Friday, July 22, 2016

Leaf Shapes

Some examples of leaves that you would never want to hand applique, am I right? But cutting and fusing them is quick and easy.  Here are steps to achieve this result. Note: use any color fabric for your practice pieces for this lesson.

Using your rotary cutter, slice through in a gentle curve.

 Turn and repeat. With a scissor snip the end so that a stem is formed.

 Use your soap sliver to mark a curved rib down the center.

 With small sharp scissors, cut  down to the rib.

 Cut away every other strip leaving a section on the end for the point of your leaf.

 Repeat on the second side. You may fuse this to a contrasting fabric, and then cut it to match the edges, or just keep this leaf fused, lightly, to the release paper, for future use.
I found this painting which had very similar leaves.  And what about this stamp, with our favorite dots. So clever. Birgit Koopsen 

To cut the larger fern leaf in the tulip quilt above, cut a longer shape with a stem end. Use your soap sliver to draw it out if necessary.

Cut almost to the side of the shape, alternating sides.

The soap lines disappear when the iron melts them.

27 Gingkos by Ann Fahl
We love the shape of Ginkgo leaves, and lucky for me, Main and Market streets are lined with these beautiful trees, so I could just grab a few for examples.

 Cut a simple leaf shape, curving the bottom edges with your scissors as you cut.
Add a skimpy bit for the stem, just fusing it in place.
 Nasturtium leaves are another favorite and the easy way to get that white veining is to do as follows.
Garden Nasturtium by Jungsun Jung,  not fused, so it took forever!

Cut a round-ish shape.

 Snip away each section, either almost to the center, or all the way, keeping the sections in order, so you can replace them on white fabric later.

This version keeps the sections intact, and then cut a little circle in the center.

And then there are the really simple leaf shapes, which can easily be cut in masses and added to designs, with dots of course!

 Leaf Light Detail-Melody Johnson Quilts:
Tapestry by Evelyn Ackerman
New Big Leaf by Pat Pauly

Priscilla Kibbee - If leaves were blue
 Veining is a prominent design element in these two quilts.

Some oak leaf shapes are used in this piece all about leaves. The three log cabin blocks at the top are also fused, not pieced.
A maple leaf shape was carefully cut to look more realistic. 


  1. This is the perfect next step....I'm very excited about diving into leaves...while still making "small works" with shapes. I actually have a project in mind for this will help launch it. Yay

  2. Your examples are so inspiring! Thank you :)

  3. Here's a way to tell the fused side from the fabric side when you cut up small pieces. I did this with the first set of leaves. Cut your leaf shape, on the fused side draw a smaller leaf with Frixon pen, when you cut away the small bits they will have a Frixon mark to tell you it is the fused side. When you fuse these small bits the Frixon mark will disappear with heat AND it's on the back side so the ghost white line that remains will never be seen. I'm going to do this with all my cutouts so there is no debate about which side has the fusible. What a time saver.

    1. Be careful with the frixon pens on the top of hand dyed fabric. I have not had good luck with removing the lines. It leaves a residu. Some Kona solids react the same way. It is hit or miss so sometimes when you test a small spot it comes out but then when you do a larger area not all of it comes out. But on the back it should be fine.

  4. Love, love the leaves! Question: Would Cherry Wood fabrics work for fusing? I believe they are hand dyed. I have a collection (some might say I've been hoarding). Fusing might be a great project with them IF you think they will take to the fusing properly.

    1. Yes Cherrywood Fabrics are hand dyes and they would work perfectly with fusing.

  5. I'm anxious to start this one! The quilt on the title page is FANTASTIC!!!

  6. Woohoo!!! Leaves, leaves everywhere!!! Love it!! Thanks so much Melody!!!

  7. So beautiful!!
    Am still fusing Wonder Under on my collection of hand-dyes.

  8. Wonder Under (Pellon 805) is $22.89 for 35 yards again on Amazon. I thought that this information might be useful for those who missed the bargain price last time. For Prime members, shipping is free.

    Melody, thanks so much for posting this great class.

  9. Wonder Under (Pellon 805) is $22.89 for 35 yards again on Amazon. I thought that this information might be useful for those who missed the bargain price last time. For Prime members, shipping is free.

    Melody, thanks so much for posting this great class.

  10. Today I finally got to fuse some hand dyes from a few years back. Ideas for what to make do come to mind in the fusing process! My style is not as abstract as Melody' I'm contemplating how to use this method for a type of landscape....hummm.

  11. amazing info - thank you so much. I am a beginner and you have given me a huge head start. Fran

  12. what a great worshop!! Thank you!

  13. Melody, your instructions are fantastic! Clear, concise, illustrated with wonderful color photographs. You are the best teacher in fiber arts that I have ever encountered. Thank you so much for your willingness and enthusiasm in sharing your techniques and style!

    Thank you!!!

  14. Can't get much better than leaves! But I expect it will. thanks


Comment or ask your questions here so I can clear up any confusion.