I intended to make a tutorial on how to make the grain sack tree skirt under our family room tree and it started out that way, but things went south about 1/3 of the way through.
It may surprise you (or not) to know that I don’t usually have a plan when I make something. Not a detailed plan, anyway. I know what I want to make and I have a general idea how to make it and then I trust in my ability to wing-it. I tend to be an optimist when it comes to DIY, which often works in my favor, but can sometimes get me in trouble.
It’s hard to get into too much trouble with a tree skirt, so I decided to fly by the seat of my pants and started cutting fabric. I knew I didn’t have enough of the the antique hemp toweling I wanted to use, so I picked out a roll of plain hemp linen that complimented it. Both lengths (the striped toweling and the plain) were 16″ wide. I started with the blue striped, since I knew I would use all of it. I cut it into 32″ lengths. The fabric I was working with already had a crease down the center, so I used that as the center point for a triangle.
I used a yard stick as a straight edge and drew a pencil line from the top center to each of the bottom corners.
…and cut out the triangle.
I didn’t want to waste any of this antique fabric, so I used the two smaller scrap triangles to make another large triangle. I just put the right sides together and stitched along the straight edge.
This is where the process pictures stop. I will say that I wish we had a video of Kirste and I doing the geometry to figure out how many wedges we needed to make a complete skirt. We actually got to pull pi out of the math arsenal and were patting ourselves on the back for being so clever. The math told us we should make the plain wedges half the size of the blue striped wedges to have enough for a full circle, so that’s what we did.
Well, we ended up two wedges short.
My geometry teacher would shake his head. Actually, he’d probably say, “Yep. That’s Marian.”
Kriste and I laughed and I actually said, “I’m not sure how this happened! The math was so sound.”
It worked out fine, though. I cut two more large wedges out of the plain hemp fabric to finish the skirt. I left a slit where the two larger plain wedges met and also cut out a hole for the trunk.
Then I left it alone for a few days. I kept looking at it, thinking. This is where winging it can slow me down. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to line it…maybe stitch along the seams to connect the two layers? I’m not a precise seamstress, so the skirt didn’t lay flat and I didn’t think lining it would be very successful. But what about the edges? I knew I wanted to add a ruffle, but I wasn’t sure what kind or how. After giving it a lot of thought and running my fingers over different fabric options, I decided to sew a ruffled border that would hide the raw edges.
I cut some lighter weight antique hemp linen into 2″ strips and sewed it around the edges, gathering and ruffling as I went, stitching it straight down the middle of the ruffle. This fabric hardly frays at all, so I was able to leave the edges raw. I liked the look so much, that I did the same around the opening for the tree trunk.
Lastly, I stitched on eight twill ribbon ties (lining them up to make four bows) and trimmed all of the loose threads.
My wonky stitching actually worked to my advantage and it lays nicely over the tree stand and allowed for a little overlap where the ties meet.
All of the tree skirts I’ve had have been store-bought or made for a freelance tutorial. This is the first one I’ve made just for us and it’s my favorite.