Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Desperate housewives guest blogger

The very lovely and clever Jane from quilt Jane found here is running a unique idea for a desperate housewives quilt.

Jane has invited 50 guest bloggers to design a block and write a tutorial on how to make it.  The block measures 8 1/2 inches, and come together to make the desperate housewives quilt.

This week its my turn and as we head into the Festive season I have decided to make a block with a Christmassy theme - the good ole Christmas tree with a naive flavour

Now I have made this tree on a couple of occasions in the past in a larger format for blocks in Christmas quilting block swaps so its not a new design I have just come up with but a tried and tested one that I like the look of.

1. Piece of background fabric measuring finished size 8.5 inches ( I used cream)
2. Several scraps of co ordinating fabric width 1.5 inches, lenght max 6.5 inches (I used 5 green strips)
3. One strip of second co ordinating fabric for trunk ( I used red)
4. One 2.5 inch co ordinating square of fabric for tree base (I used a second red)
5. Small scrap of gold or silver for star - optional
6. Printed fabric with gift design for fussy cutting - optional

So here we go....

1. First select your background fabric and cut it to size. (8.5 inches)
but you could make a bigger version if you like.

this should be one piece in a contrasting colour to the tree. I used cream with gold scattered Christmas trees.

2.  Now choose your contrasting fabric for the tree.  I like to use lots of different greens, but you could use all the same, the choice is up to you.  I made the trunk of the tree red but that could be the same colour of the tree if you like. 

You don't need a lot of fabric for the tree, so this is a good way that you could use up some of your scraps.   You could even use different colours to make it a real scrappy tree.

3.  Find the centre of the block and iron or finger press a light crease on it.  You don't want a Christmas tree that is not centred.  Choose another co ordinating fabric piece for the base of the tree.  I used red, draw a 2.5 inch square onto visofix and iron the fabric onto it.  Cut the red trunk strip to 6 inches long.

4. Draw strips onto visofix no wider than 1.5 inches, and in 1/2 inch increments from the longest to the shortest ones. 

5. Iron the visofix onto your chosen fabric pieces and cut them out.  They are easy to cut with a rotary cutter so you get nice straight edges.  If like mine you have crimped edges these are easily straightened up with the rotary cutter.

6. Position your trunk down the centre crease of your fabric and iron in place.   At the base of the trunk place your 2.5 inch square, making sure it is centred and covers the bottom of the trunk. I positioned mine 1.4 inch from the base of the block so when its sewn into a quilt the base is sitting on the edge of the block.

7. Blanket stitch ( by hand or machine) around the base of the trunk and the trunk itself as its easier to do this now than when the branches are added.  Use a matching thread.

8. Now its time to position your branches.  Starting with the longest one at the base gradually getting smaller as you climb the tree in true Christmas tree fashion.  Iron in place.

I like mine a little crooked as I think it lends itself to the naivety of the tree, but you could put them all on straight.  If you wanted to, you could even make the branches wonky.

Blanket stitch the branches in place using a co ordinating thread.

9. Now its time to decorate your tree, unless you like this plain version and if you do, then you are done :

10. On the Visofix draw a wonky star, and iron this onto gold or silver fabric.  Cut it out and iron in place.  As before stitch with blanket stitch in a matching thread.  On a previous tree, I used a filament thread for a sparkly finish.

11. If you have some fabric with a gift design on it you can fussy cut the gifts and scatter them around the base of the tree.  You could even add baubles if you wanted to with shiny buttons.  The final decorating creativity is up to you.

Here is my finished tree


  1. I'm lucky enough to own one of these Sue..and you're right .. it is a fantastic Xmas block!
    Merry Christmas :)

  2. Great Xmas block.It's so simples but yet so effective. Thanks!

  3. Congratulations on being invited to publish your Christmas Block Tutorial.
    Great simple Block.

  4. It's a lovely block Sue...


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