Inspiring Quilters, Stitch by Stitch
Christmas tree skirts don't have to be round. My appliqued square one was large and lovely, but now we have smaller trees. I made one a round , smaller one recently for a bazaar, and it sold quickly.This tutorial is not about making the top, but more about how to get a nice round center/binding, and how to get the split (access) to come out perfectly even. Pick a cheater fabric like I did, or you can make a patchwork "fabric" out of pieces.
I already cut my circle when unquilted . Take a string on a pencil and draw your circle on the back of fabric, then cut. Mine was 43" diam. (fabric width less selvedge).
Make a sandwich of square backing, batting, ( do NOT cut these round) and the round top fabric, spray baste or pin baste. Then quilt it ,or tack it as I did, at each corner of squares, using a stationery zigzag (like sewing on a button).
Here is the quilted sandwich.
Now flip it over to the back(plain side) where you will do some marking.
Find the center,draw a circle 7" diameter, then draw a straight line from the center to the outside edge(for split). Try to follow a line on the fabric.
You will sew a basting length stitch on the circle mark, and on the straight line.You will be able to see these from the front, and they act to stabilize.
Next, flip it to the front, and with a narrow but long zigzag (if you have it) , stitch around the outer edge of the round fabric. Don't allow any stitching past 1/4" from edge, or it will show after binding.
Prepare your binding. You will need enough bias to go around the outside plus the inner circle, and then on the grain binding for 2 trips up the slit line. I cut mine 2 3/4", fold in half, pressing with starch. I also used a different colour for the slit, as I didn't want it to show up as much.
From the front, line a piece of straight grain binding along the basting line for the split, raw edges to basting stitches.Sew with 1/4" seam allowance. Then go do the same on the other side of the line. NOW you cut up the center of the line, right up into the center circle (by about 3"). Nothing gets stretched , and each side of spit are same length.Turn the binding to the back, and hand stitch to finish off this part. (Or you can baste it and finish later, we just want it out of the way).
Take a piece of bias binding, and leaving a 1/2" tail, line up the raw edge to the basting line of inner circle. You will be stitching OUTSIDE of the basting line here, so line up accordingly. Stitch the binding while gently stretching it as you stitch with 1/4" seam allowance, end and start at the cut, and leave a 1/2" tail at both ends (to tuck under later).
Now you can safely trim the center fabric away, cutting 1/4 " away from the stitching line. Don't cut those binding tails! I may note here that some may prefer a 3/8" seam allowance, and that will work the same, just sub. 3/8" for 1/4" in the instructions. (The 2 3/4" width cut of binding will work for both.)
For the outer circle, line up the raw edge of bias binding to raw edge of top fabric, again leaving a 1/2" tail. Starting and ending at the split, stitch the binding to the tree skirt, but this time DO NOT stretch the binding, but rather, leave it to feed in as loosely as possible. This is because on an outside curve, the binding needs to stretch near its fold, not the stitch line. We don't want it to "cup". Remember to leave a 1/2" tail at the end.
Trim away excess fabric/batting 1/4" away from stitch line, but not the binding tails. Finish off the binding, folding under the tails before turning back the binding to give it a neat finish.