Thursday, December 8, 2011

Comfort and JOY guest from U.S - Annie's Christmas Tree Skirt

Oh, hello Sew We Quilt fellow followers. Annie here again to share with you another one of my hair-brain ideas. Oh, Samm, you surely are brave when you let me come visit after I've been thinking about a complicated looking project but wanting an easy way to get to my end result. But I'm pretty excited about this one, so thank you so much for bringing me here to share my mathematically incorrect Christmas tree skirt.

I hope by now you are all well into your Christmas sewing list...be it gifts or decorations. Have you taken a look at that well worn tree skirt you keep throwing under that gorgeous tree year after year? Is it a store bought skirt you remembered to grab at the last minute? Is it one you lovingly made but now has seen better days and needs replacing? If you answered yes to any of these, you just might want to give this one a try...even at this late date. Let me show you how easy it is!

Christmas Tree Skirt
how to:

It's not exactly a small project, but it's so quick and easy you just won't believe it!

To make this very easy but 'complicated looking' tree skirt, you will need this wedge ruler and 140 charm squares.

This one is by Omnigrid and is a 9 degree Circle Wedge. I've had it forever.
Ignore my ancient iron. No, it is not for looks or to give the photo a vintage look. It is my working iron. I tried to win a new one during the Wantobe Quilter's Campaign but Samm's winner picker never picked me. Truth be told, I love this iron...good old fashioned heavy weighted iron that I don't think a new modern one could measure up to. Back to sewing...
I made this tree skirt from 4 charm packs of Jovial that had 42 squares each.

Charms packs come in a variety of counts, so that will determine the number of packs you will need.

Arrange your squares in columns of 5 squares each. You need a total of 28 columns. Play with them until you have an arrangement that is pleasing to your eye.
Stitch each of the 28 columns into strips of the 5 squares top to bottom. 1/4" seam allowances throughout. Press your seams all in the same direction for all strips. All pressed toward the top or all toward the bottom...it doesn't matter which direction you choose, just press them all the same direction. Keep them in your arranged order as you sew and press them. You just won't believe how quickly this will be completed.

Now for cutting. Take your first strip and place the wedge ruler aligned with the bottom of the strip ...

and aligned at the right hand edge of your strip.
Left handers can do the opposite, it won't matter, just cut them all the same way each time.

This wedge ruler will be about 3/4" shorter than your strip. When you rotary cut along the wedge just continue the cut to the edge of the strip without moving the ruler. It will work fine...it did for me every time. Don't stop at the end of the ruler to think about it, just continue the cut until you are off the fabric strip.

If possible, cut one side and walk around to cut the other side without moving the ruler. It's not necessary to cut the wedge this way, but it's quicker if you don't have to turn the fabric and re-align the ruler for the second cut. When I walked around the table to cut the other side of my wedge, this is where you would be starting with the narrow end that doesn't reach the edge of your fabric. I aligned my cutter with the ruler about 3" from the end and cut pulling backwards to the end of the fabric. Then realign your cutter in that cut to cut the rest of the wedge as normal.

If you trim your strip at the end of the wedge ruler, nothing bad will happen. You will simply have a larger opening when your strips are all sewn together in a circle. In the end I trim my opening larger anyway, but it is quicker to do it in the end than it is to trim every single strip wedge as I go.

You will now have these slices from your strip.

You will discard the slice on the right (the one with the very pointy tip) to your scrap collection.

The slice on the left will be flipped so that both wide ends are adjacent as shown below. This is how they will be sewn together and you will note that every other wedge now has the seams pressed in opposite directions so they can be butted when the wedges are sewn together...cool, huh?

As you get the wedges cut, keep the wider wedges in the order you arranged them in. You'll need to find a layout that again is pleasing to your eye that includes the narrower wedges between the wider ones.

Begin sewing a wide wedge to a narrow wedge.

Press your seams toward the wide wedge. This will help avoid bulk in the center at the narrow tips, because the narrow tips will disappear to nothing.

Then sew all your wedges together.

Half way together...

Full circle...yeah! Do not sew the very last seam where the ends of your circle meet.

You will only use 27 of your 28 wide wedges, and you will use all 28 of your narrow wedges. Your tree skirt will meet at two narrow wedges which is where your opening will be. You probably started sewing your wedges together beginning with a wide wedge, so you will need to add your last narrow wedge to the beginning of your circle.

This tree skirt has no batting. I didn't really want the thickness nor stiffness of a batted quilt. I wanted a very drapable skirt. I considered adding a layer of muslin inside, but finally decided on just the pieced top and a backing.

You can purchase extra wide fabric for a whole un-pieced back. I just went with one and three quarters (1-3/4) yards of a 44-45" wide coordinating fabric and pieced the section that extended past the width of the skirt.

Just like you do with layering a quilt with batting, layer the fabrics with wrong sides together and pin baste. It doesn't really show in the photo but this tree skirt is loaded with safety pins. Cut a slit in the backing fabric where you have left the circle open. Then trim the excess backing fabric away following the outside edge of your pieced top. You can trim the inside circle as well or wait if you decide you want the center opening larger.

I did want the center opening larger so I traced around a whipped topping lid. It seems like a good size.

Because the skirt could now be 'stretchable' as you continue to work with it, I suggest that you stay-stitch the raw edges at about an 1/8 inch from the edge all the way around the skirt.

I didn't want the skirt to be like a bubble with the front and back floating separately. I did faux quilting with stitch in the ditch along the length of each wedge.

In the above photo you see horizontal top stitching. I removed that stitching...it didn't look good...and went with the stitch in the ditch along the lengths of the wedges instead.

Then I added a narrow binding.

All done!

This tree skirt is an early gift, so I stamped and stitched a tag for it.

Yeah! another gift crossed off the list!

Alternative finishing options:
You can easily add batting for a traditional quilted skirt. You could also lay the top and backing right sides together to stitch around the outside leaving an opening and turn the skirt right side out for enclosed seams. You wouldn't need all that pin basting for that. You could also add lace or a ruffle to the outer edge if you so desire.

As well, this tree skirt can be made for your smaller holiday trees...your Easter egg tree, your creepy Halloween tree, even that wedding money tree. Just cut your wedges from a shorter charm strip and using the narrower end of the wedge.

Design Disclosure Statement:
As far as I know this is my own design. I don't think anyone would publish a mathematically incorrect pattern design. Mathematically incorrect because the narrow wedge has one angled side while the other side is straight. I just hoped they would all go in a circle the way I wanted them to and I was so not disappointed.
As with any of my tutorials that you might give a try, if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me. I'd be more than happy to help you.

There are so many possibilities for fabric arrangements for this skirt that I'd love to see yours when you have it together...seriously, I would.

Merry Christmas to you all
and wishing you all a
Sew Happy New Year!


  1. Hi Annie. thanks for a great turorial - I love your Christmas tree skirt. Definately want to make one of these!!

  2. Hi Annie!
    Thank you! This is a very good tutorial. I love it!
    Merry Christmass! Edit

  3. fabulous idea... love it.. thanks and Happy Christmas

  4. Wow! What a glorious tree skirt. I may have to invest in one of those rulers. No time for this year though, sadly.

  5. This is so beautiful. And I don't like math, so I'm thrilled that it is mathematically incorrect and absolutely beautiful at the same time. Well done!

  6. I saw this on Anni'e blog and it is just simply adorable!!

  7. I'm de-lurking to say that is really really clever and cute! Love it!!!!!

  8. Good Morning Annie..you always have me spinning with your style, grace and ohhhhh color...Did I mention you ROCK lol.

  9. This is so beautiful! Love that pattern,Annie.

  10. Wow! Annie your tree skirt is beautiful. I love it! Thank you for sharing.

  11. Love this tree skirt. I have to get myself one of these rulers. Thanks for the tutorial

  12. Great tutorial! I think I may even try that!

  13. I have favo-rited this! Thanks so much!

  14. Wow -- the skirt looks so complex, yet your tutorial made it look like a piece of cake. And it's so *pretty* too!!! :)

  15. What a FUN skirt! I'm hoping I have enough time to make one - if not this year - next year! Thanks for the GREAT tutorial! Merry Christmas!!

  16. Very, very clever! And I do love clever ideas! I have an abundant collection of 5 inch squares I have been cutting from my scraps, just waiting for a fun project!

  17. Now I need to get into my scrap bin and cut some squares! This is great! Thanks for a super clear tutorial - really nice and well explained, and well photographed. I need some pointers on that! LOL

  18. Thanks Annie for the tree skirt tutorial. I just may need to make my family a new tree skirt!

  19. Fabulous tree skirt and tutorial. I have never seen this ruler, so it's not something I can make. However, I can appreciate the beauty of it!

  20. Awesome tree skirt. I did not know there was a ruler that big. Wow!

  21. I really like the scrappy look of this tree skirt. MY youngest daughter is learning to sew/quilt and she made a tree skirt top but doesn't know how to back or bind it. I'm directing her to this tutorial when she comes home this weekend so I can help her finish her project. A newbie, she won't understand some of our sewing lingo such as stitch in the ditch, stay-seaming, etc... Great tutorial
    Gmama Jane

  22. P.S I'm going to buy myself this ruler as well as one for my daughter...hmmm it would make a great Christmas gift, now wouldn't it?

  23. Wow, that is one AWESOME tree skirt!

  24. Wow! How fabulous! I'm going to have to track down that ruler. Thanks for sharing!!

  25. looks wonderful can't wait to give it a try!

  26. Very cute! I need to think about who on my list needs a tree skirt. :) blessings, marlene

  27. Great tree skirt, I got to try this.
    Thank you for sharing.

  28. CUTE! I need to put that ruler on my wish list!

  29. Wow What a great idea, Quick and Easy... My kinda project. Thanks for sharing!!

  30. Wow!!! Your tree skirt is gorgeous!!! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial!!!

  31. love it, love it, love it..-I must have such ruler! Thanks for this great tutorial!!!
    liebe Grüße
    bente - Germany

  32. Now that is one beautiful tree skirt...every year I'd be smiling ...guess I know what to do ay? Make one!

    Thanks for all the details in your tutorial...much appreciated!


  33. What a beautiful tree skirt and YES, I NEED a new tree skirt. The one I'm using is one I made probably 20 yrs ago now and while it was pretty then, it's not my style now. It still looks beautiful but now it clashes with my tree. LOL Yes, clashes with my tree because my awesome husband bought me the most gorgeous purple Christmas tree last year as a surprise after I was drooling over it in a store we'd been shopping at. He went back and bought the one right off their floor. LOL

    I think I need to add this ruler onto my wish list now along with the 15 degree wedge ruler I already had on there. Thank you for the great tutorial.

  34. I too now see another ruler in my future= great tutorial! cw

  35. It looks so lovely! I love the color scheme of it. Now I need me a wedge...:0

  36. Excellent tutorial, easiest looking tree skirt i've come across. Job for next xmas I feel!

  37. Annie!!! I love this trea skirt. Love the scrappy feel and it looks like even I could make this!! Thank you for yet another wonderful tut!!

  38. I love everything about this tree skirt - design, fabrics and simplicity. Thanks for the tutorial.

  39. Love your christmas tree skirt.

    Merry Christmas to you too!!

  40. I love it! Now I can finally use my wedge ruler. Thanks for the great tute!


  41. Brilliant! "It's a gift," I think that's when my jaw dropped. That's a very sweet gift. It just makes that wonderful circle on the outer edge. wow. I better go back & read. Thanks Annie!

  42. Wow, that wedge ruler is fantastic. The skirt is wild with color!
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN

  43. Thanks...I really want to make one now...have to get one of those rulers. :) Yours looks great.

  44. Simply amazing!! I want to give this a try. I own the twin to your iron and love her. Thanks for sharing.

  45. A beautiful tree skirt - and very clear directions! I'll have to get one of those rulers!

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  46. This is such a great idea! It really is easier than it looks, but I'm still a little leary of sewing all those bias edges. I'll have to screw up my courage and give it a try.


  47. I think it is cool. I've had a wedge ruler forever that I've yet to use. This is a good start!

  48. Okay...so that wasn't on my To-Do List...but it might be now! I love it! And looks sew easy!

  49. What a nifty tree skirt! I've held off buying a wedge ruler but you've given me another reason to want one.

  50. I love it! Thank you for sharing with us! Merry Christmas for you and your family! A big hug!

  51. I did one! Just completed it today. :D Thanks for the tutorial and idea! http://myall2.blogspot.com/

  52. Could this be done with a 10 degree ruler? If so how would that change the number of 'charm' blocks needed... Thanks

  53. I have a 15 degree ruler...and I have the same question as Sue Casey.

  54. I have a 15 degree ruler, and I have the same question as Sue Casey


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