make scrappy trees from recreational patchwork

These little tree ornaments (or garland) are a quick and easy  project perfect for scraps and a great excuse for indulging in some recreational patchwork: sewing lots of random fabric scraps together (on the sewing machine) without thinking about it too much, inviting happy accidents.

The trees have batting inside and are finished with quilting stitches. As many or as few as you like.  I used muslin for the back, I like that they feel like tiny quilts.

To make the patchwork start with a big variety of light weight cotton and join pieces together. Press the seams open, trim the edge and sew more together etc. etc. 

When a bunch are joined you can cut it into smaller sections and join those together. You get the idea.  It could go on forever – joining, cutting and joining again. I love doing it and it also get’s me moving if I’m feeling stuck or  keeps my hands busy while an idea is percolating.

how to make the trees

download the tree template

You will also need:

  • embroidery thread
  • a large sharp embroidery needle
  • cotton batting
  • optional – muslin for the back
  • chopstick for turning
  • basic sewing supplies

1. place the tree template on your patchwork and cut out with about a 1/4 inch seam allowance

2. Place your tree back fabric (I’m using plain muslin) over thin cotton batting. If your back fabric has a wrong and right side you want the right side facing up.

3. Place the cut tree over the back fabric with the right side facing down.

4. Pin the pattern back on and cut out.

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back to the trees:

5. Sew around the edge of the pattern leaving one side partially open. The opening should be about 1 and 1/2 inch.

6. Trim off the points close to the seams being careful not to clip the seam. Clip little triangles out in the corners of the trunk and clip away any excess seam allowance.

7. Turn your tree right side out through the opening.

8. Use the larger end of the chopstick to push out the general shape and the sharper ends to push the points all the way out.

9. Fold in the opening edges and press the tree. Don’t sew it shut yet – leaving it open is handy for hiding the ends of your threads if you’re quilting it. Add some quilting stitches. I made the executive decision  not to care what the stitches on the back of the tree look like – wabi-sabi style. If you do care just turn the tree over with each stitch to make sure you’re bringing the needle out where you want it.

10.   When you’re done quilting bring the thread out at the tip to create a hanging string and finally whip stitch the side closed.

These are super quick – I made a bunch in just a couple hours and they go fastest in batches. They’re sweet to hang on a tree or anywhere and  a nice extra on a package.

I hope you make scrappy trees! You can use #annwoodpattern on instagram to share or join the community!

23 Comments

  1. A great idea. If I get sufficiently inspired I might make some into bunting too.
    Thank you!

  2. Regina Langer

    It’s really fantastic! I have lots of Christmas scraps. So I can use them. Thanks a lot for this ideal.

  3. This looks AMAZING! I’m gonna do mine crazy quilt style!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Jeretta Bliss

    Thank you for the tree project and the free pattern. GOD BLESS YOU.
    HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

  5. I can’t wait to get cracking on these, thank you Ann for another lovely pattern 🙂

  6. Thank you for the adorable pattern! I can’t wait to get started on a fun project!

  7. If you cut out several templates, turn them right side up, upside down, right side up, along your fabric, and it goes really fast, with hardly any waste. A great use of skinny scraps. Cut out a layer of interfacing, and iron it to the pattern. You can use them again next year. If you have a green tree, skip green fabric, cause they are hard to see. If you are ambitious, try embroidering names on linen on one side. Or just your initials and the year. That way they go from your package to the recipient’s tree next year. I do this with little houses. The trees are a great change. Thanks and happy holidays.

    • Thanks Ann for the lovely pattern and tutorial! I have printed mine and traced onto my fabric, interleaving along the same lines as Holly suggests. In case it helps others, before cutting any I create a big “sandwich” with batting and backing and then stitch around them all on the big piece (leaving openings like instructed). This works for me since I am not very accurate cutting on seam allowances and also not very accurate working with smaller fabric pieces as I always somehow distort them. I also use pinking shears for cutting out to reduce bulk. I really love this template and am working on making a batch of miniature garlands for little Christmas gifts. Thanks again!

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