Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tree Trivet Tutorial [Christmas in July Sewing Challenge]

Happy Christmas in July!

For my tutorial in the Christmas in July Challenge, Chrissy from Sew Lux Fabrics sent me these gorgeous new prints from the Aspen Frost Line by Basic Grey (this exact fat quarter pack is on sale for 10% off right now, no coupon code needed). I LOVE this line. It is the perfect mix of scales and those low volume stripes, musical notes, and snowmen...

For my tutorial, I decided to go with something I wanted to use and give this Christmas. It has to be fast, because (real talk) no matter how much I plan ahead, I will forget someone and I need a go to present I can whip up in 20 minutes. Also, I live in a tiny little house. Teeny tiny (like 900 square feet tiny). In my teeny tiny house, we have this tiny little dining room table. I do not let that stop me from making huge dinners and inviting people over to share them! My table can't really hold a table runner and all of the food and plates.

So, how to get decorative without a huge table runner?

Some sweet little Christmas Tree Trivets.

I imagine using these all Christmas season. When they are on the table, they look so cute waiting for your warm dishes. After dinner,  you hang them up and they are beautiful seasonal decor!

A set of trivets would make great hostess gifts or would look fantastic along with a plate of cookies as a Christmas gift for a neighbor or friend. They come together really quickly and are a great way to show off adorable Christmas fabrics.

There is some really simple paper piecing for this pattern. Don't worry if you have never done paper piecing, because this project would be great for getting your feet wet. I will walk you through it.

Christmas Tree Trivet Tutorial
(This tutorial makes 1 tree trivet. I made a bunch to give out this Christmas quickly by cutting out the materials for a couple at a time)

Use 1/4" seams, unless otherwise noted

Pattern Pieces (download HERE)
Rotary Cutter/Mat/Ruler
Fabric Scissors and Paper Scissors
Coordinating Thread
Marking Tool (I like the Frixxon pen)
Washable Glue stick (optional, but useful)
Turning/Pointing Tool (optional, but useful)
Walking Foot (optional, but useful)
Add-a-Quarter Ruler (really, really optional)

I started with an eight pack of Fat Quarters of Apen Frost by Basic Grey for Moda from Sew Lux. Each trivet takes about a fat quarter of fabric total (so you could make at least 8 trivets with this fat quarter pack, but I bet you could squeeze out more).

Cut - 
1 - 7.5" x 9.5" piece of Insul-bright (regular cotton batting would work too, but be a little less insulating for your table)
1 - 7.5" x 9.5" piece of fabric for back (I would hold off cutting this until you have your pattern pieces for less waste)
1 - 1.5"x 4" rectangle for hanging loop (optional, could also use a 4" long piece of ribbon for a couple of these I used the fabric selvedge)
1 - 5" x 2" rectangle for trunk
1 - 9" x 4" piece of fabric for bottom of tree body (labeled 2 on tree pattern)
1 - 6" x 3.5" piece of fabric for middle of tree body (labeled 1 on tree pattern)
1 - 3.5" x 4" piece of fabric for top of tree body (labeled 3 on tree pattern)

Download and print the pattern pieces. There will be two sheets. Make sure to set your printer to scale 100%. Cut out the pattern pieces. You should have three pieces (Tree Body, Trunk, and Tree Back). You will need one copy of the tree body for each trivet, but you can reuse the pieces to cut the trunk and back multiple times.

Hanging Loop (Optional)

2. Using 1.5" x 4" rectangle, fold long (4" side) raw edges in 1/4" and press.

3. Fold these edges in to meet each other and press in half.

4. Topstitch along folded in edges, as close to the edge as you can comfortably. Then, topstitch along fold. This will be your hanging loop.

Tree Back and Insulation

1. Using your Tree Back pattern piece, cut one tree back from your chosen backing fabric and one from  Insul-bright. I like to use my marking pen to trace the pattern on the fabric and batting and then cut on my marked lines (I use a combination of rotary cutter and fabric scissors for this step).

2. Position backing fabric on top of batting, align edges. Set this aside.

Tree Front

1. Cut 1 trunk using the trunk pattern piece and 5"x 2" rectangle.

2. Position the 6"x 3.5" rectangle on the tree body pattern piece so the fabric overlaps at least 1/4" on all sides of the paper and the section labeled "1" on the tree. Using your glue stick, attach the fabric to the pattern piece with just a dab of glue. Make sure the right side of the fabric is facing away from the printed side of the pattern piece and the fabric hangs over the lines.

3. I trim my seams at this stage. Between the sections labeled "1" and "2" fold the paper along the line (not the fabric, just the paper).

4. Using the add a quarter ruler or a regular acrylic ruler trim the fabric to 1/4" away from the fold. Unfold the paper.

5. Position the 9" x 4" rectangle of fabric centered along the raw edge you just trimmed, right sides together. Make sure that when the fabric flips down it will cover the bottom of the paper.

6. Adjust your sewing machines stitch length to slightly shorter (on my machine the stitch length is 1). Sew through the paper attaching the two fabric pieces, following the line.

7. Unfold the fabric and press seam open, either with your finger or a dry iron.

8. Follow steps 3-7 to attach the top of the tree (section labeled "3" on the pattern piece). This time you are folding the line between sections 1 and 3 and trimming that side of the fabric. Use the remaining rectangle (3.5" x 4") for this section.

9. Using a hot iron, press the tree body (I turn the steam back on at this point).

10. Trim the tree along the pattern edges. You now have a triangle shape.

11. Remove the papers carefully. The narrow stitch length should keep you from ripping out your seams.

12. Fold tree body in half and finger press and fold trunk in half and finger press (see photos here).

13. Align the two center folds and pin right sides together.

14. Lengthen your stitch back to normal. Sew the trunk onto the tree (using 1/4" seam is very important here).

15. Press this seam down towards the trunk. This is important!

Making the Trivet

1. Line up up front of trivet and back of trivet/batting, right sides of fabric together. Batting facing outwards.

2. Position loop so both raw edges of tab are aligned, facing the seam and the loop is facing the inside of the tree. I leave the loop placement up to you. I like it towards the top of the tree. Pin loop in place.

3. Using your walking foot (optional, I forgot in this picture and it was fine) stitch around the tree using a 1/4" seam leaving an approximately 3" opening in the trunk for turning.

4. Trim all of the corners, be careful to not clip into the seam.

5. At the right angles between the tree and the trunk clip, trimming out tiny triangles if you can.

6. Turn the tree right sides out. Use your pointy turning tool if you have one, to push those corners out.

7. Press the tree well. At the opening in the trunk fold the raw edges in 1/4" and pin.

8. Using walking foot, top stitch all around the tree as close to the edge as you are comfortable. This should close up the opening at the bottom.

9. At this point, I like to add some quilting to the trivet. This is really just decorative. My favorite is the garland quilting, which I just do with my walking foot and some improvised curves. Quilting along the seams looks super cute too.

10. You have a Tree Trivet. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you make something for the contest, there are some terrific prizes up for grabs, just for starting your Christmas sewing early. It has been my pleasure to share with you today!

Don't miss these terrific tutorials.

Christmas In July Challenge Schedule

July 8 – Christen, Love by Hand

July 10 – Sarah, Stitching & Bacon

July 15 – Kelly, Kelby Sews

July 17 – Lyanna, Purple Panda Quilts

July 22 – Tessa, The Sewing Chick

July 24 – Kristen, KD Quilts

Don't forget to start and finish your own holiday sewing project to link up July 26-30 for a chance to win one of three amazing prize packs from these amazing sponsors!

Grand Prize

$40 gift certificate to Sew Lux Fabric
Pearle Cotton Sampler from Sew Lux Fabric
3 Sewing Prints from Pen & Paint
Paloma FQ bundle from Dear Stella
1 pattern from LBG Studio

Second Prize

FQ Bundle from Michael Miller
2 sewing prints from Pen & Paint
Pearle Cotton Sampler from Sew Lux Fabric
1 pattern from LBG Studio

Third Prize

Havana FQ Bundle from Monaluna
1 sewing print from Pen & Paint
Pearle Cotton Sampler from Sew Lux Fabric

Winners will be selected by the judges, which will consist of all of the bloggers plus Chrissy from Sew Lux Fabric. Entries will close on Tuesday, July 30 and winners will be announced on Friday, August 1. 

Check out this post at  Love By Hand for more details, but you do not need a blog and your sewing can be anything you have made in the month of July to get ahead on Christmas sewing.


  1. Really cute! I love this idea.

  2. That's awesome! Super detailed instructions too - I know that took a while! Nice share. :)

  3. Too cute! Great tutorial and wonderful photos along the way. I think I can handle this little bit of paper piecing, hehe. Thanks for sharing!


  4. Adorable! I definitely will be making some if these.

  5. Sarah, these are so cute! I am going to make some for me, and maybe some to give ;) Great tutorial, too!!

  6. so cute. thanks for the pattern and tutorial. I am going to make some of these.

  7. Great tutorial--and very cute trivet! They are so cute that I want to make them into tree ornaments. :)

  8. I've called by after visiting A Girl in Paradise's site. This is such a cute idea and I too have a small table! Thanks so much for putting in the hard work of providing the tutorial - it's much appreciated :-)

  9. Thanks for sharing your tutorial...I have posted your link on Freebies for Crafters...hugs Khris

  10. Thank you so much for this cute little Christmas Tree!

  11. Thanks for the really cute trivet and tutorial to make them. I hope you don't mind if I pin this so that I can come back to it when I go to make them.

  12. I just put up a post that shows the very cute tree trivet along with my other Christmas gift I made. thanks again for sharing the tutorial.

  13. Muchísimas gracias por el tutorial, me encanta. Un abrazo

  14. Love it! I've linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip:

  15. Muy bonito! Ideal para los retales navideños.
    Un abrazo desde España

  16. Thanks for sharing this - they are on my to-do list for Thanksgiving weekend while I stay away from the stores!

  17. Thank you for such a thorough tutorial! My sister came over today and we made some :)

  18. Sure wish there was a way to print this tutorial!

    1. I wish there were too! Unfortunately, making this printer compatible would just take me too long and I have such a busy schedule between working and my family (and squeezing in some sewing). You are welcome to print out anything from this page.

  19. Thank you for this lovely idea and tutorial! I made some and they are just adorable, and so fast and easy to finish.

  20. THe link to the pattern is broken. HELP!

    1. I am so sorry you had problems! I just checked it and it worked for me right now. If you still have problems, send me your email address and I will get you the PDF. Happy Wednesday!

    2. I can’t get the patterns either! Help!

  21. Wow! Thanks for sharing this idea. It's beautiful and very creative of you. - See more at: bridal fabrics

  22. I love your idea for small Christmas gifts. These are really nice. Could you send me the pattern. Try as I might, I can't get it! Thank you so much.

  23. Even though the pattern shows up in the print preview, it does not actually print. Can you e-mail it to me?

  24. I also cannot get the paper piece pattern to print. Can you please
    send me the pattern by email too??

  25. Is there a button to print just the pattern and instructions? or a PDF file? Thanks
    Too cute

  26. Hi . . A little late to the party, but I just saw this adorable pattern. Can you send me the pattern piece? The link seems to be broken.

    Thank you so much !

  27. Can't print pattern, can you send in a different format? Thanks Shirley

  28. sounds like a great idea for tree decorations, maybe a little smaller. thought I might try making funky strip sets and cutting out the trees as a whole unit instead of paper piecing so it would go faster. also want to make some like you did for my granite island. so sew cute.

  29. Love by Hand is NOT a sewing page !!

  30. Very insightful tutorial you uncovered before us. Tree is definitely the top most important resources for our life and we can not do a single moment without trees because it is call the factory of oxygen. I was really impressed with the idea you detailed here. The sewing with tree concept you innovated was extremely praiseworthy. I appreciate your thought and design ideas. Anyway, my primary intension was to grab the ideas on limb cutting system but this quality project added a new dimension in my reading and learning taste. Of course would like to leave my hearty thanks for this wonderful share..


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