Thursday, February 28, 2013

Leaf Block Tutorial

Hello everyone! I had a request for a tutorial on my leaf block, so here it is. This is going to be a long post with lots of pictures, but hopefully I won't bore you too much. :)

Here's what you'll need for fabric:

  • background fabric (patterned brown in this tutorial)
  • light color fabric for leaf pattern (light orange in this tutorial)
  • medium color fabric for leaf pattern (dark orange in this tutorial)
  • dark color fabric for leaf pattern (maroon in this tutorial)
  • solid brown fabric for leaf stem
Here's what you should cut:
  • (4) 3.5 inch squares from the background fabric
  • (2) 3.5 inch by 3.25 inch pieces from the background fabric
  • (6) 2 3/8 inch (2.375) squares from the background fabric
  • (8) 2 inch squares from the background fabric
  • (1) 3.5 inch by 1 inch piece for the brown stem
  • (3) 2 3/8 inch (2.375) squares from the light leaf fabric
  • (1) 2 inch by 3.5 inch piece from the light leaf fabric
  • (4) 2 3/8 inch (2.375) squares from the medium leaf fabric
  • (2) 2 inch squares from the medium leaf fabric
  • (1) 2 inch by 6.5 inch piece from the medium leaf fabric
  • (5) 2 3/8 inch (2.375) squares from the dark leaf fabric
  • (2) 2 inch squares from the dark leaf fabric
  • (1) 2 inch by 6.5 inch piece from the dark leaf fabric
Step 1: Make the half-square triangles

Using the 45 degree angle mark on your cutting mat, mark a diagonal line across the back of the squares that measure 2.375 x 2.375 inches. If you want to save some time, you don't need to mark them all. You'll need to mark all of the light leaf squares and 3 each of the medium and dark leaf squares.

Once these are marked you'll want to pair them in the following ways:

  • (3) background squares with marked dark leaf fabric squares
  • (2) dark leaf fabric squares with marked medium leaf fabric squares
  • (2) background squares with marked light leaf fabric squares
  • (1) background square with marked medium leaf fabric square
  • (1) medium leaf square with marked light leaf square
You should have 9 pairs, and make sure one of each pair has been marked with the diagonal line. Facing right sides together, sew 1/4 inch on either side of the line you drew. I chain stitch mine together to make it go a little quicker. 

Once you have these sewn together you'll want to cut them apart and then cut each pair along the diagonal line you marked. 

Iron these new squares open. I usually press them so that the seam falls onto the darker fabric. Once they are all ironed you'll want to square them up to 2 inches. Make sure you get rid of the little corner tails.

Sometimes I skip squaring up these little blocks. I always trim off the corner tails, but usually the squares aren't too far off to really make a difference in the block. I did square them all up for this tutorial and only had a couple that really needed a full trimming. You'll know if you should trim your blocks. I'm guessing the more experienced quilters will have more accurate seams. Use your own judgement and when it doubt - square them up. This is the step that takes the longest amount of time.

Step 2: Lay out your pieces

This looks a little funny because they are all different sizes. I like to lay out the pieces so that I know all of the half-square triangle pieces are facing the right way.

Step 3: Sew the top of the leaf

Since the top part of the block has a lot of pieces of different sizes, you'll need to sew together the light leaf colored pieces first. Sew these into rows and then press the seams for each row in opposite directions (top row to the left, bottom row to the right). 
Then, you'll want to sew the top row to the bottom row. Pressing the seams for the rows in opposite directions will help them nestle together and allow for better corners and less bulk. I usually pin the seams before I sew the rows together.
Once these rows are joined, press the sewn piece flat.

Step 4: Sew the pieces of the block into rows

I usually sew my rows together from left to right, but it really doesn't matter how you do it. Just make sure to use accurate 1/4 inch seams and try to get your points to turn out. You'll see that a couple of mine aren't perfect, but I'm not sweating it. The more accurate you are with making your half-square triangles the easier time you'll have of making your points turn out right. When my whole quilt is put together, no one will notice a couple points being an 1/8th of an inch or less off (I did pick out a few stitches though, so have your seam ripper handy!).

Once you have all of the rows assembled, you should press these flat. Again, I press the rows in alternating directions to help the seams line up in the next step.

Step 5: Sew the rows of the block together

With this step, I usually sew the block together from top to bottom, but you can do it however you choose. I also pin the seams so that I know they are going to turn out. It takes a little longer to do all of that pinning, but it makes the block turn out more accurately.

Once you have all of the rows joined, press your block so that it lays flat

Step 6: Square up your block

Using a cutting mat and a cutting ruler, square up your block to 12.5 inches. Then, stand back and be proud of the leaf block you just made!!

Things to keep in mind - you could cute the background fabric pieces for the last row of the block into larger pieces so you wouldn't have to cut as many squares. The measurements would be 3.5 inches by 6.25 inches for each piece on either side of the stem. Also, if you like making flying geese pieces, you could do that instead of some of the half-square triangles. Feel free to play around with it and make it a block that works for you! :) If you put one of these together, I'd love to see what you come up with! Thanks for stopping by everyone, and happy quilting!


I love your comments and questions. Feel free to drop me a line!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...