Sunday, February 24, 2013

Circle Wedge Tree Skirt, Part 1

We're having another snowstorm today, with another 8-12 inches of wet, heavy snow predicted.  A perfect day to be inside quilting, knitting, and blogging.

I've hardly sewed at all the last week or two, so virtually no progress has been made on my Easy Street mystery. I'm too busy taking classes at my local yarn shop. Homework is required, so I've been very busy knitting--a scarf, a shawlette, a vest, an intarsia pillow, and a pair of socks. I decided to give two socks on two circulars another try, and I'm liking it much better.

Late last year several readers asked where they could find the pattern for the Christmas tree skirts I made for my two sons for Christmas. I took that class online at Quilt University, and one of the readers told me that the woman who authored those lessons passed away. I contacted Carol Miller, owner of QU, and was told that Nyla Morrison did indeed pass away four or five years ago. Because the Fingers of Fire Tree Skirt class is no longer offered at QU, I asked for and received permission to write a blog tutorial for those who were interested.

Circle Wedge Tree Skirt

*** Please read all of the instructions for Parts 1 and 2 before you begin.

These instructions will produce two 50" tree skirts with the fabric order reversed in the second skirt. In the example at left, the white fabric is in the center of one skirt, and the same fabric appears around the outer edge of the second skirt. 

Supplies. The only item required for construction of the tree skirts, other than your normal sewing items, is a 9- or 10-degree circle wedge ruler in a 25" length. 

You can buy a 9-degree ruler directly from Marilyn Doheny, the inventor of the ruler:
Amazon also has them.
I think Amazon also has the 10-degree rulers, and I believe they're less expensive than the 9-degree rulers. 

The directions are the same for either ruler.  

These rulers used to be made by Omnigrid, so my ruler will look a little different from yours, if you have to purchase a new one. 

You will probably have to add sandpaper dots, felt dots, True Grips or something similar to the underside of your ruler to keep it from sliding around when you're cutting out the wedges. True Grips work better than anything else I've tried. If you're unable to find them in your LQS, you can buy them here.

You may also need a walking foot if you plan to quilt your skirt on a domestic sewing machine. 

Choosing Fabric. You can use 6 to 10 fabrics in your tree skirt. I used 9 in the tree skirts I've made. You can use all different fabrics or you can repeat one or more if you wish. Tone on tones and small prints seem to work better than large scale prints. In this photo, I used a medium scale floral with red flowers and white flowers. It appears in the middle of the wedges. I like it, but I wouldn't use a print larger than this. You can decide if you like the effect or if you'd prefer to stick with a smaller scale print. 

I also added a stripe to my fabric set because I thought it was interesting. You can also use washable satin or gold lame, but you might have to back any specialty fabrics with fusible interfacing. 

Yardages and Cutting Requirements. Once you've selected your fabrics, you'll need to choose the order in which they appear in your tree skirt. I found it very helpful to make a fabric layout chart with small pieces of my fabrics taped to a sheet of paper. Next to the fabrics, I annotated how wide to cut my strips. 

You will be cutting 10 identical strips from each of your fabrics, and you'll be sewing 10 identical strip sets. You can choose what widths you'd like to cut your strips, but the width of your strip set must measure at least 19" finished.  

Here are the measurements I used for my tree skirt. If you change the number of fabrics used or the widths of any of the strips from my set of measurements, you will need to recalculate your yardages.

Fabric #1:  3-1/2" finished, cut 10 strips 4" wide, 1-1/4 yard required
Fabric #2:  2" finished, cut 10 strips 2-1/2" wide, 3/4 yard required  
Fabric #3:  1-1/2" finished, cut 10 strips 2" wide, 2/3 yard required
Fabric #4:  1-1/2" finished, cut 10 strips 2" wide, 2/3 yard required
Fabric #5:  2-1/2" finished, cut 10 strips 3" wide, 1 yard required
Fabric #6:  1-1/2" finished, cut 10 strips 2" wide, 2/3 yard required
Fabric #7:  1-1/2" finished, cut 10 strips 2" wide, 2/3 yard required
Fabric #8   2" finished, cut 10 strips 2-1/2" wide, 3/4 yard required
Fabric #9:  3-1/2" finished, cut 10 strips 4" wide, 1-1/4 yard required

In my chart, notice that the total of all the "finished" measurements adds up to 19-1/2", which is fine. Remember, the strip set must measure at least 19" finished. 

The yardage requirements assume a fabric width of 42" across the bolt. If your strips are 40" or shorter, you may need to piece some of your strips to get the correct length. My suggestion is to cut and sew one strip set first and cut out the wedges to see if your strips will be long enough. 

Making the Strip Sets.  To make a strip set, fold one end of your first strip at a 45 degree angle. Place your second strip right sides together, aligning the top edge of Strip 2 with the bottom of the folded end of Strip 1, and sew the length of the seam.

Fold over the top end of Strip 2, add Strip 3 right sides together, and sew the seam. 

Continue adding the remaining strips in the same manner, remembering to fold each of the preceding ends at a 45 degree angle. Because the circle wedge ruler is placed at an angle on the strip sets, staggering the strips in this manner conserves fabric.

Press all the seams in the same direction. Ensure that each strip is pressed out completely and that you don't have a small fold next to the seams. 

Once you have completed your first strip set, make 9 more exactly like the first.  


Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to post these instructions. Love it!

Elisabeth said...

Oh I love the tree skirt you are making and thanks for showing us. I have to try to make one myself :-)


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khartquilt said...

Hello. I just watched the ending of your live Pod-Cast. I love it! Thank you. I will be making one of these tree skirts as soon as it get back from the fabric shop tomorrow.