Turn a Quilt into a Tree Skirt

tree skirt

Guest host Violet Craft joins Rob to demonstrate how to transform any quilt into a Christmas tree skirt. Learn how to use bias binding to bind curved edges.

Get the supplies needed here: https://www.missouriquiltco.com/land/mansewing/quilt-into-tree-skirt

Video Transcript: 

When I’m hanging out at Quilt Market behind the scenes doing the assembly of the quilt booths there, I tell you what, it is really cool, to watch all of the artists and designers make the magic happen. And a lot of the magic happens in taking something that wasn’t intended to be something and making it something completely else. If that doesn’t make any sense, that’s ok because I’ve got a special guest that’s going to explain it all right now.


Rob: Alright Man sewing fans, this is my dear friend Violet Craft. She’s an incredible fabric designer for Michael Miller Fabrics. And also does incredibly cool patterns. And I watched her live through a cool quilt market story. I’m going to let her tell you exactly what happened here. Go ahead, Violet.

Violet: Hey. So I was at Quilt Market with my new collection called Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge. And we had this interesting situation happen where the entire booth was wrapped around a Christmas scene, which of course had a Christmas tree. And yet there wasn’t a tree skirt for the tree. What I did have were three beautifully all ready made quilted and bound quilts that we realized would be perfect to make a tree skirt out of. So

Rob: But you can’t just cut a quilt.

Violet: You, you can.

Rob: No, that was the problem. No one would let her cut her quilts.

Violet: No one would let me cut the quilt. They were, really they had adverse reactions to me with the scissors getting ready to cut the quilt. So we took this particular quilt, wrapped it around the bottom of the tree. It worked fine for Quilt Market. And it made a beautiful tree skirt. But that’s what gave me the idea. Any of these quilt patterns would have made a wonderful tree skirt and you really can turn any quilt pattern into a tree skirt.

Rob: And then I thought, that will make an even better tutorial for Man Sewing. So Violet is going to talk to us about taking one of her beautiful quilts, and this time she’s going to cut it and make a cool tree skirt.

Violet: Yes, we are. So the one that I ultimately chose for my own tree skirt for this year is the Mandala pattern. The one that you see being us. So I made another Mandala. And we can fold this one out.

Rob: Oh that is so pretty.

Violet: In the greens. And this one is roughly a 44, 42 inch wide square.

Rob: Ok

Violet: It’s just our quilted quilt.

Rob: Right.

Violet: And now we’re going to slice it into a tree skirt.

Rob: Got it. And let me ask you, that was important, I think it was all pre quilted and ready to go so when you cut it nothing shifted or anything like that.

Violet: Right.

Rob: So all the assembly is done for your quilt pattern, any old quilt pattern will work for this as long as you like it for your tree. The stitching was all done. It was not bound because we’re going to cut that edge off.

Violet: Right.

Rob: So it’s a quilt ready to be bound but you’re going to now cut it all up again.

Violet: And I can really see this working really well if you have say a vintage quilt that you have around your house.

Rob: Nice.

Violet: Something that you quilted a long time ago but you just never got around to binding it. It’s a great way to take that quilt and turn it into a tree skirt.

Rob: Perfect.

Violet: So I’m going to go ahead and just fold this into quarters.

Rob: Are we going to try to cut a circle?

Violet: We are going to try and cut a circle.

Rob: Got it. And so the quilt something is going to help I bet.

Violet: Because sometimes trees don’t like to wear skirts, they like to wear pants.

Rob: Right.

Violet: This is something my friend Monica said. And so she makes square tree skirts.

Rob: Ok

Violet: Tree pants. But I like to have mine back to the skirt.

Rob: So a square quilt with hole in the middle is the tree pants.

Violet: That’s the tree pants.

Rob: Tree pants. Do they do tree knickers too? No, let’s not get started on that.

Violet: So here we have, it’s just folded in quarters. And we are going to take our ruler.

Rob: Ok

Violet: And I’m going to measure the edge which I’ve already done. So I know that I can get about 20 inches.

Rob: Ok

Violet: All the way around. And I’m going to mark my 20.

Rob: Right.

Violet: As long as I’m keeping the front edge lined up.

Rob: I did this on the toy mat and I remembered I had to keep resetting that point down there. So that’s really important info. Keep resetting that point.

Violet: I’m holding it with my finger. You know there are other ways that you could do this.

Rob: Right.

Violet: With a string, a tie.

Rob: I like that you’re marking it with a pen before you rotary cut it because if you were just going to dive in there with a rotary cutter, bad things could happen.

Violet: Right I would have an oblong.

Rob: And then your tree skirt would get smaller and smaller until it’s a tree doily. And then it’s a tree coaster and then it’s an ornament or something like that.

Violet: And I’m just going to keep marking.

Rob: So you’re just making a path for your eyes?

Violet: I am.

Rob: Ok.

Violet: I’m just going to hand cut this.

Rob: Ok.

Violet: It’s really hard to see but we do have our dark lines in there.

Rob: Got it. And you’re going to cut through all four layers or technically would that be 12 layers.

Violet: I’m going to cut, uh, ya

Rob: Backing, batting.

Violet: With a really good, really sharp brand new pair of scissors.

Rob: Nice, no fingers in there. That’s going good.

Violet: There’s really no reason that you couldn’t mark the full circle.

Rob: Sure.

Violet: And cut it out one at a time. But I like a good short cut. Following all my lines. And voila.

Rob: And there’s no turning back obviously at this point.

Violet: No turning back, unless you like a good round quilt.

Rob: Look at that. Oh it’s perfect, Violet. Great job.

Violet: So the next thing we’re going to do is we’re going to figure out where we want our split to go. To go up around the outside of the tree.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: I think that I want this point in the front and so I’m going to go ahead and cut straight through.

Rob: So you want a ruler or anything, you’re making me nervous here.

Violet: No I’m ok

Rob: It’s her quilt.

Violet: I can see

Rob: And you can see the crease.

Violet: And this is why I didn’t mind cutting it in the first place.

Rob: Right.

Violet: But you can see the crease where we had it folded. And this particular pattern and my quilting

Rob: Right

Violet: Is giving me a good line to follow.

Rob: Right. Are you concerned at all with the stitching coming loose at this moment or anything like that from this?

Violet: No I’m really not. It’s quilted in there really tightly. The edges are not going to come up, the same way if you had a regular quilt that we were going to bind, you’re not really worried about that.

Rob: So you didn’t change your mentality for the quilting process. You just did what you did.

Violet: Yep I did.

Rob: Perfect. Ok

Violet: And then the next thing you need to decide is what kind of tree is this going around. Is it going around a fake tree that only has about a two inch diameter or are you putting this all the way around a real tree.

Rob: Sure

Violet: That might have a nice base. We do a real tree. We live in the Pacific Northwest. So I’m going to go ahead and just use the circle that I have here.

Rob: Right.

Violet: And cut that center out. You can, for the one that I made, that I will show you, that’s for this mini tree, I just used a thread spool to mark it.

Rob: Perfect.

Violet: And cut that out that little circle.

Rob: Got it. But you’re going to cut all that green off right there.

Violet: I am

Rob: And that gives you a nice template to work with too.

Violet: It does.

Rob: Perfect. And I’m assuming you’re cutting it out right where you’re at so when we put the binding on you’re not dealing with extra bulk and that. Because technically you could have cut a quarter of an inch of the green there but it would have been really thick.

Violet: Right. And we like a big hefty tree so that just looks about right to me.

Rob: Do you like let Clark Griswald pick out your tree for you ever? Do you ever take him Christmas tree hunting? He picks a good tree I understand.

Violet: Everyone in our family gets to take turns picking the tree

Rob: Oh each year?

Violet: Each year.

Rob: And you have a couple of kids, right?

Violet: Right and we all four take turns.

Rob: Ok

Violet: We get to name our tree and then afterwards we cut the slices of the center into disks and make a wreath.

Rob: I love that idea. Hey another tutorial. We’ll have to work on that.

Violet: I’ll come back.

Rob: To work on together.

Violet: And so our tree skirt is basically cut and ready to go. Now all we need to do is use a binding to bind the edges.

Rob: Right.

Violet: The same as you would with any other quilt. You’re going to bind all the way around the outside.

Rob: Right.

Violet: Up your center, around your center and down, and finish it off.

Rob: Ok

Violet: The one thing that you have to take note of here is that we’re binding on the curve.

Rob: Ah

Violet: So you’re going to need bias binding.

Rob: That’s right is this is where I plug the fact that Violet has already done for all of you at home, a quick tip on creating continual bias binding so you can just watch that. And the link is at the back end of this video.

Violet: And we have ours here.

Rob: There it is, ready to go. So what would you do, you would machine part of it?

Violet: Yes

Rob: Ok

Violet: I will machine bind on the, well machine place it onto the top all the way around. And then do my fold back. And I hand stitch on the back.

Rob: Now I have not dealt with bias binding on a curve before. And I do all my binding by machine, start and finish. Anything special we should know about? Handling binding on the curve, bias binding on the curve even when hand doing. Anything you can share with us that would help?

Violet: Let’s flip this back. When you go to place it on and you’re putting your binding on, you want to go ahead and give it a little stretch. And you see how it turns that curve?

Rob: Sure

Violet: And stretches right there around? You don’t want to pull it too hard but you do want to pull it to where it makes a very seamless nice curve. And see how it will just lay nice and flat right around that curve?

Rob: Right.

Violet Let it go where it wants to go.

Rob: And this is the part where the machine is stitching down.

Violet: This is the part where the machine is stitching down and then when you go to turn it to the back

Rob: With the finished edge

Violet: It will do the same thing. It will turn itself out ever so slightly

Rob: Nice

Violet: To turn that curve perfectly.

Rob: Nice so it’s a little less work on your hands when you’re actually using your hands to hold the needle and thread.

Violet: Yes

Rob: Wonderful. I love that. Can you show everybody on the little skirt?

Violet: Yes

Rob: Let me slide this out of the way.

Violet: Undress our little tree.

Rob: That’s right. Oh look at these presents. Have you brought these presents for somebody I know?

Violet: Are you hinting?

Rob: Maybe, I don’t know. I like that stuff.

Violet: So this is the little tree skirt that I made. And this one has been machine bound. And you can see that it just turns the curve.

Rob: Perfect.

Violet: Nice and smooth.

Rob: Last question I guess, was it more difficult doing it small?

Violet: No really

Rob: No just less time consuming?

Violet: Ya, ya

Rob: Awesome

Violet: Really not really at all.

Rob: Fantastic. Violet that is a great tutorial. Thank you so much for showing us all how to take any old pattern, make your quilt, treat it like a quilt and then turn it into a wonderful quilt or excuse me quilted tree skirt is what I’m trying to say.

Violet: Quilted tree skirt

Rob: That’s fantastic. Thank you so muc

Violet: Thanks

Rob: You all have to check out Violet Craft.  VioletCraft.com as well as all of her fantastic fabrics lines from Michael Miller Fabrics. I need a big hug. You’re awesome

Violet: Oh, thank you

Rob: Thank you so much. And we’ll see you all next time here at Man Sewing

Violet: Bye!

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  • Joanne Norquay

    where would I find a pattern for the quilt .. mandala?