Quilting 101 – Maple Leaf Quilting Block Tutorial

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This block measures 25cm (10″) when sewn with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Use a plain fabric for the leaf, with a pattern for the background, or vice versa.  For a fresh, clean and bold look why not switch between the two styles to create a chessboard effect across the entire quilt.

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Getting Started

Print or trace the templates on the print out (at the end of this post) onto card and cut out.  Then trace the pieces onto your fabrics and cut out (the number of pieces required and fabric suggestions are shown on each of the templates) and the lines printed inside each piece represent the sew line when using a 6mm (1/4″) seam allowance.

Laying Out

BEFORE sewing we strongly recommend spraying all your pieces with starch and ironing them once more.  Spray starch is used by all sorts of sewers, but for quilters it is a total must.  The fabric will stiffen, helping to stop it stretching and making it MUCH easier to sew.

NOTE: You can buy specialist spray starch for quilting, but we find the one from the supermarket works fine 🙂

We normally recommend laying your pieces out in front of you before you start sewing, but that isn’t possible with this block until you have completed the first part of the sewing process.

Piecing Together

The first step of this block is to create your ‘half triangle squares’.  Match up a plain large square with a patterned large square, right sides of the fabric facing each other.  Fold in half diagonally and iron the crease into place (see below).

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You are now going to sew down the middle twice, once in each direction. Treat the crease in the middle of the fabric as if it is your raw edge and line up your needle to create a 1/4″ seam in from the crease.  Sew across the block, keeping the crease lined up as if it was your raw edge.  Turn your block around and repeat this process down the other side of the crease.

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Your block should now look like the one below:

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Cut along the crease and iron the seams flat – you will now have two finished ‘half square triangle blocks’!

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Repeat this process with your remaining 2 large squares, you will end up with 4 half square triangle blocks.

You can now arrange your pieces according to the block pattern, don’t worry that the pieces don’t line up properly around the stem.

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The stem piece is made up of 3 pieces of fabric, 2 triangles and a stem.

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Line the long side of the stem up with one long side of one triangle, right sides facing each other and raw edges lined up (see below).

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Sew together and press the seam open.

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The next triangle will be too long for the space it needs to fill to make a square, but don’t panic, we can trim this back after we have sewn the square together.  Fold the sewn piece in half to find the middle of the raw edge you will be adding the next triangle too, and repeat this process with the triangle piece (see below).

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Place the triangle on top of the stem piece, right sides facing, lining up the raw edges along the sew line and the fold lines you just made in the middle of the pieces.

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Sew together and press the seam open.

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Place your template back on top of your mini block, or use your quilting ruler and cutting mat, to trim the block back to the same size as the smaller square template.

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Place the completed block back into the main block pattern.

NOTE: The bottom row is not laid out correctly in this image - check the images at the top or bottom of this post for the correct lay out (the triangles are facing the wrong way here!)

NOTE: The bottom row is not laid out correctly in this image – check the images at the top or bottom of this post for the correct lay out (the triangles are facing the wrong way here!)

You are now ready to sew the squares together into rows (the image below still shows the earlier mistake – the triangles in the bottom row are facing the wrong way!  I forgot to retake the picture are unpicking and re-sewing!).

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Sew the rows together, if your blocks are out of shape, it is a good idea to trim the edges you will be sewing straight before sewing them together.

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Press your block one more time and then trim the block back square – not sure where to start?  The easiest way to do this is to fold your block into quarters and iron the creases into place (lightly).  When you open up the block you will have the mid point of each side marked with a crease.

Place your square on your cutting board with the vertical crease lined up with the 10″ line on the cutting mat, making sure it is in line at the top and bottom of the block.  Now place your ruler over the block so that it runs along the 5.25″ line to the left of your crease, cut along this line.  Now line your ruler up with the 15.25″ line to the right of your crease, and cut along this line.  Turn your block 90 degrees and repeat the process.

Don’t forget to send us pictures of your finished blocks/quilts, via the blog, Facebook or by tagging us in on Instagram #printstopolkadots. We love seeing your makes!

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Fabrics used in our examples: Riley Blake’s Bloom and Bliss (click to view in store) and Kona’s White (click to buy).

Click here to download the templates and short instructions.


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