Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guest Post: The Petite Sewist- Pleated Christmas Tree Skirt

Hello, Mommy by Day, Crafter by Night readers!  I am very excited to be here today.   My name is Stephanie, from The Petite Sewist.   A big thank you to, Ashley, for letting me be here today.  My love of sewing has grown out of the desire to wear things that fit me.  Any of you ladies who are not an off-the-rack size understand how frustrating it is to have curves, or the lack of curves, in different places.  I believe that the ill-fitting garment - not the woman - is the problem.  I love to blog about petite-size sewing, style, and home decor.  

Today I am here to share with you my latest Christmas craft, a pleated tree skirt.  My husband and I are newlyweds and we don't have a lot of Christmas decor.  I wanted my tree skirt to be inexpensive, stylish and fun, but still give the main emphasis to the tree.

You will need:
3 7/8 yards muslin fabric
1/6 yard red fabric or 2- 2"x20" strips
4 yards red trim
1 yard red 1/2" double fold bias tape

To draft the pattern you will need:
tracing paper
long ruler

This finished tree skirt radius is 23".  If you want your skirt to be bigger or smaller, you will need to adjust your pattern accordingly. 

To make the tree skirt piece, take your tracing paper and draw a right angle 21.5" tall and 21.5" long.  Now, connect the far edges of the two lines together with a curve.  Each part of the curve needs to be 21.5" distance from the corner.  I did this by lining up my ruler at the corner at 0" and move it at different angles, marking the distance at 21.5" on the paper.

Now, mark another curve, this time 2.5" away from the right angle.  Cut out your pattern.  Discard the 'donut hole'.  Essentially, this is 1/4 of the circle tree skirt. 

To cut out your pattern, first lay out the muslin, folded.  Place your pattern on the fold so the donut hole is facing the fold.  Cut out the outer and inner curved lines but DO NOT cut out the straight line that is perpendicular to the fold line.  Instead, flip the pattern over like a mirror-image and cut on the curved lines again.  Now, holding only the top layer of fabric, cut on the straight line.  

When you unfold your tree skirt, you should have an entire circle with a donut hole, and a slit on one side.  Cut a second tree skirt piece the same way.

Next, cut out your fabric strips.  They will become your pleats.  Place the muslin on the cutting mat and cut strips 5" tall from selvage to selvage (on the crosswise grain).  You will need 6 and 1/2 strips for 42" wide fabric.

Sew the strips, right sides together, into a long chain and press open with iron.
Fold the strip in half, lengthwise, with wrong sides together.  Press.

Mark every 2" along the folded strip. Pinch the fabric at the second line from the right and match it up with the first line. Pin. Continue down the line to the end.

Iron the pleats in place.

Baste the pleat strip together  3/8" inch from raw edge. 

Pin your tree skirt pieces right sides together at the inner circle.  Stitch 1/2" from edge, then clip up to seam allowance around the curve.

Place your pleats between the outer curved edge of the two layers of the tree skirt (which are still right sides together) so that all of the raw edges match up.  As you can see, the pleats are pointing inward.  Stitch all the way around the edge 1/2" from the edge.

Turn your tree skirt right sides out and iron the inner curve flat.  Topstitch the inner curve 1/8" from the edge.  At the outer curve, pull the pleats away from the seam as you iron.
Sew the trim.

Using your rotary cutter, cut 2- 2"x20" strips of red fabric.  I used red twill, leftover from a skirt project.  Using the iron, press the strips in half, lengthwise.  Open them up and fold the edges in 3/8".  This is your binding.

Fit your binding to each of the tree skirt slit edges.  Make sure you fold the edges of the binding in at each edge.  Sew in a 'U', as shown below, to finish all the edges of the binding.

Cut your red bias tape in half.  Fold one edge of each piece inside, about 1/2". 

Stitch near the folded edge, then turn the corner and stitch all the way down to the end.  
Secure the unfinished end to the top of the tree skirt opening: place the unfinished bias tape edge to the top of the bottom side of the tree skirt and sew a square on top.

Place your finished tree skirt around the tree and secure with ties at the base.  Stand back and admire your hard work!

I would love it if you stopped by The Petite Sewist to say 'hello' and let me know if you make your own version of my tree skirt.
Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy!

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Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great day!
xoxo, Ashley