Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tree Skirt/Table Topper Tutorial

I fell in love with this Christmas fabric as soon as I saw it.  Riley Blake seems to be coming out with some really cute prints!  I'm a sucker for anything cutesy/whimsical, so these prints just had to come home with me.

I purchased mine from Tammy Tadd's store.  She sells these cute little stacks of 11" squares-she calls them "taddles".  I had a stack of 13 taddles, a fat quarter and a half yard of coordinating prints.  From that, I came up with this tree skirt!  If cutting into a quilt top sounds too daring for you, this would make a great table topper.

You could also use 4 fat quarters for the blocks and a 1/2 yard cut for the border.

For binding, you will need 1/2 yard for double fold binding.  The binding has to be cut on the bias, though, so a yard may be easier to work with.  Single fold binding would actually be the best to work with, but I would still get at least 2/3 or 3/4 yard because it must be cut on the bias.

You will need about a 45" square piece of batting.

The finished top should be about 41" square.  If your backing fabric is 44-45" wide, you will need 1 1/4 yards.  Make sure your backing is wide enough, though.

I used 2 - 1.5" covered buttons to close the tree skirt.  If you want to use smaller buttons, you will have to adjust the size of the button loops in the steps below.

To start with, I cut my fabric into a total of 16 - 8.5"x9.5" pieces

I then cut 2.5"x8.5" strips from the middle of the 8.5"x9.5" pieces.  Make sure that the long edge of these pieces is 8.5", NOT 9.5".  I stacked 2 or 3 pieces at a time to cut, but I wanted the blocks to all look slightly different so I was careful not to cut them all the same.  Where you cut the 2.5" strips from is up to you-just be sure to keep your cuts parallel to the edges of the fabric.
You can see in the picture above that all of my 2.5" strips on the left are the same size.  The other block pieces on the right are varying sizes.

Next piece a 2.5" wide strip to half of the remaining block pieces.

Now find the other piece to the block, and finish it up!

To create the quilt top, I pieced my blocks in a 4x4 pattern.  I also turned every other block so that the strips in my blocks went in alternating directions.  (I don't have a photo of my top before I quilted it, but you can see the pattern in the finished photo below.)

From my 1/2 yard cut, I cut 4 - 4.5"x WOF strips.  If you can't squeeze 4.5" strips from your half yard, just cut them at 4.25" or 4".  In a perfect world, my quilt top would be 32.5" square right now.  Make sure to measure before you trim your border strips, though.  Only cut 2 border strips to size for now.  After they are sewn onto opposite sides of the quilt and the seams are pressed, measure for your other borders.  Trim and add these borders in the same way as before.

Layer your top, batting and backing.  Quilt as desired.  I quilted straight lines, 1/2" apart, all in one direction.

Trim up the quilt so that all of the corners are square and the sides are straight.  I like to use a 12.5" square ruler for my corners and a 24" long ruler to trim my edges.

Now it's time to cut into your quilt!  (If you'd rather make a table topper, all you have left to do is bind your quilt!)  This isn't nearly as scary as it sounds.  I cut my quilt down the middle on one side, which made it easier than if I had chosen to cut from a corner on the diagonal.  I used a cup to mark the center circle, and then I made my straight cut along the seam line. I cut the center circle with scissors and the straight cut with my rotary cutter.  If you choose to cut the top from a corner on the diagonal, you just need to be sure that your cut goes through the block corners.  This will help keep your cut straight.

Your binding needs to be cut on the bias, because the center opening in the tree skirt is round.  I used double fold binding, but single fold would be a lot easier to work with around the center opening.

You will need 6 strips of binding fabric, at whatever width you choose.  Also cut a 2" x 10" piece of the binding fabric.  This will be the button loops, which are applied with the binding.

Sew the binding strips together and press.

To make the button loops, fold the 2" x 10" strip in half with right sides together and sew down the long edge.  Back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
Turn the strip right side out and iron flat.
Trim the piece so that your have 2 pieces, approximately .75" x 5".
Next, fold the strips in half and press the top folds so that they look like this:

Now you will need to pin the button loops the the straight edge that you cut into your quilt.  I placed my first loop 1" down from the center circle, and the next look 6.5" down from that.  These are arbitrary measurements, though, so place them wherever they look best to you!

When the loops are pinned in place, apply your binding!
This is what your loops should look like when they are sewn into the binding:

Now all you have left to do is sew down the binding on the quilt back and sew on the buttons!  I used 1.5" covered buttons, which work great with the large button loops.

The finished tree skirt:

I will have to take some pictures of it under the tree this Christmas.  It will probably look better there than on my driveway! :)


Anna said...

super cute, love those fabrics! :)


how I luv Riley Blake fabric and you are so clever once again.
Hope all is well since your last blog...Did you try the pumpkin soup?
cheers to you all

The Gaertegang Homestead said...

super CUTE!! I am definately making one of these babies!!! I have some Christmas fabric that will be just right!

Lee said...

OMG, thank you! I've been looking for a tree skirt pattern like this, and here it is! I need to finish a Christmas quilt first, and as soon as that's done, I'm totally going to try this with my leftover fabric.

felicity said...

Absolutely adorable tree skirt! (I found you through the quilting tutorials list on Cluck Cluck Sew).

If you didn't want to do a full length of bias binding, you could do just a tiny bit for the hole, and do the rest straight-cut.