Monday, June 29, 2015

{Pinetop Pattern} HSR Tree Tutorial

Alright, now that we've made the Herringbone trees, let's move onto the HSR (Half Square Rectangle) trees!

First, cut out your rectangles for the top of your small HSR trees as instructed in the pattern. We're starting with the small trees because I find them a littler easier to manage than the medium or large HSR trees. The method will be the same for all sizes, just the measurements will vary. If you don't have the Pinetop Pattern you can purchase it HERE!

I know of two different methods for constructing HSR (half square rectangles) but this one is my favorite and, I think, the most foolproof. You'll take one background rectangle and one tree print and lay them side by side. You want the tree print on the left-hand side, wrong side-up and the background print/solid on the right, right side-up.

At first it might be confusing to tell which direction the half-triangle shape of the tree will be going in after pressing, but a small trick I use to remember which side of the tree I'm making is to look at the diagonal line on the background fabric (instructions on that in a minute...). Whatever direction that line is going in, will be the shape of your tree half. So right now we are making the right side of the tree because the diagonal line is going from top left to bottom right.

You will make your markings on these two rectangles as instructed in the pattern....they will look like this when you're finished.

Now you will pick up your tree print and rotate it counter-clockwise so that the lines you just drew match up. I will sometimes also draw a line on the right-side of the tree print going in the same direction as the wrong-side to help match up those lines better. It's an extra, kinda tedious step, but it greatly helps with accuracy when matching things up.

To keep the two rectangles in place without pinning, I will carefully lift up part of my tree print rectangle, glue baste along the line of the background rectangle (More info on glue basting HERE) that is exposed and slowly match up my tree print line with the line on the background rectangle as I lay it back down. I repeat with the other side of the line too.

Sew a 1/4" on either side of the line, then, using a ruler, cut along the drawn line with your rotary cutter. I then press the seams toward the darker fabric. In this case, that would be the tree print.

You now have two right sides of a HSR completed!

To make the left side of the tree, you will do everything the same, except draw your diagonal lines in the opposite direction and rotate the tree print in a clockwise direction on top of the background rectangle. And like I mentioned before, you know it's the left side of the tree based on the direction the diagonal line is going in on the the background rectangle.

Continue with the same steps above and your two left halves will look like reduce bulk in your seams, we recommend trimming off the "dog ears" on these blocks before sewing them together. Also, it is helpful to press these blocks the same as we did for the Herringbone Trees (refer to that post for further instruction).

Take one half of each side, then sew together with a 1/4" seam allowance. Press that seam open and the top half of your tree is completed!

Piece the bottom part of the tree as instructed in the pattern, join the top of the tree to the bottom, and you're finished! Not too bad, right? :) I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions OR email me at!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

{Pinetop Pattern} Herringbone Tree Tutorial

Today I will be giving tips and tricks for constructing your Herringbone Tree from the Pinetop Pattern! The Half Square Rectangle Tree tutorial (say that ten times fast - ha) or HSR Tree Tutorial will be posted tomorrow.

Let's get started! First, cut out your "ZIG" and "ZAG" rectangles as instructed in the pattern. I highly recommend labeling your piles after they've been divided as shown below. I also recommend generously starching/pressing your fabrics before cutting. I find this greatly helps the accuracy of your cutting and piecing later. For the sake of time, I only cut enough pieces for one Herringbone Tree. **If you've bought the pattern before April 2015, there is one correction to take note of: You will need to cut (24) 3 1/2" x 9" rectangles from your background fabric. Proceed with the rest of the pattern as instructed**

We will start cutting the "ZIG" pile first (aka the left side of the tree). To cut these you will need an acrylic ruler with a 45 degree marking. Take two strips with the patterned fabric, stacked on top of each other with all four edges lined up (If you feel uncomfortable cutting two strips at once, cut one at a time instead). Take your ruler and line up the bottom edge with the 45 degree marking on the ruler, with the cutting edge of the ruler intersecting with the top corner of the strip, as shown below. 

Cut corner off with rotary cutter, slide ruler down to the left-hand side of the strip. Make sure the 45 degree marking still lines up straight with the bottom edge and that you have your bottom corner intersect with the cutting edge on the ruler also. Cut that corner off and you now have a parallelogram. 

Repeat with all your background "ZIG" strips...For your "ZAG" strips or right side of the tree, you will repeat the same process, EXCEPT you will cut the background and tree print with the WRONG side of the fabric facing UP. When you flip the parallelograms over, they will be mirror images of the ZIG parallelograms.

Now to piece your parallelograms together! To keep the left and right side of my Herringbone Tree as straight and with as little trimming as possible, this is the trick I use...It can be difficult to eyeball if you're overlapping your edges of the parallelograms EXACTLY 1/4", so to help make sure I'm overlapping them correctly, I will make a mark on the bottom parallelogram of the set I'm piecing. With a pencil or Frixon pen, I mark 1/4" away from the top edge on both sides. It's a faint marking in the picture, which is why I have the pencil pointing to it so it's easier to spot. You do not need to draw a  line all the way across this edge. Just a marking on both edges will be fine.

Flip your top parallelogram on top of the bottom one, RST (as instructed in the pattern), then line up the top parallelogram so that the right edge JUST meets up with the pencil marking. Repeat with the left edge as well. To make it even more accurate, I will glue baste the two pieces together instead of using pins. This prevents the pieces from moving around when sewing. If you're unfamiliar with glue basting, I highly recommend checking out Pile O' Fabric's tutorial on it. It's a life changer! She also sells the glue tips as well!

Sew a 1/4" away from the edge. The needle in  your sewing machine should intersect exactly where the point of the two parallelogram edges meet.

Tip for pressing! When pressing pieces with bias edges, it can be very easy to accidentally distort the blocks. To keep that from happening, here is how I press them: I first heat up the sewn edge of the piece I want to press toward. For example, I want to press all my seams toward the dark tree print, so I will have the dark tree print facing up when heating up my seam. I will let my iron sit on the seam for 5-10 seconds. You just want to warm up those stitches. Now I flip the top piece over and press in the direction I want the seam to go. Pressing very gently and without tugging. Because I generously starch my fabrics before even cutting them, I do not starch when I press. If you find it necessary, I recommend just very lightly starching during this step to further prevent distortion.

Piece both the left and right side of the tree as instructed in the pattern. Trim both sides as instructed too. They will look like the picture directly below when you're finished. It is very important to trim the top of the tree blocks right at the top point of the parallelograms and then 1/4" away from the bottom point of trees to account for seam allowance.

The rest of the constructing process is pretty simple...Piece the trunk to the right and left side of the tree. Trim off the excess trunk. Piece the bottom part of the tree and join with the top. You now have a completed Herringbone Tree!

Hope this tutorial was helpful! Come back tomorrow for the HSR Tree tutorial! If you have any questions on steps that need further explanation, feel free to comment below or email me at!