My pile of modern Christmas tree quilt blocks is growing. Today I’m going to share a quick tutorial for these fun and super fast blocks. (This post was updated in 2019)
(If you would prefer a printable PDF version, there is one available to buy for $3.00 here).
Last year I made this mini quilt and shared a tutorial to make your own. These blocks finished at about 3 1/4″ x 4 1/2″. If you search the hashtag #holidaypatchworkforest on Instagram you can see some of the versions other people made with the tutorial. I was inspired by the versions that used a little more red and decided to make another one this year.
I also decided to make a bigger version with bigger trees and and quilt blocks.
Here’s where it’s going so far. And I’m not going to like, I am LOVING where this Christmas tree quilt is going! So today I’m going to share some quick instructions to make your own larger version of this fun, modern Christmas tree block! I’ve also updated this post with a video tutorial walk through for those who prefer video learning!
Here is the pile of fabric that has been sitting in my sewing room for the past few weeks. They make me so happy. This project is a great one for busting through a lot of fabric stash. And they don’t necessarily need to be Christmas fabrics. Just pull your greens and reds together for a very Christmas-y look.
A few thoughts on choosing fabrics for your own quilt. It’s fun to see the pictures of the two versions above. They each have a different look and I really like them both. This quilt is a fun exercise in choosing a color palette, using scraps (especially the smaller version), but you can’t go wrong as you make it your own. Choose what you love. Here are a few tips that I used.
I love scrappy and using up favorite fabrics that I’ve been
hoarding collecting for the past few years. I’ve finally reached the point where it feels so good to just USE those favorites. For this quilt I raided my greens, reds, and white backgrounds with red or green prints. I personally chose to emphasize Kelly and darker greens because I wanted this to have the feel of an evergreen forest. So I didn’t use any lime greens, but I still threw in some warmer, mossy greens too, because the variety of shades gives the quilt some interest.
I went in planning to use reds in this Christmas tree block quilt too, but ended up weeding out the really dark reds. Instead I focused on red fabrics that also have a lot of white in them, to keep the reds looking lighter. I even threw in a few reddish-pinks to again, give some depth and interest.
Finally, keep scale in mind too. Since I am using a wide variety of prints and I want it to have a scrappy look, I’m also trying to incorporate big scale prints where I can – especially because these are bigger blocks and they have a lot of space to show off prints. I tend to have a lot of medium and small-scale prints – which I love, but can look more jumbled if everything is the same scale. Throwing in some big prints – like the polkadots, stripes, pearl bracelets, etc – can give the quilt a lot of visual texture. Using solids as well can also provide good contrast to the prints.
You don’t need to use any of this – I thought I’d just throw it out there for the heck of it, since people often ask me about choosing fabric for a quilt. Those are some basic guidelines that can make any quilt visually interesting – especially when you’re going scrappy.
Okay, so here’s the cutting and piecing instructions for these larger version of my Holiday Patchwork Forest – or modern Christmas tree blocks. These blocks will end up about 7″ x 9″ finished. You are going cut and piece the blocks in pairs. This eliminates fabric waste and makes the blocks come together lickety-split.
The fabric requirements for each pair of Christmas tree quilt blocks are:
- Two squares 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″
- Two strips 2″ x 8 1/2″
- Two brown pieces 1 1/2″ x 2″
I recommend choosing two fabrics with a lot of contrast (color and scale) so that your trees will really pop.
Stack your two 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ contrasting squares on top of each other. Place a quilting ruler at an angle and make a diagonal cut. Pull the fabric from the first cut away, and make a second diagonal cut the other direction to get your tree shape. Important: Don’t cut your triangle point right at the top of the block – leave lots of room above the point so that there’s room for squaring up and for seam-allowance.
TIP: I love cutting my trees in lots of different shapes and sizes so that they all look a little different. I think it gives the quilt more visual interest.
Cut your two 2″ x 8 1/2″ strips in half to make two sets of 2″ x 4 1/4″ strips.
You will now have a matching set looking like this.
Swap out the ‘tree’ piece and match it up with the contrasting background pieces. Sew the tree piece to the background side pieces starting with the side of the second cut. Press seam and add the side from the first cut.
(The original mini tutorial has a few more in-depth pictures about the cutting and sewing-back-together parts of this step if you need more visuals.)
Once your sides are pieced, square off the bottom so that the edges are straight across.
Sew the two sets of 2″ x 4 1/4″ strips on either sides of a brown 2″ x 1 1/2″ ‘trunk’ piece.
Sew the trunks to the bottom of the blocks. (The trunk strips are purposely wider than the tree parts so that you have wiggle room to center the trunk under the wonky trees.)
Square up the sides and top edge of the blocks to all the same size. Mine were roughly 7 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ unfinished (7″ x 9″ finished). But it honestly doesn’t matter exactly what size they end up, as long as they are all the same. (This is roughly improv piecing. Let go of the perfection and enjoy the freedom. 😉 )
Click here to see a video demonstration of how these patchwork forest tree blocks come together.
For a throw-size quilt (about 56″ x 72″ + a border) I figure I need 64 blocks. But maybe I’ll get carried away and my quilt will be bigger. 🙂
Here’s how my Christmas tree quilt block pattern is looking on my design wall so far. I am totally smitten! I know this quilt is not going to get finished this year (I still have quilty gifts to bind!) but maybe I can get all my blocks pieced this year and then all I have to do is assemble the blocks quickly and get it quilted in time to use next year.
Enjoy! And if you make anything with this Christmas tree quilt block tutorial, tag it #holidaypatchworkforest on Instagram, or send me a link or a picture. I love seeing all the variations. And if you’re like me with lots of other Christmas gift sewing still to do, feel free to Pin this post for next year!
Reminder, if you’d prefer a printable version of this Christmas tree quilt block pattern you can find it there is one available to buy for $3.00 here).
Post edit: See the finished this Christmas tree quilt block here!
AND! I’ve designed a new quilt pattern with more sizes of funky improv tree blocks with a few wonky stars thrown it too. This version is called Pine Hollow and you can find the pattern info here!