Monday, November 25, 2013

Modern Maple Leaf Pillow Tutorial

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and this weekend I whipped up a pretty maple leaf pillow to add to my fall decor in the living room.  If you shopped with us during our Customer Appreciation weekend the earlier this month, you got a kit for this in your goody bag!  :-)

Here's what you need for this 18" square pillow: 
1 FQ backing (kits have one of an assortment of prints)
1 FQ Bella Snow (or other neutral for background)
4 F8 of Bella Solids (I am using Mustard, Clementine, Chocolate & Boysenberry)
20" square of batting & scrap for back of pillow front for quilting

Kits for this project are available here.  :-)

First, I want to point out that this pillow is definitely inspired by the Modern Maples craze!  I also made a basic maple leaf block tutorial some time ago here.

For each of the two smaller leaves, you need to cut the following:

  • THREE 2.5" squares of leaf color 
  • TWO 3" squares of the leaf color
  • ONE 1" x 5" strip of the leaf color
  • TWO 3" squares of background
  • TWO 2.5" squares of background
  • ONE 3.5" x 6.5" rectangle of background
  • ONE 3.5" x 9.5" rectangle of background

For each of the two larger leaves, you need to cut the following:
  • THREE 3.5" squares of leaf color 
  • TWO 4" squares of the leaf color
  • ONE 1.25" x 5" strip of the leaf color
  • TWO 4" squares of background
  • TWO 3.5" squares of background
Let's get sewing!  Instructions are for smaller leaf block (with larger block measurements in parentheses). Use a 1/4" seam allowance throughout. 

First, cut one of the 2.5" background (or 3.5") and cut it in half on the diagonal.  Sew the 1" x 4" strip (1.25" x 5") between the two background triangles. Press toward background.

Trim to 2.5" square (3.5" square).

Use the two 3" leaf color and the two 3" background squares (4" and 4") to make FOUR half square triangle units using your favorite method.  (I usually cut them in half on the diagonal and sew them together.  You can also draw a line down the diagonal and saw 1/4" on either side of the line then cut on the line.) Trim all four blocks to 2.5" (3.5").

Next, lay out your leaf block and sew together into three rows:

Top row:  background + HST unit + HST unit
Middle row:  HST + color + color
Bottom: HST + color + stem
* Small leaf block all squares in the 9-patch are 2.5" pre-sew.  They are 3.5" pre-sew in the larger leaf block.

For the two smaller blocks, attach the 3.5" strips to two adjacent sides as shown to make it 9.5" square. (You may wish to layout our pillow to determine which sides to sew to if you want the leaves pointing in certain directions.)

Sew the leaf blocks together like this:

Baste and quilt as desired.  I chose to create a bark/wood grain pattern with my quilting.  And I really like how it turned out.

For the back, I cut my fat quarter in half lengthwise (two 9" x 21" strips) and then used some of my leftovers to create a pieced strip about 5" tall to add to one of the backing pieces so that the top and bottom of the pillow back would overlap by a few inches.  (See more about how to make and attach the backing to a pillow at the end of this tutorial here.)

The back of the completed pillow.  :-)

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  This is a quick and easy project and would make a great hostess gift for Thanksgiving dinner!

Happy sewing!  :-)


  1. This is so beautiful. I love the quilting!

  2. I am in love with the quilting on this pillow. It matches the pattern perfectly!

  3. This is absolutely gorgeous! The colors, your quilting, all of it! Are you on Flickr or Instagram? If so, you might want to share it there if you haven't already. Modern Maples are popular in both places. Thanks for sharing this beauty!


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