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Crooked Christmas Tree Sew Along Week 2: Paper Piecing the Tree

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Crooked Christmas Tree Sew Along Week 2: Paper Piecing the Tree

Welcome back to Week 2 of the Crooked Christmas Tree Sew Along. This week you will need your printed pattern and your tree and background fabrics. You may also wish to go back and read the last blog post: Learn to Paper Piece (Helpful Hints).

Most of the directions for this week will be found in the pattern; however this post will supplement.  There is also a section need the end of this post for adding a border to your finished tree to expand the size of the tree to 20.5” square.

Begin by printing TWO copies of the pattern pieces. This will be a life saver if you make a mistake and need a replacement piece the exact same size.

Next, tape your pattern pieces together per the pattern instructions. Cut out all sections of the pattern, again per the instructions. Mark your pieces with color to signify which color of fabric to use for each piece.

Notice that the tree is pointing in the opposite direction that the final tree will face.

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Make sure you have your basic paper piecing tools handy. An old post card, an “add a quarter inch” ruler and a rotary cutter.

As a side, I have a chair that spins. Behind me I have my cutting table at chair height. I have a small pressing board my husband made me next to the machine. I can literally spin around in circles for each step of the process: sew, press, trim, press, line up the next piece, repeat.

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As you move along through the pattern to piece your sections together, double check and go slow. Don’t forget to adjust that stitch length!

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Once your tree is complete, take a photo and post it on IG or the Jittery Wings Facebook group using #crookedchristmastree and @jitterywings.

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Directions For Adding a Border to the Tree

Before next week, it will be critical to add a border to the finished tree to ensure it measures exactly 20.5” square. The tree pattern is only 17.5” so this will be critical.

Gather the four 2” x 23” strips cut from the tree background fabric. Lay them out next to each side of the tree. These pieces are intentionally larger than you will need. Hopefully your finished paper pieced tree measures exactly, 17.5” but if not, this will help correct the size before next week. If it does measure 17.5” exactly, then cut your one of the strips to 2” by 17.5” and sew it to the first side. If it does not, then you can line the 2” x 23” piece up with the middle of one side and stitch it on. (Your stitch length should still be short for this, as you will be stitching over paper still.

Once it is stitched down, press stitches to set and press the border back away from the tree. Lay on a cutting mat and using a ruler, level out the new border strip to square it off with the tree pattern. Repeat this for all four sides of the tree.

If your tree did measure 17.5” square all the way around, then the remaining strips should be cut to:

  • 2” x 19.5” for side two;
  • 2” x 19.5” for side three; and
  • 2” x 21.5” for side four.

(Do NOT Square your piece until after you remove the paper.)

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Remove Paper Backing

Very carefully begin removing the paper from the back of the tree. I use tweezers to help me get all the little pieces from out between the seam corners. They also help to get pieces started. Lay your tree flat, right side down, as you do this. Try not to over bend, pull, tug or stretch your tree, as it will stretch the fabric out of shape.

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Press and Final Trim

Starch and press the tree once all the paper is removed. Make it nice and flat and crisp. The final step is to cut the down, by simply trimming up the edges to make it 21.”5” square. For mine, I needed to line my ruler up at the 1 and 3/4” mark at the seam where the border was attached to the tree. This got the tree centered while making the tree the right size. NOTE: The reason I suggested the border be to large was to make sure it was the correct size after all the paper removal, which can alter the shape slightly in places.

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Set Aside for Next Week

Once your piece measures 21.5” square set it aside for next week! Yay! You have completed week 2.

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Remember to post your images on FB and IG using @jitterywings and #crookedchristmastree. See you next week!

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