I've had such a fun time participating in this blog tour that I just can't stand to see it end, so I'll share with you some directions to make the project I worked on today--a Valentine's Day tree skirt. Yes, I know the idea of a Valentine's Day tree is a little different, but just look at Vickie's really darling heart ornaments, and you'll surely see the possibilities! I've had a Valentine's Day tree for several years now and I've always wanted to make a tree skirt but never have; in fact, I mentioned making one earlier this month. Finally I had the time! Here's how it turned out--
Cute, yes? Would you like to make one? First, do you have one of these 60 degree rulers? They're very handy for this project:
If you don't, that's okay--but you DO need something like this with 30 degrees and/or 60 degrees marked on it--
(60 degrees would be from the yellow line at the upper edge of the ruler around the 1/2" mark to the upper edge of the ruler; 30 degrees would be from the yellow line that starts around the 1-1/2" mark to the lower edge of the ruler.) I like to work with freezer paper because I can iron it onto the fabric for cutting but if you don't have freezer paper, regular paper will work to make a pattern too. First you need to find your long center line--either fold the paper or draw a line. Using that line as your reference, draw a line 30 degrees to one side and 30 degrees to the other. Alternatively, you could just draw two lines that form two sides of a triangle that is 60 degrees. Take a look at my template below for a visual of what I'm talking about:
My template above already has the bottom cut off where the lines meet at the bottom point, but yours won't to start. On your pattern, measure from the bottom point up along one of the sides to 9-1/2" and make a mark; do the same along your center line. Now figure out the measurement between those two marks--I think mine was 5" wide, so I used 2-1/2" as the mid point and put a dot there. I lined that dot up with the bottom point of the pattern and measured up 11" (see the drawn line on the pattern)--that's the top of the arc of my heart.
After that, I just drew what looked like a good curve from the outside dots to the center dot at the top of the heart arc. I folded my paper in half and cut along that arc to get my heart shape and make sure the curve was the same on both sides. After that, I cut off the bottom tip of the triangle 1-1/2" up from the point. (To make sure you're cutting straight, line the center of your pattern up with a vertical line on your cutting mat; line your ruler up with a horizontal line.)
Making the pattern is probably the hardest part. I may scan that to PDF and make it available to everyone but I won't be able to do that until I go back to work on Tuesday. But the rest is pretty simple. Let's get started!
First of all, you'll need six different fabrics--I picked two whites, two pinks, and two reds. I then layered three at a time and ironed my pattern onto the top layer and cut around the edges. I repeated the steps with the remaining three fabrics.
Once I had my six "hearts," I laid out the pieces to see how I wanted them arranged. [By the way, the reason this works out so nicely is that each heart is 60 degrees, and there are 6 hearts, so that totals 360 degrees, which is a circle, right?]
The next step is to sew all of the hearts together along the side seams. Leave one seam unsewn--this will be the open edge of the tree skirt.
At this point, you'll need to layer your backing, batting, and the pieced top. Don't layer as you would a quilt with the backing on the bottom. For this project, layer the batting on the bottom, backing with the "right" side up, and pieced top with the "right" side down. See the batting where I've turned back the upper corner of the backing?
Pin the layers together and roughly trim away the excess fabric. (You can use straight pins if you prefer.)
Where the two hearts meet at the open edge, turn the fabric back and pin so it's not in the way when you start sewing as I did in the photo above. You might also want to use your walking foot for the rest of the sewing.
Sew 1/4" inside the edges of the pieced top. Leave an opening for turning right side out--see below:
Now you can more carefully trim away the excess fabric. Cut along open edge to separate, being careful to leave enough fabric at open seam to tuck in and sew closed after turning. (I cut mine fairly close to the stitching on the red heart so I had enough fabric to turn inward on the side of the pink heart.) Snip around the outside and the inside stitched edges every 1/4" or so for a smooth curve and fewer puckers.
Now, turn right side out pulling fabric through open seam, press, and hand sew opening closed. Top stitch 1/4" from outside edge of each heart and along seams joining the hearts together. (See first photo for stitching/quilting detail.) Add additional quilting at this point if you wish (I didn't).
Finally, I cut and prepared bias binding and attached it to the inside circle of the tree skirt as I would the binding on a regular quilt, but I left the edges free until after I had turned and hand stitched the binding to the back. Then I folded and pressed the edges and stitched them closed--I think you can see what I mean in the photo above. I then tied knots in either end. Alternatively, you could stitch ribbons to the edges of the skirt to tie the sides together.
Done! And it only took maybe three or four hours. Isn't it cute? I'm smitten.