How To Piece a Tree {like I do…}

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Step 1 in how I pieced my Christmas Table Runner:

I must admit that I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount of requests/suggestions/demands I would get for a tutorial after I made the top for my Christmas Table Runner last week.

Christmas table runner top pieced...

According even to one cheeky soul, I need “tutorial writing practice!” so therefore apparently writing this would be “good practice”. Pfft… Creative excuse Nicky, really it is! LOL…

So anyway, I thought I’d share with you some of my process & measurements in case you want to make a replica of my pattern for yourself, or something similar.
It’s not going to be a pattern of the actual table runner as such, but over the week I will share the process of how I made the fundamentals & give you the measurements or the borders, so if you know how to quilt by the end of the week you should be able to do the rest… That ok with you Miss Nicky? 😉

So today I will start with how to make a tree using my fairly easy/lazy method (aka not paper pieced because I am far too impatient for that)…. However, it should be said while it’s faster, it is not as accurate. Especially the way I actually did it – using a wonky piece of masking tape on my triangle ruler to measure my trees. This method I’m showing you will net you far more accurate results.
If only I’d thought of it at the time & not only when coerced to show my method. (Although you’re welcome to also try my wonky triangle ruler method if you have a triangle ruler 😉 )

Using these measurements will produce a 3.5 x 5 inch unfinished (3 x 4.5 inch finished) block

Materials required:
**  Green scraps big enough for your trees
**  Brown scraps for your tree trunk
**  White scraps for the rest
**  Freezer paper (easier way) or printer paper (slightly less easy way & the way I used…)
**  Pencil & ruler

How much scrap you need will obviously depend on how many you want to make, so I’ll just give you the measurements for them individually & you can work out the rest…

Step 1:
Take your paper/freezer paper & draw yourself a 3.5inch by 3.5inch square & cut this out.
Fold it in half width ways.
Take your pencil & draw a line from each bottom corner to the top middle fold mark so that you make a triangle like so:

Cut out on the lines so that you get a triangle.

Step 2:
Lay your triangle on top of your green scrap. Either pin if you’re using ordinary paper or iron if you are using freezer paper. Cut around with your rotary cutter to make your triangle…

Step 3:
Get a piece of white scrap, double it over & iron it.

Cut your white fabric into a 2 1/2 by 5 inch oblong:

Now place your ruler on the diagonal from the bottom right to top left corner & cut to make 2 triangles:

**  Important note: If you are using a fabric with a right/wrong side, then you need to take care during this step to cut a mirror image. You can do this by laying 2 rectangles on top of each other before cutting, so that you cut both sides at once. If like me you are using a white fabric which is more or less 2 sided, then it doesn’t matter so much & you can just flip the upside down triangle over to suit.
Confused? You’ll get it if you make a mistake like I did lol…

Step 4:
Now we want to piece these to our green triangle to make the top part of our tree…

Take one of the pieces of white (this is where you need to think about the right/wrong side thing I talked about earlier & use it to determine which piece you need here) and lay it on your green triangle right sides together.
Make sure that you are joining the correct angle – not the side which forms the right angle.
(ask me how I know this, go on – my unpicker & I got reaaaalllly friendly figuring this out 😉 )

Look at my photo to determine the amount of overlap you (roughly) want & which way to lay it…

Note that I have not matched the top corners, but rather have overlapped the white almost 1/2 an inch (roughly).

Sew down that right hand edge using 1/4 inch seam & press over like so…

Now just note here also (I know – lots of notes, sorry!) that because you are working on the bias you will not want to “iron” pushing your iron back & forth, but rather “press” just holding it still on the seam for about 3 seconds in the same place carefully. Otherwise you risk distorting your block by stretching it out of shape.

Next line up your other piece of white, again overlapping the top edge, but this time by a smaller amount as pictured…

Press open.

Step 5:
Lastly we want to trim it all up nicely. Don’t worry if it looks super wonky at this point (some of mine looked horrendous!) – after we trim up you will be amazed (hopefully) at how neat it looks after….

We are going to trim it to 3.5 inches square. So you will need to lay the piece on your mat with the bottom of the tree along one of the horizonal lines & lined up in the middle of 2 lines 3 1/2 inches apart.

Ack – just look at my photo… too hard to explain otherwise…

This is a photo after I’ve trimmed off the sides – but hopefully it’ll show you what you are aiming to achieve.

So now we’ve trimmed the sides, turn either your mat (preferable for accuracy) or your fabric (if your mat is too big to turn or you are lazy like me) and trim the top & the bottom so that side also measures 3 1/2 inches

Step 6:
Cut a 1.5 inch x 2 inch retangle out of your tree trunk fabric, and 2 rectangles of this size of your white fabric. Sew these together along the 2 inch (long) sides, with your trunk in the middle…

If you are making lots of trees you can save time here by sewing together long strips & then just trim them down to 2 inch blocks rather than joining lots of pesky 2 inch pieces.

Place the trunk at the bottom of your tree, right sides together, & join together using 1/4 inch seam

Press open & wallah – you have made a cute little tree:

Now go forth & make 16 of these babies if you plan on making my table runner in it’s exactness… 🙂

I’ll get back to you with step 2 & so on once I’ve figured out a consistent way of making the stars…

hmmmm…. on second thoughts maybe that should be IF I figure out a relatively consistent way of making the stars 😉 LOL…

Enjoy!

 

12 COMMENTS

  1. Okay that`s me sorted for the MCT swap! Just kidding Kat. I love your tablerunner and thanks for the very well composed tutorial – that cheeky commenter is a right (Mrs) Sew and So!

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