TUTORIAL: Fall Felt Leaves

by Dana on July 6, 2008

With summer gone and cooler weather rolling in, my mind fills with visions of skinny jeans and boots, long-sleeve knit tops, cozy cardigans, and lots of layers. I smell ginger and nutmeg and wood burning stoves. It’s still warm enough for an afternoon at the park but cold enough that jackets and hoodies are filling our coat-rack by the front door. But above all, Autumn means a splendor of color-changing leaves, crunching under each step. Oh, those pretty jeweled tones.

Though most of you live in areas where the leaves turn from summer green to yellow and orange, here in Austin there’s not a whole lotta Autumn to report. Yes, I’m baking the void with all things pumpkin but I’ve really been longing for a vibrant tree of yellow gold.
So I decided to bring FALL into our house, using Felt.
All the Autumn leaves I could ever want! And in any shade imaginable. Thinking about blue leaves to match your house? Go for it! The single layer of felt and sewing causes these leaves to curl up at the edges, giving them a realistic feel.

And when you hang them up, it really looks like leaves are falling right inside your living room! If you felt super ambitious, I suppose you could make a big ole pile of leaves to scatter on the floor beneath your falling leaves. Or hey, maybe cover your Rollie Pollie in them! That would create the right effect.
Whatever your leafy purpose, this project is easy and can be as simple or involved as you like. If you like super quick projects, skip the sewing part and keep them plain. If you like a good sit-down-in-front-of-the TV-and-embroider project, you can hand-sew the leafy veins with crochet thread. Put them in a vase, hang them from your ceiling, scatter them on the dinner table….the possibilities are endless.
Okay, let’s get started.

BUYING FELT
Felt comes in roughly three categories:

* Cheap Acrylic , sold by the yard or in pre-cut squares at most craft and fabric stores. These are usually lower quality, some square-cuts are thin, and come in limited colors (mostly bright or simple pastels)
* 100% Wool. This is the finest wool possible. However, it can be pricey (about $18/yard). It’s carried in some fabric shops, sold by the yard, and can be found in online shops, such as Wool Felt Central. They have every shade imaginable!!
* Blended Wool. This is my favorite. It’s a blend of 100% wool and synthetic fibers of Polyester or Acrylic. The wool feels much nicer than the cheapy squares and costs about 1/2 the price as 100% wool, about $7-8/yard. Fabric shops such as Joanns carries some interesting colors (in the photo below), even some Heathers which give the felt a richer look. They’re sold by the yard and are definitely worth the extra cost (which can be countered with a 40% off coupon!)
So, grab some felt. However much you need is up to you! Depends how big you make your leaves and how many you want.

Do an online image search or draw your own leaf pattern. I searched under “Leaf Outline” and found these:
Print them off and then trace to cardstock so it’s easier to trace your leaves onto felt.
Trace and cut out them out. You can cut two leaves at once to save time.
And if you’re on the easy track with this project, then…you’re done!
But it’s fun to add some leafy details. So thread your machine (or needle, if doing by hand) with a contrasting thread color and sew on long vein down the middle of the leaf:
Then sew diagonal lines, in a V shape. It can be annoying to start and stop after each line, I won’t lie. You can save on time by not cutting the threads each time but instead, pulling the thread and moving over to the next line (and cutting threads when you’re done with the whole leaf).
Do the same for the Maple leaves:
These leaves have a more webbed pattern and basically, you can’t mess these up…messier actually looks better! They typically come together in the middle and branch out all over.
And soon, you’ll have a pile of these!
The combo of a single layer of felt and sewing the veins really makes them curl up. You can bend and misshape them as you like to give them that crunchy leaf look.
To hang them up, I used fishing twine. I use this for most craft/home decor/hanging projects (since it’s “invisible” and strong).
Cut a small hole in the top of your leaf (nothing fancy, just enough to get the twine through there)
Tie a knot.
Then, use scotch tape to tape the string onto the ceiling, or next to a window.
And you have falling leaves!
So pretty with illuminating light.
If falling leaves aren’t your thing, put them in a vase:
Using a small pile of sewn leaves,
and some wooden dowels or chopsticks, or pencils (anything you like), glue the two together. You can do single layer leaves or double.
I glued one leaf down first,
then sandwiched another leaf on top:
and voila.
To paint your dowels with spray paint, see more info in the No Sew Flowers Tutorial HERE. Put them in a vase and they brighten up any room.
Of course, you kids might think that they’re magic wands. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
Lucy’s been casting spells on us all day.
ADDITIONAL FELT LEAF PROJECT IDEAS:
* Wreath: Glue them to a craft wreath and hang on your front door.
* Bunting: Link them together as a bunting (garland) and drape it over a doorway, fireplace, or on a wall.
* Decor: Scatter them on a dinner table
* Embellishments: Sew one on a simple gathered skirt, a dishtowel, a scarf, or a shirt.
* Leafy Felt Crown: Make a crown out of felt, simple to our Harvest Crown HERE.
* Hair Accessory: Attach a clip and stick in a leaf in your hair!

I hope the leaves start falling in your house too.
Enjoy the cooler weather!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 dawn November 10, 2012 at 2:42 am

ooohhhh I love them!!!
I made felt leaves long ago for my sons fabric house:
http://mirincondemariposas.blogspot.com.es/2011/05/coser-una-casita-de-tela.html
Here I can only find the cheap felt, and ordering it online is too expensive.
Thanks for the inspiration, I’ll take a look if I’ve got autumn colors!

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2 jet November 28, 2012 at 7:15 am

this is so lovely and fun, thank you for the great tute and the sharing;-D

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3 Jeanne December 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I went to 3 JoAnn stores. The wool choices were 100%, 35% & 25% wool. Which one do you recommend?

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4 Elise November 21, 2014 at 7:27 am

Too cute!!! As i sit here in 42 degree heat in Australia I dream of Autumn…… Thank you for a new project once the season changes.

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