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.
In this tutorial, you'll find:
It's time to cut up and sew!
Several abbreviations are used on this page. They are:
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.
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.
Printing Chart for~ Paper Piecing ~
# of HRT pairs per copy
of HRT Pairs
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.
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.
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!)
Sample Block Size: 10" finished / 10½" unfinished
Attribution: Beth Gutcheon
Design Type: Uneven 9-patch, 5 patch
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.
Cutting Chart for a~ Paper PLUS Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|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 ''|
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.
Align your ruler with the top and bottom edges at the mark and cut the rectangles in two.
Repeat for all the pairs of RST pairs.
This shows how pairs of darker #1 and #3 rectangles are layered RST.
Now even up all the edges. Mark the layered pairs, right sides together.
After subcutting, this stack of #1 and #3 patches looks like this. (There's another stack of these to subcut.)
Mark and cut the remaining #1-#4 patches in the same way.
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.
General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing
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.
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.
After pressing, check that the #2 patch covers the #2 space plus SAs. This does.
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.
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.
Layer #3 and #2 RST. The wide bottom of #3 is on the same side as the wide bottom of #1.
Back to your cutting mat. Trim the SA as before.
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!>
Trim each side of the HRT by positioning the 1/4" line on your ruler with the solid inner square around each HRT.
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.
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
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!>)
Press with the SA away from the HRTs to reduce bulk.
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.
Again, pressing the SA to the light #6s.
With RST, sew the units together so the light #6's are in the outside corners. The SAs are pressed toward the light corners.
Use the chart below to check the accuracy of your 9-patch. Make adjustments as needed.
After sewing, the 9-patch measures...
|10"||6½" x 6½"|
|12½''||8" x 8"|
|15"||9½" x 9½"|
|20"||12½" x 12½"|
Lay out the sides, #6 corner squares and center 9-patch to create the Pigeon Toes quilt block design.
With RST, sew the units in each row together.
SAs are pressed away from the HRTs to minimize bulk.
Finally, sew the rows together. Pin as needed.
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.
And here is our Pigeon Toes quilt block from the back side, so you can see how everything was pressed.
For a list of ALL the quilt block patterns on this site, start here.
If you know the name of the block, you can shorten your search by using these alphabetical 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: