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


  1. I love your tute! The photos are just perfect to really "See" what's going on when you sew this pattern...thank you...hugs, Julierose

  2. Thanks so very much for the tute. I think I can do this! Now on to collecting the fabric. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise with me, a true novice and wannabe paperpiecer :-)

  3. Excellent tutorial, Amber! Good job for putting this together so that many quilters can enjoy this, too!

  4. Thank you for sharing this wonderful tutorial. I am putting this on my bucket list. I love the colors in your quilt.

  5. I appreciate all the pictures - such a great help! I already got your paper templates - just trying to figure out the right fabric to try out my first block.

  6. I love pineapple blocks! Thanks for the awesome tutorial.
    Julie @ The Crafty Quilter

  7. I can't wait to see how you quilt your pineapple. I have one all done, waiting to get my courage up to quilt it.....

  8. I can't wait to see how you quilt your pineapple. I have one all done, just waiting to get the courage up to quilt it. Please share!

  9. How very pretty....Amber you may not know this but from the very beginning i wanted to be as good in colour as you were my muse...your sense of colour never looks like scrap quilting...they always are classic pieces...

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Mdm Samm:

    Oh my, you are too sweet! Thank you for making my day with your sweet words! I am having so much fun with these blocks. Hoping to make some time to work on them again this weekend :)

    Thank you for stopping by and take care!


  12. Loved learning about the trick of folding to check to see if you've got enough for the seem allowance. I'm always just guessing and crossing my fingers.

  13. MeganW,

    Yes, folding the paper and fabric together totally helps! I picked that tip up somewhere along the way...

    Thanks for stopping by!

  14. Excelente tutorial, muchas gracias!
    Abrazos desde Colombia!

  15. I see this tutorial has been up for a year, but I just now found it!

    You have done a fantastic job of showing how to do a piecing project, many I have found are sort of vague in how to do piecing.

    Thanks so much for the step-by-step and photo's to show the detail of piecing! I just have to try this pattern out now :)

  16. Oh, and did I mention the colors you used? Love them, but wondering how it would look with black rather than white and brilliant colors such as hot pink and sunshine yellow? Lol . . . just a thought.

    I didn't think to see if there was a photo place to upload pics of our blocks. If so I'll be sure to post one!

    Again, thank you so much for the great tutorial ~ Hugs!

    1. I think your idea for colors sounds beautiful! Go for it!

      I do have a Flickr page. I'd love if you uploaded pictures there! A button is on my sidebar.

      Thank you and happy quilting!

  17. Great tutorial Amber and just what I've been searching for! Than you. Well done! Ness

  18. How wide are the strips, can I use honey buns (1 1/2") or jelly roll (2 1/2") strips for the blocks?

  19. I felt your happiness I am so glad you have such a wonderful life. Thank you. Carol.

  20. I love this block and the colors you chose makes it even more beautiful. Thanks for the tutorial.

  21. I just completed my 30 blocks and sewed all together. I removed the 95% of the paper from the blocks, but Iam having difficulty removing small pieces in many of the corners. Any suggestions on how to remove all? I am concerned with paper rotting and don't want to quilt without removing all the paper. Please advise.


  22. justo lo que buscaba, es precioso, que colores tan bien escogidos la admiro por eso, muchas gracias, felicidades desde mi pais Colombia.

  23. gran admiracion bellisimo justo lo que buscaba, gracias desde mi pais Colombia.

  24. The third type of ironing board is mounted on the wall and then folds out when needed for ironing. ironing board

  25. I am a new quilter and I really want to make this in QOV colors. So I will need 12" bond paper for the paper piecing? I see that you stated that the finished size is larger than the 12", Sorry for the dumb question. Just want to get right.

    1. Sorry I am just now seeing your question! I sell the papers in my Etsy shop because they're bigger than what a home printer can print.

  26. when and how does one remove the glue used to attach the center piece??

    1. All of the paper is removed after all the blocks are made, before sewing the blocks together into rows. It tears away from the fabric easily (even the center piece that had glue on it).


I ♥ to hear from you so please feel free to leave a comment. I read each one and try to respond as often as I can. Thanks so much for stopping by! ~Amber