Pigeon Toes Quilt Block Tutorial in 4 Sizes: 10", 12½", 15" and 20"

Go ahead. Take flight with your quilting skills!

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

Hey quilters, don't settle for sad little nubs when you can be rocking razor-sharp points instead!

The Pigeon Toes quilt block tutorial will have you stitching effortless pointy goodness right off the bat. It's as easy as stitching on a printed line. No specialty rulers required.

Unruffle those feathers. Perfect points are just clicks away.

General Instructions

Several abbreviations are used on this page. They are:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • HRT - half rectangle triangles

1/4" SA are used through this tutorial. 

Pressing instructions are highlighted in yellow throughout this tutorial to make them easy to spot.

To press, set the seam first by pressing the patches in the closed position just as they came off your sewing machine. This melds the fibers of the threads into the fibers of the fabric for a flatter block.

Download and print paper piecing pattern

Print the paper piecing patterns you need

You'll need the most current version of Adobe installed on your computer to download the pattern.

On the Adobe Print Menu page, under 'Page Size and Handling' set 'Custom Scale' to 100% before printing for accurate results. Click here to see what it looks like on the Print Menu page.

Choose your finished block size from the chart below and print the corresponding number of pages for a total of 4 pairs of mirror image HRT pairs—or 8 units total.

DO NOT select 'Fit to Page' or 'Scale to Fit' in your printer settings. Doing so enlarges or reduces the templates and patterns. They will be the wrong size and need to be reprinted.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Printing Chart for
Half Rectangle Triangles
Pairs of Mirror Image Pairs

~ Paper Piecing ~

# of HRT pairs per copy
to print
per block
Finished Size
of HRT Pairs
10" 3 2 2"
12½" 2 2 2½"
15" 2 2 3"
20" 1 4 4"

After printing, use the 1" square graphic on the printed page(s) to double check that your patterns printed at the correct size.

Cut around the outside dashed markings. This is a rough cut, no need for perfection here.

Read my review of 6 paper piecing papers available on the market

Not sure which paper to use?

Have a look at my review of several of the most popular brands available to us quilters on the market.

My personal preference is for a super-easy paper to tear away—less stress on the stitches. 

The newest quilt fabrics to tickle your fancy...

Click the images below to see the full collection. We share any commercial and/or free patterns that showcase them, too. (For inspiration, of course!)

Step 1: Cutting patches for your Pigeon Toes

Pigeon Toes quilt block designPigeon Toes design

Sample Block Size:  10" finished / 10½" unfinished

Grid:   10x10 

Attribution: Beth Gutcheon

Design Type:  Uneven 9-patch  |  5 patch  |  Paper Piecing

This block looks a lot like the Farmer's Daughter quilt block, except that pairs of HRTs are swapped for the HSTs and reversed. While the spiky HRTs look like they'd be harder to piece, the paper piecing technique makes them effortless.

Please label all your patches. We use their numbers throughout this tutorial.

To print a copy of the block design and cutting chart to use at your cutting table, click here.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Pigeon Toes Quilt Block

~ Paper PLUS Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block Size
10" 12½" 15" 20"
1, 3 Dark 8 3'' x 2¾'' 3½'' x 3" 4" x 3¼'' 5" x 3¾''
2, 4 Light 8 3'' x 2¾'' 3½'' x 3" 4" x 3¼'' 5" x 3¾''
5 Dark 4 2½'' x 2½'' 3 '' x 3'' 3½'' x 3½'' 4½'' x 4½''
6 Light 13 2½'' x 2½'' 3 '' x 3'' 3½'' x 3½'' 4½'' x 4½''
Unfinished Block Size 10½'' 13'' 15½'' 20½''
Grid Size 1'' 1¼'' 1½'' 2 ''

Subcutting patches 1-4

Layer your dark #1/#3 patches in pairs of RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER rectangles. Do the same for your light  #2/#4 patches.

It's this layering of our patches that creates the mirror image patches that we need.

For accuracy, we're cutting through only 4 layers of fabric at a time.

At your cutting mat, use a pencil and make a tiny mark 5/8" in from the top-left side and 5/8" in from the bottom-right side.

I'm showing the light #2s and #4s first because it's easier to see the pencil marks.

Make a tick mark on the short edges 5/8" in from the top left and bottom rightMake a tick mark on the short edges 5/8" in from the top left and bottom right. These are #2s and #4s layered RST.

Align your ruler with the top and bottom edges at the mark and cut the rectangles in two.

Cut in half at the tick marksREMEMBER to position the rectangles with the shorter edges at the top and bottom.

Repeat for all the pairs of RST pairs.

This shows how pairs of darker #1 and #3 rectangles are layered RST.

Layer #1s and #2 in like pairs right sides together#1s and #3s layered in pairs right sides together

Now even up all the edges. Mark the layered pairs, right sides together.

Add the ticks marks 5/8" in from the top left and lower right shorts edges

After subcutting, this stack of #1 and #3 patches looks like this. (There's another stack of these to subcut.)

Here are the mirror image pairs of #2s

Mark and cut the remaining #1-#4 patches in the same way.

Step 2: Assemble the units for a Pigeon Toes block

Half Rectangle Pairs Unit

HRTs, mirror-image pairsHalf Rectangle Triangles, mirror-image pairs
Unit A (right) and Unit B (left)

Make 4 each       

Use a dot of Elmer's Washable Glue stick on the unprinted side of the pattern to position the #1s on the A and B versions of the HRT units.

The dashed placement guide (red arrow) makes it easy to quickly position these patches.

Position #1 using the dashed guideline for quick placement

General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing

  • Reduce your stitch length to 16–20 stitches per inch (1.3-1.6 mm). This perforates the paper and stabilizes the seam when you remove the pattern. [Learn more about stitch length here.]
  • Reduce your machine's speed or just plain slow down. Sew only as fast as you can stay on the stitching lines.
  • Install an open toe appliqué foot (sometimes called an 'embroidery' or 'satin stitch' foot) if you have one (it's easier to see where you're stitching with one installed). 
  • If your machine has a needle stop up, use it. The stitching goes faster when you don't have to lift the presser foot with every seam.
  • As you stitch each seam, start and stop a generous 1/4” before and after the solid stitching lines. ALWAYS. Future lines of stitching secure the ends.

After adding each patch, press the unit as it was sewn to set the seam and then open. The SA is automatically pressed towards the last patch added.

Before adding the next patch, take a look to make sure the one you just added covers the space plus seam allowance that it is supposed to.

Steam is optional and usually curls the pattern. 

If that bothers you, don't use steam. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't.

It truly depends on my mood.

Remember, as you follow this paper piecing tutorial, the printed and the fabric sides of this block are mirror-images of each other.

At last!

Let's sew!

Align the #1 and #2 along the bias cut. Since I'm adding a light over a much darker fabric, I nudge the lighter one a thread or two past the edge of the dark. This prevents the dark from shadowing through on the front of my quilt.

Match the diagonally cut edge of #2 to #1The very edge of the light #2 is noticeably lighter than the rest of it. This is where it was nudged over a bit.

After pressing, check that the #2 patch covers the #2 space plus SAs. This does.

Check to make sure #2 covers the entire space plus the needed seam allowance

At your cutting mat, pattern side up, fold the paper back along the line between #2 and #3. I use my ruler and crease the fold with my thumbnail.

The pattern will tear away from the stitches a bit. This is normal.

If the tear distorts the pattern, you can use a piece of Scotch Brand Magic Tape® to mend it.

Match the edge of the ruler to the solid line between #2 and #3

Position the 1/4" mark on your rule over the fold and trim away the excess fabric, which creates the exact placement line for #3.

Trim away the excess #2 fabric

Layer #3 and #2 RST. The wide bottom of #3 is on the same side as the wide bottom of #1.

Position #3


Back to your cutting mat. Trim the SA as before. 

Trim away the excess #3 fabric

With RST, add #4.

After stitching these are an A and a B HRT. Of course, I didn't notice until the block was completely pieced that the one on the right is upside-down. <blushing!>

The sewing on these A and B HRTs is finished

Trim each side of the HRT by positioning the 1/4" line on your ruler with the solid inner square around each HRT.

Trim to size

Finally, all the completed A and B HRTs are trimmed and pressed. All that's left is to remove the paper pattern. 

We cut our patches so that every outside edge is on the straight of grain. There is no bias to worry about stretching out of shape. Remove the paper now.

The trimmed HRT pairs

Return your sewing machine to your everyday settings.

We stitch the remainder of the block with traditional techniques.

Install your favorite quarter inch presser foot. Adjust the needle position if needed. Increase to your normal piecing stitch length.


Make 4 each       

Side unitsSide units

With RST, sew an HRT-A to the left side of #6 and an HRT-B to the right side.

Do take a second and flip these open after pinning (or while they're in hand if you don't pin) to make sure they're oriented correctly.

I ripped one side three times while making this sample block. (That'll learn me for watching old 50's sci-fi movies while I was sewing. <Blushing again! Twice in one tutorial!>)

Stitch the side units together

Press with the SA away from the HRTs to reduce bulk. 

9-Patch Unit

Make 1   

Nine patch center unit9-patch unit

With RST, sew 3 pairs of #6 and #5.

Press SAs toward the dark #5s.

With RST, add a #6 to 2 of the pairs of squares, and a #5 to the other to form these three units.

Add the extra patch to form strips of 3 squares

Again, pressing the SA to the light #6s.

Strips of #6/#5/#6

With RST, sew the units together so the light #6's are in the outside corners. The SAs are pressed toward the light corners.

The finished 9-patch

Check for accuracy

Use the chart below to check the accuracy of your 9-patch. Make adjustments as needed.

After sewing, the 9-patch measures...

Block Size
10" 6½" x 6½"
12½'' 8" x 8"
15" 9½" x 9½"
20" 12½" x 12½"

Step 3: Assemble the Pigeon Toe Quilt Block

Lay out the sides, #6 corner squares and center 9-patch to create the Pigeon Toes quilt block design.

Arrange the patches in the Pigeon Toes quilt block

With RST, sew the units in each row together.

SAs are pressed away from the HRTs to minimize bulk.

The rows waiting to be stitched

Finally, sew the rows together. Pin as needed.

The rows are pinned togetherI try to avoid shoving the pin through all the layers of the SAs. Rather I pin through the block and NOT the SAs when I can.

Press these last two seams towards the center of the block.

You'll love my favorite pressing technique if you haven't tried it yet. For something so simple, it does an amazing job of flattening those SA.

The finished Pigeon Toes quilt block

And here is our Pigeon Toes quilt block from the back side, so you can see how everything was pressed.

The backside of our Pigeon Toes quilt block so you can see the pressing

What about a different quilt block?

For a list of all the 215+ quilt block patterns on this site, start here.

If you know the name of the block, shorten your search by using these links:




Click here if you're looking for blocks with at least some paper piecing.

Click here if you're looking for the basic building blocks of quilting, i.e., Flying Geese, half square triangles, quarter square triangles, etc., along with several techniques to make each.

And finally, use these links to find blocks in these finished sizes:

This article was printed from Generations-Quilt-Patterns.com

Print Article

Follow Us