I was brought up in Africa (Zambia, since you ask!) so my childhood memories of Christmas are of sunbathing and long, cool drinks. However, it didn’t take me long to adapt to the cosy English Christmas of log fires, mulled wine and wishing for snow. Funnily enough, even with all the sun, we used to stick to as many of the traditions of Christmas as possible – including roast turkey with all the trimmings. Thinking back, it must have been unbearably hot in the kitchen, but I think we put up with it because Christmas wouldn’t have been the same without the full Christmas meal.
And, of course, we always had a skirt around the Christmas tree. Even the Christmas trees were the same, now I come to think of it, although pine trees are more usually found in cold climates. From which you will have gathered that this month’s project is a Christmas tree skirt. I have made a half skirt, working on the assumption that most Christmas trees are placed against a wall. If you would prefer to make a full skirt, just do twice as much of everything.
1/2 yard each of red, green and white fabric
32″ by 62″ rectangle of wadding and backing fabric.
Making the panels of the Christmas tree skirt
Trim the edges of all three fabrics to make sure they are square. cut the green fabric in half along the fold so that you have two green rectangles each 22″ by 18″. Cut four 3″ strips of both red and white, all 22″ long (cutting across the width will give you two 22″ strips). attach a strip of white at the top and bottom of each green rectangle, along the 22″ edge. Then add the red strips above and below the white strips.
Working from the left hand edge, mark 1.1/2″ intervals across the red fabric both at top and at bottom. It is best to measure from the edge each time rather than just adding 1.1/2″, so that any mistakes will be noticed straight away. I also drew a line across the middle of the green fabric and made the same 1.1/2″ markings on it as my ruler is not long enough to draw a complete line from top to bottom of the fabric panel.
Beginning in the bottom left hand corner, draw a line to the first mark on the centre (1.1/2″) and then continue that line to the second mark on the top of the fabric (3″). Then draw the line down to the centre at 4.1/2″ and continue down to the bottom at 6″. Continue across the fabric so that you end up with markings for three triangles with a half size triangle at each end.
Repeat with the other panel of fabric and cut out the triangles. You should now have six triangles and four half size triangles for the Christmas tree skirt.
Cut six 2″ strips of the white fabric across the width of fabric. Cut a 28″ length from each strip (save the rest to be used as binding). Sew together two triangles with the white strip between them – the tip of one triangle against the base of the other triangle.
Cut up the length of the middle of the white strip so that each triangle is attached to a 1″ strip of white fabric.
I found that the easiest way to do this was to place the edges of the triangles together. The white strip down the middle folds naturally in half and then you can snip up the fold.
The top of the triangle is too thin to be attached properly, but don’t worry because these bits will be trimmed to give a rounded edge to the top of the Christmas tree skirt.
Assembling the Christmas tree skirt
Place all the triangles together side by side and attach them to each so that there is a white strip between each pair of triangles. To give a little more width to the Christmas tree skirt (and to use up the scraps because I hate waste) I sewed together the half size triangles to make full triangles and attached one at each end of the Christmas tree skirt. These will be tucked away near the wall.
If you wish to make a full round Christmas tree skirt, you would just add the same number of full triangles again to give a full round.
Finishing the Christmas tree skirt
Trim the top edge of the Christmas tree skirt to a gentle curve. Press. Lay the backing fabric right side down, smooth and lay the wadding on top. Smooth again and lay the patchwork panel on top.
Pin and baste.
To quilt the layers together I stitched just to the side of all the seams and then quilted a few stars in the white strips of fabric – this is the most visible section of the Christmas tree skirt.
Baste all round the edge and bind the Christmas tree skirt with 2″ strips. I sed alternating strips of red and white which were meant to give a candy stripe effect, but I should have used shorter strips to give that effect fully.
Making the ties for the Christmas tree skirt
There now just remains the ties to hold the Christmas tree skirt in place. Take two strips of red fabric 12″ by 2″. Fold in all the raw edges to the wrong side of the fabric. Then fold the whole strip in half along its length.
Sew the length of the strips. Tuck in the ends of the ties and hand sew them to the top corners of the Christmas tree skirt, which is now complete.