Christmas Tree Rag Quilt Pattern

  • 01 of 04

    Make a Christmas Tree Rag Quilt

    Christmas Tree Rag Quilt Pattern
    Janet Wickell

    This Christmas tree rag quilt pattern can be assembled with fewer fabrics. One green for the tree and one fabric for the background is perfectly fine. Create definition in the ragged seams by choosing a contrasting color for the rag quilt's backing and/or batting, which will both be visible when the quilt is complete.

    • Quilt blocks finish at 4" square; some are cut from plain squares and others are half-square triangle units.
    • Use 3-1/2" wide strips for borders. Increase the quilt's size with a wider border or by adding multiple borders.
    • If you like, replace the plain border with a scrappy assortment of (46) 5" x 5" squares for the top layer, and the same number of squares for the batting and the backing.

    Finished Quilt Dimensions: 46" x 50"

    If this is your first rag quilt, read how to make a rag quilt before you begin.

    Quilting Fabric for Top Layer

    Read the instructions before cutting fabrics.

    Assorted Green Fabrics for Tree

    About 1-1/2 yards total of 42-44" fabrics

    • (50) 5" x 5" squares
    • (10) 5-3/4" x 5-3/4" squares (cut only two test squares, to begin with)

    Assorted Neutral Fabrics

    About 1-1/4 yards total of 42-44" fabrics

    • (38) 5" x 5" squares
    • (10) 5-3/4" x 5-3/4" squares (cut only two test squares, to begin with)

    Brown Fabrics

    • (2) 5" x 5" squares

    Middle (Batting) Layer

    Cut the same pieces required for the top layer. Choose flannels or cotton fabrics to eliminate the need for quilting (required if you use traditional batting). Use fabrics that contrast with the top layer for definition in the frays; use fabrics that blend with the top for frays that aren't as distinct (not recommended if you sew with only one tree fabric).

    For a lighter-weight quilt, eliminate the middle layer, but don't expect frays to be as lush.

    Backing Fabrics

    Cut the same pieces required for the top layer. Consider the same contrast advice mentioned for the middle layer.

    Border Fabrics

    Same amounts for each of the three layers.

    • 1-1/2 yards for lengthwise grain borders, or
    • 5/8 yard each for pieced crosswise strips, or
    • 1-3/8 yards for all three layers to make patchwork borders from squares.
    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Sew the Ragged Half Square Triangle Units

    Review the quick pieced half square triangle tutorial before sewing patchwork for the Christmas tree, but note the difference in assembly below.

    Load the sewing machine with a new needle and change as necessary to retain a sharp point that travels easily through multiple layers of fabric. A walking foot makes it easier to keep multiple layers from shifting but is not required.

    Test Before You Begin

    • Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner on the right side of two light 5-3/4" top fabric squares. 
    • Make a fabric stack from three 5-3/4" squares. The stack should contain:
      • backing placed right side down on the table
      • batting positioned either direction on top of the backing
      • top: neutral or green fabric right side up on top of the batting.
    1. Make a second stack and place the two stacks together, backings touching and edges aligned. 
    2. Secure the stack with straight pins.
    3. Sew a seam 1/2" away from each side of the line on one of the top squares. 
    4. Cut the unit apart diagonally, on the drawn line, to produce two half square triangle units, Each will have three fabrics on each side of the square. 
    5. Open the units and trim off the "dog ear" nubs at each end of the diagonal seam.
    6. Each unit should measure 5" square. If units are slightly large, use a square ruler with a diagonal line to trim them. Work from the back, placing the diagonal rule line on the seam to make sure each half of the block is the same size. If units are slightly small, cut all remaining squares a bit larger.
    7. Make nine more 6-fabric stacks to produce a total of (20) half square triangle units that measure 5" x 5" each.
    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Assemble the Christmas Tree Rag Quilt

    There are eleven rows in the Christmas Tree Quilt, each with ten units
    Janet Wickell

    Arrange the Tree Quilt's Patchwork

    Use straight pins to keep fabrics from shifting.

    1. Arrange the squares and half square triangle units as shown into eleven horizontal rows, each row with ten units.
    2. If you're making a scrap quilt, step away from the design for a while and then return. Do you still like the layout? If not, switch fabrics around until you're satisfied with the look.
    3. Place a flannel square behind each front square and a backing square behind each flannel. The reverse/back side of the backing squares should touch the flannel.
    4. Sew each stack of three fabrics to the stack next to it in the first row, placing reverse sides together and using a 1/2" seam allowance.
    5. Assemble remaining rows.

    Sew Rows Together

    Sew the eleven rows together with 1/2" seams, taking care to place reverse sides together when you join rows. Use pins to secure fabrics and match seams.

    Alternate Row Assembly

    Sometimes long, narrow rows can get a little stretchy. If you prefer, sew half of the components of each row together. Join three or four half rows from top to bottom, then do the same for the opposite side of the tree. Join the units at their centers.

    Continue sewing half rows from top to bottom and then creating rectangular sections from them. See the illustration on page 4 for a visual of this method.

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Sew the Borders and Finish the Christmas Tree Rag Quilt

    An alternate way to sew together the Christmas Tree rows
    Janet Wickell

    If you plan to use long borders cut from the same fabric, use my butted borders instructions to measure for them.

    For long yardage, cut borders for each layer to match the first measurement, then sandwich and sew them to the top and sides. Repeat for the remaining ends.

    If you're piecing long borders from crosswise grain fabrics, measure and piece each layer first, and then sandwich and add them to the quilt.

    If you're using 5" squares, sew the sandwiched squares for the left and right sides together (11 sandwich groups for each) and then add them to the quilt. Repeat for the top and bottom (12 sandwich groups for each).

    After the borders are in place, sew a double seam around the entire quilt about 1/2" from the edges.

    Clip the Seam Allowances & Finish the Quilt

    Use my rag quilt finishing instructions to clip the seam allowances and finish the tree quilt.