Introduction: How to Make a Tree Skirt
I am trying my hardest to not be a grinch this year. I bought a little tree, some lights, and some ornaments and set it up in our living room. But then I realized it looked a little naked on the bottom - I needed a tree skirt! :)
Making a tree skirt is super easy to do and you can make one in any size! You can sew it or use fabric glue - whatever is easiest for you. I did a mix of both since I plan on using it over and over. The tree skirt can also be made from all kinds of fabric - I made mine from quilting cotton since I have lots on hand, but I think it would be lovely in felt, fleece or linen!
Step 1: Supplies
- fabric of choice (cotton, linen, felt, fleece)
- bias tape (I'm using 1/4 inch tape, but for a larger skirt it should be wider!)
- fabric glue
- needle and thread OR sewing machine
- measuring tape
- pen or pencil for marking fabric
If you're not the best at sewing or want to get this done quick, you can easily make this no-sew by employing a hot glue gun or fabric glue. If you go the fabric glue route, I really recommend Beacon Fabri-Tac. I've used other fabric glues and they just don't hold up - but Fabri-Tac is wonderful. Dries and adheres quickly and stays nice and strong even after washing!
Step 2: How to Determine the Size
This is all up to personal preference. You can make it as big or little as you want, honestly.
Get out your tree stand (or even put the tree up for better reference) and measure how wide it is. My stand was about 10 inches wide, so I decided to double that and cut a square of fabric that was 20x20 inches.
If your stand is tiny but your tree is large, you might want to use the bottom of the tree as the measurement.
You will always want to double the measurement - because we'll be trimming off the corners of the initial square, you'll lose a little width later on.
Step 3: Fold, Mark and Cut
Press your fabric if needed. Fold in half and then in half again.
On the inner folded corner, you'll mark the inside circle. You want this to be pretty small in most cases. Make it a little bigger than the trunk of your tree - the curve you draw here will be roughly 1/4 of the size of the trunk.
Now you'll draw a curve along the outer corners - the rough edges. I find it's easiest to take a piece of string that's the width of the folded square and pin it to the very edge of the inner corner. Move the string from one corner to the other, marking the curve with a pen as you go.
Cut along each of the lines.
Unfold the skirt and choose one of the fold lines. Cut 1/4 inch away on each side from the line, going from the outer edge to the inner edge. (See photos 3 & 4 for more info)
Step 4: Apply Binding to the Outside Edge of the Tree Skirt
You might want to press the binding before this - otherwise it'll have some kinks.
If you've never worked with binding before, have a look an another of my instructables! It's explained in much more depth there.
Pin the binding as shown all around the edges and then sew it on using the fold line nearest the edge as you guide. Just sew on that line and it'll turn out great. Once you've sewn along the fold line, make sure all the pins are removed and then fold the bias tape over the raw edge and stitch it into place. Trim off any excess from the ends.
Step 5: (optional) Gathering the Middle
I like to lightly gather the middle of the skirt. I think it looks nicer and lays better. To do this, I stitched quickly along the inner circle using a running stitch. Pull the thread tight after you get to the end and keep pulling until the fabric is gathered enough. Make a few small stitches and then knot the thread to make sure you don't lose your gathers.
Just make sure you don't gather it too much - gathering will make it smaller!
Step 6: Applying Binding to the Straight Edges + Finishing the Middle
Cut the binding so that it slightly overlaps the outside edge by a half inch or so, as shown in the second photo. Sew it on using the fold line as a guide like we did before.
Once you flip the binding over to stitch it the second time, fold over the end of the bias tape onto itself and stitch it that way. That will give you a nice corner with no rough edges.
You can sew on the bias tape around the inner circle if your tree skirt it large, but if it's small like mine it's much easier to glue it on. Before gluing or sewing, check to make sure that your gathers are nice and even. When using glue, you don't need to open the bias tape all the way - just unfold it once and glue half along the top and then flip the skirt over and repeat on the other side.
Step 7: Ta-da!
Now you've got a finished skirt!
As this point, you can attach all sorts of fasteners, but I like to leave mine open and just overlap it. (See the second photo!) I mostly do it that way because I like to put the lights + the plug underneath it to hide them and also make the skirt glow nicely at night. Not recommend for all day use, of course, but if you only turn it on when you're home it should be fine. :D
I do like the look of buttons or ties made from ribbon, though!
Step 8: Final Thoughts
As I was sewing this tree skirt I thought of tons of other ways to do it. I might need to do it an entirely different way next year! This version could easily be turned into a no-sew version by using fleece and a hot glue gun, or even by using a lighter fabric and lots of fabric glue.
You can also do things like glue or sew ruffled fabric onto a plain base, make a patchwork base, douse it in glitter, etc.
There's really no end to all the things you can do to personalize it. :D