The Maypop Leaf-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilting

Good morning, Quilters!  Today is Tuesday and for more than a year now, Tuesday means one thing: a FREE free motion quilt tutorial!  Judging by the comments and letters I receive, Tuesday is everyone’s favorite day here at The Inbox Jaunt.  (My favorite day is Friday–Open Line Friday, when I pose a question and listen to YOUR advice.)

Today we are working on a very versatile leaf, The Maypop Leaf.  Just a quick note–I created a stitched leaf and then went in search of a real leaf that matched.  The Maypop Leaf was as close as I could  find…


Begin by drawing three lines equidistant apart.  In the sample below, the lines are 1/2 inch apart.  These drawn lines or “rails”  are intended to keep our stitching tidy and will be erased when we are finished.  Once you are familiar with a pattern, you may not need to use the “rails” at all.

Begin stitching on the right rail.  Stitch an angled line up and to the left.  Echo back toward the right rail and stop.  This creates the stem of our leaf.

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilting

Next, stitch two scallops and stop on the left rail.

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilting

Stitch another scallop and stop….

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilting

It is best if you can stitch this entire next step in one smooth motion.  Stitch the second scallop, sweep under the entire leaf and stitch the first part of the next stem…

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilting

Continue in this way to create an entire LEFT sided row of Maypop Leaves…

This motif stands alone….Gorgeous!

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilting

However, if you’d like a more complex pattern–or if a RIGHT sided Maypop Leaf fits your quilt better…

Begin by stitching on the left rail.   Stitch an angled line – up and to the right.  Echo back toward the left rail.

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilting

Stitch two scallops and stop at the right rail.

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilting

Stitch one scallop and stop…

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilting

With one smooth sweeping line, stitch the second scallop, under the Maypop Leaf and stitch the next vein your Maypop Leaf chain…

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilting

Continue along in this way to create a beautiful right-sided border.

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilting

To fill a larger area, or to create a more complex pattern, stitch right and left-sided Maypop Leaf Chains side by side.  Another option is to separate the two chains by a small distance and fill the area with berries (stitched circles) or flowers…

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilting

NOTE-This tutorial was stitched on Kona grass-green cotton using Sulky 40 wt Rayon thread on top and Aurifil 50 wt cotton in the bobbin using a Schmetz 80 Universal needle on my Bernina 820 without a stitch regulator.


I am thrilled to report that tomorrow we have another free motion quilt tutorial for you presented by the amazing Hilary Florence at The Quilting Workshop.  Hilary has generously volunteered to provide us with several original design tutorials that I know you are going to LOVE!

On Thursday, we’ll look at some variations of  The Maypop Leaf…

Busy week of Free motion quilting, so STAY TUNED to The Inbox Jaunt!


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog and Pin with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes please contact me at  Thanks!

21 thoughts on “The Maypop Leaf-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

  1. Thank you for all the FMQ tutorials. I have not been following you for very long but I am really enjoying Tuesdays and Fridays. I am based in the UK so it is good to see ideas and tutorials from your neck of the woods. 😉

  2. FMQ has been so difficult for me to learn, but your tutorials break it down and it suddenly makes sense. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you!!

  3. I have a question, Lori. Do you FMQ starting from top to bottom or right to left?? I have a difficult time getting a straight FM line when going top to bottom. I do much better left to right. OR do you turn your quilt around while FMQ? It’s probably personal preference, but I’d still like to hear your in put. Thanks.

    • Jane, That is an excellent question…The direction I stitch is often dictated by my quilt. I try to keep the minimum amount of bulk within the harp space. If given a choice, I stitch from left to right or from down to up. I sometimes have to practice doodling the pattern on paper just to get the stitch direction correct when I rotate my quilt.

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