Tea Leaves Tutorial

Darlene, this is for you! As promised, here is the tutorial for Tea Leaves. This is how I, personally, make these “blocks”. You may find another way that works better for you, but this is what works for me.

I have also seen this pattern called “Jacob’s Coat” but my template has the name “Tea Leaves” so that is what I am calling it.

Here is the template (Norman wanted to help with the tutorial!):


I bought these at a quilt show a few years ago. They are metal templates by ARDCO. You can go to their website to order them (plus a whole lot of others!!!) at http://www.ardocotemplates.com. This template makes a six inch “block” I just had to have it because, well, I’m pretty crazy! I just had to make the smaller “block”

The next step is to cut your fabrics:


I can use the 18mm rotary cutter to cut the leaves, but I find that the inside curve on the three sided piece is difficult to cut with even that small of a cutter. So I trace them and cut with scissors.

Next step: Cut paper for the leaves:


I use scrap copy paper because I have a lot of it. I traced the inside of the leaf template (which is the finished size of the leaf) onto a piece of paper. I filled the paper with leaves. Then I can run them through the copy machine. And then I get to cut out paper pieces!!! This is a good job for sitting in the recliner watching a movie.


Another watching a movie step is putting the paper on the leaves. I use washable glue stick to attach the papers. The glue holds the papers long enough to sew them, but releases easily once I’m done sewing.


Baste the edges of the fabric and fold them over the paper. I do not baste through the paper, I only catch the fabric. Because of the shape of the leaves, they curl up when I baste them.


So I need to press them flat. Now I am finally ready to start sewing the pieces together. All of this prep work is done at home, usually in the evenings in front of the idiot box. From now on I can keep these pieces in my kit to carry around.


Sew a leaf onto a background piece. It’s similar to English paper piecing, except only one piece has paper. Actually, it’s more like applique. I use white thread and very tiny stitches.


Once you have six leaves sewn to six background pieces you can sew them together to form the center of the block.


Final step for each block – sew six more leaves around the edge of the block.


Each of the blocks is put together with more background pieces, which I haven’t done yet, except on a few pieces.

I’ve been working on this for three years now. I’m not in a hurry to finish – it’s just something to play with whenever I have a few spare moments. If I remember correctly, I figured that I need to have 240 circles to make a bed size quilt. I have 44 circles finished. I’m also going to need some half circles for the two side edges (if you look at the second row of circles from the top, there is one half circle sewn onto the left hand side.) These will even out the sides.

I love this quilt and I haven’t gotten tired of it yet! Which is a good thing, since I’m going to be making circles for a LONG time!!!!

I linking with Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday. Click HERE


2 thoughts on “Tea Leaves Tutorial

  1. There’s nothing wrong with us! It’s the cuteness factor. I just love small pieces in a quilt. And the scrapier the better. Way to go on your tea leaves progress, QBFF!


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