Make yourself a super fun and festive, nontraditional tree skirt! These Ruby Star Society prints do all the talking, and the scalloped edges just put it over the top. Gotta love that candy cane stripe binding too! Inject your holiday decor with just a little extra handmade joy and cheer this year!
This tree skirt is made of 8 wedges, and is constructed like a small quilt with scalloped binding. I'll explain every step, so if you're a beginner, you can use this project as a mini introduction to quilting. I'll show you a little bit about constructing your "quilt sandwich", different methods of quilting the layers, and making and attaching your binding. You can do very minimal quilting like I did, or have some fun and do as much quilting as you like. This Christmas tree skirt was designed to be made with Ruby Star Peppermint Please Gift and Wrap fabrics. The panels are the perfect size for the wedges that make up this tree skirt. Get them in our shop while you can!
Skill level- Intermediate
1 yard Peppermint Please Gift panel
1 yard Peppermint Please Wrap panel
--If you are not using Peppermint Please, you will need 8 fat quarters
1 1/3 yard backing fabric
50 x 50" piece batting. The type you use will depend on the effect you would like. In the skirt shown above, I used a soft cotton bamboo batting. I like this thinner, flat look, and it made sewing the binding a lot easier. In another tree skirt I tried a high loft polyester batting and did a little bit of quilting around the perimeter of the larger animal motifs. It came out really pillowy and puffy.
1/3 yard binding fabric - I used V & Co.'s Ombre Woven Stripes
wedge template - click here to download PDF
RST - right sides together
WST - wrong sides together
Print out the wedge template. It will print on two sheets of paper. Cut it out and tape the two pieces together and make sure it's the right size. It should measure about 18.75" long and about 7" at it's widest point.
Use the wedge template to cut out 1 of each of your 8 fabrics. You will have to carefully position the template on the panels to make as much of the image fit as possible.
Next, you can arrange the pieces and find the way you would like them to be in the finished piece. You will also want to decide where the opening in the tree skirt will be. All the wedges will be connected except where the opening is. Pick one of the wedges that are at this opening, and sew it RST with the adjacent wedge. Now you have a two-wedge unit. Sew the next wedge RST to this unit. Continue all the way around the skirt until all the pieces are attached. Press all seams open.
You will now use this tree skirt top to cut your batting and backing. Press the backing fabric and place it Wrong side up. Then place the batting on the backing. Then place the tree skirt top Right Side up on the top of the batting. Smooth this out as much as you can. It can be helpful to have the backing piece taped down to the surface.
Next, cut out the batting and backing using the top as a template.
Pin baste by placing several safety pins through all layers of the tree skirt sandwich.
Next you can do as much or as little quilting as you like. I chose to do minimal quilting, just enough to keep the layers together. I didn't want my quilting to take away from the panels. I just did some straight line stitching in the ditch, which means I just sewed straight lines through all layers in the pressed seams I had previously sewn that connected the wedges to each other. You can use a walking foot for this step to help the fabric feed more evenly but it's not imperative.
If you want to do some basic quilting around the outside of the larger animals, you can use your regular foot or walking foot and just pivot a lot in order to have good controlled stitches, like this...
Or, if you feel comfortable and want to go faster you can drop your feed dogs and use your free motion foot.
The puffy polyester binding really made those images pop!
After doing the quilting on the inner body of the skirt, next you'll want to do a basting stitch around the perimeter of the piece. Put your regular foot or walking foot back on and raise your feed dogs and change your stitch length to 4 for this.
Then you may need to do a little trimming of the batting and backing to make sure all the layers are the same.
Put this to the side; it's time to make your binding!
Cut your binding fabric into 2 1/2" strips on the bias. This means instead of cutting strips that are straight with the selvage or the cut edge of the fabric, you cut them on the diagonal. You can use the squares on your cutting mat as a guide by making sure your ruler goes through each square corner to corner. You will have to start near a corner of your fabric so you can see these squares on your mat, then use your rotary cutter to cut them.
Next, we're going to attach all the strips to make a long strip. Each strip will have an angle for the end. A few of the strips will have to be cut to match the others because they will have corners for edges. Line up the angles that go together to create a straight piece of fabric.
Then place them RST and sew them, starting in the little divet (the sharp angle created by the two pieces coming together), and ending in the other little divet.
There will be little dog ears sticking off the edges. You can cut those off or just leave them.
Press these seam allowances to one side.
Then press this one long strip in half lengthwise, WST.
Now to attach the binding. At the very beginning of the binding, cut it so it's a perpendicular edge instead of a diagonal. Open up the fold and then fold the short raw edge to the wrong side and press. This will make an enclosed edge for the binding so it looks nice and clean.
Refold the strip. Then you will sew this binding on in the same way as you would for a quilt. Place the folded binding on the top of the tree skirt, matching the raw edges.
Stitch the binding on.
The binding is able to curve around those edges so easily since it was cut on the bias.
As you come to the recessed divet areas where the wedges come together, pull the fabric toward you so that it becomes a straight line temporarily. You'll also want to pull from the back (the fabric behind the presser foot). Then you can sew it down like it was never a scallop at all!
See that? It looks almost like a straight line but you can tell it actually is the divet of the scallop wedges coming together. We just need to hold it straight long enough to sew that section.
When you let go, the scalloped edge will come back. Stitch the binding down all the way around the entire perimeter, including the opening edges and the inner circle and outer scalloped edges.
Here's what you'll do when you come to a corner. It's the same as for a quilt. Stitch until you are about 1/4" away from the corner. Right where you would be if you were simply pivoting and moving on. You're going to stop there and back stitch.
Take the fabric out of the machine and fold your binding like this- first fold it away from the upcoming edge. Basically you're folding it so a straight line is being formed out of the upcoming edge and the piece of binding. It will make a little diagonal fold.
Then, keeping this diagonal fold intact, fold/lay the binding the opposite way, so it's laying right on top of the new edge, aligning the raw edges, and it's ready to stitch.
You're going to begin with a back stitch, backing up to right before where you can feel that little diagonal fold inside. I like to crease it with my fingernail before starting so I have a visual cue of where it is, since it's hidden inside. You don't want to stitch over that little fold, but get right up against it. After backstitching up to this fold, then you can proceed and stitch straight. This is called mitered corners.
When you come back to the beginning of the binding where you started, let the ending piece overlap the folded beginning edge by about an inch. Cut the remaining binding off. Let it trail off over top of the raw edge slightly, instead of having it still be aligned. This makes it so it the raw edge is hidden and the folded edge we made at the beginning is what shows.
Cut the excess binding off even with the raw edge of the tree skirt.
Now you will flip the newly stitched binding over to the the back of the tree skirt. Press the binding away from the tree skirt and around to the back. Look at those nice mitered corners!
Pin or clip in place.
You can hand stitch with an invisible stitch for best results if desired, but I machine stitched this on by stitching in the ditch on the front side. This makes the stitching nearly invisible on the front. You just have to make sure you are always catching the binding on the wrong side. I am constantly peeking underneath and trying to feel for that binding edge.
When you come to the scalloped recessed sections where one wedge meets the next, you will pull all the fabric toward you again, making it temporarily straight while you stitch over it.
After you finish attaching your binding, give your skirt a final press and enjoy!