Tree Quilt Block – Quilts for Bushfire-Affected Families

It’s been a rough start to the year for many Australians. Bushfires are still raging across many areas and have caused devastating loss.

It’s hard to watch the destruction of human life and property, as well as the large scale loss of native animals and their habitats.

The team at the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild (WMQG) are putting together quilts which they will distribute to families who have lost everything in the bushfires.

They have chosen the theme of trees for the quilts. Those who’d like to contribute have been asked to make tree blocks that are 12-3/4″ square unfinished. (The blocks will then be trimmed by the WMQG to a uniform 12-1/2″ and sewn into quilts.)

Please check out all the details (block requirements, postal address, etc) in this WMQG Facebook post.

Folks are welcome to make any sort of tree block they like. I have a tutorial here for a tree quilt block for anyone looking for ideas.

The Tree Quilt Block

This full and happy tree has 4 leaf fabrics, a trunk fabric and a background fabric.

Tree Quilt Block fabric requirements and instructions on Bonjour Quilts blog.

Please make life easy for yourself and choose non-directional print fabrics (or solids) to make this block.

You can use scraps (or a 10″/layer cake square) for each of the tree fabrics.

For the background, you’ll need a fat eighth or some larger scraps.

Cutting Instructions

Cut the following pieces from your scraps/fabric:

C1, C2 and C4: 2 squares 3″ x 3″ and 1 rectangle 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″

C3: 1 square 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″, 2 squares 3″ x 3″ and 1 rectangle 1-1/2 x 2-1/2″

Trunk: 1 rectangle 2-1/2″ x 3-3/4″ and 1 rectangle 1-1/2″ x 2-1/2″

Background (BG): 2 rectangles 3-3/4″ x 5-3/4″, 2 squares 3″ x 3″,

1 rectangle 1-3/4″ x 13″ and 2 rectangles 1-3/4″ x 8-1/2″.

If cutting your BG from a fat eighth, I’d do it like this:

Sew the HSTs

HST method: Select two 3″ squares. Use a pencil to draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of one of the squares and then place them right sides together. Sew a scant quarter inch from either side of the marked line. Cut on the drawn line to yield 2 HSTs. Press as directed and trim to 2-1/2″ square.

Using the method shown above, pair the following 3″ squares to make the required HST units:

1 BG and 1 C1 square to give 2 BG/C1 HSTs. Press toward C1.

1 C1 and 1 C2 square to give 2 C1/C2 HSTs. Press toward C2.

1 C2 and 1 C3 square to give 2 C2/C3 squares. Press toward C2. (One of these HSTs will be surplus.)

1 C3 and 1 C4 square to give 2 C3/C4 HSTs. Press toward C3.

1 C4 and 1 BG square to give 2 C4/BG HSTs. Press toward C4.

As mentioned in the HST method, trim all units to 2-1/2″ square.

Sew the Trunk

Sew the long edges of the 3-3/4″ x 2-1/2″ trunk rectangle to one edge of each of the 3-3/4″ x 5-3/4″ BG rectangles. Press both seams toward the trunk fabric. See below (I was making 2 blocks at the one time, your eyes aren’t playing up. You’re only sewing one of these units.):

Sewing the trunk portions of the Tree Quilt Block.

Now sew the C3 1-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ rectangle and trunk 1-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ rectangle together along their longest edges. Press as preferred. You’ll have a 2-1/2″ square once sewn. See below (again, I’m making 2 blocks so you’ll only have one of these):

Sewing the trunk portions of a tree quilt block.

Lay Out the Tree Quilt Block

Now that you have the 9 required HST units (remember there is one surplus C2/C3 unit) and the two tree units, you can lay out the block as it needs to be sewn:

Sewing together the patchwork pieces to form a Tree Quilt Block.

The shorter BG strips go to the sides and the longer strip to the top. Check your HSTs carefully! If you look at the HST to the right of the trunk above, you’ll see I got it wrong. Luckily I caught it when laying out my 2nd block.

Sew the Tree Quilt Block Together

Now we’ll sew the units in each of the 3 rows of the tree top together.

Press the top row toward the left.

Then press the middle row toward the right.

Press the third row to the left except for the righthand trunk seam. Press that seam away from the trunk so that it will nest nicely with the bottom trunk unit.

Sewing together the patchwork pieces to form a Tree Quilt Block.

Now you can sew the three tree top rows together and press seams as preferred:

Sewing together the patchwork pieces to form a Tree Quilt Block.

Sew the side BG strips to each side of the tree top patchwork unit:

Sewing together the patchwork pieces to form a Tree Quilt Block.

Then sew the top BG strip and bottom trunk unit in place. Be sure to nest the trunk seams.

I pressed the top seam toward the tree (to prevent a seam shadow on the white background) but it feels quite bulky that way. You may prefer to press toward the background so the block lays flatter. I know some people are willing to die over shadow seams, so I’ll let you choose for yourself. ????

Sewing together the patchwork pieces to form a Tree Quilt Block.

Trim the block to 12-3/4″ square. The lovely WMQG folks specifically asked for a generous 12-1/2″ block therefore I’ve made the block slightly oversized. This gives them some wiggle room when putting the blocks together.

I made 2 tree blocks because I couldn’t bear the thought of that left over C2/C3 HST feeling glum over the lost opportunity to comfort someone in need.

Sew a Tree Quilt Block with this free patchwork block tutorial by Bonjour Quilts. These blocks will be sewn into quilts for families affected by the Australian bushfires.

To make 2 blocks at once, you just double all the cutting amounts except for one less C2 and C3 squares (so only cut three C2 and C3 squares, not four).

I hope you get the chance to sew up a tree quilt block for a family affected by the Australian bushfires. You can find all the details for postage, etc at the WMQG’s Facebook Page.

Other Ways to Help

If you don’t have time to sew a tree quilt block, consider a donation. There are many organisations doing good work for the people and animals affected by the fires. Here are 3 that I’ve supported:

Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund

NSW Rural Fire Service

Wildlife Victoria

Thank you and stay safe, wherever you are.

Kirsty x

Sew a Tree Quilt Block with this free patchwork block tutorial by Bonjour Quilts. These blocks will be sewn into quilts for families affected by the Australian bushfires.

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15 thoughts on “Tree Quilt Block – Quilts for Bushfire-Affected Families”

  1. I made one of your blocks. Thank you for the pattern. I then designed a very quick and easy applique block and made 33 of them. So long as the background is a light colour so the trees stand out, they will be beautiful. You can see some of mine on my facebook page. Beverly Montgomery Smith
    I signed each one today. I don’t think we were asked to sign them but I think we should.If I was the recipient of one of these beautiful quilts, I would love to know who make the blocks and from where in the world they came from.
    I wrote very tiny to not spoil the pattern. “Bev Smith Hugs from Ontario, Canada.”

  2. Hello Kirsty: Our quilt guild members (Wilton, CT USA) are each creating a block. We know the Jamberoo quilt guild will be flooded with blocks so we are going to assemble and quilt ourselves, and send over. One less quilt for them to do.

    Of course, the declared value will be under $10 AU to avoid import taxes. You might want to make note of this to your readers.

    Love your patterns and emails.

  3. Our group in Brent Knoll, England are making some of these with Sarah McClean (aka The Barefoot Quilter). We will then ship them to the address provided. We hope when finished the photos of finished quilts will be shared.

  4. Thank you very much for the pattern, I will make the blocks as well.
    I am a beginner so your tutorial is a great help.
    When sending the blocks I will add the information that you are the pattern designer.

    Best wishes

  5. Thank you for this quilt block. I don’t paper piece and it was hard to find tree block patterns. I will be making some of these, but would like to make an appliqué block. Do you think that’s acceptable? E-mailing from USA, New York. I am sure they will get blocks from all over the world! It would be amazing to see some of the finished quilts!

    • I was dying to make an applique tree with the tree bough being an outline of the country of Australia. It works really well with Tasmania being it’s own branch. But I really prefer not to applique. So if you like my idea, feel free to use it!!!

  6. Thank you for sharing this Kirsty! I am not a paper piecing kind of quilter so this is a great block for me. Our guild is making blocks and sending some as a group. I will get going on this! Shared to my facebook page as well.


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