In response to a question of construction

I have put this post together in response to a question about how I do this by a very kind Flickr Friend. At the risk of boring you stiff, here is how I make a multicoloured leaf.
This was where I was earlier this afternoon when I decided to try to log the steps in making a leaf.

My Flickr Friend didn't know if I had painted these or if they were made of fabric so I shot a closeup. If you look in the bottom right corner of this photo, you'll see leaf number three. That is the one I will make as a demo.
Step one involves tracing a pattern piece on top of my enlarged cartoon on a piece of Freezer Paper. For the non crafty types, Freezer Paper is paper on one side and a waxy surface that melts when heated, allowing you to stick it onto something to make a pattern, on the back side. You can see through it reasonably well so I just cut a bit of FP big enough to cover the shape I want and I trace over it with a PERMANENT marker on the PAPER side.
Here is my pattern ready to choose the base fabric for my leaf.
I looked through my fabrics to find a darkish brown, nicely mottled for the major part of this leaf.
Here's what I chose. Remember that my background will likely be fairly dark so I want shady but lively browns and not REALLY dark.
Now, with the waxy side down on the fabric, a good warm press with a heavy iron will make the pattern adhere to the fabric. If you were using a print fabric- you'd iron the pattern to the RIGHT side of the fabric. As this is dyed, pick the side you like best and use that as your "right side".
Now, you cut away the excess fabric with scissors. You do not have to cut TOO neatly. A bit of extra around the edges is good at this point.
Next, I cut my fusible material, in this case, Wonder Under. It has paper on both sides and it is WONDERFUL!
Just place your pattern down on the concave curl of the WU and snip around the pattern leaving a bit of a border.
Then, lift the pattern off the WU and remove the TOP paper of the WU. It should come away with no stickum on it! The remaining bit will have paper on the back side and will be sticky on TOP.

The WU is separated here and ready to heat fuse the pattern and fabric 
Centre the pattern on the WU and carefully flip it over . Then PRESS ( not iron) by pressing down on your hot iron until the fabric and WU are stuck together. Doesn't take long!
Now CAREFULLY trim the edges of the pattern along the lines you've drawn. 
At this point, you have a brown cotton leaf shape with a FP pattern fused on top and WU fused under it. You'll see some little patches with dotted lines around them. These are my sunny highlights or deep shadows. Once the pattern is cut out neatly, lift the areas of FP where those patches occur and carefully cut them away from the main pattern REMEMBERING NOT TO CUT THE FABRIC UNDERNEATH!
Like this. I did not mention - but will here -that BEFORE you cut the patches away, make some little registration marks across the cutting line so you can match up the patch and the original spot on the pattern.
Now, in this case, I have three tiny patch pieces and need to choose fabric for them, cut and apply WU to the back sides and then.....
Repeat the whole method for these wee patches  and then...
Put the different patches back into position carefully with the protective paper removed from the back of the WU on the patches. They will now be fused to the background fabric of the leaf. NB, HERE you can see the little registration marks I have made- little squiggles, two or three little lines.
Now you can use a tiny  VERY SHARP pair of scissors and cut the veins away carefully. Then, the paper pattern can be removed- equally carefully
At this point, choose a darker under fabric to make the dark veins. Now remove the backing paper from the leaf so you can fuse it to the darker under fabric.
Carefully arrange the leaf on the backing fabric and PRESS carefully

Add a layer of WU on the very back of the leaf, fuse, trim and remove the paper backing. Now you have a nice little fairly realistic looking leaf ready to fuse into your quilt design.
And here you see the finished product, leaf #2 , with its "friends" ready to be part of this little quilt.
Sometimes, if I have a VERY complex piece, I will retrace the pattern on a fresh piece of FP , cut it out and use that to do the last few steps .

I think , after this, that I will take a breather now, have my tea and wish you all good evening. I hope this is comprehensible. If not, please ask. I have ( almost) no secrets!!


  1. Thank you always wondered how you did that.
    Now how do you stitch them down?

  2. I love to see how other people construct the elements of their art quilts. Wonderful techniques, and very well explained! I have bookmarked this post for future reference.