craft, holiday

Handprint Christmas Tree Skirt

under the tree

I was so excited when this bundle of awesomeness arrived from Michael Miller Fabrics a few weeks ago, and couldn’t wait to get started on my tree skirt.

fabric is here

What you’ll need:

9 fat quarters
4 – 1/2 yard pieces for yo-yo’s and handprint borders
buttons – approximately 80
1/2 yard solid fabric
1/2 yard for binding
1 2/3 yard for back plus an 11″ x 60″ strip of fabric
3/4 yard of ric-rac or ribbon (cut into 9″ pieces)
acrylic paint to match
something round to cut yo-yo’s
marking pen
tape measure
basic sewing supplies – sewing machine, scissors, thread, pin

I started by making my yo-yo’s. Trace circles on your fabric and cut them out. I used a 4 1/2″diameter circle for my yo-yo’s, and you’ll need to make 80.  I have a set of templates from Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circles that made it very easy to trace, but any round object you have in your house will work. The number of yo-yo’s you need may change slightly if you use smaller or larger circles for your yo-yo’s.

circles 2

buttons and yoyos

Make your yo-yo’s, then sew a button in the middle. Any buttons that were too small were layered with another button. Put your yo-yo’s in a bag until the tree skirt is made.

yoyos

Determine fabric placement for the top of your tree skirt. I put the fat quarters on my floor and played with them until I was happy with how they looked. Once you know where you want your fabrics, cut the center block 18 1/2″ square. Sew three rows of three fat quarters, then sew the rows together. The two outer rows won’t match corners with your center block. That’s okay.

To make the bottom of your tree skirt, start by trimming the selvedge off one side of the 1 2/3 yard piece. Sew the 11″ strip to the 1 2/3 yard piece to make a 60″ x approximately 56″ square (can vary depending on WOF).

Place the bottom of the tree skirt to the floor with the right side DOWN. Use some masking tape to secure it, then place the top of the tree skirt over the bottom piece with the right side UP.

top and bottom

Find the center of the center block, and mark it. Once you have the center, measure 4 1/2″ from it in each direction, working your way around and making a circle. I used chalk, but a pencil works better.

middle

Measure 26″ from the center in every direction to make your outer circle.

outer circle

Once you have your circles measured, pin, pin, pin! It is important to pin like crazy so you don’t get any wave in the top or bottom pieces. Once you’ve pinned the circle, draw straight lines from the inner circle to the outer circle to make your opening. I played with it until I found angles and opening sizes that I liked. You can also grab an old tree skirt and use it as your pattern. Baste the pieces together with a scant 1/4″ seam.

baste

Once you’ve basted the top and bottom together, cut off the excess fabric.

cut

cut 2

I chose to attach my pieces with bias binding, but you can finish it any way you’d like: sew the pieces together, serge the edges, add a ruffle, add decorative trim – the possibilities are endless.

bind

Attach the binding, or finish the edges however you’d like, then sew on the yo-yo’s. Be sure to pull out any basting stitches that peek out.

tack it

Cut 6″ x 7″ rectangles from the solid fabric and cut 2″ strips of fabric to border the handprint blocks. Sew the border print to the solid block, then iron the border piece in half to the wrong side. I didn’t want a huge border, and if you iron the fabric back it’s easier to attach to the tree skirt.

squares2

Use ric rac or ribbon to secure the tree skirt together while it’s under your tree. I tacked a piece of ric rac three inches, and about halfway down, on each side of the tree skirt. Ideally you’d attach the ric rac before you bind or finish the edges, but I forgot, and since this is used once a year I decided it’s alright. I stitched in the ditch to make my error less noticeable.

ricrac1

Sew the blocks you’ll use for the handprints to the tree skirt.  I tacked them down in each corner and the middle of each side so I can re-position the blocks as the years pass. Once they are in place, put acrylic paint on little hands and make your mark. If your kids are really small, it may be easier (better, less messy) to work with paint before putting the handprint blocks on the tree skirt. You can leave some of the blocks blank and add a handprint each year. You could also add photos, or generally embellish however you’d like. Just have fun!

voila 2

Merry Christmas, y’all!

 

applique, quilt

More Japanese Taupe Applique

Blocks three and four (from this book) are complete except for some embroidery. I don’t have the correct color perle cotton and need to order that from here. If I’m lucky I’ll accomplish that in the next day or two. Fingers crossed (sigh). I was planning to mix pieced and appliqued blocks but I love the applique so much that I think I’ll just stick to that.

All in all the blocks have turned out really well – including the 1/4″ bias tape that I made AND the 5/8″ wide yo-yo’s (and quite frankly, it’s kind of fun to make such itty bitty yo-yo’s!).

craft, misc, sewing

Handprint Christmas Tree Skirt

I worked my fingers to the bones. Okay, well, not to the bones, but I put in a lot of hours in on this tree skirt.  I figured out that I spent something like three or four minutes per yo-yo (making it, attaching the button then attaching to the tree skirt). And there were 100 yo-yo’s. That’s a lot of minutes. The tree skirt was a HUGE success though, and worth every minute I put into it.  The auction was a blast and the tree skirt sold for a pretty penny, which makes me happy. The tree skirt went to a friend of mine and I know it will be well loved for years to come. That’s the reward for me.

For anyone wondering, and on the off chance you want to make one, here are the instructions.

I began with nine fat quarters and, basically, made a gigantic nine patch. I started with an 18 1/2″ center. I decided that the tree skirt would look more symmetrical if the center was square. I added a fat quarter to each side of my green center,  then took three more fat quarters and stitched them together along the short side (the 18″ side) to make a side panel. I repeated this to make two side panels.  After the side panels were made I attached them to the center panel. Note that the side panels will be larger than the center panel since the center piece was cut smaller.

Then I assembled the back. I started with 1 2/3 yard of fabric. I cut off the selvedges and stitched a 10″ x 60″ strip to each side of the main fabric. I placed the top over the bottom, wrong sides together.

To make sure I accurately cut the center and opening of the tree skirt I found the center of the green square by drawing a line 9″ from each side.  I then used my blue chalk marker and drew an approximation of the circle size and opening I wanted. I made a few measurements then determined I should have a 4 1/2″ radius for the circle – meaning I marked a 4 1/2″ spot all the way around the center of the square to get a 9″ opening. You could also use a plate or other round object – this just worked for me. I drew the opening lines using a ruler.  I then decided to use a 23″ radius for the outer portion of the tree skirt and made those marks. Then pin, pin, pinned the heck out of the thing.

After the pinning madness I stay-stitched a quarter inch around the center opening (or something like that), along the sides and around the bottom of the skirt.  I didn’t want the tree skirt to stretch while I was sewing on the binding. Next steps- sew on the bias binding, attach the yo-yo’s and stitch down the handprints.

ps- Worth noting is that the buttons in the center of the yo-yo’s were a variety of sizes and colors. Blue, purple, turquoise and black buttons gave the tree skirt a little zip! Enjoy!