Many of us, not only retirees and singles, are downsizing our Christmas trees and a smaller tree requires a smaller tree skirt. This one uses minimal amounts of Christmas fabric, sews up quickly and is 36 inches in diameter
.8 metre green fabric 1 metre red fabric
.5 metre cream OR white fabric Thin batting Backing fabric
Cut 3.5-inch strips crosswise from each fabric (7 green, 4 red, 4 white). The tree skirt top can be pieced square by square or by using a time-saving strip-piecing technique described below.
If piecing square by square, cut these strips crosswise again into 3.5-inch squares. Lay out and piece as per Figure 1.
If strip piecing, sew 4 strips together lengthwise, white/green/ red/white.
Press seam allowances together and toward the darker fabrics. Pressing tip: Laying this strip set across your ironing board rather than lengthwise will help ensure that the strips stay straight and prevent bowing. Recut this strip set crosswise into 3.5-inch “slices.” Lay out and piece as per Figure 1. You will have to “reverse sew” (that is, pick out a bit) and piece some “filler” units to create the rows with the right colour sequence but sewing these initial strip sets will save time over all.
Sew rows together, pressing seam allowances together and to the right for the first row, to the left for the second row, to the right for the third and so on. Doing so will ensure that when next you sew your rows together, the squares will fit together perfectly. The finished tree skirt top will be 12 squares by 12 squares with the colours forming diagonal lines. Layer with a thin cotton batting and backing fabric. Pin baste. Machine quilt. I used a dark-gold machine-quilting thread and simply machine quilted a diagonal line through the light squares and 1/8 inch from the seams on the green squares.
CUTTING INTO A CIRCLE:
Tie a sharpened pencil to both ends of a 20-inch-long piece of string. Place the point of one pencil in the centre of the quilt and adjust the knot so the point of the second pencil is at the edge of the quilt. Using the pencils and string as a compass, draw a circle. Trim off the corners following your drawn line.
Use a small dessert bowl or lid to mark the centre circle and again, cut on the line. Cut along one seam to form the opening of the tree skirt. Bind all edges as you would a larger quilt. You will be binding a curved edge so be sure to cut the binding on the bias. Binding may be cut from the remaining red fabric. I prefer a double-fold binding, cutting my binding strips 1-7/8 inches wide. I also prefer mitred corners to squared corners. Depending on your choice of backing fabric, this tree skirt could be reversible.
Ruth Bergen Braun writes from Lethbridge, Alberta