Pineapple Block Paper Piecing Tutorial

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Today, I'm excited to share with you a paper piecing tutorial for the fabulous Pineapple Block!

I love to paper piece.  
It's a simple quilting technique that allows you to make really intricate blocks with PERFECT seams!  There is a method to the madness, but once you learn how to paper piece - you can do ANY paper piecing pattern with confidence!  And yes, you really do sew on paper!  So if you can sew on a straight line then you can paper piece!  

Although the Pineapple Block may look complicated, you really are just sewing straight lines so it's a great block to learn the technique of paper piecing with.  And the fabulous part is, the Pineapple Block makes a beautiful secondary pattern when you sew the blocks together. 

There are so many color options that can change the feel of this pattern so I suggest you look around on the internet to find one that suits you.  I've got several of my favorites pinned on my Pinterest board, Quilt Love.  But for this quilt, I've decided to go with pinks (color 1) and greens (color 2) for my bright "slices" :)

Materials Needed

For each block you will need:

- A paper pattern.  Mine are printed on regular 20# bond paper.  They are quite large (finishing at 12 3/8") and are available in my Etsy Shop, HERE (but any Pineapple Paper Piecing Pattern will do.  I just liked these over-sized blocks for a more modern look.)  
- A sewing machine (obviously :)
- Coordinating thread 
- A washable glue stick (I use Elmer's brand)
- An iron and ironing board
- Scissors, a rotary cutter, an acrylic ruler and a cutting mat that you can keep at your work station.  I actually just keep mine on my ironing board which I set up right next to my sewing machine so that I don't have to keep getting up and down.  
- One square of fabric measuring 1/2" bigger than section A1
- Lots of fabric strips in 2 different colors measuring 2" x WOF (width of fabric) or whatever length you can get if using scraps.  
- 4 white strips of fabric measuring 2" x WOF

Here's how I like to set up my work station:

*Very Important Tip*

Before getting started, you'll need to shorten the stitch length on your sewing machine to about half the normal length.  This is very important to do because it will perforate the paper, making it easy to tear off later.  If you forget and you have to tug on the paper a lot when you go to remove it, you take the chance of pulling out some of your stitches in the process (which will become a big nightmare - NOT. GOOD.)  So remember to always shorten your stitch length when paper piecing.  I take mine down to a 1.5 stitch length on my Bernina.

Okay.  Now it's time to get started. 

Step 1:  Fold the paper on each of the four sides of section A1. Like this:

By folding the paper, you are creating indicators on the back side of the paper with which to line up your first fabric square.  Please note, the fabric will be sewn to the back side of the pattern and you will be sewing on the lines on the front side of the pattern.  Don't worry, I'll show pictures of all that in just a minute :)

Step 2:  Dab a few dots of glue in the center of the paper square and adhere the fabric square, right side facing you.  Use the fold marks on the paper to make sure the fabric square is centered over section A1.  The fold marks indicate the seams so make sure your fabric square extends 1/4" beyond each of those lines.

Step 3:  Cut one white strip about the same length as your square.  Place it on top of the square (along the side that is adjacent to section A2) with right sides together, aligning the raw edges.

Step 4:  Sandwich the pattern and two pieces of fabric in place between your hands and flip the stack over so that you are looking at the lines on the front of the pattern.  Carefully place the stack under your presser foot so that you can sew on the line between sections A1 and A2.  (Please excuse the blurred photo - my 8 year old daughter was playing photographer that day:) 

Step 5:  You will begin stitching a 1/4" before the starting point of the line. 

Continue sewing straight along the line

 extending your stitches 1/4" beyond the ending point of the line.

Pull the stack out and repeat Steps 3-5 on the opposite side of A1.

Step 6:  Cut off all the loose threads

Step 7:  Press the fabric sections open.

Step 8: Cut one white strip about the same length as the three pieces of fabric you've got so far.  Place the strip on top of the three sections with right sides together (RST).  Align the raw edges of the strip with the raw edges of the center square.  

Sandwich the stack between your hands, flip and sew, as shown in steps 4 & 5.    

Make sure that as you flip the stack and position it under the presser foot that it does not fold, move or "catch" any other sewn sections.

Repeat on the opposite (and final side) of the center square.   

Cut off the loose threads.  From the back side of the pattern, your sections will now look something like this:

Step 9:  Trim off excess fabric, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.  To do this, fold the paper pattern back to the seam so that it is out of the way.  You don't want to cut the paper :).  

Line up the 1/4" mark on the ruler with the stitches and folded edge of the paper.  Cut off everything that extends past the 1/4" seam allowance.   

Repeat the trimming process on the opposite side and then press the fabric open.

Step 10: Take one of your bright strips (color 1) and position it on top of the sewn fabrics RST as shown below (when it is finished it should cover all of section A6). 

You'll want to place it so that there is about 1/4" past the point of the center square.

Now, you'll want to make sure you have the strip positioned correctly before you sew it in place.  Get into the habit of always placing the fabric where you think it should go and then fold the pattern (with the fabric in place) along the line that you're going to sew.   The fold mark will indicate on the back side of the pattern where the seam will be.

This is a way to "check your work".  As you can see from the photograph below, the left side of the strip needs to come down a little bit to ensure that there will be a 1/4" seam allowance.

Adjust the strip (if necessary).  

Fold and check your work again.  Then sandwich the stack, flip and sew as shown in steps 4 & 5. 

Repeat Step 10 using another color 1 strip on the opposite side (for section A7).

Trim the excess fabric off, leaving 1/4" seam allowance, as shown in Step 9.  Cut loose threads off and press the fabric strips open.

Using two color 2 strips, repeat Step 10 through this point for sections A8 and A9.  Trim and Press.

You will continue to repeat Step 10 for every round of slices - trimming and pressing after each set of opposite sections is sewn on.  You'll use white strips for the next round, then bright strips, then white, then bright, etc.  Notice in the photo below how long I cut each strip.  The length will vary with each round.  Trim loose threads as needed. 

Step 11: Use slightly larger scraps (approximately 2 1/2 - 3" wide) for the four corner sections (A54-A57).

Step 12: When you're finished sewing all the sections, trim the block, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. 

And there you have it.  One completely fabulous paper pieced Pineapple Block!

Repeat Steps 1-12 to make as many blocks as you'd like.  Before sewing the blocks together, carefully tear off the paper (you may want to put on a good movie or audio book for this part :)

I hope you found this tutorial helpful.  Feel free to leave questions or comments regarding this tutorial in the comment section below. 

For details on my Pineapple Paper Piecing Project click HERE and to see the finished quilt click HERE.  
If you would like to order the over-sized paper or PDF patterns click HERE.

Thanks for stopping by and happy quilting!
~ Amber

March Review & April To-Do's (and lots of little projects)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It was about mid-March before I finally sat down to write my goals for the month.  I was sure to keep my list to the bare minimum since I knew I had other big commitments going on (like taxes - yuck).  I didn't quite get everything done but maybe that's because I snuck in a few little side projects.  See below.

I did get most of my sister, Tammy's, quilt done but I still need to bind it.  I plan on getting it done this weekend so I can take it with me to Montana next week for our annual Spring Break Sister's & Cousins Trip.  I'd love to show pictures of the quilt but I'm planning on writing up a pattern for it so you'll just have to wait and see :)

My friend Kellie is expecting a baby boy in a few months so I gave her a couple of homemade bibs at our mini shower/recipe group the other night.  

The smaller bib was inspired by one I saw on the blog, Nana Company.  It's a wonderful blog.  Amy makes beautiful things and has beautiful photography.  I could definitely spend a lot of time looking around there.  She offers a PDF pattern for the little bib (which I had to enlarge quite a bit but it works for a 1 year old.)  I used a simple template I had in my pattern stash and some raw edge applique for the larger bib.

Unfortunately I only got one Pineapple Block done.  
Have I mentioned that I really do love working on them?

You can find the over-sized paper-piecing patterns in my Etsy shop, HERE.  And don't be shy about paper-piecing, my next blog post will be a tutorial for this specific block.  It's really not that hard!

I somehow managed to squeeze in two little projects for the fabric store I work at.  First, was a Simple Squares baby quilt. I've used this pattern before.  It whips up in just a few hours and is the perfect baby size I think.  The fabric showcases the new line by Riley Blake called Rocket Age.

 [click HERE for more info on this pattern.]

 Last, but not least, I got the opportunity to make one of Camille Roskelley's new mini patterns for the store.  I chose to do the Mini Swoon pattern, since I never got around to making the big version (which I loved from the minute I saw her sample hanging at the Int'l Quilt Market back in 2011).

I loved working on it.  When I finished the first block I thought to myself, it may be the cutest block I've ever made.  I hope to make a few more of her mini's someday...  

Another fun aspect of making the mini quilt is that I was able to machine quilt it myself in about 30 minutes.  I love the look of straight line quilting and thankfully, it's a lot easier than free motion quilting.

Well, that's about it for March.  
As for April, my main goal is to get my three new quilt samples made for my 3 new patterns.  I've been a little distracted the last few months with random projects so now it's time to get back to work!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber