 strips in each color and cut additional fabric as you run low. Cut the strips 1 ¼-inch WOF. It can be really helpful to drape the fabric on cloth hangers or over a bar to keep them organized. Though in our experience, they tend to end up next to the sewing machine and in your lap as you get into your project. 

Piecing the Log Cabin Blocks

Make the blocks in accordance with the instructions in the videos below. You will be making the following blocks:

  • 16 solid blue blocks
  • 73 solid red blocks
  • 32 log cabin blocks with a diagonal color contrast for the points on the stars. Start each block by making two red logs followed by two blue logs as you work your way around the block.

Remember to keep the paper on the back of the blocks until the blocks are assembled into a quilt top. Keep your stitches tiny! 1.2 -1.5 is perfect for paper piecing on most machines. 

Assembling the Log Cabin Quilt Top

A video tutorial on how to put together quilt tops with the paper attached to the back is included below along with directions for removing the paper.


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