Completing the Tree Skirt

Continuing to use the old tree skirt as a template, I laid out the old tree skirt on top of the new. I outlined the center circle. Then, using a ruler, drew the outer circle 2 inches larger than the old tree skirt (giving myself a little room for shrinkage). I should have figured out where the opening for the tree skirt would be, but I forgot to do this until I was almost done with the quilting.

MarkCircle

I then made a quilt sandwich. I like to spray baste. If you’ve never tried it, this is a great tutorial from Chasing Cottons.

I always hem and haw over how to quilt a quilt. I like dense quilting, but my home machine is not really free-motion friendly. So I need to moderate myself a little so I don’t get too frustrated. I decided to echo the triangles of the trees, then fill in some of the extra space with stars. I used a ruler to outline these.

CuttingOpening

Next was the decision of how to keep the opening closed. I’ve seen buttons and ribbons, but decided to go with Velcro. I made three Velcro tabs. I attached the Velcro tabs to one side of the opening. Then marked the opposite side with the corresponding Velcro and sewed them on.

Finally, attaching the binding! This is definitely the time to use bias binding.

Binding

Take the time to pin the binding in the center circle. Man, that was frustrating to sew!

PinCircle

And hand sew the back of the binding.

handsewBinding

And let me point out two mistakes in my rush to finish, which you can see in the above photo:

The binding fabric is a diagonal pattern and I folded the fabric in half when I was cutting the 2.5 inch strips (as I normally do). I did not realize until the end that folding the fabric was the wrong thing to do. So there is a segment of the binding that is not stripes.

Also, I did not purchase enough of the backing fabric. So I found another Laurie Wisbrun fabric in my stash (leftover from a bag). Love that the greens match. This is not really a mistake as the back of the tree skirt will not really be seen. However, I had hoped not to have to piece the backing.

And here’s what I love about quilting. Although this tree skirt is not perfect, the finished product looks fabulous!

Finished

The kids will be happy that we can put up our tree now!

Tree Skirt Piecing

Getting close to finishing!

The next part is piecing everything together. I started by finding my old tree skirt to use as a template. I then started to lay out all the blocks. Trees first, then stars. Rearranging to find the right combination.

Layout

I then started sewing sections together – a tree with 2 or 3 stars. I ended up cutting strips of background fabric at 2 (or 2.5), 4, and 5 inches wide. Sew two pieces together, press, and trim. Then lay it out to see how it looks and figure out the next pieces to sew.

SectionPiecing

This is the time consuming part, as I didn’t really have a plan of how to sew them together.

I got four sections sewn together and realized that it was going to be really frustrating to figure out how to sew the 5 sections together. I decided to simplify and took away one tree, then rearranged the stars to make it look even. I will use the extra tree and stars in smaller projects – maybe some coasters or a center piece for our table. I also got out my seam ripper and reused as much of the background fabric as possible.

SectionPiecing2

Very happy with the finished top!

FinishedTop

Wonky Star

This wonky star was the trickiest to design for me. I tried out a couple of versions.

The basic concept of a wonky star is a 9-patch layout, 8 of the squares are background and the center is the focus fabric. On 4 of the background squares you sew 2 of the focus fabrics from two opposite sides to the bottom center.WonkyStar_construction

So it turns out something like this.

WonkyStar

I decided to make mine a little more wonky – none of the 9 patch squares are the same size.

I also tried a wonky star with a mixture of paper-pieced points with the normal wonky star.

WonkyStar2

And a conglomeration of finished wonky stars.

WonkyStar_finished1

WonkyStar_finished2

That last one came about because I wasn’t too in love with the gray mix of paper-pieced and wonky, but I already made the points. So I just put it together without the center strip. Looks pretty cool.

Swirling Star

The inspiration for this star was from a table runner in a Connecting Threads catalogue. I cut out the picture a long time ago and wished I had saved the pattern information as well. This is a bit more complicated, especially because of its small size.

I started with the HST – 2.5 inch squares, 1 red and 1 white. I drew a line from corner to corner on the back of the white square. Then placed the red and white squares right sides together and sewed a quarter inch on either side of the line. I then cut on the line and pressed and trimed to 2 inch squares.

SwirlingStar_HST

I then cut out two, 2 inch red squares and drew a line from corner to corner on the back. I place one red square RST with one of the HST squares. The line I drew crossed the seam (perpendicular) on the HST. Once again sewed a quarter inch on either side of the line, cut on the line, pressed and trimed off the dog ears.

SwirlingStar_QST

I then cut out four, 1.25 x 1.75 inch rectangles of the background fabric and one, 1 inch square for the center.

Here’s the layout of the block.

SwirlingStar_initialLayout

Next, I sewed one background piece to one side of the QST and laid out the block again. SwirlingStar_Layout2

Then I attached one side to the center square, lining up the QST side to the right side of the center square. I only sewed about a half inch on this side.

Working clockwise, I attached the second and third side; lining up the QST side to the right edge of the center block. I sewed the entire seam. Pressed and trimmed (where needed).

SwirlingStar_sies

When attaching the fourth side pin the first side down and out of the way. Sew the entire fourth side seam.

Now comes the tricky part – sewing the first and fourth sides together. Use pins so the seam lays flat. Press and trim.SwirlingStar_lastSide

This block finishes at 3.5 inches square.

SwirlingStar_finished