Pinwheel Star Block Tutorial

Pinwheel Star Quilt Block Tutorial @ The Crafty QuilterI have the cutest quilt block to share with you!  I made a Pinwheel Star, which is just my name for it.  It’s historical name is probably something much more sophisticated.  Pinwheel blocks and star blocks are two of my favorites, which puts this block at the top of my list!

Let me show you how to make one of your own!

Unfinished size:   12 1/2″ block

Supplies and cutting for one block:

  • Background fabric:  cut (4) 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ rectangles and (4) 3 1/2″ squares
  • Green (star points):  cut (8) 3 1/2″ squares
  • Floral (center square corners):  cut (2) 4″ squares, cut in half diagonally once
  • Blue (pinwheel):  cut (1) 4 1/2″ square, cut in half diagonally twice
  • White (pinwheel):  cut (1) 4 1/2″ square, cut in half diagonally twice

Pinwheel Star Quilt Block Tutorial @ The Crafty Quilter


Make center pinwheel unit:

1.  Lay out the following pieces as shown:

pinwheel unit placed

2.  Stitch the two quarter-triangles together and press towards the dark fabric.

pinwheel half chained3.  Add the other half-triangle to the above units, making sure to center them first (they won’t be the same size).  Trim to 3 1/2″ squares.

pinwheel steps

I trimmed these using the Quilt-in-a-Day Triangle Square Up Ruler.  You can also trim them using a square ruler, just make sure to trim it evenly on all sides, keeping the center of the unit at the 1 3/4″ mark on the ruler as shown:

Trim pinwheel units

4.  Make four of these units.  Press two of them toward the large triangle and two of them towards the quarter-triangles.

pinwheel press units4.  Arrange the units so that all of the seams are opposing each other as follows:

pinwheel lay out5.  Stitch them into pairs, nesting the corner seams:

pinwheel chain halves6.  Press the seams in opposite directions.  Stitch the two halves together.  Pay careful attention to the center seams.  This is where the pinwheels meet in the center.

pinwheel set pin

I use a “setting pin” which goes down through the center “x” of the top half seam and down through the center “x” of the bottom half seam.  Keep this pin straight up and then pin on each side.

Setting Pin

7.  To reduce the bulk at the center of the pinwheel, press the seams so that they spiral from the center.  It will look like this on the back:

pinwheel spiral arrows

The center pinwheel unit should measure 6 1/2″ unfinished.

Center Pinwheel Unit

Make flying geese units:

1.  Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each 3 1/2″ green square.  Sew this onto the 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ rectangle and press towards the green.

flying geese right side stitched2.  Trim excess seam allowance.

flying geese trim3.  Repeat for the other side.

flying geese left sq stitched4.  Make a total of four flying geese units.  They should measure 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″.

flying geese finishedAssemble Block

1.  Lay out the units as shown below:

pinwheel star laid out2.  Sew the units into rows.  Make sure to check the “center match point” where the diagonal seams all converge and pin well!

pinwheel star match point a

Press the center row seams out to the sides and the top/bottom row seams in towards the middle.

pinwheel star press rows

3.  Sew the rows together, again matching seams and center match points.  Press the seams to the outside.

Pinwheel Star Quilt Block Tutorial @ The Crafty Quilter Your block should measure 12 1/2″ unfinished.  Admire!

Pinwheel Star Quilt Block Tutorial @ The Crafty Quilter
Pinwheel Star Block Tutorial @ The Crafty Quilter

This also ties in quite nicely with the Across the Pond Sew Along, hosted by Amy Made That!  Anything with pinwheels is the theme this month and you’ll find a ton of inspiration there!

Across the Pond ButtonAnd, I’ll be linking up with the Friday Night Block Party at Summercrafter – another pinwheel extravaganza!  Elaine has a few pinwheel blocks of her own to share.

Friday Night Block PartyI can’t wait to show you what I’ve been up to with my Pinwheel Star blocks.  I’ll give you a hint:  think red, white and green.  That’s right, Christmas Once a Month is coming up (on the 15th) and I’m using lots of these awesome blocks!

Christmast star copy

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  1. I am a total novice and have just followed your tutorial. Thank you so much for such a fabulously clear tutorial. Feeling so proud of my attempt and I have learnt so much.

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  3. Okay, I am back to look at the pinwheel center again. So perfect! how and when did you separate the seams. Mine were like conjoined twins! It looks so pretty that way. And I can’t way to see what you’re making!!

  4. Thank you Julie for the great tutorial. I have put a link to your instruction in our website, Rikstäcket, the Swedish national quilt guild. I think that a quilt with blocks in Christmas color will be be beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day
    Britt-Inger in Sweden

  5. Thanks for an excellent tutorial on this block! I love your fabrics.
    I also would not have thought to use flying geese to make the star points. I may get consistent sizes of points using this method!
    The Christmas block is so pretty, too!!


  6. I love this block and I am going to try it. I have never made anything with triangles. So afraid of the points but you make it look easy. Thanks.

  7. Wow Julie! The Pinwheel and star blocks have always been one of my all-time favorites too!!
    Thanks for your very informative tutorial ~ you make it look so easy! I am going to have to try this.
    LOVE the Christmas block!!!


  8. Oh so super sweet!!! I am so making this block, and the tutorial is fabulous! Love the finished size being larger, but the center all by itself is pretty, too. If I were you, I would just count that last block as Christmas this month…lol!

  9. Great block and thank you for the tutorial. I will be giving this a whirl later on today…thanks again

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