Project: Tumbling Leaves Candle Mat | OLFA - Craft OLFA – Craft

Project: Tumbling Leaves Candle Mat

Capture everything you love about autumn and bring it to life with a quick-to-make and stylish quilted maple leaf mat—just by sewing fabric scraps! It makes a fun topper for a small end table, a clever foundation for a candle arrangement or floral bouquet, or it can even be used as a seasonal wall hanging. Personalize the mat to suit your decor by choosing fabric that complements your color scheme…or gather your Christmas reds and greens and design a thoughtful holiday gift. No matter how you use it, you’ll “fall” in love with this versatile mini quilt.


  • Make sure each colorful fabric scrap you use to make the leaves is at least 1-1/2″ wide x 12″ long.
  • When sewing together the leaf blocks, be sure to press seams in the opposite direction of the next row so the seams will nest and create a more even surface.
  • Use 100% cotton fabric to make this project; wash and dry all pieces in advance so that you won’t have any issues with shrinkage or colors bleeding after you’ve sewn your mat.




28mm Rotary Cutter (RTY-1/G)
45mm Quick-Change Rotary Cutter (RTY-2/NS)
12″ x 12″ Rotating Self-Healing Rotary Mat (RM-12S)
1.25″ x 12.5″ Non-Slip, Frosted Advantage™ Acrylic Ruler (QR-1×12)
4.5″ x 4.5″ Non-Slip, Frosted Advantage™ Acrylic Ruler (QR-4S)
6″ x 24″ Non-Slip, Frosted Advantage™ Acrylic Ruler (QR-6×24)


Scraps of eight different small-print fabrics in fall colors or colors of choice for leaf blocks
Scraps of four different off-white small print fabrics for leaf blocks
1/8 yd. of off-white fabric for background
1/4 yd. of of small print fabric for border
1/4 yd. of fabric for binding
18″ x 22″ piece of fabric for backing
18″ x 22″ piece of cotton batting
Basic sewing supplies


  1. Use your self-healing rotary mat, acrylic rulers and rotary cutters to cut fabric pieces for the center section. The center section consists of eight leaf quilt blocks and 10 background triangles.
  2. Cut the following fabric pieces for each leaf block:
    -Eight 1-1/2″ squares of the leaf fabric
    -Five 1-1/2″ squares of off-white fabric
    -Two 1-1/4″ squares of same off-white fabric
  3. Cut the following from the off-white background fabric for the center section:
    -Three 3-7/8″ squares of the background fabric. Cut each square in half diagonally to create six large triangles.
    -One 4-1/4″ square of background fabric. Cut this square diagonally in each direction to create four small triangles.
  4. Use 1/4″ seams for all sewing, unless otherwise directed.

Make the leaf blocks

Assemble eight leaf blocks, following these steps for each block:

  1. To make the leaf tips, place a 1-1/2″ leaf fabric square on top of a 1-1/2″ off-white fabric square, right sides together with all edges aligned. Repeat with three more leaf fabric squares and three off-white fabric squares.
  2. Sew each layered square diagonally from corner to corner. Trim 1/4″ from stitching line on each sewn square. Press leaf tip blocks open with seam toward darker fabric.
  3. For the stem block, place a 1-1/4″ off-white square onto a 1-1/2″ leaf fabric square, aligning both pieces of fabric at one corner (see Diagram 1).
  4. Sew from corner to corner diagonally across the off-white square. Trim 1/4″ from stitching line (see Diagram 2). Open off-white fabric, pressing seam toward stem.
  5. Place another 1-1/4″ off-white square on the same leaf fabric square, aligning fabrics at opposite corner and repeat sewing, trimming and pressing directions.
  6. Assemble and sew the leaf tip blocks, solid leaf fabric blocks and stem block together to form a leaf block as shown (see Diagram 3).
  7. Make sure each leaf block measures 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″, trimming blocks if necessary.

Make the center section

  1. Arrange the leaf blocks on a flat surface, using the picture as a guide.
  2. Referring to the photo, arrange the large and small off-white center section triangles around the leaf blocks in order to make a rectangle.
  3. To assemble the center section, sew the leaf blocks and off-white triangles together, placing pieces right sides together and using 1/4″ seams. Press seams open to reduce bulk.
  4. Make sure the center section edges are even and straight. Use a rotary cutter, ruler and mat to trim edges as needed.

Add borders and assemble mat

  1. Before you cut border strips, measure the short edges and long edges of the pieced center section.
  2. Cut the following pieces from the border fabric:
    -Two 2″ wide x length of the center section’s short sides
    -Two 2″ wide x length of the center section’s long sides plus 4″
  3. Pin the shorter border pieces to the short sides of the center section, right sides together, and sew in place. Press flat, making sure that seams are ironed away from the center section.
  4. Repeat for long border pieces.
  5. Cut cotton batting and backing fabric so that each 3″ longer and 3″ wider than the center with borders.
  6. Lay backing piece, right side down, on work surface. Lay batting on top and match edges. Center pieced front of mat on top of backing and batting, right side up. Pin the layers in place.
  7. Machine- or hand-quilt the mat, using your favorite quilting design.
  8. Press and trim the edges of the mat.
  9. Using fabric for binding, cut two 2-1/2″ strips x width of fabric. Piece the binding strips together, then fold in half, wrong sides together, and press.
  10. Sew the binding along the edges of the quilted mat. Fold binding to the back of the mat, encasing the mat’s raw edges. Sew binding to the back of the quilted mat.



  • Try arranging quilt blocks on a piece of flannel or felt hung on a wall with thumbtacks. The flannel holds the quilt blocks nicely (if any slip, you can pin them in place), while allowing you to step back and view your design from a distance for added perspective. The flannel is easy to store in a closet or drawer, too.
  • To press open fabric pieces you’ve just sewn, run over the seam with a rounded pen cap or the handle of a butter knife.