Reverse Sawtooth Star Quilt Pattern


“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.”

― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie

Oh Henry. You get me. And when I make star quilt blocks, I think I might get you too. After cutting up so much fabric, carefully sewing it together and then finally ironing the delicate points open, I sincerely feel like my lovely stars are blossoming! If you have ever made a Sawtooth Star block, you too know the feeling. But if you haven’t made one of these wonderful little blocks, ooooh how exciting for you! Today is your day!!

A Quick History On The Sawtooth Star Block

The Sawtooth Star block has had many different names throughout history. Before quilt patterns were commonly published, women created patterns on their own or borrowed them from friends. Sometimes the patterns that were shared had a name that was passed on, while other quiltmakers gave each of their quilts a brand new name. As a result, we have identical quilt block patterns with many different names.

Antique Sawtooth Star Quilt

This block became standardly known as the Sawtooth Star in 1884 when a pattern was published by Farm & Fireside magazine. However, even after 1884, publications were printing this pattern under various names such as Evening Star, Variable Star, Square and Points (super original) and North Star.

Sticking with the very common practice of naming a quilt block based on household items and things observed in everyday life in early America, the Sawtooth Star received it’s name from the triangles that are reminiscent of a saw’s cutting edge.

If the history of quilt blocks ​is of interest to you (and if you're on my website it probably is) check out anything written by Barbara Brackman – especially her book, Making History: Quilts & Fabric from 180-1970.

Trending patterns!

Sawtooth Star Block

Make Your Own Sawtooth Star

Below are dimensions for 4 different block sizes: 4", 8", 12" and 16"


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4" Sawtooth Star

8" Sawtooth Star

12" Sawtooth Star

16" Sawtooth Star

Light Fabric

1 - 3 ¼” square

1 - 5 ¼” square

1 - 7 ¼” square

1 - 9 ¼” square

Light Fabric

4 - 1 ½” squares

4 - 2 ½” squares

4 - 3 ½” squares

4 - 4 ½” squares

​Dark Fabric

1 - 2 ½” square

1 - 4 ½” square

1 - 6 ½” square

1 - 8 ½” square

​Dark Fabric

4 - 1 ⅞” squares

4 - 2 ⅞” squares

4 - 3 ⅞” squares

4 - 4 ⅞” squares

Simple Sewing Steps

  1. The first step is to make 4 Flying Geese. Place 2 small dark squares on opposite corners of the large light square. On the wrong side of the dark squares, draw a guideline from corner to corner.
  2. Sew a ¼” from the guideline on both sides. Cut apart. Fig.1
  3. Press seams out. Place 1 small dark square right side down and sew a ¼” from the guideline on both sides. Cut apart and press seam out. Repeat with the remaining unit. Fig.2
  4. Now that you have 4 Flying Geese, or points on your star, sew the remaining squares together in rows as you see in Fig.3
  5. Sew the three rows together and press to complete the block.

Fig. 1


Fig. 2


Fig. 3

sawtooth star quilt

Make A Quilt!

Now that you have mastered the Sawtooth Star block, put your skills to work and create a quilt top. Below are instructions for one of my favorite patterns, the Reverse Sawtooth Star Quilt. This quilt is Fat Quarter friendly too!

Reverse Sawtooth Star Quilt Pattern


Finished Quilt Size - 56” x 64”
Finished Block Size - 8” (56 blocks total)
Fabric - 20 *Fat Quarters (10 light, 10 dark) OR if you choose to use solid white as the background fabric, you need 10 Fat Quarters and 2 ½ yds. of white fabric cut into 10 Fat Quarters

*A Fat Quarter or FQ is pre-cut fabric measuring 18” x 21”

Find this fab fabric by Maureen Crackenll here!


Cutting Instructions

  1. Stack a dark and a light Fat Quarter on top of each other and lay them horizontally, so the longest side (the side that is ~21” in width) is at the bottom.
  2. Trim the left side of the stack so that both fabrics are in line with each other. Cut a 5” strip.
  3. From that 5” strip, cut three 4 ½” squares and two 2 ½” squares. See cutting diagram below.
  4. FLIP the remaining FQ 90° so that the long side is still on the bottom. Your FQ should currently measure 16” x 18”.
  5. Cut one 5 ¼” strip. Sub-cut that strip into three 5 ¼” squares.
  6. Cut three 2 ⅞” strips. Sub-cut TWO of those strips into ten 2 ⅞” squares.
  7. From the third 2 ⅞” strip, cut two 2 ⅞” squares, for a total of twelve 2 ⅞” squares).
  8. From the remaining portion of that strip, cut four 2 ½” squares.
  9. Cut one 2 ½” strip. Sub-cut that strip into six 2 ½” squares, for a total of twelve 2 ½” squares.

Block & Quilt Assembly

Each set of light and dark FQs will produce 6 Sawtooth Star blocks. Three of those blocks will be the reverse of the other three. Fun, right? You will have 60 blocks made, and since you only need 56, 4 will be left-over. Looks like you’re making a pillow too ;)​

  1. From the fabric you just cut, separate the pieces so that each stack contains all the pieces for one block. This will save you some confusion. Each block will contain:
    • 1 – 4 ½” square
    • 1 – 5 ¼” square
    • 4 – 2 ⅞” squares
    • 4 – 2 ½” squares
  2. Sew the blocks together as instructed previously.
  3. Lay all of the stars out, using a checkerboard pattern of light, then dark, then light again.
  4. Once you are happy with the layout, sew blocks together in rows and then sew those rows together, pinning where the blocks meet. 
  5. If you are on Instagram use the hashtag #SuzyQuiltsReverseStar so that we can all enjoy your beautiful designs!

19 thoughts on “Reverse Sawtooth Star Quilt Pattern

  1. Melody says:

    Hi! I love your quilts and designs! I just found you on Instagram a few weeks ago. I just tried this sawtooth block tutorial and couldn’t get it! I’m a quilter with a moderate amount of experience, and I cut everything really carefully (both times!) and I had about a half inch extra once I started seeing the rows together! Any help on that? I guess I’ll keep trying… Maybe I should start sewing a quarter inch down? A little confused.

    • Suzy says:

      Hi Melody, I’m sorry to hear that the math isn’t working out for you. I have successfully made all of these sizes and had them work out. Is it possible that you have some of the dimensions mixed up for the different block sizes? What size sawtooth star are you trying to make?

      • Elissa says:

        Thanks for the beautiful pattern, Suzy! I tried making a test square this afternoon to better understand the pattern and I think the confusion might be coming from the light/dark fabric instructions. When you follow the Simple Sewing Steps as written with the Measurements Chart above it, the sides don’t match up and everything is wonky. If you reverse the light/dark fabric in either the Simple Sewing Steps or the Measurements Chart, everything comes together nicely!

        • Suzy says:

          ahhhhh! You’ve solved the mystery! haha I was so confused but now I see the mistake and have fixed it. Thanks so much for your help! 🙂

    • dana says:

      sometimes my sizing was off for blocks because my seam was less than 1/4. Sometimes I assumed I was at a 14 inch because I was using my 1/4 foot…but it was actually an 1/8 seam. Good luck!

  2. Donna says:

    Can’t wait to try this way of making star blocks! I have had a UFO waiting to be done the old way! I take it down once in awhile cause I love stars too. But never seem to get at it. This way of cutting FQ and making the geese looks so quick! Thanks for sharing!

  3. sonja says:

    hi! i’m getting ready to make a gigantic shot cotton and muslin rainbow reverse sawtooth quilt – so excited!
    i was just wondering – do you recommend trimming each flying geese before assembling the star? is there any real benefit to doing this, or just extra work? thanks so much!!

    • Suzy says:

      That sounds beautiful! I would recommend trimming the dog ears to alleviate bulk in the seams. That will help your blocks lay flat so you have an easier time basting and quilting. I’m pretty laid back about trimming blocks down to their exact size. I figure, as long as they are close enough, it will all work out 😉 Happy sewing! xo

  4. Kathryn says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial Suzy! i recently made some Sawtooth stars up, just for the fun of it! It was easy to follow your tutorial and they turned out really well. I ended up using 2 of them to make a cute book bag for a friends little girl, another 2 for a floor cushion for my sons room & the final 2 are going to be the start of a quilt for when he moves out his toddler bed into a bigger single bed. Thanks again!

  5. Nonnie says:

    Is there anywhere to get measurements for the reverse sawtooth for a 6″ block? I have a special grandson that wants a spiderman quilt with red and blue stars and the 8″ will be too big. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    • Suzy says:

      Without making a test block, I’m pretty sure this is the math based on the pattern laid out in the cutting chart.
      Light Fabric: 1 – 4 1/4″ square and 4 – 1 3/4″ squares
      Dark Fabric: 1 – 3 1/2″ square and 4 – 2 3/8″

      Make a test block to be sure that’s correct before mass producing them. Good luck!

  6. Elizabeth Byers says:

    Was wondering if you could give me an idea of how much fabric was used for the inner border and the pieced border on the quilt with the all light background. I love the look of that quilt and would love to be able to replicate it. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial.

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      I have actually made that quilt a couple times because I like it so much! The one in this photo is a queen quilt. I believe the inner border is about 2″ finished, so you would need about 12 – 2.5″ x 42″ strips…which would be about a yard of fabric. The piano key border was made purely from 1930s scraps and fat quarters, so it’s tough to say how much fabric you would need. Those strips could be as big as you want them, or as large as your scraps dictate.

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