Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Falling Leaf Block Tutorial

It's here! You can download the Falling Leaf foundation paper piecing template here. Enjoy! The tutorial is below...


First, gather your supplies. You will need:
  • 4 copies of the foundation paper piecing template,
  • 1 background fabric, 4 pattern fabrics, 1 stem fabric,
  • 1 Add-A-Quarter inch ruler (This is invaluable!),
  • Small piece of cardstock (6-inches x 3-inches),
  • Glue (I use Sewline stick glue.),
  • Rotary cutter,
  • Cutting mat, and
  • Scotch tape.

1. Cut out the template, leaving a quarter-inch around the leaf. The seam allowance is included in my pattern. There are two pieces per page to cut out. So you will have a total of eight pieces when you are finished cutting. I use Carol Doak's foundation paper. It's great. White copy paper is fine too. It's slightly harder to remove the paper at the end, but no big deal.


2. Take your first background fabric piece, and place it right- side-up on the backside of the template. Make sure that your scrap covers all of A1. I use large scraps. Glue this down so it will not move.


3. Flip the template over so it is right-side-up. Place the cardstock on the line between A1 and A2. Fold the paper over, and place the Add-A-Quarter ruler as shown. Cut the fabric with a rotary cutter.


4. Take a pattern scrap of fabric and place it right-side-down, lining it on the cut you just made. Make sure the fabric will cover shape A2 when the fabric is flipped over. You may want to use a pin to hold the fabric in place. I don't.


5. Lower the stitch length to 1.5. This length is small enough to make the paper easier to remove, but large enough so the seam can be ripped if you make a mistake.


6. Flip the template over so it is right-side-up. Stitch on the line between A1 and A2 starting and ending at the edge of the paper.


7. Turn the template upside down again and press the pattern fabric with the seam toward the pattern side. Use a dry iron. Confirm that the pattern fabric completely covers shape A2.


8. Repeat step 3: turn the template right-side-up, place the cardstock along the line between A2 and A3, and fold the template over the cardstock. Pull the template so that it forms a straight line for the Add-A-Quarter ruler to lay on. It's O.K. if the template rips a bit from the stitching.


9. Lay down the Add-A-Quarter ruler and trim with a rotarty cutter. 


10. Flip template over, and add another scrap of background fabric, right-sides-together, for shape A3.


11. Stitch from the edge of the paper to the intesection and backstitch. Some people will stitch through the intersection and then rip out the stitches when they add shape A6. I don't do this. I just backstitch two to three stitches. I like the security, and this doesn't add that much bulk to the block.


12. Press the seam toward the newly added fabric scrap. This is how your leaf will look.


13. Continue to trim, flip, add fabric right-sides-together, flip, sew, flip, press. Keep going. This is how the top of the leaf will look when it's finished. Look at that beautiful point. I can't get points to match like that when piecing, no matter how precise my cutting is. With foundation paper piecing, the points always come out this perfect, just follow the lines.


What happens when you make a mistake. Scotch tape makes for an easy fix. Add scotch tape to the seam you need to remove. Then rip the seam out with a seam ripper. The scotch tape will hold the template together. 

Tip: Avoid ironing over the scotch tape!


14. When sections A and B are complete, sew them together using the quarter-inch seam allowance as a guide. Stitch from one edge of the papers to the other edge. Press the seam open.


Beautiful! Don't remove the paper until the block is completed.


I made three more leaves and arranged them like a wreath. Now, you can remove the paper foundation. This 12-inch block would be beautiful in a quilt.


I added two inches of sashing to all four sides and quilted. Then I used a large circle template from a cake carrier that I have to cut a circle. 

Sewing binding onto a circle is easy; There are no corners to mitre! I did cut bias binding so that I wouldn't have stretch issues. Usually with rectangular quilts, I use binding cut along the width-of-fabric. I also used my machine's walking foot. Before I got to the end of the circle, I removed the placemat from the machine. I sewed the beginning and the end of the binding together, right-sides-together, so that it would lay flat. Finally, I finished attaching the binding, flipped it over, and sewed the binding down on the back.

All done!


Linking up at: quiltstory // myquiltinfatuation // firefliesandjellybeans // 627handworks // crazymomquilts // naptimecrafters

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Happy Stitching,


  1. I love it! Such a perfect Fall project (and the closest I will get the falling leaves in Florida). I have never attempted paper piecing, but I might have to give it a go. Thank you for the very step by step tutorial- Newbie here appreciates it :)

    1. Thank you so much for visiting. Once you get the hang of paper piecing, it is hard to stop. I hope you do try it out. Have fun!

  2. This is lovely! Thanks for the great tute :)

  3. this is such a fun fall project! thanks for sharing the how-to :)

  4. This is really pretty. I love the shape too with the leaves chasing around the mat!

  5. Great little tutorial, and LOVE the fall leaves! It's my favorite season and this project is so cute and festive.

    Thank you so much for linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

    1. It's my favorite season too. Thank you so much for hosting the link-up!

  6. Love this!! I've never tried paper piecing.. But looking fwd to starting. Your tutorial is great.

  7. Great tutorial :) I love fall so I plan on making this for sure for my kitchen table. Visiting from the link party @ 627handworks!

  8. Great tutorial! Thank you for sharing!
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo dot com
    ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

  9. Wonderful detailed tutorial. I love the leaves.

  10. The link for the foundation pattern wouldn't open

    1. Hmmm, I just tried it, and it opened fine for me. The file permissions seem to be correct too. I would be happy to email the pattern to you if you send me your email address.

  11. Your Fall leaves look awesome and thanks for the great tuto and pattern!!

  12. This is SO lovely, I've never really quilted (I used to do a bit of hand sewn patchwork as a kid) this is really inspiring, I feel I could possibily achieve something beautiful. Thank you. Pinned and following :-)

  13. I love your falling leaves and how you turned it into a circle! Great tutorial on paper piecing too. Thank you!
    Julie @ The Crafty Quilter

  14. love your falling leaves, following you now

  15. Great block, love the arrangement. Making it circular is sheer genius! Wow!!


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