DIY & Crafts

How to make a maple leaf quilt square


DIY & Crafts

How to make a maple leaf quilt square

This story was originally titled "So Square It's Hip" in the July 2010 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!

The classic maple leaf quilt square comes together quickly when you use rotary-cutting and speed-piecing techniques, and it would be a marvellous base for a Canada Day–themed quilt. Will you make one block for a pot holder, or four for a wall hanging, or will you make enough for a festive picnic blanket?

The possibilities are endless – you may be surprised by what you come up with!

Take a look at a larger image of the quilt squares.

You need:
• 1 fat quarter (45 x 55 cm/18 x 22 inches) white or neutral fabric, for background
• 1 fat quarter (45 x 55 cm) red or red print fabric, for maple leaf
• Rotary cutter, acrylic ruler and self-healing cutting mat
• Pencil or disappearing-ink fabric marker
• Coordinating thread
• Sewing machine fitted with ¼-inch presser foot and needle appropriate for fabric
• Iron and ironing board  

To make:
1. Using rotary cutter and acrylic ruler and working on cutting mat, square up white fabric and cut two strips ( see image of this step here): 11.5 x 23 cm (4½ x 9 inches) and 12.4 x 24.8 cm (4-7/8 x 9¾ inches). Cut 11.5 x 23 cm strip into two pieces, each 11.5 cm (4½ inches) square.

2. Square up red fabric and cut three strips: 11.5 x 34 cm (4½ x 13½ inches), 12.4 x 24.8 cm and 4.5 x 18 cm (1¾ x 7 inches). Cut 11.5 x 34 cm strip into three pieces, each 11.5 cm square.

Page 1 of 2 - learn how to make the rest of the quilt square on page 2.

3. To make "stem": Cut one white square diagonally in half. Fold each resulting triangle in half along long edge to find midpoint and finger press; fold red 4.5 x 18 cm strip in half and finger press at midpoint. With right sides together and matching creases at midpoints, sew red strip to one of the white triangles. Repeat with second triangle and other edge of red strip ( see image of this step here). Press seams open; trim to 11.5 cm square.

4. To make half-square triangles: Stack 12.4 x 24.8 cm rectangles together, right sides facing and with white on top. Using pencil and ruler, mark down centre to create two 12.4 cm (4-7/8-inch) squares. Mark diagonal lines on each square: on lefthand square, mark diagonal from top left to bottom centre; on righthand square, mark diagonal from top right to bottom centre. Mark seam lines scant 6 mm (¼ inch) on both sides of both diagonals; pin. Starting at top right of righthand square, stitch along top seam line to centre line; pivot and stitch to top left. Repeat with second set of seam lines ( see image of this step here). With rotary cutter and ruler, separate pieces on marked lines. Press seams open; trim blocks to 11.5 cm square.

5. To assemble rows: Arrange pieces as shown (see page 103). With right sides facing and using 6 mm seam allowance, sew blocks together into 3 rows; press seams open. Square up edges if necessary.

6. To assemble block: With right sides facing, align seams; using 6 mm seam allowance, sew 3 rows together. Press seams open. Trim edges to make block 30.5 cm (12 inches) square.

Designer's Notes
• It's essential to prewash fabric at least once (or more) when working with red, to ensure the colour won't bleed. Imagine making a red-and-white quilt, only to have it turn pink upon its first washing!

• "Fat quarter" is a common quilting term. It refers to a piece of fabric formed by cutting a yard of fabric in half lengthwise, then crosswise. A typical fat quarter measures 45 x 55 cm (18 x 22 inches) – more generous than a traditional quarter-yard cut (hence the label "fat").

• Each fat quarter will give you enough fabric for at least two maple leaf blocks. Save leftover fabric to use for quilt binding, or for other scrappy projects.

Don't forget to check out our craft blog !

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DIY & Crafts

How to make a maple leaf quilt square