Building a Better Pine Cone

When I mentioned in my last post about “off-block construction” a few of you asked if I would do a tutorial on that subject.  So…here it is!!

I would normally use my Applique Pressing sheet for this tutorial, but, sadly I cannot find it.  A few  weeks ago, I spent a couple of hours organizing my quilting stuff.  I guess I have put my pressing sheet away in a really secure spot.  I am sure I will some across it one day!  But that’s ok….because maybe you don’t own a pressing sheet.  So, let me show you what you can use instead of an Applique Pressing Sheet.

I used a piece of freezer paper (shiny side up).  First I traced the pine cone on the shiny side of the freezer paper with a Sharpie marker.  I have found that a Sharpie marker is about the only thing that leaves a permanent mark of the shiny surface.


Note:  If I was using my Applique Pressing Sheet, I would simply pin it to the pattern, and build the pine cone on it, like I did with these flowers.

First, I made my templates using 2 layers of freezer paper.  Yes, they are a little on the small side!


Then I chose my fabrics…light, medium and dark brown.


Whenever I have a unit that has a lot of pieces in it (and those pieces need to line up) I take the time and do this next step.  Once the piece is prepped, I take out the template and place it on top of the finished piece.  The template has to have the shiny side up.  Next, I take a very sharp marking pen (I like to use a Clover water soluble fine marker for light fabrics and a white chalk marker for dark fabrics) and mark the remaining seam allowance.  You will be very happy you did this!!


So….next, I start to glue the pieces in place.  The glue will not stick permanently to the shiny surface of the freezer paper (or the pressing sheet), but it will hold temporarily.







Once all of the pieces are glued in place (and you have made peace with the fact you will have to make 7 more pine cones) you can lift the entire piece off the the freezer paper (or applique pressing sheet) and simply put it in place on the background.  If you are working on a unit that has fewer pieces (or larger pieces) you can actually stitch it before you place it on the background.  I thought this piece would be easier to stitch while it is on the background.  Lots of options!

Til next time….




13 thoughts on “Building a Better Pine Cone

  1. I learn so much from your posts and this was no exception. Thank you ever so much for sharing your gifts. And if I don’t reply again soon, Happy Holidays. may there be room for needles and thread. Gratefully, Toni

    • I know that there are some concerns regarding marking pens. As a rule, I don’t press over the marker. I always wash my block once I am finished stitching it so the blue marker rinses away. I do press the block once it is dry.

  2. This is so very helpful, thanks so much! One more question, once you’ve built the pinecone, and placed it on your background, what order do you applique? From the top down, or bottom up? All around the edge and then the interior ones? Or does it matter? Thanks again for so generously sharing your expertise!

    • This is such a good question! It really doesn’t matter which order you stitch in but I will tell you what I did. Because I was using 3 different shades of thread (light beige, medium brown and dark brown) I threaded my needle with light beige thread and stitched all of the light beige pieces. Then I threaded up the medium brown thread and stitched all of those pieces. And then I used the dark brown thread and stitched the dark brown pieces. I didn’t cut my threads between each same-coloured section, I just moved from piece to piece making sure my thread wasn’t pulled too tight or too loose. Pretty simple!

  3. Fantastic tutorial, both in technique, and seeing the use of colour and fabric pattern! Thank you so much Kerry. I also very much enjoyed reading the comments and replies. Seeing this tutorial gives me so much encouragement that amazing appliques like this are doable. It expands the possibilities of taking a pattern and making it my own by designing something more intricate, or maybe even someday designing a pattern myself. Once again, Thank You!

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