How to draft a LeMoyne Star

September 1, 2011 § 21 Comments

Remember this quilt from this post?

Wanna learn how to draft a LeMoyne Star quilt block? (it’s the center star in this block)  Okay then…  follow me.  Otherwise, click away to a more chatty and entertaining post.

1. Draw a square and divide it in half horizontally, vertically and diagonally.  A LeMoyne Star is an 8-pointed star.

2. Using your protractor, or two pencils with a string between them, draw a circle around your block.

3. Extend the middle horizontal & vertical lines and draw a secondary square.

4. Notice the points (the red dots) where the two squares intersect.  These will be the points of the Lemoyne Star.

5. Draw vertical lines & horizontal lines from those intersections that are parallel to the sides of the first square. This creates the diamond shapes in the LeMoyne Star.  Color in the sections so that you can see the diamond shapes.

6. So… how big do you want your star to be?  Well, the ol’ trusty Pythagorean Theorem will help us.  Not a math person? Me neither! I only know the math required to make quilt blocks. Please don’t ask me about any other kind of math. If it’s not required to make a quilt, I won’t know it.

You will need a scientific calculator to figure this out. If you don’t have one, you can use this Pythagorean Theorem Calculator on the Internet.

The Pythagorean Theorem works on right triangles.  Right triangles are those that have one 90º angle.  You can see the triangle marked in red in the photo above.  If you know the measurement of one of the sides of the triangle you can figure out the others.  The formula is a² + b² = c².

I want to make a giant one block quilt and so I’ve worked out the size on EQ already.  I’m really working backwards at this point.  I have decided that I want to strip cut the diamonds and I want the measurements for the diamonds to be nice round numbers.  So, I’ve arbitrarily decided that I will cut 7″ strips that will give me a finished measurement of 6 1/2″ – which is the measurement of “a” on the diagram above. So my a = 6.5″ and my b=6.5″.

What I want to know is the measurement of “c”.  Plugging in the numbers 6.5² + 6.5² = 9.19².  Each side of the diamond is the same size at 9.19″. So if I add 6.5″ + 9.19″ (for the dimension of half of the square) x 2 (for the full dimension of the square)… my block will measure 31.38″  or 31 3/8″.  Add a 1/2″ to everything to include the seam allowances.

Do you know the common decimal conversions of the fractions for quilting?  Here they are just in case:

  • 1/8 = .125
  • 1/4 = .25
  • 1/3 = .33
  • 3/8 = .375
  • 1/2 = .5
  • 5/8 = .625
  • 2/3 = .67
  • 3/4 = .75
  • 7/8 = .875

If I make just this one block as an entire quilt top and strip cut the diamonds at 7″, my quilt should measure approximately 63″ when it is finished.

If you like drafting your own blocks, you may be interested in the book Drafting for the Creative Quilter.  You can see a preview of the book over at Google Books and then download it to your eReader.

It’s not like I  need to start more projects or anything… but this block has been tormenting me in the back of my mind.  And… maybe it will give you something to think about over our long Labor Day weekend here in the U.S.  If you don’t have a long weekend, don’t worry. I’m going to come back to this at a later date when I get some of my “have-to” sewing done.

Happy early weekend!

§ 21 Responses to How to draft a LeMoyne Star

  • Gwen says:

    Thank you for showing this process! I might use it someday, but for not I’m happy to say that I have a pattern in hand for this as a big block top! Now to find the time to make it! LOL!

  • Susan says:

    oh good gravy woman! you lost me when you blurted out pythagoreum theorum. that just makes my head bleed. that is a gorgeous block, but i will have to stick with buying the pattern from a book!
    great tute tho

  • Manda says:

    Thanks for the tute. That block is lovely and def something I am bookmarking for future use! 🙂

  • nicolette says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! It’s still a bit early here for pythagoreum theorum and mathematics.
    I’m developing a liking for small blocks, but I can’t wat to see your huge star coming along!

  • Pratima says:

    Thank you, Anita! I’ll be looking forward to your beautiful big block. It is going to show off all the pretty fabrics so nicely.

  • Lexi Lucas says:

    I love it! But I have trouble following the hard stuff, I can add up really well though…. Can’t wait to see it and would love to make one. Right now!
    I have made two of your wild goose chase blocks and can’t wait to get more done. Thanks for sharing wonderful ideas. Lexi

  • Alexandra says:

    Excellent Anita, love the exploded block quilts, especially for those fabrics that have big bold prints. So question, does that mean that the setting squares are cut at 7″ and the triangles at 8 1/4″? Love you tuts and blog.

  • Blue.Ridge.Girl says:

    Love this Anita! I have not made a quilt yet that is just one huge block so I’d love to give this a whirl. Even as awesome as this is for telling how to draft the LeMoyne Star are you going to show how to cut/sew it when you get to working on it? I think I’d need some process photos in order to actually make one. Happy Labor Day weekend to you :o)

  • Izzy says:

    Thank you for your tutorial about the book cover and drafting patterns..We just dont understand how special it is to be able to draft our patterns instead of always having to use some one elses!!!It is a gift to have the((( ability )))even if we do borrow from time to time!

  • deb says:

    Oh my goodness! I so want to do this, but heck! it don’t think my maths can handle it lol!

  • Kathy says:

    Thank you Anita, I really appreciate your tute! You do not know how much time I’ve spent trying to do some of those things with Le Moyne’s without your info. Looking forward to your quilts appearing:).

  • Izzy says:

    I like your math formulas for quilting even if I dont get them LOL as long as it sounds important !!!

  • amandajean says:

    oh. anita. this post couldn’t have come at a better time! honestly, my eyes glazed over with all the math. however, I am going to make (hoping to, anyway!) the swoon quilt soonish. and seeing the scrappy option excites me to no end! you are such a source of inspiration to me. thank you. so very much. xo

  • helena says:

    Hello Anita,
    Thanks for the link (I’m not good at computer neither). It is very clear and if I read this before I didn’t mix 5/8″ and 3/4″….

  • Linda says:

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful tutorial on one of my all time favourite blocks. It’s so nice to decide what size we want our blocks. Feel truly blessed that I came across your site.

  • Mary Lee Harsha says:

    Great lesson. Makes it easy to make the star, as well as showing up the relationships among the diamonds and squares. Very helpful.

  • Kathleen says:

    Now I see! Your explanation was perfect. Many thanks!

  • Cathy says:

    I needed to draft a 12″ block. Got along just fine until the protractor/string on two pencils. It would have better if I had a 12′ bowl!!!! I was a mess trying o get a perfect line. I think I got a good pattern for the one block I need for a center medallion.

    Your directions are great but the operator error is …….

  • Peg Collins says:

    Thanks for this! in step #2, i think you mean to use a compass, instead of a protractor.

  • Susie Nutterbutter says:

    After reading several comments, the mistake you made was not stressing how easy this would be using triangle paper.

  • Roxanne says:

    THANK YOU!! I just drafted a 2″ Lemoyne star for a doll quilt. Happiness is!

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