The Warden's Cross: A Stars and Stripes Quilt

Posted by BreeM on Monday, April 2nd, 2012


The Warden’s Cross

A quilt using Stars and Stripes
Riley Blake Designs

Printer Friendly Instructions

 Course Instructor: Bree McElroy from Distant Pickles (

          finalcopy (JPG)             

 Course Materials:Stars and Stripes ' by My Mind’s Eye for Riley Blake Designs

1 fat quarter each of 24 fabrics in Stars and Stripes collection

2 yards C100-38 (Cotton Solid Navy) for backing

½ yard binding fabric (C2795- Cream Plaid)

Basic Sewing Supplies (rotary cutter, ruler and mat, machine with thread, iron, and snips)

Spray Starch


*Materials Note: instructions include a pieced quilt back. If you prefer to have a solid quilt back, you will need 3 yards of backing material. 


Course Instructions:

¼” seam used throughout


Each quilt block consists of four individual fabrics –

 background The “background” – referred to as “A”, this is the fabric that touches all outside edges of the block.

cross The “cross” – referred to as “B”, this is the fabric that forms the plus sign turned on point, outside the inner pinwheel star


 star dark“Star light” – referred to as “C”, this is the lighter print that forms the star in the center

stardark “Star Dark – referred to as “D”, this is the darker print that forms the star in the center.


First, we will be separating our fat quarters into 2 piles. You will have 12 fat quarters per pile.

Take your first pile and cut according to this diagram:

cutting chart 1  cutting diagram1 copycopy (JPG)

A: four 5.5” squares
four 3.5” squares

D: two 5.5” squares

All gray area is scrap. You will have a 14”x7” scrap piece at the bottom – save this for your backing if you are doing a pieced backing!

Repeat this cutting pattern for all 12 fabrics and set aside.


Take the remaining 12 fat quarters and cut as shown:

cutting diagram 2 chart (JPG)          cutting diagram 2 copy (JPG)             


B: six 5.5” squares
four 3.5” squares

C: two 5.5” squares

All gray area is scrap.

Repeat this cutting pattern for 12 fabrics.


Pull all C and D 5.5” squares out and set in one pile.

Decide which fabrics you’d like to pair in each block. You will be making a total of 12 blocks. Match up a set of A fabrics with a set of B - try to pair up a less busy fabric with a more busy fabric to keep the blocks easy on the eye! Grab your pile of C and D squares and pick one C and one D print (for a total of 2 matching C squares and 2 matching D squares) to form your center star. Mix these up! They should not be the same fabrics as your cross and background.

For each block, you will need one set of B fabrics, one set of A, and two squares each of C and D.

Block assembly is as follows:
Place two 5.5” squares right sides together using pairing diagram found below. Using a SCANT ¼” seam, stitch around all four sides. I know it feels wrong – follow me to the cutting board and your world will be right again- perhaps even better than before!

hst instruction 1copy (JPG) 

Line up your ruler from one corner to the other, and cut across the diagonal. Turn your ruler and make a cut on the other diagonal. Pull apart and admire your four little half-square triangles!

 hst instruction 2copy (JPG) hst instruction 3copy (JPG)


Spray starch and press open. Clip the dog ears and re-square to 3.5”. Spray starch is a very helpful tool for this method of creating half-square triangles. Since your square’s edges are cut on the bias, they tend to stretch a bit, and the starch will prevent any wonkiness in your finished block.

Repeat this for all 5.5” squares, pairing up as follows:

 HST pairing copycopy (JPG)


Now that we have our half-square triangles all created, it’s time to stitch the block together. If it helps you, lay out the squares to keep them organized, like so:

 layoutcopy (JPG)

We will be dividing this block into nine separate sections. Each section is made of four squares. We will first make our four corners, as they are all the same.

Take one 3.5” square of A, one 3.5” square of B, and two half-square triangles of A with B. Join as shown. Make sure to press those seams!

 mini block type 1copy (JPG)

Repeat for a total of four 4-patch corner sections.

Next, our top, sides, and bottom centers:
Take 2 half-square triangles of A with B, one half square triangle of C with B, and one half-square triangle of D with B. Stitch as shown.

 mini block type 2copy (JPG)

Repeat for a total of four top/side/bottom sections.

Finally, we will piece our center block:
Take four half-square triangles of C with D. Form one pinwheel block as shown.

 mini block type 3copy (JPG)

Be sure that your top right square is extended so that the dark is on the top edge as shown. This is to match up with the side/top sections we just made. Lay it out on your sewing desk or table if needed!


With all 9 sections now made, it’s time to assemble them into the large block. Lay out and stitch into rows, then join as shown for final block.

3rows finished blockcopy (JPG)


Whew! One block down! Repeat for a total of 12 blocks and stitch blocks together in a 3 wide by 4 long layout. 

To assemble your back, take the 14”x7” scrap pieces from your first cutting diagram and trim to 14”x6.5”. Join into pairs along the 14” side:

 backing 1copy (JPG)

Then join your pairs as shown:

backing 2copy (JPG)


Keep at it until you have one tall column at 72” tall.

Take your backing fabric and slice off 10” from one side.

 backing 4copy (JPG)

Piece your 10” strip to your column of scraps and join this segment to the remaining backing, as shown:

 backcopy (JPG)


Baste using your chosen method – I personally live for basting spray.

Quilt as desired. I decided on an all-over meandering pattern in a white thread with a navy blue bobbin to match most of my backing. Bind with your preferred method – I like 2” double-folded strips. Deonn Stott and Cindy have a wonderful video right here at Riley Blake Designs showing how to attach binding to a quilt if you need help!

Wash, Dry, and start lounging!

 209copy (JPG)

Category: Quilts


  1. Simply beautiful! I will definitely be making this.
    by Marshall @ Fabric Donkey
    April 02nd, 2012 at 10:08 a.m.
  2. What size quilt does this make? I have never made a quilt before, but plan on learning one day. For now I am gathering ideas :)
    by Kristin
    April 02nd, 2012 at 5:38 p.m.
  3. @Kristin... ack! I can't believe I forgot to put the finished size in there. It's 54x72, each block is 18". 54"x72" is a great lounging throw quilt size!
    by Bree
    April 02nd, 2012 at 7:28 p.m.
  4. Found the directions, and I love this! Just beautiful.
    by Gayle
    April 02nd, 2012 at 8:11 p.m.

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