The Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Print Friendly
I’m desperately trying to spread my addiction of paper pieced pineapple blocks to the masses. What better way than to encourage you with a free tutorial? This is a great block to learn paper piecing on and use up scraps at the same time! You can use it to make a mini quilt with several blocks or just use it as I did for a small pincushion.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

First things first, you’ll need to gather some supplies and print off the template. Download and print the template here.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

You will need:

  • The Printed Template
  • Various scrap fabrics
  • Piecing thread (I use Aurifil 50wt Cotton Mako)
  • 90/14 Quilting Needle
  • Small fabric scissors for trimming
  • Polyfil stuffing
  • Chopstick or Purple Thang to poke out corners and assist with stuffing
  • Hand sewing needle and thimble to close the opening
  • Iron
  • Small square ruler (5″ or larger)
  • Rotary cutter
  • Seam ripper
  • Lamp, window or another light source
  • **Optional** – batting for quilting the top of the pincushion (6″ square)
  • **Optional** quilting thread

After you print your template you’ll want to trim it down outside the faint 1/4″ seam line on the outside edge. I also recommend writing in your color selections in the different parts so you know what fabric goes where. It helps to keep you from getting too confused.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Here are a few colorway examples, you are of course welcome to experiment and choose your own! My rainbow pincushion used the colorway on the left.

Pineapple_Examples

You’re going to start with the square in the center marked “A1″. You want to cut a scrap of fabric that is at least 1/4″ larger than that shape. I tend to cut my pieces rather large and just trim down as I go. Once you cut a piece, put on the blank side of the page and hold it up to the light so you can see the lines through it. Make sure it’s big enough!

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

You can use a bit of glue from a gluestick to make sure the first piece stays put. You only need a bit of glue on the first piece of fabric. I don’t recommend using pins since they can distort your blocks.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Now pull the scrap of fabric for the “A2″ section. Mine is red. I’m checking to make sure it is 1/4″ larger on all sides for that space. ┬áLike I said – I tend to use large pieces.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Now you’ve glued down your center square. Put your A2 fabric on top of it, right sides together. Make sure you’ve got at least 1/4″ worth of both fabrics sticking out into the A2 space (this is when you’ll hold it up to the light and see). I’m using a triangle piece for my A2 fabric. Make sure your A2 piece is oriented just like mine! We’re ready to sew our first seam.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

If you’re using prints make sure they are right sides together like this:

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Adjust your stitch length to be 1.5 or smaller. You want short stitches here so the paper is easy to remove at the end.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Okay lets sew our first seam! I recommend using a foot that lets you easily visualize the lines you’re sewing on. Mine is an open toe applique foot. It has a guideline right in the middle that I can follow to make sure everything lines up properly. Make sure your fabric is where you placed it and hasn’t shifted. Sew on the line that’s between A1 and A2.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

The fabric side of your paper should look something like this:

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Fold back your paper on the seam line:
Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

The extra fabric should be sticking out now away from the seam line:

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Trim it with your little scissors until about 1/4″ is sticking out.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Now flip your A2 fabric up and press it well with a dry iron:

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Important: After pressing hold your piece up to the light and make sure it covers the space it’s supposed to AND you have at least 1/4″ around that area. If it does you’re good and ready to move on to A3!

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

You’re going to follow the same steps over and over until you get to A15. ┬áThe seam line you should be sewing on is the inside line (the line closer to the middle for that particular space).

Check the size:
Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Line up the edge of the fabric so it’s overlapping the seam line by at least 1/4″ (I’m adding the A4 piece here so you can faintly make out the seam line inside the A4 space):

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Sew your seam line:
Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Fold the paper back and trim the excess fabric away:

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Press:

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

A7 will finish the first ring of colors outside of your center square. Here I am checking my seam line:

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

When you get to A15 that is the first space close to the outside seam allowance. You need to make sure your fabric is large enough to cover the space AND go beyond the outside seam allowance. Be sure you doublecheck the size.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

A19 is another space that touches the outside edge. You want to make sure it’s long enough to cover both seam allowances. Cut it long! I also start and stop sewing inside the seam allowance.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Here are my pink and gray fabrics for A20 and A21. I’m using big pieces to make sure I get it right!

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Once you get those done you’ll have one completed corner.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Troubleshooting: Oops! My piece was too small. What do I do?

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

That purple piece was too small for that area. After I ironed and checked it I noticed there was a big gap in my seam allowance. Time to pull out the seam ripper!

Remove that piece that’s too small:

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

This one is plenty big enough!

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Finish the rest of your block. Once you get everything sewn it’s time to trim it up. Put your block fabric side down on your cutting mat.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Line up your ruler edges with the outside line of the block (the really faint one) and trim:

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

It should look like this all trimmed up:
Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Start on one corner and carefully remove the paper:

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Give it another good press. I chose to add outside strips that were 1.5″ to make my pincushion a bit bigger. You can do that or leave it the small size it is now without the border. To add a border cut a strip the length of your pineapple block edge. Right sides together sew a 1/4″ seam along that edge.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Do the same on the opposite side. Press the borders open.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Trim borders even to the block edge. Add the next side. And the opposite side.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Press borders open and trim.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Measure your finished block size and cut a backing fabric that size.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

**Optional**: You can cut a square of batting the same size also and quilt your block before making your pincushion.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

I quilted my block using just the top block and the batting. I used a 3.0 stitch and 28 wt. Aurifil cotton thread.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Ready to make the pincushion? Time to put your backing fabric on top of your block, right sides together. Line up all the edges. Stitch a 1/4″ seam around the edges starting about 1″ away from one corner and ending about 2″ away from your starting point.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Trim your corners.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Turn it inside out through the opening and use your chopstick or purple thang to gently poke out the corners.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Fold the edges of the opening fabric inside and give it a good press with your iron.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Put your polyfil stuffing in through that opening:

Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Once you’ve got the amount of stuffing you want in it grab your sewing thread that matches your fabric, hand sewing needle and thimble. Whipstitch or use an invisible ladder stitch to close it.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

You should be done now! Stick some pins in and you’re ready to go.

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Paper Pieced Pineapple Pincushion Tutorial

Comments

  1. Nice! I think I will make one of these. Qho doesn’t need another pin cushion? I think I might try making a liner with muslin roughly the same dimensions as the pin cushion and filling it with emery sand instead of using polyfil. With my parrots, the polyfil might fly away as soon as a bird flew near the pin cushion. Their wide wings make quite the wind draft. Great job, Katie.

  2. Jackie Walton says:

    This tutorial is very helpful as I’m a visual person and it’s such a cute little pincushion to boot.
    Thank you!

  3. Beautiful tutorial Katie! I love both versions you made :)

  4. Awesome tutorial love the colours thanks for the inspiration!!

  5. Thanks for taking the time to make such a great and detailed tutorial!!! Cute pincushion too!

  6. I love PP but I think these are a bit small for me!!

  7. Thanks for sharing. I am new to paper piecing and am excited to try this one. I have some artist tracing paper. I was going to try that in place of copy paper. Do you have any thoughts on tracing paper?

    • Tracing paper might be a bit too thin. It needs to not tear TOO easily because that can cause problems with all the ironing, folding and such that you have to do. Construction paper found at dollar stores works pretty well or just regular copy paper. Don’t use vellum because that shrinks when the iron touches it and will ruin your iron.

      If you want paper specially made for paper piecing Carol Doak makes some and I’ve used it, it works really well too. Try copy paper first and see how that does. If you find problems tearing it you might want to try paper from the dollar store or the Carol Doak paper.

  8. Just made one of these tonight, at least I made the block. Tomorrow I will make it into a pincushion. It was great fun and I thank you (in the words of Arthur Askey, a British comedian from the olden days! :)

  9. I have included this tutorial in a list of links on my blog – http://alittlebirdmademe.com/2013/08/02/friday-finds-links-to-50-free-patterns-for-pincushions/
    Please stop by and grab a button!

  10. God Bless you! I have looked all over the web for simple to follow easy to understand, step by step instructions for the pineapple. I have bought numerous books and spent many-a-trial and error and destroyed yards upon yards of fabric trying to follow others’ instructions and then after years of searching, I found your web site. First time and it is perfect! Thank and keep up the great work, it’s beautiful!