Photo of Kate Broughton

Tanabata Origami Quilt Block

from Loom&Essence
(7) Name: 'Quilting : Tanabata Origami Quilt Block
Tanabata Origami Quilt Block
Tanabata Origami Quilt Block
Tanabata Origami Quilt Block
Tanabata Origami Quilt Block

Pattern Description:

While working on a paper origami project not long ago, I decided to test it out on fabric. After making several folded squares, I realized they reminded me somewhat of the "foursie" units one has to stitch together for cathedral windows. Naturally, this made me wonder what my square would look like if I tucked a patch of fabric inside the folds. Hmmm...rather pretty. Even prettier, though, was the three-dimensional etched and embossed star pattern that emerged in the center when I sewed four of the squares together. Voila! The Tanabata block was born.

This pattern is a "primer," designed to teach you the process of folding the block. You will learn how to make two different block variations -- the Altair and the Vega design -- and will then be shown how to sew four completed blocks into a lovely 19x19-inch candle mat for your dining table. (You can also use the Tanabata block for all kinds of other fiber arts projects: pillows, wall hangings, purses, pockets, applique, and more.) Visit our website for plenty of samples and tips.

This pattern is 16 pages, and is designed to be printed on 8.5x11-inch paper on landscape (sideways) setting. The pattern also includes links to our video tutorials on YouTube.

Sizing / Finished Measurements:

  • Includes directions for making 9.5-inch blocks, and a 19x19-inch candle mat


  • Standard quilting tools (rotary cutter, cutting mat, clear gridded ruler)
  • Steam iron, straight pins, safety pins
  • Basting glue stick or pencil
  • Recommended: Padded, gridded ironing surface such as June Tailor Cut 'n Press
  • For the practice blocks: One-half yard for the background fabric and one-quarter yard for the contrast star centers

You Will Also Need:

  • Decorative thread (rayon or metallic) for top-stitching plus appropriate size machine needle.
  • Optional: Beads, buttons or sequins for star centers.

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About the designer

Loom&Essence is a cottage industry comprised of me (in my cottage) and my never-ending curiosity about fabric manipulations such as folding, slashing, and twisting. When I discover a new way (or a ...

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