Friday, December 7, 2012

DIY Christmas: Gold Sequined Tree Skirt

Our Christmas tree growing up donned a tree skirt handmade by my mother. I'm fairly certain it incorporated all the quintessential Christmas-season patterns and fabrics from the early 80s like plaids, quilting, lace lining and perhaps some acid wash denim (ok, that one's not true).

When we put up our tree this year, my roommate and I realized we didn't own a tree skirt. Naturally, as with all things in this apartment, handmade typically seems the route we tend to go (like mother, like daughter!).

While I'm not generally a fan of Hancock Fabrics in Atlanta, it was my only option late on a Monday afternoon because, let's be real here, once I decide to do something, it's decided and happening whether it makes sense at the time or not. I wasn't totally sure what I was looking for upon entering Hancock, but once I saw the section of completely sequined fabric, I had a vision of a beautiful gold tree skirt. I knew like you know about a good melon.

Fortunately for me, there was an incredibly helpful sales person cutting fabric who walked me through the entire process of making this skirt and made me rethink my dislike of Hancock. I learned that the trick with sequined fabric is that it's just that: tricky and incredibly difficult to work with. Cutting it makes a mess (sequins everywhere!), sewing machine needles break left and right, and if you fold so that the sequined sides touch each other, it gets tangled.

What you'll need:
-1 5/8 yards of sequined fabric (60" cut) and the same of a fabric for the back - I used a satin fabric
-3 packs of hem tape
-thread to match the hem tape
-needle OR a sewing machine with very thick needles
-pencil and long piece of string
-lots of pins
-paper plate and marker

1. Fold your fabric edge to edge to make a perfect square, then fold again to make a triangle. Tie a piece of string the length of the short side to a pencil and pin at the bottom. What you're basically doing here is making a compass. Note: I used zero measurements and have no idea what size my skirt turned out to be.

2. Draw a curve across both edges and cut along that line. You should have a perfect circle, the operative word here being "should." I wasn't as careful as I could have been, so I ended up with scalloped edges - which was a pleasant surprise and I ended up cutting them down even more to make them more defined. I love the scalloped look.

3. Place the circle/scalloped circle you just cut onto the back of the sequined fabric, making sure both fabrics are totally flat. From here, you have several options. I found it easier to pin the fabrics together and somewhat messily cut them together, but you can also trace and cut out an identical shape.

4. If you didn't pin in step 3, do so now. I sewed a baste stitch around the outside edge to keep everything together before adding the hem tape.

5. Fold the skirt in half (keep the sequined sides out so they don't get caught), trace half a circle (I used a paper plate) and cut it out. You don't want it too large, just enough to go around the trunk of your tree.

6. From the circle, cut a straight line down the middle (this is for the opening) and pin. Once finished, begin pinning your hem tape to the edges.

7. I did hem tape on the outside and inside circles, but not down the opening in the back. Once finished pinning, you're ready to sew!

I was able to sew the inside circle with the machine, but about a foot into the outside circle, I broke two needles for some reason. I ended up hand sewing the entire outside circle, which wasn't a terrible undertaking, but is a little messier looking up close.

As for the closure, I left it open instead and fold it over in the back of the tree. With a real tree, since we have to water so much, it's just easier to not have to undo any buttons or clips or clasps.

Merry Christmas!


  1. Where do you normally go to buy fabric? I checked out Hancock's but didn't like anything in there. I'm looking for fabric to make pillows!

    1. Joanns! There is one off Barrett Parkway and it's right by a Hobby Lobby (and a few other craft stores). Joanns usually has the best selection unless you order fabric online, and Hobby Lobby sometimes has patterns I like as well.