Star Fix

If you saw the crazy star top I got yesterday you might think I am crazy.


I took it apart and fixed it …and it was very revealing.    First I took of the border (I left that as it is and just took out the star) and then took apart the star.

Before I show you what I found lets talk some geometry.  Thanks to Mrs. Barron, my geometry teacher from over 30 years ago, I do know some geometry facts.    There are 360 degrees in a circle so I want to make a star with 8 points I must divide 360 by 8.   that gives me 45.   so I need 45 degree diamonds to make an 8 point star.

Now lets look at the pieces once I took the star apart.


The problem becomes apparent when I look at the pieces.  The angle is wrong.   They are very poorly cut and not at all accurate but they are also 15 degrees off.  These are closer to 60 degree diamonds and doing the math 60  x 6 = 360  so only 6 of these could possibly fit in a star…..but the maker was determined to make it with 8 so they forced them in.    Here are the other 4 and they were cut in odd ways in an attempt to make it fit.


I had to cut them to the correct size…..I made them as large as I could, using the correct angle  …. here they are with the trimmings.


next to work on the setting squares.    It was no surprise that they were all different sizes


and the setting triangles were perhaps the most laughable.


I re cut the squares and used some old fabric that was a good match to make the triangles.

I sewed the diamonds into a star


and then I set in the squares and triangles.

Now to do the borders.    I placed the star in the center of the border to show what a difference there is.


The borders were pretty bad ….they were not cut straight and so they are very wavy and uneven.   If I took them apart and trimmed them and sewed them back together I would have lost a lot of size.  I decided to leave it as it is and just cut out the extra length.


The seller stated that the top was about 80″ x 84″   in reality it was 74″ on top, 84″ on the bottom, 99′ on the left, and 94″ on the right.

It is now 68″ x 80″ and this is what I cut out


It will be a while before I get to hand quilting it, but now it is ready.

Happy Quilting



93 thoughts on “Star Fix

  1. Sara says:

    Amazing as always! And Mrs. Barron would be proud!

  2. Gaye Ingram says:

    I am so glad you showed us the parts of this quilt. Those “triangle” setting pieces! When I first saw it, I wondered if the maker started with a six-point star and tried to cram in the extra color. This really is a salvage job that proves your craft!

  3. glendajean says:

    My gosh Tim what a tutorial in any thing is possible to fix LOL. My heart was ponding as I read as I thought you may have had to go with out the boarders and you even solved that Huge hurdle. I laughed out load over the setting triangles they were unbelievable, it is interesting how determined that quilt was that she or he just kept on trying to fix the problem????? I hope one day she or he did finally learn to quilt!!!!! Thanks so much for rescuing this stunning quilt Tim for some one to love and cherish for many more years to come. Thanks a million for the Huge quilting lesson plus the laughter. Cheers Glenda

  4. Interesting to follow the deconstruction. That the finished, reconstructed and hand quilted piece will have been lifted far above salvage makes me pause and give more attention to the fugly quilts I see for sale nowadays! 🙂

  5. Laura says:

    You are amazing! I would not have the patience to figure out and repair all the problems in the original quilt, but the results are fabulous!

  6. Ann says:

    Who says high school math/geometry is useless!? (I still have my doubts about quadratic equations, though, LOL) What fun to see you figure out what was wrong and show us how to fix it!! I agree with everyone else about the setting triangles—-sheesh!

    But now it is all fixed and it will be fun to quilt with all the open areas!!
    You ARE saving all of these for your book, right? Right! 🙂

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Ann
      Im with you on quadratic equations!
      I do think it might make it into a book one day….it will surely be in my slide show/trunk show/lectures once it is quilted. I really do need to get serious about a book

  7. Jane S. says:

    Now that’s more like it! It looks great now. What a fun project to work on! Seeing those weird shapes sure cracked me up. 🙂

    • timquilts says:

      I think the shapes were definitely the weirdest in any quilt I have worked on….i did laugh at them myself….but you have to give the maker points for effort!

  8. Tamie says:

    As others have said, thanks for sharing the process of how you save these old quilts.

  9. Joan Clancy says:

    You, Tim, are a genius…a patient quilting genius.

  10. Jill says:

    It is great that you saved this top. I would not have had the patience. I would have started from scratch. It is a simple yet striking design.

  11. Nancy says:

    Great step by step explanation!

  12. Ann says:

    That is amazing! You have a great vision for diamonds in the rough.

  13. Gai haines says:

    You deserve a medal! It will be a great quilt, what an eye you have. A new life for that top.

  14. Kristen says:

    Teddy has met his match in quilts — this was a rescue top. And proof that rescue tops can make good quilts. Rescue a top today!

  15. jbacon2013 says:

    Fantastic job Tim, another quilt saved for posterity. I wish the maker could see it now, you have realised her dream!

  16. Wow! Forget blogging, time to write a book!

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks….maybe some day ….as soon as I finish a few more quilts …LOL….seriously I should start to work on it…I need to find a publisher that is a good fit for what I do…most seem to just want patterns….but I really only talked to one so who knows

    • Mimi says:

      Don’t listen to Bill, don’t forget blogging – just write the book while you sleep.

  17. Pam G. says:

    WoW! You R amazing…

  18. Prairie Quilter/Nebraska says:

    Did you chuckle just a little at the measurements and the sheer wonkiness of this top? Because I confess I did (and not in a mean way). I might have even hummed the silly quilt song “You Can Quilt That Out” while I was reading your post. Isn’t it amazing what a little precision cutting will do?
    So glad you saw the potential in this one and made another great save. Still in awe in Nebraska.

    • timquilts says:

      I did have a pretty good laugh at the pieces once I had it taken apart…..Im still singing the quilt it out song for the border because that will need it! i will use a thicker batting to help hide some of the bumps 🙂

  19. Martha says:

    Wow! It was a lot worse than I expected. You did a great job straightening it up, and now that star is gorgeous. Great save!

  20. Janie Sears says:

    Yes, this would definitely make another great chapter in your book! You make it look simple when I know it’s not. 🙂

  21. Diana Wilson says:

    Wow, that is just amazing.

  22. Annette says:

    Great job!!! Your math teacher would be ver proud of you.

  23. carla bynum says:

    Wow Tim!!!! It looks so wonderful now!!!! Can’t wait to see it quilted!!!!

  24. katechiconi says:

    Who says miracles don’t happen any more? Good job the quilt was simple in design, because it has allowed you to take it apart, correct it and reassemble it in fairly short order, which makes for a very interesting post. It looks like a lot of scraps that you’ve had to cut out, but they were never meant to be there anyway, so it’s OK!

    • timquilts says:

      I did think it was too bad that all that extra fabric had to be cut out…but like you say it shouldn’t have been there in the first place….I think I will save it and see if I can use it for something

  25. Barb in MI says:

    Wow – amazing indeed! First time comment on your blog – love it! Maybe you should be called the “Quilt Whisperer” 🙂
    Hah, how about that for your book title?

  26. Karen says:

    What a great job you did!

  27. Marjorie says:

    Yeah! Way to go Mr Fix It! (And for the record…you used geometry not algebra….still waiting for that to happen in the real world.)

  28. dixie says:

    Bravo to you for your patience in fixing these old quilts! So happy they are going to such a good home!

  29. Paulette says:

    You have worked your magical mathematical method on another wonder! Laughing about the setting “triangles.” It will be even more remarkable once you’ve finished quilting it. Looking forward to that!

  30. Sue says:

    Wow….that quilt fell into good hands! I also commend you for your vision! Most of us would have taken a pass!

  31. cac19az says:

    You did an amazing rescue job with this piece. Good work.

  32. Carol M says:

    That was absolutely fascinating. These sad sack old quilts are lucky to have you to rejuvenate them!

  33. Rebecca says:

    It really is a striking design,now that you can see it the way it should have been! Another lost quilt has been rescued! You did a fantastic job on this one Tim! There must be an interesting story behind this quilt top, especially those odd shaped pieces that were supposed to be ‘triangles’!

  34. What a great fix Tim! You really are the Quilt Rescuer!

  35. Carolanne says:

    What I admire about your projects is the way no quilt is ever beyond help! Its a great star. A book of your projects and how you overcome problems would be brilliant.

  36. Mimi says:

    The first picture of the diamonds flat and I was WOW, it is more stunning than first thought. The colors and shapes – blue, red, paprika, cheddar… who would have thought to put them together

    • timquilts says:

      I wouldnt have thought of it myself…..but they are so good together…..sometimes people seem to have a great eye for design but lack the skills to make it work technically

  37. Pat Long says:

    That was a lot of work but it turned out just beautiful. Your vision for these old quilts is what makes them special. Have fun quilting it!

  38. I wish the original maker could see the result of your work on her/his project. How disappointing it must have been,after all that effort, to have an unquiltable top. I’m very glad you were able to save this piece.

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks. It is easy to look at these and laugh at the missteps but I think you are so right….it much have been very disappointing to not be able to make it to the finish line.

  39. You ARE patience even though you call yourself TIM. 🙂
    And a good blog writer with great images to explain what you are doing. Keep up the good work.

  40. Liz K says:

    What fun! Now you have a really great quilt.

  41. sandra styve says:

    i love your reports on all those quilting fixer-uppers…you r very talented in your craft and very studious and purseverence in all that you do…do you hand sew all parts together? also love your flower do you ever find the time to do all that you do??

    • timquilts says:

      it depends on the quilt…the star I did all on the machine….the one with the circles I did by hand and then machine for the borders
      I make time by avoiding housework 😉

  42. […] couldn’t wait to start hand quilting the  vintage star top that I just re-made ( see post here  ) […]

    • Bobbie Davis says:

      You are one brave and creative guy Tim!!! Congratulations on giving your math teacher credit…being a former math teacher myself, this warmed my heart!! Bobbie @:)

  43. Diane says:

    Indeed this is interesting…hmmm..very

  44. […] The vintage top needed a lot of work!   you can read how I fixed it here […]


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