How to Make A Friendship Star Quilt Block

The Friendship Star Quilt block is a great place to start for quilters learning the craft. The Friendship Star Quilt Block is essentially comprised of a simple nine patch block with a few half square triangles tossed in for fun.

The Friendshuip Star Block can be used as a part of a wide range of quilt patterns and has been a popular choice among quilters since its inception in the days of the pioneers.

In those early times, the person making the block would embroider her name in the center as a reminder so that the recipient was able to feel a connection to the loved ones she had left behind.

The key skill for the friendship star block is creating half square triangles that are true along the diagonal and finish at the correct size with the point intact at both ends.

Materials needed for the Friendship Star Quilt Block:

  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • 6 ½” and 12 ½” ruler
  • Sewing machine set to ¼”
  • Pencil
  • 1 fat quarter of light fabric
  •  12” x 15” piece of dark fabric
  • 6” x 12” piece of medium fabric

Tutorial Instructions for Making the Friendship Star Quilt Block

Cut the fabric as follows

  • 4 light squares 4 ½” square
  • 1 dark square  4 ½” square
  • 2 light squares  5 ½” square
  • 2 medium squares  5 ½” square

Make the Half Square Triangle Units

There are many different techniques taught for making half square triangle quilt blocks. 

You will need to form half square triangle quilt blocks that measure 4 ½” square.  The general rule when using this method is to add ¾” to that measurement and cut your fabric squares.  Because you are still learning and may make mistakes the squares you will cut will be 5 ½”- a full inch larger than the finished block size.

If you are having trouble following any of the method below, feel free to check out our full tutorial on making half square triangles.

Form the Half Square Triangles

To form the half square triangle blocks you will place a light 5 ½” block with a colored 5 ½”’ block, right sides together. Match the edges and corners carefully.  

Draw a diagonal line  from corner to corner on your light block.   

Stitch on either side of the diagonal line with a ¼” seam allowance.  Place your drawn diagonal line on the edge of your ¼” presser foot and adjust your needle if necessary.

After stitching both lines, gently fold back the darker color along the sewn line and press in place.   

Repeat for the darker color on the other side of the block.

Smooth both pieces flat with your hands so they are again right sides together.   Cut on the drawn diagonal line.    

Trim the Half Square Triangle Quilt Blocks

Trim the quilt blocks by lining up the diagonal line on your 6 ½” ruler with the diagonal line on the block.  Trim two sides square, then spin the block and line up the 4 ½” lines with the cut edge. Trim the other two sides so you end up with a 4 ½” block.

Arrange the quilt blocks according to the block layout diagram.  Sew together by attaching rows, just as you would assemble a 9 patch block. 

Friendship Star Block Layout

Trim your assembled blocks to 12 ½” square if needed.

The History of the Friendship Star Quilt Block

As we mentioned, the friendship star quilt dates back to the pioneering days and it was typically made in secret by the friends of a and family of a woman departing into the wilds for a new life, perhaps after meeting a partner and marrying.

The person making the friendship star quilt would embroider her name in the center as a reminder so that the recipient was able to feel a connection to the loved ones she had left behind.

The popularity of friendship star quilt patterns continues right up to today.