These fabric DIY Christmas tree ornaments are super simple and fun to make. I made a few variations and can’t decide which one I like best! In this tutorial I share how I made each variation – simple, quilted, plush and patchwork – and the tools you will need to make them. You don’t need to worry about drawing your own tree shapes – I made a tree template in two sizes that you can download for free!
The possibilities and variations are endless with this project! It’s also a great way to use up scrap fabric or make them as gifts. If you need more small scrap busting projects, check out some of my other tutorials like How to Sew a Scrunchie, How to Sew a Pumpkin, and even my bag pattern The Edgewood Sling Bag which uses very little fabric!
Some things you’ll need
- Woven fabric like cotton or linen – perfect for using up scraps!
- Washable fabric marker
- Pinking shears – These are of similar quality since the ones I have are apparently vintage!
- Fabric scissors
- Poly fill – for “pillow” tree ornament
- Coordinating thread
- Yarn or embroidery thread
- Embroidery needle
- Twine or yarn for hanging
Let’s get started
The basic idea for these ornaments is simple so that you can customize them however you want! I’m sharing how I made each version, but of course feel free to make them your own with whatever tools and fabric you have on hand.
You can draw your own tree shape or you can download the FREE template to trace around. I spent some time getting the shape just right and there are two sizes included in the download to use depending on which version you want to make.
The template is only one page and can be printed on A4 or Letter sized paper. Make sure to print at “Actual Size” or at 100% scale so that the template ends up the correct size. After printing, take a ruler and measure the boxes on the page to verify the measurement. This is a *very* simplified version of how my bag pdf sewing patterns are laid out!
tree ornament template
The smaller sized template works for the simple and quilted tree ornaments since there is no seam allowance included. The edges are intentionally left raw and cut with pinking shears to help prevent too much fraying.
Tree ornament template with seam allowance
The template labeled “with seam allowance” I used for the ornaments stuffed with poly fill because those are sewn with a 1/4″ seam allowance and then turned right side out.
Simple Tree Ornament
For the simple tree ornament you will be layering two layers of your chosen fabric with a batting layer in between. I tried two different types of batting – a cotton batting typically used in quilting and a thicker fusible batting. It’s convenient to fuse the batting to the fabric before sewing and the batting is thicker so it makes the finished ornament more structured.
Start by cutting out two tree shapes from your chosen fabric using the template. You can cut directly around the shape with fabric scissors or rotary blade or it you may find it easier to trace around the tree first before cutting.
Then cut out one layer of batting to be sandwiched in the middle. In my example I’m using a thicker fusible batting and I traced around the template first before cutting it out.
Make your tree sandwich with the batting in between the two layers of fabric. If your fabric has a clear right and wrong side, make sure the right sides are facing out. With the raw edges of all three layers lined up, pin around to secure.
Sew around the outside with a 1/4″ (0.6 cm) seam allowance and cut around with pinking shears. You could just leave the edges raw but the pinking shears prevent excessive fraying and gives a cute decorative border.
Thread some twine or yarn through the top of the tree to hang and your simple tree ornament is done!
Quilted Tree Ornament
To make a quilted tree ornament the steps are essentially the same as the simple ornament but you will be quilting lines onto the tree after layering the fabric and batting.
Cut out two tree shapes from your chosen fabric and one layer of batting. In my example I’m using one of the fabric trees to trace around when cutting out from the batting.
Then, take one of the fabric trees and line up a quilting ruler at the desired angle (the one I’m using has different angles marked on it). I made my lines at a 45 degree angle by lining up the straight edge of the bottom of the tree and the 45 degree line marked on the ruler. The spacing of the lines is up to you, but I decided to space mine 1/2″ (1.3 cm) apart.
Do the same thing going the other way – lining up the ruler at the same angle and drawing lines spaced evenly apart.
Layer up your tree with the batting in between the layers of fabric and pin together. Next, sew along the lines that you making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end about 1/4″ (0.6 cm) away from the edge (since the edges are going to be left raw, this will prevent the stitch lines from coming undone). I’m using a walking foot which helps guide the layers evenly through the machine.
I like to do one stitch line in one direction and the next stitch line going the other direction to keep the fabric from stretching too much in one direction.
After all the quilting is done, trim around the edge with pinking shears. You could also sew around the edges but keep in mind this will affect the look of the quilted square pattern.
Thread twine or yarn through the top of the tree and the quilted tree ornament is done!
Plush Tree Ornament
I guess instead of plush tree ornaments, you could also call these pillow tree ornaments. 🙂 Whatever you want to call them, they’re super cute and easy to make! Instead of using the smaller tree template, I recommend using the larger tree template that has the seam allowance included.
Cut out two trees from your chosen fabric and place right sides together and pin in place matching the raw edges of the layers.
Sew around the edge with 1/4″ (0.6 cm) seam allowance but leave an opening on one of the long angled sides.
Trim off all corners of the tree to help create neat points. Turn the tree right side out and use a point turner to *carefully* poke out the corners (my “point turner” is a dowel that was accidentally sharpened by my son in an electric pencil sharpener – works great! 🙂 ). Press the tree flat with an iron to get the edges and corners nice and neat.
Next, stuff the tree through the opening with poly fill stuffing (you could also try scrap pieces of fabric!). I only put a little bit in and made sure to get it into the corners and trunk of the tree.
Sew up the hole in the side by hand with an invisible slip stitch. If you need a refresher on how to sew an invisible slip stitch I made a quick video tutorial (below).
Using a washable fabric marker, plan and mark where you want the thread ties to go.
Time to add the thread ties! I chose to use a restive red embroidery thread but you could also use yarn. I’m using an embroidery needle which has a larger eye to thread thicker threads or yarns through.
Bring the thread down at the spot where you want it, leave a tail and then come back up about 1/8″ (0.3 cm) away. Tie the two ends together twice and trim the ends to your desired length.
Continue adding thread ties until you have the desired amount. Add thread at the top to hang and you’re done with your plush tree ornament! I think the back looks equally cute as well (above photo). 🙂
French Knot Variation
I also made a plush ornament variation where I made french knots with yarn and the ends are tied together on the reverse. French knots are a common embroidery stitch and are a great way to add 3D texture.
If you’ve never sewn a french knot before, I made a quick how-to video (below) if you want to learn. They’re not too hard but I would suggested practicing first to get the hang of it before sewing onto your final tree ornament.
Patchwork Tree Ornament
I hadn’t planned on making a patchwork version of these tree ornaments but I couldn’t resist – I love how they turned out! I made both a flat version with raw edges and a plush version. I kept it simple and didn’t add any thread ties or knots to let the patchwork stand out on its own.
I cut scrap fabric into strips at varying widths and laid the larger template on top as I went to make sure there would be enough room for the tree shape. Have fun with this! You could do vertical strips, diagonal or piece together fabric in any pattern you like.
Don’t forget that the seam allowance after sewing will shrink the overall height. I found it easier to work from the bottom up so that I could add fabric at the top if I ended up too short. After piecing the strips together, I traced the template over the patchwork.
For the plush ornaments, after cutting out the tree shape, I placed them right side together and sewed around at 1/4″ (0.6 cm) making sure to leave an opening.
Stuff with poly fill, close up the opening, add a string to hang and you’re done!
How cute would these be all strung in a garland? I have so many now that I may try that!
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found some inspiration 🙂 Thanks for reading and happy sewing!