Sunday, December 8, 2013

Country Charm Christmas Tree Skirt

For as long as I have had my own tree I have longed for a homemade country Christmas tree skirt.  It's taken me years to decide what materials I wanted to use.  Was I going to quilt something? What kind of patter did I want to use?  So many questions unanswered.  Here I am, many years later, and I have finally found my skirt.  I have been digging the rustic country look.  I have found several old barn windows that I am slowly rehabbing into frames, bulletin boards, and wall centerpieces.  Enter Pinterest search here.  Wouldn't you know I found the perfect pattern and material here at the Thinking Closet Blog.  She has so many neat and simple ideas on her site.  I just love it!  You will notice she used a no-sew technique, which is totally fine.  I decided on sewing mine, mostly because I felt it was easier for me.  Less blistered fingers.   No glue-strand spiderwebs when I'm done.

Let me preface by saying I don't usually Black Friday shop, unless you mean from the comfort of my couch with a coffee, laptop while in my jammies.  I had to run my son to basketball practice so I stopped in our local Walmart to see what I could find.  I was not going in if I couldn't find a spot to park.  Turned out there were plenty of parking spots.  Apparently the deals were to be had the night before.  I managed to score a new 7.5" pre-lit tree for $60.  I'll take it!  I perused the fabric isle, just for kicks, to see if they had any burlap.  Low and behold, 4 different colors!  I bought what I needed, and not a stitch more- the first cardinal sin of sewing-(always buy more than you need).  I didn't have enough and now I'm scrambling to find 1/4 yard more to finish up, because, of course, now they are out of burlap.

Here is what I used for my tree skirt.
2 yards Beige & 2 yards Red burlap (I needed 2 1/4 yards of beige)
1 standard 48" diameter felt tree skirt (you could use felt and cut circle.  I already had one I don't use)
Rotary Cutter
Cutting Mat
Straight Edge Cutting Guide
Sewing Machine w/ heavy needle (like for hemming or patching denim)
Neutral colored thread
Iron & ironing board

1. I started by ironing my burlap.  It was terribly creased.  A little steam and a lot of heat and they came right out.  Took just 10 minutes start to finish.  I love to iron.  There is something therapeutic about it.  No need to tell me, I know I'm strange.

It only takes a little steam. 
2. Cut off selvages.  Mine were a mess!  I think this was the main reason I was short on beige fabric. I must have cut off close to a quarter yard just trying to straighten the edges.  Then I cut 3" strips.  Be warned- this is messy.  You will have strands of burlap all over the place before you're finished.  You could hem the edges of the strips, but I personally like the raveled edges.  I don't mind the strings here and there.

3" strips
3. Let the pinning & folding begin!  I have never attempted ruffles before.  They were a little intimidating to me.  I was also worried about the burlap being difficult to work with.  Turns out it was a snap.  It folded very easily, was not difficult to pin or sew. I may have folded a bit too much and this also contributed to my lack of beige in the end.  I started pinning along the outside edge and then zig-zag stitched along the inside, one layer at a time.

Half done
Mostly finished product

4. I will finish with beige around the inside edge.  I think it would look strange just to end with the sewn ruffle layer and no finishing binding.  

All in all, I love the look of the skirt with my tree.  We have since decorated with more than just Trenton's favorite ornaments. It's also a fairly inexpensive product.  Even if I had needed to buy felt (it's only $2 a yard), I would have spent less than $25. The burlap was $2.50 a yard.  Additionally, I had the thread, pins, and cutting tools. The total time invested (so far) is 3 hours.  I anticipate needing another 20-30 minutes to finish up.  It's just that easy! 

Happy crafting!
~Alison

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