'Tis the Season:

Free-standing “Tree” Ornaments

Jo Newsham © 2007

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  • Foundation fabric
  • Heavy grade fusible interfacing (pelmet lining), Heat’n’Bond or similar
  • Selection of fabrics, trims, threads and beads etc.
  • Time and inspiration!!

If you would like something a little different to adorn your seasonal table centre or to set on the mantle this year, try these contemporary, free-standing Christmas trees.

First you need a pattern. Take a large plate, draw around it, cut it out and fold it in fourths. It doesn’t matter where on that centre line you put your point, or where your radiating lines land. It is the curve that is the important thing. The black cone here will be tall and skinny, the orange one, short and squat. Cut a template out of paper and try it first to see if you like the shape.

Right, now you have your template. Mark your foundation fabric and cut out, leaving a seam allowance. You can then piece your block with your chosen color scheme. Remember that your two straight sides will meet, so think a little about fabric placement.

Now the fun part…the embellishment. Embellish as much, or as little as you like, and try to keep beads and ‘hard’ embellishment away from the straight sides. Your tree will be hollow, so you can always add extra later. I have used several different embellishment styles for these trees. The red and green has just stitching in single color. The gold and cream has trims stitched to the seams, with minimal embroidery. The pink and light green is heavily embellished. The red and blue used a ciggie silk to set the tone. You can choose your colors to coordinate with tree decorations.

Use your original template to cut out some fusible interfacing (pelmet lining). The heavier the better. You can use whatever you have that will do the job. Vilene, Heat'n'Bond, any of those products will work as long as they create some stiffness. Iron on.

If using a double sided fusible product, then iron your backing fabric on now too.

Trim the curve up to your template line (remember to remove any basting stitches you may have added first), then edge with whatever stitch takes your fancy. You may choose to leave the bottom like this, or add some decorative trim later.
Time to sew up your cone. I like to start stitching from the bottom of the cone, that way I know the bottom is even. Once the seam is done, trim the allowance, nice and close, snip the point off and turn it out. This may feel like it is difficult, but with all that fusible interfacing, you will find your tree is quite sturdy. Be sure to find something to push the point out nicely.

Your tree may be finished at this point; however, you may like to add some cording, fancy yarn, beading, etc., around the base of your tree. You can now add those extra beads near the seam line, and maybe something to the top of your tree. Seeing as the trees are hollow, you could even pop them on the top of your big tree. For those of you more clever than I, how about adding some wings and a head of some type, and create a beautiful CQ angel for the top of your tree.

Have fun with this pattern. Its versatility is only limited by imagination. Of course, the theme can be adapted to any season. Picture fresh, bright colors for spring, or a copse of autumnal trees on your entrance way sideboard.

Please consider submitting your creations to the Readers' Showcase , we would love to see them.

Jo Newsham

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