Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Make It: Heirloom Wool Tree Skirt

My friend Andrea over at the wildly popular Andrea Currie Crafts (go Andrea!) asked me to put together a little tutorial on my home made tree skirt.  I'm happy to share how I got started and what you can do to personalize the skirt for your home.

 The first step is to find a fabric that fits within both your home's standard decor and your seasonal decor.  I'm a big fan of white on white, and I appreciate it's modern suggestion of snowfall.  I chose a beautiful Melton Wool from my local fabric shop.  Wool is a super fabric that can withstand quite a bit of abuse.  Spill some tree water?  No problem, it will likely ball up on the surface for easy cleanup.
I also picked up some beautiful silver sequins and clear glass seed beads to embellish my skirt's border.

Tools & Ingredients....and Sparkles
2 yards of fabric (Your skirt will be between 55" and 60" in diameter)
good fabric scissors
something round (I used an almost empty roll of tape)
thread to match your fabric
seed beads

The dreaded circle.  It's nearly impossible to cut a perfect circle at home without a special machine.  My trick?  A piece of curling ribbon and a sharp pencil.  Determine the diameter of your skirt by measuring the overall width of your fabric (not the amount you had cut, but the predetermined width on the bolt or roll.)  Mine maxed out at 56".  Tie the ribbon around your pencil with a long tail.  Mark that tail from the point it leaves the pencil to the halfway point on your fabric.  Mine was 28".  Hold the point in the center of your fabric, hold the pencil at 90 degrees, and begin to draw your circle.  Make sure you draw on the back side of your fabric if it has one, this way you are sure to avoid any trace of pencil after you make your cut.  You'll draw a full 360 degrees and have a finished circle.  Now, find the center of your fabric again, and estimate 3"-4" on the tail of your pencil and you'll draw a 6"-8" circle in the center of your fabric.  This will accommodate your tree stand.

Just like you learned in Mrs. Rodger's class, don't cut outside the lines on this project.  Use your sharp fabric scissors and cut precisely on the lines you've just drawn.  You'll also need to cut a slit from the perimeter of the skirt to the center circle.  I eyeballed this, but feel free to draw a straight line if you don't trust your driving skills.

Now the fun part.  To embellish my skirt, I traced the inside of a partially used roll of tape onto the backside of my remaining fabric.  You can use whatever template you'd like, but I'm really loving the result of the simple circle.  I could have geeked out and drawn this in AutoCAD, but I didn't.  I have no idea how many I cut, so you'll have to estimate.  Be sure to lay them out as you go to be sure you don't do more work than you have to!

I then sewed a small silver sequin to each circle while watching a GLEE marathon, thanks to Netflix.  It can be kind of mind numbing so having some music or a favorite show entertaining you in the background is key.   Again, be sure to lay this out before you take the final step.  Once you are sure you have the correct amount of circles, pull out your all purpose tacky glue and go to town.  The edge of the skirt should cut the small circle in half.  This way you get that beautiful scalloped edge detail.  

I'll never be able to do those sequins justice in a photograph, but trust me, this skirt comes alive when you turn those tree lights on.  It's a beautiful piece that I'll probably add more detail to next year.  The biggest tip I can share here is to use tacky glue for the final application.  This way, if your skirt happens to get stained or torn, you can easily remove the embellishments and use them on a new base.  

Merry Christmas!
Jenny @ Fig