The Modern Leaf-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

The Modern Leaf, Free Motion QuiltingGood Morning, Quilters!

We’ll start today with a little business…I really hope all the viewing problems from last week have ironed themselves out.  If you are still having trouble, please leave a comment in today’s post.  I am going to find someone to help us later this week…(Or maybe I’ll go to the dentist instead…it’s a toss which is more painful…)

In the meantime, we’ll start with something that IS fun–Free Motion Quilting!


This leaf with a small berry has a Modern look, but don’t hesitate to add it to a Traditional Quilt.

The pattern can be stitched as a fill motif or in a row to create a gorgeous border.

The Modern Leaf, Free Motion QuiltingLet’s start with the border.

Begin by drawing three parallel lines, equidistant apart.  In the sample below, the lines are 3/4 inches apart.  The lines are to keep our quilting tidy.  If you are stitching in a border, the seam lines can serve as “rails” and you don’t need to draw the lines.

Begin stitching on the center line.  Stitch up several stitches, then stitch a curved line to the right rail.  Stop here.The Modern Leaf, Free Motion QuiltingNext, stitch the top of the leaf, back to the center rail.  Stop a few stitches short of the previous line of stitching.The Modern Leaf, Free Motion QuiltingStitch a straight line to the tip of the leaf and echo stitch back to the center rail.The Modern Leaf, Free Motion QuiltingStitch a few stitches on the center rail and begin a leaf on the left side.The Modern Leaf, Free Motion QuiltingComplete the left leaf and stitch up several stitches.The Modern Leaf, Free Motion QuiltingAdd a berry by stitching a circle.  Try to make each circle as round as possible,  but don’t fret about it–Perfection is never our goal!  The Modern Leaf, Free Motion QuiltingContinue up the border.  Add circles randomly.  It’s more interesting if the circles are not added in a pattern.  Add two circles in a row, or omit the berries occasionally.

Fabulous!The Modern Leaf, Free Motion QuiltingTo use The Modern Leaf as a fill, travel between leaves.  Instead of echo stitching the vein back to the center rail, cut through the tip of the leaf to begin a new set of leaves or berries.

The Modern Leaf, Free Motion QuiltingThis fabric looks likes it needs some pithy quote stitched over it…

Any suggestions?The Modern Leaf, Free Motion QuiltingI hope you find a spot for these leaves in YOUR next quilt!


Thoroughly Modern Lori

PS…This tutorial was stitched on my new BERNINA 770QE with it’s gorgeous stitch, and fabulous tension control–love it!

Robert Kaufman Kona in Grass Green using Superior’s Magnifico Trilobal Polyester on top and Aurifil 50 wt cotton on bottom using a size 90 Topstitch needle.

PPS…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, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

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

  1. I agree…and I’m always amazed at how beautiful your “solids” are….Kona should really appreciate the good press you give them. Watching your banners change (monthly?) is always a treat. The blues and purples are so pretty but this Grass Green just makes me want to run barefoot through my yard! Thanks for the smile….I have some tough choices to make this week—thinking of your choice between dentist or tech support made me laugh. Blessings…thanks for everything, Lori.

  2. Thanks for the tutorial, great idea. I had no trouble viewing. Dentist first, it will only get worse if you put it off.

  3. Hi Lori, The 90 Topstitch needle seems like it would leave a large hole in the fabric. I think you discussed needles before but I couldn’t find it in your tutorials. Could you give the blog date for that? I get confused trying to match needle size to thread weight. I want to make some kind of a cheat sheet. Thanks much!

  4. This is a clever motif you have created. Looks great – I look forward to trying this!
    THANK YOU for the motivation. A friend’s daughter is getting started piecing so I am practicing on all her small quilts – wonderful opportunity to practice as we are both beginners in our field.

  5. Turn a new leaf to a Berry Merry Day
    With lots of stitches of course!
    Thanks for all your sharing

  6. I love this motif!! Was finishing a small wall hanging of a birdhouse and some potted flowers and use this as background quilting. I’m a newbie at FMQ , but it came out great. Thanks!

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  9. Hello, from South Brazil. Thank you, thank you so much! Now I can do it!!!! I love when you say: perfection is not the goal. Best regards – and thanks for taking your time to teach us, God bless you

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