Monday, June 17, 2013

Christmas in June?

You've all heard of "Christmas in July," a time for sales at your favorite stores.  How about Christmas in June?

It's a little hard to think about the holidays when it's 80+ degrees outside, but I have a wedding shower to go to this weekend, and 'O Christmas Tree' is the theme for my gift.
Decorated and lighted Christmas tree » The Stock Solution

Last fall, I was outlet shopping with my Bunco gals, and one person wanted to stop into the Lenox factory store.  Ho, hum...I thought there would be nothing there for me, but I was surprised to find some beautiful china Christmas tree ornaments on clearance.

I picked out a dozen different designs for $2.00 each (regularly $6 to $8 a piece), and thought to myself, "These would make a nice wedding shower gift."
A sampling of the Lenox ornaments I found...
Funny thing...on the drive home, I received a text from my sister-in-law that her son, Kevin, had proposed to his girlfriend that afternoon!

Me (being me) thought that a nice addition to the tree ornaments would be a hand-crafted Christmas tree skirt.  I got the invitation to the shower about a month ago, and started looking for a pattern.

I found one I liked in the Better Homes and Gardens "Christmas From the Heart" book, volume 9 (copyright 2000).  Designed by Phyllis Dobbs, it's called "Star-Tips Tree Skirt."  While hers is a bit 'country' looking, I changed up the fabrics, which made mine a little more dressy.  I had to enlarge the pattern in the book, using one-inch grid fabric.

The pattern was printed smaller in the book, and needed to be enlarged on grid paper.
The project called for four different fabrics:  green, red, off-white and brown.  I had the red and green in my stash, but had to make a run to the fabric store for brown and off-white.  After finishing my pattern pieces, I began to cut the fabric.

The red and green fabrics have a hint of gold in them.

It is a simple enough pattern to follow...two small off-white triangles are stitched on either side of the tree trunk; a green triangle is bordered by two larger off-white triangles;  stitching those pieces together completes the 'block'.  The block it attached to a red piece, making a panel of the tree skirt.  There are 8 panels in all.
Three sections make up one panel.

The directions called for the entire thing to be bound by matching, self-made bias tape, but that would take me hours to do, so instead, I decided to layer the tree skirt and its backing fabric right-sides-together, layer on a piece of batting, and then stitch around the whole thing, leaving about a 6 inch opening to turn it right side out.

I did have to trim the corners well and clip the inner curve before turning it, but a good pressing with a steam iron was all it took to make it lie flat.  I stitched inside the trees and the around the circumference of the red fabric to quilt the layers in place.  A large plastic snap will secure it around the trunk of the Christmas tree.

Trimming the tree skirt after it is sew, right-sides-together.
Start to finish, it probably took about five hours, including the time to enlarge the pattern, cut everything out, and sew things up.  The ornaments and the tree skirt are all wrapped up and ready to go!  One more thing crossed off my 'to-do' list!

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