What to do with leftover fabric: Sew a tree! [TUTORIAL]

The needles of the day are the SCHMETZ #1839 Microtex Needles Carded – Assorted Sizes. These needles are popular with quilters because of their precision when working on miniature quilts and while using microfibers such as, but not limited to, silks, foils, and artificial leathers. These needles have a very thin acute point that creates beautiful topstitching. I also love using the Microtex 60/8 and 70/10 needles when I’m sewing with threads that are 80 or 100 weight. The fine needles and fine treads are made for each other.

SCHMETZ Microtex needles assorted pack

On Monday I demonstrated how to make a quick and easy improv tree block. Yesterday I showed you a technique to make a block easy to replicate to make several blocks of the same size.

Today’s technique involves making a pieced tree block using leftover pieces of fabric or fabric strips.

After I cut the 10” x 10” blocks, I still had the small fabric pieces left from where the fabrics were folded.

Using leftover pieces of fabric to create a tree block

From the widest piece of each fabric color, cut a triangle. With the remaining pieces, cut strips that measure anywhere from 1” to 1½”. Don’t worry if the strips are a bit wider at one end than the other.

Cut leftover fabrics into strips and triangles to create trees.

The technique to make these tree blocks is very similar to the method used to make a log cabin block. The only difference is strips are sewn to two of the three triangle’s sides only.

To start, sew a strip onto one side of the triangle. Press, then trim.

Sew a strip to the triangle, then press and trim.

For the next step, sew another strip on the other side of each triangle. Then go back and forth to each side adding more strips. Remember to press and trim as strips are added. I stopped adding strips when the base of my trees approached 6”.

Note: Since this block is another form of improvisational piecing, it doesn’t matter if the strips are not the same width. Just take the next one on the pile and sew.

Add strips until the desired tree sizes are reached.

Once the trees reach the desired size, pin the trees in place on a piece of 10” x 10” background fabric.

Pin the tree block to a 10” x 10” piece of background fabric.

Align the ruler along the edge of the tree.

Place a ruler along the edge of the tree.

With the ruler in place, cut. Repeat this step on the other side of the tree.

Cut along both sides of the tree.

Sew the background to the tree using the same method I demonstrated on Monday.

Remember to press the blocks after you sew all the pieces together.

Sew the background to the tree and press.

Remember to stock up on SCHMETZ needles such as SCHMETZ #1839 Microtex Needles Carded – Assorted Sizes. There’s a needle type for all sewing projects!

SCHMETZ needles

Join me again tomorrow as I talk about trimming the blocks and adding a tree trunk. Fun times!

This is part 3 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 2: Marking your fabric to cut duplicate blocks – no pattern required

Go to part 4: Finishing a quilt block to size: Here’s what it takes

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