How to Sew a Quilted Christmas Tree Skirt
This is a walkthrough of how I made a tree skirt for my Christmas tree. It's not necessarily a tutorial or pattern, but you could probably figure out how to make your own by what I've explained. Some sewing experience is required, along with the tools of the trade.
The Planning Phase
I decided to go with a hexagon pattern for the quilt for a couple of reasons: There aren't too many pieces to cut and it didn't look too complicated to assemble. To start, I picked out several items at the fabric shop.
Materials From the Fabric Shop
- 6 fat quarters
- Approximately 3 meters of fabric for the back and the bias tape (more on this later)
- Some very thin batting
- Some ribbon
I later realized that fat quarters weren't necessarily the best for this project, but I wasn't going to let that stop me.
Do the Math
Since I didn't have a pattern to follow, I had to make my own calculations to determine how to cut and assemble everything. Fat quarters have an edge that measure 22", so I used that as the length for the bottom of the skirt and I measured my Christmas tree stand to determine how big the center had to be. My days of solving trigonometry problems are long behind me, so luckily the internet has websites like these (triangle calculator) that can do all the calculations for you. I just plugged in my data to get all the measurements I needed.
After crunching some numbers, I decided to cut my strips to 3" to end up with 2.5" tall strips in the skirt. The extra half-inch is to allow for a 1/4" seam on either side. This is extremely important to keep in mind when you are planning your pattern.
In hindsight, it may have been easier to use a couple of jelly rolls instead of the fat quarters. The strips in a jelly roll aren't as tall, but they are long. There are ways to cut the fabric more efficiently with long strips.
Cut Fabric Strips and Start Sewing
The hexagon is assembled by first creating 6 triangles.
- In order to minimize fabric waste, I cut the strips to their required length before sewing them up. This left me with a few extra strips in case of emergency.
- I made sure, as I sewed each tier to the next, that they were well centered and my seams were all pressed.
- Once the strips were sewn together, I trimmed the raw edges to a 60° angle.
Sew Your Triangles Together
With the sides trimmed to a 60° angle, sew the triangles together, leaving one seam open for the closure at the back. At this point, I trim up all the thread tails and press my seams. The vertical seams in between each triangle are pressed open so that the thickness of the seam is divided onto both sides. This is your quilt top!
- Place your base layer face down on your workspace and carefully lay your batting over it.
- Lay your quilt top on the batting, making sure to check the orientation of the pattern on the fabric. The quilt top will not fit on the batting quite right because of the opening at the back so you will have to make some adjustments.
- Pin all three layers together before cutting the batting and base fabric down to about 1 inch wider than the quilt top. Just do your best along the slit for the opening at the back.
- Cut as close to the middle as you can to allow enough batting for each side.
Next comes the sewing... lots of sewing. I stitched in the ditch to assemble everything because I don't have a fancy quilting machine.
- First, start with the vertical seams between each triangle section. I space out the order in which I sew my seams to keep the fabric from bunching in one area or another.
- Then I sew the horizontal seams, again starting towards the middle and spacing them out a bit. At some point I stitched 1/4" around the entire perimeter of the quilt.
- When all your sewing is done, trim down the excess batting and backing in preparation for sewing on the bias tape.
The Bias Tape
I felt this project needed custom bias tape to bring it all together. I learned the hard way to pay close attention to the instructions before cutting your fabric, and so I ended up having a few extra seams in my tape. You can always make it easier on yourself and buy some from just about any fabric store. It comes in all shapes and sizes, ready to sew on. If you're making your own tape, there are plenty of online resources on how to cut, sew, fold, and iron your strips, but it can be a lengthy process, so be warned.
To sew the bias tape onto the quilt, I use clips to hold the fabric in place as I sew one section at a time.
- For the center, I sewed the bias as a curved edge rather than try to fold it to fit each little angle.
- For the outer perimeter of the quilt, I used mitered corners.
- The ribbon used for the closure is sewn in with the bias tape at the very end. Don't forget to add it before you finish sewing everything up.
So that pretty well sums up how this Christmas tree skirt came together. I hope my notes are helpful, and I would love to see some of your own creations. There are many hours that went into making this, but the creative process and final result make it all worth it in the end. Feel free to share your comments or ask any questions you might have. Happy sewing!