Monday, July 18, 2016

Star Light, Star Dark QAL: Planning Your Layout and Cutting Instructions

Welcome to the 3rd post of the Star Light, Star Dark QAL! Today's the day you've been waiting for - fabric cutting instructions! Then, we'll take a break for a couple of weeks - the cutting for this quilt (at least the lap size) definitely takes some time. Then you'll be all ready to sew in August!

 June 26 - October 4, 2016

Share your fabric choices and progress!
 Instagram: #starlightstardarkqal

Sponsored by:


Planning Your Layout

Remember that your goal is to create contrast within each section. If you don't, your stars will disappear! It's okay if that's the look you want, of course, but just keep this in mind.

Before I started cutting, I laid out my fabrics for each section. For example, above to the left is my choice for a small dark orange star (the darker fabric will be the middle). To the right are the fabrics for the large dark orange star (the lighter fabric will be the middle).

By laying the fabrics out, even before they are cut, I could see the contrast between backgrounds and stars. I suggest you take a picture and refer back to it as you are cutting, in case you need to remember which fabric goes where. I found it easiest to go section (big color block) by section (the lap size quilt has 6 sections and the baby size has 4).

Important Reading about the Small Stars

Remember when I mentioned in the fabric requirements that you will need 6 OR 7 different fabrics for the scrappiest possible look? Well, that's in case you want to make either 1 or 2 small stars per section. Your cutting instructions will change depending on what you decide. You can make ALL the sections with the same number of little stars, or alternate by section like I did, to give it some interest. See below:

You need to decide how many small stars you will have before you cut, so that you can accurately cut the large pieces of fabric that lay above or below the small stars. Whatever you decide, your quilt will be lovely!

Cutting Instructions for Star Light, Star Dark Quilt

Fat-quarter friendly; you will have leftovers.
Small stars are scrap-friendly.
Fabric requirements and lesson in contrast are here!

1 section = 1 large color block. The photo below shows my dark red section that I'm making mainly with fabrics from the QAL bundle from Fat Quarter Shop.

Cutting for 1 section:

Fabric 1 - Large Star

(1) - 9.5" square (Middle)

(4) - 6" squares (Points)

Fabric 2 - Large Star Background

(4) - 6" squares (Points)

(4) - 5" squares

Fabric 3 - Underneath or Above Large Star

(1) - 5.5" x 18.5"

Fabric 4 and 5 - Small Star(s)

(1) - 3" square (Middle)*

(2) - 4" squares (Points)*

*For EACH small star - if making 2, like in my red section above, you can double these requirements from the same fabric, or cut one set of 2 different fabrics.

Fabric 6 - Small Star Background

(4) - 3" squares**

(2) - 4" squares**

**for EACH small star - if making 2, double these requirements.

Fabric 7 - Above or Below Small Star(s)

(1) - 8" x 16" (when using 1 star)

OR (1) - 8" x 8.5" (when using 2 stars)

Lap size has 6 sections; baby size has 4. Repeat cutting instructions according to the size you have chosen to make.


Woohoo! Cut up all your fabric and get ready to sew on August 1! Don't forget, you can still join in and link up your fabric choices here until that day. There are some great blog posts linked up over there and some gorgeous color palettes, too! Plus, there are even more on Instagram and the Facebook group - above are just a few. I'm so excited to see all of your quilts! Let's fill the internet (and the world) with beautiful modern star quilts! 

Quilt-A-Long Schedule

July 18: Planning Your Layout and Cutting Instructions <<<<<< You are here!
August 1: Piecing the Large Stars
August 8: Piecing the Small Stars 
August 15: Share Your Progress Linkup (open through September 1)
August 22: What Is Alternate Gridwork?
August 29: Piecing the Top Together
September 12: Quilting Suggestions
September 19 - October 3: Final Linky Party - Link up your Finished Quilt - Prizes Up for Grabs!
October 4: Winners announced


  1. So excited about this!!! I still have to pick my fabric (found the QAL on Friday) but since we have a couple weeks for cutting, I should have it done by then.

  2. Whoohoo! I'm excited to get going on this, Jess!!!

  3. Yay, So glad to have the cutting instructions
    I hope everyone has fun. I am going to try to stay on track.
    Thanks Jess for the post today

  4. Just wanted to say - huge thank you for this "workshop" posts. It's so nice of you to lead beginners like me and give a little self-confidence.

  5. Love this... I won't be able to do it this summer since I have two quilts in progress that need to be completed by end of September. I want put this one on my list for later this year... Brilliant

    1. Hi Kathy, if you do make the quilt, the instructions will be up under "Community" forever. Thanks so much! I'd love to see your version whenever you make it - feel free to email me.


Let's start a conversation! I love comments and I'd be happy to reply to all who have an email address accessible. Thanks for commenting!


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