My sister-in-law inspired this project when she requested a tree-skirt for Christmas; however, I think this little beauty will probably be on my personal to-gift list three or four times. It’s quick, easy, cute, and oh-so-Christmas.
1 Fruitcake Layer Cake
WOF = width of fabric
All seams are right-sides together, with 1/4″ seam allowance, unless otherwise noted
- Break open that layer cake, and sort in to lights and darks. You will need 12 light and 12 dark layer cake squares for this project.
- Grab a pair of contrasting squares.
- Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner.
- Sew 1/4″ away from the line you drew, on both sides of the line. (Using a 1/4″ sewing foot makes this so easy.)
- Cut on the line you drew. Press seams toward the dark square.
- You now have two half-square triangles (HSTs)!
- Put them right sides together, with contrasting sides touching (as shown). If you press your seams to the sides, you will feel them nest in to place. (The seams are pressed open in this photo; however, for most the blocks I pressed them to the side.)
- Draw a diagonal line from opposite corners, perpendicular to the seam you just sewed. Sew 1/4″ on each side.
- Cut on the line you just drew.
- You now have two hourglass blocks! (Repeat 11 more times for a total of 24 blocks.)
In order to make this tree-skirt in to an octagon, and not a square, we will be using setting triangles on the sides. We use these triangles because we don’t want to have bias edges on the perimeter of our quilt. Here’s how they work for this project:
(size of finished block) 8.75″ x (nifty math formula number) 1.414 + (allowance for the seams) 1.25 = 13.6225 which means 13 5/8″ *parent squares*
- Cut two 13 5/8″ parent squares.
- Cut in half diagonally.
- Cut in half diagonally again to yield four right-triangles. The long-edge of the triangle (hypotenuse) will be the outside edge of the tree-skirt.
- Lay-out your blocks with setting triangles as shown below. I alternated the darks and lights, in a classic hour-glass block design.
- Pile them into rows for sewing. (I like to pin and number my rows to keep them sorted.)
- Sew into rows, pressing seams to alternate sides before joining rows together
- Use some kind of circle to mark center cut-out of tree (but don’t cut yet).
A note about binding:
I used the bias stripe for my binding fabric, but I cut it on the bias, which made my cuts parallel to the stripes. You can also cut them perpendicular (which I kind of wish I had done). I only needed 1/2 yard and got around 300″ of binding. I use this tutorial to make continuous cut bias binding.
Here’s how much binding you’ll need:
(24.5″ * 4) = 98 + (18 * 4)= 72 + (22 * 2) = 44 + 26 (inner circle) = 240″ of binding
1/2 yard of continuous bias binding yields over 300 inches of binding tape.
Before you sew your binding down, make your ties by cutting about a yard of binding off the end, and folding the sides to the center and then in half. Fold one side under and sew closed. You need 2 ties, each about 18″ long.
- Pin in place near opening of circle, on the backside of the quilt.
- Wash, Dry, Love.
Measures approximately 54 inches in diameter (pre-washed).