Sharing a meal is a wonderful way to connect with friends and family. It needn’t be a big production; a bowl of homemade soup on a cold day can be just as rewarding as a holiday extravaganza. But on that extravaganza side… I do have to admit how fun it is to set a big, beautiful table as the centerpiece of a gathering. The good dishes appear, the candles are lit, and the linens are laid out as the foundation for it all.
Our Double Star Patchwork Table Throw is a departure from a traditional tablecloth or runner. A Table Throw – also known as a Table Square – offers more flexibility for how it can be placed as well as the type of table on which it will fit. As a square, it can be positioned by itself on any style of table: round, square, rectangular or oval. Or use it as a vibrant overlay for a plain tablecloth.
The Double Star design is a traditional holiday favorite, but your choice of color and motif makes it the “star of the show” anytime of the year. The rich jewel tone fabrics we used for our sample were chosen to create a dimensional effect. To emphasize the effect, individual pieces were fussy cut so each section repeats along each point of the star.
There’s a free pattern set to download below, and you’ll learn how to use those patterns to create a Window Template and a Cutting Template to fussy cut all the identical pieces. It’s a motif-matching skill you can use on this project as well as in the future when you may want to match a pocket to a background panel.
Our thanks to Janome America for their sponsorship of this project. There are detailed steps below for piecing, appliquéing, and quilting as well as attaching the multi-fabric borders and binding. Throughout the steps, we showcase the Janome features and feet used to make the process faster and easier.
Whatever you are looking to undertake, of course your skills as a sewer and quilter are important, but so are the “skills” your machine can bring to the table. S4H is all about giving people the confidence to tackle a new project, however, we always stress the need to surround yourself with the best tools possible. “The better your tools; the more creative you become.” As a Janome exclusive studio, we put that into practice every day. And we certainly did so during the construction of this Table Throw, which depends on precision, power, and flexibility of features for the best results.
You can follow our quilting plan or design your own. The majority of ours is straight line quilting with the addition of just a bit of “ribbon candy” free-motion fill. You’ll see a variety of options in our steps, from the Janome AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system with both wide and narrow presser feet to adding a standard Quilt Guide Bar for perfect straight line spacing to experimenting with Janome’s new A.S.R™ Accurate Stitch Regulator. The job of the A.S.R.™ is to keep consistent spacing between the stitches, resulting in smooth curves and balanced stitches. A couple things about Janome’s version of a regulator, because you know Janome is always thinking about the best and most intuitive enhancements: the surface of the camera moving across your fabric is larger and does a better job reading and regulating on dark fabrics, plus – you can adjust the regulation as your skills build.
There are quite a few steps to this project, but don’t let that deter you. There are also lots of photos to help explain each section, and we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the ease with which the design comes together – even if you are newer to patchwork and quilting.
The Double Star itself is created and then appliquéd to a full background panel. We used a blind hem stitch and clear monofilament thread for our appliqué, resulting in a nearly invisible finish. You then trim away the center background fabric in order to finish your layering and quilting with three flat panels … just as if you’d pieced the star into the background.
Thanks again to Janome America for their support. If you want to find out more about the amazing Janome machines, including models featuring the new A.S.R.™ system, visit their website, follow them on social media, and – best of all – visit a local dealer for an in-person test stitch.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot
- Walking/Even Feed foot; optional, but makes handling the layers easier – you could also engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™ Flex system we love to use on many of our Janome studio machines – this was our choice and we used both the standard AcuFeed™ Wide Open Toe foot as well as AcuFeed™ narrow VD foot.
- Quilting Guide Bar; optional but helpful for keeping your straight line quilting precise
Fabric and Other Supplies
As mentioned above, one of the keys to creating the dimensional effect of this double star is fussy cutting. When using fussy cuts, you need to plan on purchasing additional fabric. Large scale designs with large repeats will use more yardage than small scale prints. The fabrics used in our sample were from the True Kisses and Local Honey collections by Heather Bailey for Figo Fabrics, and they consisted of one large scale print, two medium scale prints, and one small scale print. Below is a chart that shows the minimum yardage for each fabric compared with the yardage required to allow for fussy cutting of all sections. Depending on your choice of fabric, you may need more or less fabric for your fussy cut sections.
Additional Fabric + Supplies
- 1½ yards of extra wide width (104” +) quilting weight cotton for the background fabric and backing; we used a generic tone-on-tone quilt backing fabric in soft white
- 1½ yards of 54”+ low loft quilt batting; batting comes in many different options – both packaged and off the bolt – you need a minimum 52” x 52” panel
- All-purpose thread in a neutral color for piecing and construction
- All-purpose thread in a bright, contrasting color for basting; optional
- All-purpose thread in a color to match your backing fabric for quilting
- Clear monofilament thread for the appliqué
- Bobbin thread
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Fabric pen or pencil; make sure to pick one that will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
Getting Started and Pattern Download
NOTE: The cutting notes are shown for this project as several different sets: the star, the background and backing, the border, and the binding. The yardage amounts above are enough to cover everything, but we felt it was easier to separate out the cuts so you could concentrate on each section independently.
Window technique for star fussy cuts
- Download and print out TWO copies of each pattern: Star A and Star B. These two patterns are set-up on two pages that have been bundled into one PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each page within this PDF is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guideline on each page to confirm your printout is to scale.
- Find your two copies of Star A. On one copy, trim away the center, cutting along the stitching line (the dotted line on the pattern) to create a Window Template. On the second copy, simply trim along the solid outline as normal to create a Cutting Template. Repeat the same steps for the two copies of Star B.
- Find your panel of large motif fabric (Coral Morning Bloom in our sample).
- Spread out the fabric on a large flat surface.
- Place the Window Template for Star A on the fabric, then slide the template around until you find the desired section of the motif for your first set of fussy cuts.
NOTE: Conserving fabric can’t go completely out the window when fussy cutting; you do need enough fabric for all your cuts. Don’t start smack dab in the middle of the panel when choosing your position. It’s better to work from the outside in.
- Pin the template in place.
- Place the Star A Cutting Template in position over the Window Template, matching the solid lines on the two templates.
- Pin the Cutting Template in place, taking care not to pin into the Window Template.
- Remove the pins from the Window Template and lift it away from the fabric. Set the Window Template to the side for use with the next fabric.
- Trim around the Cutting Template, about 1” from the cutting line, creating a rectangular panel with the Cutting Template pinned in place at its center: a Template Panel.
- Place this Template Panel back onto your main fabric panel, moving it around until the motif on the Template Panel lines up with a matching area on the main panel. When it aligns, pin in place.
- Cut around the original Template Panel.
- Repeat two more times to yield four matching layers.
NOTE: This is similar to how you match a pocket to a background panel. We have a full tutorial on this technique if you’d like to review it prior to starting.
- Use a quilt ruler and rotary cutter to cut out the template
- Admire your four perfectly matched sections.
- Cut a second set of four from the large motif fabric in the same manner.
NOTE: With large motif fabrics, it might be more difficult to get the eight total sections to be 100% identical. If you look closely at our finished sample, you may notice that our second set of four Coral Morning Bloom sections is ever so slightly different from the first set. That’s okay… and we bet you wouldn’t have noticed it we didn’t tell you. No need to sweat; your goal is to get the sections as close as possible.
- Find the darker of your two medium motif fabrics (Violet Primrose in our sample). It will form the opposite side of the Star A sections. Because it is a mirror image of your first set of sections, you need to work with the Star A Window Template and Cutting Template upside down.
- Place the upside down Star A Window Template on the fabric, then slide the template around until you find the desired section of the motif for your next set of fussy cuts.
- Pin the template in place.
- Place the upside down Star A Cutting Template in position over the window, aligning the solid lines.
- Pin the Cutting Template in place, taking care not to pin into the Window Template.
- Remove the pins from the Window Template and lift it away from the fabric.
- Again, as you did above, trim around the Cutting Template, about 1” from the cutting line, creating a rectangular panel with the Cutting Template pinned in place at its center: a Template Panel. Continue as you did above with the Coral Morning Bloom fabric to create your two sets of four sections in this second fabric.
- Find the remaining medium motif fabric (Raspberry /Primrose in our sample).
- Find your two Star B templates, which should have been trimmed into a Window Template and a Cutting Template.
- Using the Star B templates facing right side up, and following the same steps as above, fussy cut two matching groups of four from this third fabric.
- Finally, find the small motif fabric (Orange Darling in our sample).
- Flip over the Star B templates so they are upside down, and following the same steps as above, use these upside down templates to fussy cut two matching groups of four from this fourth and final fabric.
- Place the cut fabric sections on a flat surface, as shown in the photo below. You should have two groups of the four different fabrics to make up the star points. Each of those little piles contains four pieces.
NOTE: Your next steps have you moving into piecing and appliqué. As mentioned above, you still have some cutting to do for the background, backing, border, and binding, but we’ll do that later.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Join the Star A sections to the Star B sections
- The templates are printed with arrows to use for matching. This is so the pieces stay aligned during stitching. Cut a wide notch in each template as shown.
- Mark that notch on each fabric section.
- Place a Star A piece to a Star B piece, right sides together, matching your marked notches. Pin in place. Notice how the blunt ends of each piece allow you to line up for a ¼” seam.
NOTE: As we move forward, our instructions will give you our steps using our Janome machines and accessories. If you have a different Janome model or a different machine altogether, your settings and feet may be different.
- Set up your machine for patchwork and attach a Quarter Inch Seam foot.
- Use a neutral color thread in the top and the bobbin.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance (a pre-set with our Janome patchwork setting), sew together the first two sections.
- Continue sewing the A/B pairs together in this same manner.
- Press the seams toward the darker fabric in each pair (in our sample: press toward the Raspberry fabric for the Coral/Raspberry pairs, and toward the Violet fabric for the Violet/Orange pairs).
- You should end up with two sets of sewn “star point halves” – four sewn pairs in each fabric combo for each set — eight of each pair total.
Assemble the “star point halves”
- It’s time to match up all your “star point halves.” In our sample, this meant we were matching a sewn Coral/Raspberry pair with a sewn Violet/Orange pair along their straight sides. The ends should align, and the seams should nest together.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch together.
- Press the seam allowance open and flat. This will help reduce the bulk at the center of the star as the sections come together.
- Continue until you have eight full star points, divided into two groups of four.
- Match up a full star point from one group to a full star point from the other group.
- At the top point, where the two Star B sections come together (the Raspberry and Orange in our sample), use a pin to align the seams.
- At the opposite end, where the Star A sections come together (the Coral and Violet in our sample), make a mark ¼“ in from the end.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch together. Start at the top intersecting seams.
- Continue down to the ¼” mark. Lock your seam at this point.
- Press the seam allowance open and flat. The seams should intersect ¼” from the end.
- Continue sewing the star sections together. You should end up with four sewn sections, each with two full star points.
Sew together the quarter sections and then the half sections
- Match up your quarter sections into two sets of two.
- As you did above with the star points, align the seams at the top.
- And, lock your seam at the bottom ¼” from the end.
- Press the seam allowance open.
- Finally, place your two half sections right sides together to form the final star.
- As above, align the seams at the center.
- Begin your ¼” seam ¼” in from the starting end, stitch across, and lock the seam ¼” from the opposite end. The seam at the center point of the star will be bulky, but it should be easy to stitch across.
- Again, press the seam allowance open. Stars can be difficult to match at the centers, but pressing the seams open as you go certainly helps.
- With careful stitching and pressing, you should end up a beautiful, smooth double star.
Fold under the outer perimeter of the finished star
- The last step in the assembly of the star is to fold under and press the perimeter raw edge of the star ¼”. This why we instructed you to stop stitching ¼“ from the bottom end of the seams.
- Now, the inner corners of the star will lay flat. Yay!
- At the outer points, first fold back the point ¼”.
- Next, press in one side then the other side.
- This should result in a nice crisp point from the front.
- To keep the edges in place, and to minimize stretch on the bias edges, hand baste along the edge of the star. This is optional, but it does help keep everything smooth and flat.
Place and appliqué the star to the background fabric
- From the wide quilt backing fabric (tone-on-tone soft white in our sample), cut a square 44½“ x 44½“. Press the fabric to remove any creases and wrinkles.
- Fold the fabric in half and press to set a visible crease line along the fold. Fold the fabric in half in the opposite direction and press once again to set another visible crease line. You’ve divided the background fabric into quarters.
- Open up the background fabric and place it on a large flat surface. A clean space on your floor or a dining room table might be a good option.
- Place the completed star right side up on the background fabric, aligning the star’s inner corners with the quadrant crease lines.
- Measure side to side and top to bottom to make sure the star is centered, then pin in place.
- The star is appliquéd to the background fabric. The final choice for which thread, foot, and stitch to use is, as always, up to you. We used a Blind Hem stitch and clear monofilament thread for what we felt was the most “invisible finish.” Test sew a few samples to find the best width and stitch length. We say this quite often… we also do it ourselves!
- For each selected stitch, our Janome machine shows a suggested foot, in this case the G foot. However, we felt the flange that guides this foot along the edge of the fabric was not quite as close as we wanted for our appliqué. We switched to the F foot, which is clear and allowed us to position the stitch perfectly.
- Once you have your perfect stitch, thread your machine with bobbin thread to match the background fabric in the bobbin, and monofilament thread in the top.
- Stitch around the star, carefully moving along the folded edge of the star…
- … and sharply pivoting at the corners and points.
- When complete, flip over the panel and trim away the background fabric from the center of the star.
- Leave about ¼” to ⅜” along the line of stitching, being very careful to not cut into the star.
- This step insures your Table Throw top is a single panel, which is important to final layering and quilting. You can remove the basting stitches from the folded edge of the star at this point.
- Put your cut-away center fabric in your stash.
Creating and adding the border
- We used pieced borders for our Table Throw. This is optional; you could certainly use a solid color, but tying the colors of the star to the borders is very pretty.
- As promised above, below is a chart with the specific cuts we used, showing how to first cut width of fabric strips (WOF), then sub-cut those strips into smaller lengths and squares.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew together your lengths and squares into four strips. Our order for each strip was as follows: Orange, Violet, Coral, Violet, Orange.
- Press seams toward the darkest pieces (the Violet in our sample).
- Add a Violet square to each end of two of the strips.
- Place the shorter border strips (the two strips without the end squares/the “cornerstones”) right sides together along the top and bottom of the main top panel. Pin in place.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew the strips in place.
- Press the seam allowance toward the border.
- Place the remaining longer border strips right sides together along either side of the main top panel, matching the seams at the cornerstones.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew strips in place. Press the seam allowance toward the border.
- This completes the top of the Table Throw.
Quilting the layers
- Some additional cutting is required to complete all the main layers prior to quilting.
- From the remaining wide quilt backing fabric (tone-on-tone soft white in our sample), cut a square at least 52” x 52”.
- From the low loft batting, cut a square the same size – at least 52” x 52”.
- Press the backing fabric if need be to remove any residual wrinkles, then place it right side down on a large, flat (clean) surface.
- Place the batting on on top of the backing.
- Finally, place the completed top panel right side up over the batting, which means the fabric panels are wrong sides together on either side of the batting. Make sure there is an excess border of backing and batting beyond the top panel on all sides. Smooth the layers together.
- The next step is to hold these three layers together. There are many options, starting with fusible batting. Steam is used to activate the temporary adhesive, and the layers can be lifted apart and repositioned a number of times. You can also use temporary spray adhesive, but exercise caution and make sure you have good ventilation when indoors. Large safety pins are another option (pin basting). Pin the layers together every 6” or so to keep the layers in position. The method we chose is hand basting, using a bright contrasting thread and large stitches.
- The first line of basting is around the outer edge of the quilt.
- Next, baste across the center in each direction, then divide the top panel into quarters in each direction. For a 48” table throw, the basting makes a 12” grid. The basting stitches hold the layers securely, and the “quilt sandwich” can now be picked up and moved, folded, and scrunched under the needle without shifting. And no need to remove safety pins!
- We decided on a combination of straight line quilting and free motion quilting. You can follow our design or plan your own look.
- For straight line quilting, the plan used the AcuFeed™ Built-in Fabric Feeding System on our Janome machine. This built in Walking/Even Feed system offers a selection of feet in two different widths to make the job easier. We selected the Wide Open Toe foot for the “stitch-in-the-ditch” quilting on the pieced star. The open toe lets you see exactly where your stitches will be placed, making it easy to follow the lines of the design, including any marked quilting lines. Our plan includes small areas of free motion quilting; we’ll change to a free motion foot for those areas.
- Attach the AcuFeed™ Wide Open Toe foot. Re-thread as necessary with thread to best match the quilt backing fabric in both the top and bobbin. Adjust the stitch length to 2.8mm.
- The first step is to stitch-in-the-ditch along the border. Use the needle up/down function to bring the bobbin thread to the surface. Hold the thread ends to keep them out of the way, and take a few stitches in place. Then, start stitching along the border.
- Continue sewing around the border until you reach your starting point. Take a few stitches in place, then cut threads.
- Next, quilt along the outer edge of the star, keeping this stitch-in-the-ditch stitching as close as possible to the star.
- Before quilting into the star and background, baste around the outer edge of the quilt. Adjust the stitch length to 3.5mm. With the AcuFeed™ open toe foot, you can simply use the edge of the foot as a guide. Adjust the needle position if necessary to place your line of stitching ⅜” from the edge of the fabric.
- With your basting done, return the stitch settings to a center needle position and a stitch length of 2.8mm.
- Stitch-in-the-ditch along all the seams of the star.
- Once the star is quilted, we worked section by section, using a removable fabric marking pen, to draw in our pre-determined quilting lines.
- Following our quilting plan, you’ll first mark a line from the end of each star point to the center point of the adjacent Violet border square.
- Next, create an “echo line” of the star all around. To do this, mark a point 3½” from each inner corner of the star and connect that point to the adjacent Violet square in the border.
- Quilt along the marked lines.
NOTE: Depending on what type of marking pen you choose, the marks can disappear quickly. It helps to mark and stitch, stop, and then mark and stitch for the next section.
- Fill in the space between the star and the star echo line with “rays” spaced 1½” apart.
- Once the rays are marked and stitched, create a second echo line 1¼“ from the first echo line.
- The final part of the straight line stitching is to create sections of diamond quilting between the second echo line and the border.
- For the diamond quilting, you can use the AcuFeed™ foot with a Quilt Guide, or continue using the mark-and-stitch method with a removable fabric pen.
- We chose to work with the Quilt Guide.
- The lines of the diamond grid are 1½“ apart.
- Work in a back and forth manner, creating the grid. Yes – you can sew along previous lines of quilting!
- To finish our quilting, we switched to a Free Motion foot and stitch to add the “ribbon candy” that fills in the band between the first and second echo lines.
- Ribbon candy is simple back and forth loops, one of the easiest fills in free motion quilting. Try it out on a sample so you can see how it looks, then work one section at a time.
- One of the exciting features found on new Janome top-of-the-line models is the A.S.R.™ – Accurate Stitch Regulator. Its job is to keep consistent spacing between the stitches, resulting in smooth curves and balanced stitches.
- This ribbon candy fill is the perfect free motion technique to try it out!
- Refer to our beauty images above within the introduction for the best view of our finished quilting.
Creating and attaching the binding
- We used a pieced binding that extends the look of the border to the very edge of the quilt, creating a seamless look that is surprisingly easy to create.
- The binding strips are cut 2¼“ wide, folded in half, and pressed. The pieces are arranged to match the border, sewn to the edge of the quilt, folded toward the quilt backing, and secured by stitching in the ditch.
- Below is the cutting chart for our binding.
- Using a ¼“ seam allowance, stitch together the lengths to create four strips in the following order; Orange, Violet (2½”), Coral, Violet(2½”), Orange. Press all the seam allowances open and flat.
- To the end of each sewn strip (the Orange end), add one of the remaining 4½“ Violet lengths.
- Join the four strips by sewing the Orange end of each strip to the Violet end of the next strip, making a continuous loop. Be careful to not let it twist!
- Fold the binding in half, wrong sides together, and press.
- Place the Table Throw on a large, flat work area. Slide a cutting mat under the edge of the layers. Use a clear quilter’s ruler to trim the border to a final width of 2”. The line of basting stitches should remain on the edge of the border. Shift the cutting mat as needed to trim all four sides. Take special care to keep the corners square.
- Starting with the center Coral section on one side, align and pin the raw edge of the binding to the raw edge of the Table Throw. Continue pining, matching the colors and the seams. If you compare the lengths of each section of Orange and Coral in the binding, you’ll notice they differ from the lengths of the border by ⅛”. This measurement is correct. This little adjustment helps the edge of the quilt lay perfectly flat.
- At this point, we switched to the narrow AcuFeed™ foot. It is exactly ½“ wide, so the edge of the foot can be used to sew a perfect ¼“ seam.
- Re-thread if necessary to insure the thread in the top and bobbin match the quilt backing fabric. We set our stitch length at 2.8mm.
- Sew the binding to the quilt with a ¼“ seam allowances, stopping ¼“ from each corner to allow you to miter the corner before continuing along the next side.
- Continue sewing, mitering each corner as you come to it, until you reach your starting point.
- Fold the binding around to the back. Pin in place, taking care that the folded edge of the binding covers the line of stitching.
- Flip the Table Throw so it is once again right side up. Check each corner to make sure it looks good. Adjust from the back if necessary.
- Stitch in the ditch to secure the binding in place.
NOTE: Some of our binding steps are summarized here, and of course you are always welcoming to chose your own binding method. If you are new to quilt binding, we have a full tutorial you can review prior to starting. In addition, we have a five-part Quilting Basics Series you might find helpful.
Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation and Quilting Planning + Details: Michele Mishler