Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Christmas in October, Part 1

After yesterday's summer post, it seemed like a good time to jump right into winter. This weekend,* I finished the first of my Christmas projects, the tree skirt!
This project has been on my to-do list for years (literally), and I'm so glad it's finally done (and in plenty of time to get lots of use this year). I love the way it turned out, too! I'm not a huge fan of tons of red and green at Christmas (Our tree is always covered in white lights and white, silver, and blue ornaments.), so I wanted to find the perfect collection of blue Christmas-y prints.
Robert Kaufman's O Tinsel Tree collection in the Winter palette (purchased from Hawthorne Threads) proved to be the perfect fit. I liked that it had a nice range of designs, both fun and more "serious," and I don't think I'll tire of the prints anytime soon, as they have a more "classic" look. For a long time, I considered some of the more modern collections out there, like Laurie Wisbrun's Brrr! (which I still love), but I was afraid I'd tire of them too quickly and be back in this boat again next year, looking to make a new skirt.
For the design, I used this tutorial from Cloud 9 Fabrics, and this one from Sew4Home. The first is actually based on the second, but it tweaks a few things, including splitting each triangle into two fabric sections and changing up the ties. I followed both tweaks.
The first tutorial includes instructions and a pattern for making the triangles from two fabrics, but it doesn't tell you how they added their ties. I just noticed their picture looked different and tried to replicate it because I didn't like the big, thick bows the Sew4Home tutorial used to tie the skirt closed. My method also uses less bias tape and was a lot easier to sew on.
When I got to the point of attaching the binding, I started by attaching a strip it to each side of the "opening." Here, you can leave the ends of the binding raw because they'll be covered in the next steps.
Next, you'll attach the binding around the inner circle. Leave about 11" of bias tape free, then begin attaching the binding to one end of the circle, covering the raw edge of the binding you attached to the side of the opening. Continue around the circle, and when you get to the end, leave another 11" of tape free. Fold under the ends of the two free sections of bias tape, then edge stitch the tape closed from the folded end all the way until you get back to the circle. Ta da! You have your top two ties. Repeat this process to add the binding and ties to the outside edge of the skirt. Note that the Sew4Home tutorial also adds a third tie in the middle. This seemed unnecessary, and I chose to leave it off. (Sorry, I should have taken pictures, but hopefully this is clear enough to anyone who might want to try it. Please leave a comment if you have any questions!)
 I love this little snowman.
Both tutorials suggest using batting and another fabric for the backing, then quilting it as you normally would . Instead, I chose to just use a coordinating fleece for the backing, leaving the batting out altogether. It worked perfectly. I stitched in the ditch along each triangle to keep everything tidy.
 You can see the ties and fleece backing here.
Snowman sighting!
I can't wait to see it under the tree. We're almost ready for Christmas ... now, I just have to finish those stockings!
*So, guilty confession. I've recently been enjoying some very bad ABC Family movies on Netflix Instant Watch. I usually have a movie on while I'm sewing, but since I can't pay close attention, I either watch something I've seen before or don't really care about. On a whim, I decided to watch "12 Dates of Christmas" last week and kind of loved it. It was cheesy, the acting was bad, and it was basically a poor man's "Groundhog's Day" a month and a half earlier, but it was great. While I was finishing up the skirt, I made it through two more ABC Family doozies, "My Fake Fiance" and "Holiday in Handcuffs," both starring Melissa Joan Hart, who, incidentally, I think I've decided I don't really like as an actress. She's always had a fond place in my memories from "Clarissa Explains It All," but that might have been the height of her powers over me. Anyway, I'm glad I got that out there. Is anyone else in this boat with me? Aren't these movies kind of wonderful in their terribleness?


  1. I so wanted Clarissa's wardrobe and bedroom when I was younger. So fabulous.

    If you're working on a project, I think that give you the guilt-free right to watch anything you want on tv.

    1. Kelly, you're so right! I will not feel guilty! Though I have moved on to the slightly less embarrassing Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.


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