Sunday, September 30, 2012


In the fall, I enjoy looking out my windows and seeing the beautiful fall colors on the trees in my yard and down the street.  I also enjoy seeing them in my house.  Now they aren't real like the ones outside but I have a real vivid imagination.

I made my first autumn leaves (quilted coasters) over 25 years ago.  That sounds like an eternity to me when I say it.  Hard to believe.  Seems just like yesterday.  We were living in Fayetteville, AR on 2 acres.  There were a lot of different trees around us.  I wanted to make some coasters but I wanted to be precise so I walked around trying to find a perfectly shaped leaf from the different trees.  Then I traced the outline on a piece of paper even marking the veins.  I collected some scraps of fabric (had to have enough to make the front and back) that looked like fall colors and carefully traced the pattern on the right side of one of the pieces of the fabric.  I layered the two pieces with a thin, thin batting in between.  I pinned the three layers together with large safety pins.  Then with my machine set on a really close zigzag stitch, I carefully stitched around the leaf on the line that I had drawn until I got back to where I had started. 
Then I had to stitch in the leaf for the veins.  I stitched the main vein first and then worked from the main vein out. (I know this picture is not from the coasters but one of the placemats below.)  After I had all my sewing done, then I cut around the outside of the leaf as close as I could to my stitching.


Here is a close-up picture of each one of the coasters.

Two years ago I decided I wanted to make some placemats using the same technique that I had used on the coasters.  I'm embarrassed to tell you how long I looked for realistic BIG leaves.  I tried to find paper placemats in the shape of leaves, but couldn't.  I looked for felt ones in some of the fabric stores, but couldn't find any.  I did find one in a shop but they wanted more money than I was willing to pay just for "perfection".  I took the coaster and made scale drawings of them and enlarged them.  That generally worked.  I took real leaves and tried to enlarge them.  Let me tell you, in case you aren't a perfectionist, IT CAN DRIVE YOU CRAZY AT TIMES.

This is what I finally ended up with.  Because they are larger, I used many large safety pins to hold the three layers together while I was sewing them.  I don't really remember for sure if I did, but I would recommend starting with the main vein and working out thus doing the outline of the leaf last.  This will help keep the work smooth.  The last thing I did was to trim away the excess as closely as I could to the zigzag stitch.  I have given the dimensions (widest points) of each placemat below the picture.
18-1/2"  x  15"

20-1/4"  x  13-1/2"

20"  x  17-1/4"

21"  x  14"

I will share some pictures of my real leaves in a later post.  

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