Stunning Maple Leaf Quilt Block: A Step-by-Step Guide

The maple leaf quilt block design is not only simple but also offers a variety of different design options.  Although it’s a traditional quilt block, thought to date back to the 1800’s, there are many ways that you can use it in a modern quilt to inject your own style and creativity.

Whether you’re an experienced quilter or just starting your quilting journey, making a maple leaf quilt block can be a delightful and rewarding project. In this blog post, I’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide to create this beautiful block, along with insights into materials and exciting variations to explore. Finished block size is 9 Inches.

Fabric Required:

For this block, you’ll need just two fat quarters of fabric in contrasting colours:

  • 1 x fat quarter, Maple Leaf Colour Fabric – Choose a fabric that resonates with the colours of autumn leaves, as this will be the focal point of your block.
  • 1 x fat quarter, Background Fabric – Choose a neutral or complementary colour that will allow the maple leaf to shine.

Tools Needed

Before we delve into the creative process, let’s make sure you have the right tools on hand:

  • Sewing Machine: Although you can hand stitch, a machine will make things quicker, easier, and more accurate.
  • Rotary Cutter & Mat: These tools are useful for accurate fabric cutting. The rotary cutter allows for smooth, clean edges, and the self-healing mat protects your work surface.
  • Quilting Ruler: A quilting ruler is indispensable for measuring and ensuring straight lines. Choose one with clear markings for accuracy.
  • Erasable Sewing Marker Pen: I just love my erasable pen! Use it for marking fabric and making temporary guidelines. Its erasable ink ensures that your quilt block stays pristine.

Cutting Instructions

Let’s start creating our block:

From the Leaf-Coloured Fabric, cut the following:

  • Cut (4) 3½” x 3½” squares (You will need 3 for the centre of the leaf block and 1 for the stem).
  • Cut (2) 4″ x 4″ squares (These will be used to create the half square triangles (HSTs).

From the Background Fabric, cut the following:

  • Cut (1) 3½” x 3½” square (This is for the background).
  • Cut (2) 4″ x 4″ squares (These will be used to create the HST).
  • Cut (2) 3¼” x 3¼” squares (These will be used to create the stem).

Step-by-Step Assembly

There are 3 shapes to be aware of in this block:

  • Half Square Triangles (HSTs)
  • The Stem
  • Squares

1. Half Square Triangle Units

We’re going to use a quick piecing technique to craft four half-square-triangle (HST) units from the 4″ squares. Pair each background square with a leaf square.

drawing guide line on squares for HSTs

Draw a line from one corner to the other on the diagonal. Then draw a line either side ¼” from the centre line on each side. Sew along the lines on either side of the central one.

cutting along diagonal line

Cut along the centre diagonal line. Open out. Press flat. Trim to 3½” square

2. The Stem

squares to build quilt block stem

Take 1 of your leaf-coloured 3½” squares.

Take your 2 background-coloured 3¼” squares. On the reverse side of each square, draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner. This will be your stitching guideline.

placement needed for maple leaf stem

Lay a smaller background-coloured square on top of the larger leaf-coloured square, ensuring that the right sides are facing each other, with edges aligned in one corner with a slight 2mm overhang.

cutting the square

Sew a seam precisely on the diagonal guideline.

Trim the excess fabric to the right, leaving approximately ¼” for a seam allowance.

Flip the leaf-coloured fabric upright and gently press the seam allowance towards the background triangle.

marking out fabric

Repeat the previous step to sew another small background-coloured square to the opposite side of the leaf square.

Open out and press flat.

Trim to 3½” square.

3. Arranging Your Block

arranging pieces for the maple leaf quilt block

 Organize your fabric components: the stem, HSTs, and plain squares.

 Refer to the photo above for the correct arrangement.

sewing rows together

Sew the pieces together in each row. Press seams flat.

Press the seam allowances in adjoining rows in opposite directions to ensure smooth assembly.

completed maple leaf quilt block

Sew the rows together, starting from the top and working down. Press seams flat.

Give your quilt block a final press.

Your maple leaf quilt block should now measure 9½” x 9½”.

Quilt Block Variations

While the classic maple leaf block is a timeless favourite, there are numerous variations and creative twists you can explore to make your quilt project even more exciting. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Colour Variations: Experiment with a variety of colours for your maple leaf block. Try using shades of green for a spring-themed block or shades of red and orange for a vibrant autumn look. Your colour choices can evoke different seasons or moods.

Scaling Up or Down: Adjust the size of your maple leaf block to create different visual effects. A larger block can make a bold statement, while smaller blocks can be used to add intricate detail to your quilt.

Embroidered Details: Add hand-embroidered details to your maple leaf, such as veins or subtle shading. This extra touch of craftsmanship can bring your block to life.

Pattern Placement: Experiment with the arrangement of your blocks within your quilt. By rotating or mirroring the maple leaf block, you can create visually captivating patterns across your quilt top.

Background Varieties: Instead of a solid background, consider using background fabrics with different textures or small-scale prints. This can add depth and interest to your quilt design.

Maple Leaf Quilt Block Designs

Here are some quilt designs based on the maple leaf block.

maple leaf quilt design with sashing

Above is a lap quilt with sashing.

  • Finished size is 43.5″ x 43.5″
  • 4 x 4 blocks with 4 different colourways
  • Sashing strips 1.5″ (1″ finished)
  • Sashing squares 1.5″ (1″ finished)
maple leaf quilt design for double bed

This is a double quilt design, measuring 72″ x 90″.

This stunning design features larger maple leaf blocks in the middle, in this case they are 18″ blocks. The finished size for this larger lap quilt is 54″ x 54″.

Final Thoughts on the Maple Leaf Quilt Block

The maple leaf quilt block is a classic design that offers endless possibilities for creativity. Armed with the right materials and a dash of imagination, you can craft a stunning quilt design that reflects your unique style. Whether you stick to the traditional design or give it a modern twist, I’m sure you’re have fun with this block. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message.

Happy Sewing!

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