Whilst searching through my stash of fabrics looking for something for a children class I found a number of drab and unappealing fabrics that I knew I would never use. For me, fabric can be like clothes, sometimes you fall out of love with them, wonder why you ever bought them and even chuckle at how you could have been so foolish as to have liked them once. This pile was all those things. So the challenge was on .. to make something I loved from them.

I’d wanted to create Birch Blocks for a while and the ‘best forgotten’ fabric was perfect tree material. This week I have also had a delivery of amazing Pure Solids from Art Gallery Fabrics. They are utterly beautiful colours and silky soft to the touch, so to test out how they sewed up, I chose three colours for the block backgrounds. I cut three 10″ square from each of these colours.

To create the Birch Blocks, the drab fabrics were cut into strips of width between  1″ and 5/8″ – 1 1/4″ would be fine but no bigger, To add interest to the drab mix, I chose an accent fabric, a Moda Essentials black stripe. The strips are then sewn together (with a 1/4″ seam allowance) along the long edges.I sewed strips into pairs and then into 4’s and then ironed all the 4’s at the same time. I went on to join the 4s together and press the resulting piece using an easy iron spray to help smooth down all the seams.

The final width of the sewn together drab strips (and accent fabric) had to be wide enough to stretch across your background block at an angle. So for my background blocks which were 10″ sq,  a 12″ width was long enough to reach across the fabric when placed at an angle.

This sewn piece was now full of layers and the next job was to cut slices of the layers to form the Birch Tree trunks. The slices were 1 – 1 1/4″ wide

The background fabric was cut at an angle from top to bottom and a slice of Birch Tree added and sewn in, The block was pressed and another cut could be made and another Birch Tree added.


My mini quilt came together quickly, Once the blocks were completed they were trimmed to 8 1/2″sq and joined. When quilting the piece I added in some quilted on Birch Trees on the blocks that only had one tree sewn in. The overall quilting was super simple wavy lines.

This is such an adaptable pattern. It could easily be made into a whole quilt or just a bag or zipped pouch front. The quilting gives you even more possibilities. Show me what you make on Facebook or Instagram or message me with pictures of your own forest at mail@gillymacdesigns.com

For those with access to the GillyMac Membership Area, a full free video tutorial on making the block is available.