Saturday, November 19, 2011

Today I made Tree Ornaments and a Tutorial too.

Tree Ornament - Modern and traditional at the same time.

For the Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap, we are encouraged to also send a handmade holiday ornament. I was stumped. I looked at a lot of flickr and pinterest ideas, many of which are stunning. I wanted an ornament that was modern, yet also had traditional patchwork, and that would easily fit in a shipping envelop. I love trees, and after looking at many variations on the tree ornament, I came up with this.

My stylized triangle tree is modern and has clean, simple lines. And it is traditional, composed of nice tiny 1/2" finished patchwork squares. There are many versions of this idea on the internet; this is just my take.

And it is far easier to make these trees than you might think, even though a tree ornament that is 3.5" high uses 28, 1" squares. This is a perfect project for tiny scraps. Let me know what you think of my tutorial and if you have any questions I would be happy to help. If you make some of these ornaments, I would love it if you would let me know.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 1

1 - Cut a number of 1" strips from your scraps to make the squares. Each larger (3.5" tree) uses 28 squares.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 2

2 - Cut your 1" strips into 1" squares.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 3

3 - Lay out your 1" squares. For a 3.5" tree, you start with a row of 7 squares, then 6 squares, 5, squares, 4 squares, 3 squares, 2 squares and 1 square. To change this pattern to make larger or smaller trees, just add or subtract rows.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 4

4 - Sew the squares together. I start by chain piecing pairs, being careful to always start from the same end and do as many pairs as each row will allow.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 5

5 - Chain piecing the pairs using a 1/4" seam. These are only 1" squares so they will be 1/2" squares once finished. Piecing small bits is not hard if you sew slowly.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 6

6 - Once you have pieced all the pairs in order, cut them apart in reverse order and put them back in their places. I am careful to take my time to keep them in the order I started with.

Then sew the pairs to the other pairs and to the left over end pieces, again in order, until you have finished sewing each row.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 7

7 - Press each row. I pressed the seams in one direction for one row and the opposite for the row above it to distribute the bulk. Lay out the rows again.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 8

8 - Place the 7 piece row and the 6 piece row together, right sides facing. Eyeball the fit so that the 6 piece row is centred over the 7 piece row with an even amount showing on each end.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 9

9 - Here is a close up of the overlap. Sew the rows together with 1/4" seam. I did not bother to pin but again moved slowly with the machine while sewing.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 10

10 - This is how the rows look once sewn together. The blocks should be staggered like a brick wall.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 11

11 - Position the next row in the same manner, placing it mid way between the ends of the row before and then sew into position.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 12

12 - Here are all the rows sewn together. At this point it is important to give it a good press. I pressed all the seams toward the top of the tree. Be careful with the steam, as the alignment of the rows can easily stretch, but once you have it nicely pressed, a good shot of steam is helpful so all those seams lay flat.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 13

13 - Lay the pressed pieced squares on a scrap of batting and roughly cut around the edge of the batting.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 14

14 - Lay the pieced squares and batting on top of your back fabric. Make sure the back fabric is facing away  so the wrong sides are facing each other.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 15

15 - Trim the back fabric and pin the unit together. Three pins are enough for this size tree, be careful that the points are not too close to the edges.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 16

16 - Line up your ruler from the mid point of the top square to the bottom corner of the bottom row outside square. I just eyeballed these positions.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 17

17 - Cut off the edge. If you pins are sticking too far out you will need to adjust them first.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 19

18 - Line up your ruler with the tree top point (at the bottom of this picture) and the outside edge of the other side of the bottom row. Cut off the excess.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 19

19 - Measure 1/2" from the seam on the bottom row, using the bottom row seam as your guide. Cut off the extra from the tree bottom.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 20

20 - Sew around the edge of the triangle, using a 1/4" seam. I just used my 1/4" foot but a walking foot would also work, maybe even better. I back stitched at the beginning and end of the sewing. If you wanted, you could add more quilting to the tree.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 21

21 - After sewing the triangle the seams are probably no longer clean due to sewing the layers and all the little seams. I then measured 1/8" from each line of stitching by lining my ruler with the line of stitching. Then I trimmed off the outside bit.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 21

22 - Here are three trees, before adding the hanging strings. The larger ones are about 3.5" from point to base and use 28 squares. The smaller one is about 2" high. (I don't think I did a final trim on that little one, might go back and do that now). You can make these trees any size, just add or subtract rows. Another way to alter the size is to use larger squares to start with.

Tree Ornament Tutorial - 22

23 - To add a piece of shiny yarn or string as a hanger, just poke your needle between the stitches at the point of the tree and pull through. I knotted the ends.

Tree Ornaments - Hanging on my sewing machine

Here are the three I made this morning hanging from my sewing machine's thread thingy (I bet it has a name) this morning. It took me about 2 hours to cut the squares, make these three and take all the pictures as I went.

I like the mix of clean modern lines and traditional patchwork. It would be easy to make other shapes too. I am thinking of circles to represent glass ornaments and squares to represent presents, for example.

By the way, for those of you who love fabric, these fabrics were from left over bits of a charm pack and some fat quarters of Kate Spain's Twelve Days of Christmas fabrics.

p.s. I have linked this to the Pink Chalk Studio, Handmade with Love Tutorial Contest. There are a lot of wonderful tutorials there, have a look.



Susan said...

Fabulous! I just went from the steps on Flick'r- so clear and accurate instructions- thank you!!! I am going to try some of these!

**nicke... said...

holy crap! these are awesome and you are amazing! i don't think i have the patience to make them though, i wish i did because they are seriously so cute!

Toni said...

Very cute, Leanne! The perfect thing to use up so many of those tiny pieces I just don't want to throw away. Circles sound like a great idea, too!

Sarah said...

Really lovely Leanne, might have to make a few myself!

Karen said...

You must have more patience than about anyone...these turned out beautiful!

Canadian Abroad said...

Love them and just read through your tutorial and think it is very clearly written.

Anonymous said...

I just kept thinking...she's crazy! LOL. WOW, seriously, I don't have the patience you have...sewing up all those little pieces! I loved walking through your process and seeing your photos. The tutorial is great. And I love your mini trees too! Great job. =)

Alix Broadfoot said...

These are super cute! Can't wait to make some too!

Debbie said...

Good job on your tutorial! The trees are so darling, though I was surprised how tiny the finished squares are. wow. Love the pic of the 3 hung together!

Manda said...

Great tutorial! Lovely little trees!

Nicky said...

Great tute - love the fact that you have lots of photos! And your trees are cute!

Mrs Flying Blind... said...

You have the patience and nimble fingers of a saint!!

Judith, Belfast said...

V.cute tree ornament L and a great tute! Jxo

Shevvy said...

Great little ornaments and a nice clear straighforward tutorial. Well done.

linda said...

great tute.... fab little trees love them .

Kritta22 said...

Awesome! You are so creative!

Sheila said...

Such teeny , tiny squares, cute project Leanne.

Annabella said...

Great project Leanne and beautifully written tutorial - I have an idea for an ornament but I may try this. I`ll let you know!

Go-Go Kim said...

Those are so sweet!

Rebecca said...

They're very pretty!

And inspiring too -- they make me want to experiment with cookie cutter-shaped ornaments... if you pieced together a sheet of fabric out of HSTs or little squares, and then traced around a gingerbread man or star or whatever cookie cutter onto the right side of the pieced bit and cut it out 1/4" outside the line, then sandwiched batting and backing and stitched on the cookie cutter line... hmm. Much cuteness could result.

Emma said...

What a wonderful ornament and great tutorial.

I make Christmas ornaments every year for an exchange. I see some trees in my future.. :)

The Thompsons said...

SO cute!!!

Marci Girl said...

Great tutorial and such lovely ornaments Leanne!

tusen said...

Great idea, the little trees look so cute :)

Mary Menzer said...

Those are some WEEEE little pieces!
Loads of pictures, which I like, because I don't read directions, I like to follow the pictures. Very cute!

Anne said...

These look fabulous. Thanks for sharing!

Esch House Quilts said...

What darling trees and a terrific tutorial!

I've been looking for ideas for a guild swap coming up. Thanks!

Collette said...

gorgeous and versatile you could make them different for summer autumn etc great tutorial too. x

Jennie said...

Thank you for such a great tutorial. I stsrted out to make tree ornaments and ended up with a mug rug! I hope you like it

Marg said...

Woo hoo, you are featured on Sew Mama Sew, Sewing trends- Holiday Colour the lucky last. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the cute ornament pattern/tutorial! Went through it and made one while making some other ornaments. Was fun and quick to make with your instructions.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the cute tree ornament and great tutorial. I just finished my tree along with some other ornaments I was working on. It was fast and easy with your great instructions. :)

Anonymous said...

Just found this ornament idea on All Free Sewing, and was looking at your comment. I love this idea! I've made the pieced fabric from all my old scraps before and used it for oven mitts and hot pads, but didn't think of using cookie cutters for patterns too. Now I gotta try it!!