Christmas Tree Skirt


Christmas Tree Skirt 2014
Quilt #141 on the 200 Quilts List
(Post updated August 2019)

Comparing oldnew Christmas Tree Skirt

Here I laid out the old Christmas Tree Skirt on top of the new one;  it was made in the early 1970s out of pre-quilted fabric with a tricot backing, and homemade bias tape.

Christmas Tree Skirt wo Binding

I was inspired by Betty’s skirt that she made last year, as well as others.  The original inspiration was a tree skirt from Fat Quarterly 2013, but since I didn’t have a pattern and it was all proportional squares, triangles and rectangles, I just started cutting. Here I’ve laid an embroidery hoop so I could judge how the center circle would look.  It took me about two days to get all the houses and trees arranged, partly because I wanted to use my stash and it that necessitated some color and value balancing.  I have a piece of fabric from my first quilt in here, as well as some scraps from dirndls made from German fabric (which I love).  I even have scraps of fabric from cotton I’d purchased in Rome, Italy some 14 years ago, as well as some Japanese fabrics, also purchased on a trip.  Build your stash, everyone.  It’s a fun place to visit.


Fuse a series of fun fabrics to Steam a Seam II.  I cut everything a bit larger, then trimmed to make sure the fusing covered the back completely.

  • Basic skirt circle: 52″ diameter (piece some white cotton fabric to allow for this dimension of circle)
  • Center hole is a traced 6″ circle embroidery hoop.
  • Tall Skinny House: 9″ tall by 3.5″ wide
  • Pointed triangle roof is 6.6″ wide and 4.5″ high.  Follow the basic directions for tall Christmas Trees to cut yourself a wonky triangle.
  • Two-story house, short: 7″ tall by 6″ wide
  • Two-story house, taller: 9″ tall by 7″ wide
  • Trapezoidal Roof measures 8″ across the bottom, 3″ across the top and is 3″ high.  So, cut a rectangle 8″ by 3″ and fold in half.  From the outside lower corner, draw a line so it ends 1.5″ from the fold.  Cut that section off and you’ll have the roof.
  • Pointed Roof for two-story house measures 7″ wide by 4″ tall.
  • Tall Christmas Trees: Cut a rectangle 7″ tall by 4″ wide.  Fold in half lengthwise, and cut from lower outside corner to the center fold at the top, making a Christmas Tree shape.
  • Medium Christmas Trees: 6″ tall by 4.5″ wide (cut as above)
  • Stacked Christmas Trees are formed the same, but the dimensions are 3.5″ tall and 3″ wide.
  • Christmas Tree Trunks are 3.5″ tall by 1″ wide…but some are shorter (like 1.5″ tall).  Cut them to your liking.
  • Wonky-cut stars (Do a search for a 2″ pattern online; trace the outlines onto fused fabric, then cut).  —-> Or use this one: 5-sided-stars    <——

Use my photograph at the top of this post to plan and map our your pieces, but cut some different dimensions if that’s what you like (like making a shorter, skinny house).

WARNING:  Prewash your reds!!!  I did them once with Dye Catcher Sheets.  I should have done it three times, so my tree skirt suffered.  We still use the tree skirt, as the discoloration is up near the binding in the center circle, but I wish I’d washed them more than once.  Now we call it Christmas Tree Skirt at Sunset.

Deciding on Binding

I thought I’d use a large red/white dot for the binding, but when I cut it on the bias, I got this effect.   So I went with a narrower stripe than the one shown, cutting it on the bias so it would go around the curves.  I pieced it, then folded it in half, then sewed it to the back and topstitched it to the front.  A trick I learned in Clothing and Textiles in college was to press a curve into the bias tape.  It went on like a charm.

Christmas Tree Skirt 2014_detail1

In working on this, I zipped through two books and am in the middle of one more.  The two I couldn’t wait to listen to were both Inspector Gamache mysteries, set in Canada. One was titled Still Life and the other was titled A Fatal Grace, both by Louise Penny.  And I’m halfway through The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.  Fitting, isn’t it?

Christmas Tree 2014 w new skirtWe finally finished decorating the tree, and I’m enjoying the new tree skirt!

 Bobbin Statistic: 5 (in other words, how many bobbins it took to get this thing quilted)
Quilting: First I stitched through the quilt sandwich on the raw-edges of all the house and tree shapes, letting it be slightly wonky as I went.  Then the top-stitching on the stars.  I switched to white thread and did a loose, large meandering quilting around all the shapes.

23 thoughts on “Christmas Tree Skirt

  1. I’m so out of touch with Christmas decorating. Haven’t done it at all for six years now. Our children don’t come home (they have little ones too small for traveling a long distance), so there’s no need to decorate. In one way, I’m glad about not needing to go to all the work to pull out stuff and put on a show, but on the other hand, I miss seeing those long-saved ornaments, and, particularly, getting together with family. I’m trying very hard not to feel sorry for myself to be spending a completely alone Christmas with only my hubby. It will be so quiet… especially knowing that five grandchildren are having happy times without us. I’ve been listening to LOTS of audiobooks while I sew. I’ve recently finished the “Selection” series, three books by Kiera Cass, that I can only rave about. I’ve also latched into “Serial” podcasts which are totally fascinating, especially as I’ve learned they’re based on a true court case! I heartily recommend Seria! Blessings, Elizabeth

    1. I haven’t decorated for years, because always end up travelling to family for the holidays. This year, I’m finally putting up the tree. Don’t worry, it won’t be long before your grand kids will be joining you for Xmas and you will have all the fun and mess again 🙂

  2. Your Christmas Tree skirt is beautiful! I love how it looks under the tree! You were right to stick with the stripey binding too! This will bring you joy for many years, I sure! And it is worthy of being called Quilt #141!! (Have you really made another 140 quilts? And do you have photos of them all?)

  3. Oh Elizabeth, this is so amazing! The stripe binding is perfect. Your grandkids are going to love it. It looks absolutely amazing under your tree.

  4. Stellar job, Elizabeth! Since the 2 I’ve made were actually a commission and a gift, maybe it’s time for me to, finally, make one for myself! Love, love all your choices and it looks so good under the tree.

  5. What makes it not a quilt? Nothing that I can see. And it is a fun one. I love houses and villages and shops and trees and stars and stuff, especially at this time of year. And if you’re shy on new projects to work on, I’d be happy to send you one or twelve. Have a festive Christmas and blessings to you and yours.

  6. That looks amazing! It almost makes me want to put up a tree, just to have an excuse to make a skirt (not that mine would turn out like yours did!) And I love the Gamache books–I wait on the edge of my seat for each new book to come out.

  7. This is one of my favorite Occasional Piece creations–but then, I say that about all your creations! I read The Snow Child. Can’t wait to talk to you about it!

  8. Holy wow! This is the only time I’ve ever been inspired to make a tree skirt! I love the Louise Penny series too. Really enjoyed reading about the process.

  9. Love it! We are in need of a new tree skirt and with my husband’s collection of Dept. 56 houses, this is PERFECT!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. I’m with everyone else in that you should make a written pattern or tutorial for the rest of us. I LOVE THIS! It looks perfect!

  11. This post is exactly what I was looking for! I too want to make the fat quarterly skirt but cannot find the pattern anywhere. Thank you so much for this detailed post. For the stacked trees, are you staying that EACH of the three triangles is 3×3.5? Thanks!

  12. Are the edges on the houses and trees left raw? Or did you turn them under? It sounds like you left the edges raw from your description but it doesn’t look like they have frayed at all.

  13. Just LOVE your village tree skirt! Well done you! Your description of sewing-on the binding finally told me what I did wrong on a Virginia Tech skirt I made for a friend for Christmas: I didn’t cut the binding on the bias, so it is rumbled and doesn’t lay flat like yours. Thank you!! As for Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamach series, I’ve read or listened to them all and always wait with baited breath for her new ones. It’s definitely my favorite book series. The best one (IMHO) is “How The Light Gets In.” I’ll bet I’ve listened to it five or six times. It’s like an old friend now. Well done on your tree skirt!!

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