Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tree Block Tutorial

It's been a while since I've done a tutorial and I've been quite into all things 'tree' lately, so how about a tutorial on how to make modern pieced trees with a touch of applique thrown in for good measure?! You might remember I did a practice block that looked like this...
...back in this post.

Here we go....

1) We need to cut some fabric! First, decide on the unfinished size block you want and cut your background fabric that size, in my case 9.5 inches.
I am making a wallhanging with 9 blocks, so I cut 9 pieces. We also need to cut strips for your tree. For this particular block I wanted the trunk to be wider than the branches, so I cut a 1.5 inch wide strip for the trunk and a 1.25 inch strip for the branches.
You can cut your strips any width you want. You could even have a skinny trunk and wide branches, you could taper your strips, or have them all the same width. It's up to you!

2) Now the fun begins - slicing! We are going to slice the background fabric to make a trunk and branches. You can slice it at any angle you want. It doesn't have to be straight up and down. First the slice for the trunk...
and then the branches...If you separate the pieces out, you can get a preview of how your tree will look!Now is the time to do any more cuts if you want more branches!


3) The sewing begins. I used a dark thread here so you could see it, but you should match your thread to your fabric. Leaving a good hangover on each end...
...take your 'branch' strip and sew it to one piece of your background like so...Then sew it to the other piece...
Repeat for the other branch and finger press the seams towards the branches.

4) We need to clean up the inside edges now. You will notice that all the edges get out of shape as we go but don't worry, we can fix that......Get out your rotary cutter and ruler and make those inside edges nice and clean again...
Don't worry about the outside edges - we will do them last.5) Now that we have nice edges again, we can attach the trunk! (can you believe you have almost finished the block?!)
Just do the same thing as you did with the branches. Leaving an overhang on each end, sew the trunk to one side...Then the other...
6) Press the block, making sure the seams all face in towards the branches and trunk. This just helps the tree to 'pop' a little more than if you pressed them the other way.7) Now it's time to clean up those outside edges! Trim your block to the original size you started with, in my case, 9.5 inches.Looks great, doesn't it?! Now you can either leave it as is, or do my favorite thing in quilting and add some applique!


8) I just cut a simple leaf shape and needleturn appliqued them on. You of course could use any method you like.
I wanted to keep the lines simple on this quilt so I am just doing a few leaves on each tree, more of a suggestion than a realistic amount. However, you could do as many, or as few as you want. You could even applique on a bird, a nest, an owl, a squirrel, some grass, your cat - anything at all. These are your trees!

And that's how easy it is. You could also make twigs coming off those branches by slicing your background pieces even more way back in Step 2. There are so many possibilities!

These are the two I have done so far. Yes all my trees are going to polka dotted ones! The applique on the blue/brown tree is still in progress.
If any of you make some of these easy trees, I'd love to see them, so let me know, and I'll show off your photos here on my blog.

And as usual, if you have any questions, just ask.

16 comments:

Nancy said...

that would make a cute pillow top!! hm...thinking christmas presents..

thanks!

Amy Seven-Stitches said...

Very sweet. I was thinking a cushion cover.

Karen said...

I LOVE your tree, how wonderful!!

Huisvlyt said...

Wow! That easy? Looks like fun to me.

Janet said...

What a lovely tuorial, I love it, thanks for sharing your idea.

Ann at Prairie Primrose said...

That's a fun tutorial! I can see making a whole quilt out these 'free style' trees!

Kelly said...

Perfectly timed! I was trying to work out how to do this for a mini quilt im working on! Thanks Joanna!

Candace said...

I love this. I was thinking of a two toned block with green on the bottom and blue on top (so creative, lol) do you think it would go all catty wompus with the cutting?

RETRO-fabulous said...

Adorable tutorial!! Thanks for sharing =)

sewmuchprogress said...

Great tutorial, think I feel some trees coming on. Thanks for sharing :-)

sewmuchprogress said...

Great tutorial, think I feel some trees coming on. Thanks for sharing :-)

Nancy said...

Finished the pillow top... Will send a photo to you if you would like...

Thanks so much for the tutorial..

Connie said...

Great tutorial! This really looks easy and a lot of fun. Thanks

Selvage Quilter said...

Wow, I like this block!! Thanks for the tutorial.

Elsa said...

love this block, thank you so much for sharing the tutorial!
found it on the Selvage Quilters blog!

Beatrice. said...

Hi,
just wanted to say thank you for the tutorial!
Beatrice.