Make an Apple Pie Quilt

The Apple Pie quilt block pattern, which has similarities to the Shoofly Pie pattern of Amish quilters, belongs to a family in which each block contains a central rotated square.
September/October 1990
Pattern pieces not to scale: use dimensions shown.


Geometric quilt patterns are those that use regular geometric elements—squares, rectangles and triangles—in some consistent overall organization. In the long history of geometric quilt designs the individual variations are too numerous to count. But certain families of patterns can be identified. For example, the Log Cabin family uses long strips to make various types of blocks. Courthouse Steps, Windmill Blades and Pineapples are members of this group.

The Apple Pie quilt belongs to a family in which each block contains a central rotated square. This pattern has some similarities to the Shoofly quilt block pattern of Amish quilters. Central rotated squares are flanked by triangles and strips. The corners of the strips are broken down into little triangles. These tiny triangles are the "flies" that buzz around each pie.

Early quilts were usually done in contrasting prints, most often in a white and dark-blue calico print. Printed cloth was a manufactured good, not always easy to get and certainly not available in the rainbow of shades and patterns offered in stores today. A bolt or two, bought once a year, would be used for that year's dresses, shirts, quilts and curtains.

A limit of two colors was not a hardship for pioneer quilters. Their quilts are as rich and interesting as some of the later ones, which exploit a wider palette.

The quilt stitching for this piece superimposes four concentric circles over the squares. The circles are one inch apart. The first circle fits just inside the central rotated square, and the successive ones cross through the strips and triangles.


2 1/4 yards dark-colored cloth
1 1/2 yards light-colored cloth
Cotton batting (used for stuffing)
Yarn or heavy thread for tacking

Set aside 1 1/2 yards of dark-colored cloth for quilt backing. Pin pattern pieces to cloth. Cut carefully.

Sew the large triangles to the large squares to make the rotated square units. Sew the 12 thin strips and 12 small triangles around the rotated squares to make the blocks.

Sew the blocks and vertical lattice strips together to make rows. Sew the horizontal lattice strips and little squares together to make long lattice strips.

Assemble quilt top from rows of squares and lattice strips, matching seams carefully.

On a large table or work surface, lay the quilt batting down. Lay the backing material, face up, on top of the batting. Lay the quilt top, face down, on the backing. Pin around the edges.

Sew around the edges, leaving an 8-inch gap at the end. Trim the seams. Use the 8-inch gap to turn the quilt right side out. Hand-sew the 8-inch gap closed.

For quilting, stitch four concentric circles 1 inch apart on the squares. The first circle begins inside the central rotated square, and the successive ones cross through the strips.

Using the heavy thread or yarn, tack quilt layers together at the corners of the pie blocks.

From Childhood Dreams: A Book of Crib Quilt Projects, by Susan Bennett Gallagher, copyright © 1989 by Susan Bennett Gallagher. Reprinted by permission of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York, NY.