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Batik & Velvet Crazy Patch Tree Skirt: Christmas in July with Fabric Depot

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Christmas in July continues with a crazy patch tree skirt featuring beautiful Christmas Batiks and Victorian Velvet from Fabric Depot. Holiday themed batiks are big this year; several manufacturers have come out with special collections. The motifs are a bit larger and the colors a bit bolder than what you might traditionally expect in a batik, but it's a fun and festive look, and was the perfect choice for a crazy patch. 

Batiks are a specialty at Fabric Depot, which meant the first challenge for this project was narrowing our selection! We settled on eight fabrics from the newest Northwoods 5 Artisan Batiks by Robert Kaufman. We loved their rich colors and the nature-inspired motifs.

 

To simplify the construction and get the best blend of color and pattern, the pieces within each of the four quadrants of our circle are the same – only the fabrics change. By rotating each quadrant a quarter turn to the left prior to assembly, you achieve the look of random crazy patch. It's a clever way to bring a little order to the crazy patch chaos (which is cool but time-consuming) without sacrificing the end result. 

We've always felt store-bought tree skirts were a little too skimpy. Set out four or five presents, and the skirt has already disappeared. Our tree skirt finishes at a full 60" in diameter.

We show you how to draw a perfect quarter circle, and how to use a handy 1" grid diagram to create our four large crazy patch pieces. Of course, you're free to go as crazy as you'd like and cut your own wonky pieces to fit within each quadrant. 

Rather than traditional quilting, we used decorative stitching in the ditch of each seam in a variegated thread. This step is another chance to up the craziness. We picked one stitch and one variegated thread and used them on all the seams. You can change stitches and colors as often as you'd like!

The back of the treeskirt is a coordinating quilt backing. This is another example of Fabric Depot's awesome selection: Wide Goods and Quilt Backs! Browse through the gorgeous colors and subtle patterns, all at 100"+... there's even extra wide Blenders Flannel.

The finishing touch is a Victorian Velvet binding around the perimeter and for the button closure tabs. It's a luxurious trim that adds dimension, texture and even a bit of extra weight to keep the skirt laying flat. We love that we can shop for cottons as well as so many other options all in one online environment at FabricDepot.com.

As part of the Christmas in July celebration, the fabrics we chose for our tree skirt sample are all in-stock and on-sale right now at FabricDepot.com. Use the direct links from our supply list below to find each and every one. Or, search the entire batik selection to find your own custom combination. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Specific Yardage Notes for Batiks

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out our one pattern sheet: Tree Skirt Center Hole.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the pattern along the solid line. Set aside.

Make your quarter circle pattern

  1. On your large sheet of pattern paper, draw a 30" vertical line.
  2. Draw another line, also 30" long, perpendicular to the first line, forming a 90˚ angle at the corner. You should be able to simply draw along the grid lines.
  3. Cut a piece of string 32" long. Pin one end to the 90˚ corner of your two drawn lines. Tie the other end to a pencil. Make sure after you've tied the string to the pencil that the string measures 30" from corner to pencil point. In essence, you've just made a little compass. You are so smart!
  4. Draw an arc from the end of the horizontal line to the end of the vertical line. Ta-da ... perfect quarter circle.
  5. Follow our grid pattern below to mark the corner points for each of the four pattern pieces. The numbers next to each point indicate how many 1" squares UP and how many 1" squares over to count to reach the point. 
  6. When you have all six points mapped out, connect them with three straight lines to create the four pattern pieces.
  7. Cut out the four pieces along the drawn lines, including the outer curve.
  8. Place each pattern piece on top of a slightly larger piece of paper. Tape in place.
    NOTE: The actual pattern pieces were too large to effectively capture in a photograph, so in the images below we show a mini version. The grid paper shown is not actual size. 
  9. Using a clear ruler, measure ¼" out from each straight edge and draw a parallel line. This adds the ¼" seam allowance to the pattern piece. 
  10. Do not add to the outside curved edge, only to the inner straight edges.
  11. Cut out the full pattern pieces with the seam allowances.
  12. You can work with just the larger pattern piece or simply keep the grid layered and taped in place. This is what we chose to do to cut all sixteen pieces; the two layers gave the pattern template a nice bit of extra weight.

Fabric Cutting

  1. From Fabric A - Northwoods 5 Batik Winter Trees in Nature
    Cut the following:
    Using Pattern Piece #3, Cut TWO
    ONE 2½" x 23" strip on the bias for the center hole binding
    TWO 2½" x 32" strips for the opening binding (these will be cut to the exact length during construction)
  2. From Fabric B: Northwoods 5 Batik Poinsettias in Merlot
    Cut the following:
    Using Pattern Piece #1, Cut ONE
    Using Pattern Piece #4, Cut ONE
  3. From Fabric C: Northwoods 5 Batik Poinsettias in Holiday
    Cut the following:
    Using Pattern Piece #3, Cut ONE
    Using Pattern Piece #4, Cut ONE
  4. From Fabric D: Northwoods 5 Batik Holly Berries in Pine
    Cut the following:
    Using Pattern Piece #1, Cut ONE
    Using Pattern Piece #4, Cut ONE
  5. From Fabric E: Northwoods 5 Batik Pine Needles in Pine
    Cut the following:
    Using Pattern Piece #2, Cut ONE
    Using Pattern Piece #3, Cut ONE
  6. From Fabric F: Northwoods 5 Batik Juniper Needles in Holiday
    Cut the following:
    Using Pattern Piece #1, Cut ONE
    Using Pattern Piece #2, Cut ONE
  7. From Fabric G: Northwoods 5 Batik Juniper Needles in Nature
    Cut the following:
    Using Pattern Piece #2, Cut ONE
    Using Pattern Piece #4, Cut ONE
  8. From Fabric H: Northwoods 5 Batik Holly Berries in Nature
    Cut the following:
    Using Pattern Piece #1, Cut ONE
    Using Pattern Piece #2, Cut ONE
  9. From the Victorian Velvet
    Cut the following:
    SIX 3" x 40" strips on the bias, approximately 240" for the perimeter binding
    THREE 5" x 5" squares for the buttonhole tabs
  10. The batting and backing will be cut during construction, using the completed top as a pattern.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Assemble the four quadrants

NOTES: As mentioned above, the four quadrants are identical; each is just rotated a quarter turn to the left when assembling. Below, we've outlined the steps to create Quadrant 1. These steps will be repeated with different fabric to create Quadrants 2, 3 and 4. 

When pinning the pieces together, some of the corners will overlap by ¼". This is common in quilting when working with pieces that come to a point. Don't worry about it, but we do recommend waiting until the quadrants are assembled to press.

All seams are ¼"; we used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot.

The overlay quadrant illustration below should help you keep all the pieces straight. 

  1. Find the following four pieces for Quadrant 1: Piece #1 in Fabric B, Piece #2 in Fabric F, Piece #3 in Fabric A, and Piece #4 in Fabric G.
  2. Pin Piece 1 and Piece 4 right sides together along their inner edges. 
  3. Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance. 
  4. Pin Piece 2 and Piece 3 right sides together along their inner edges. 
  5. Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance.
  6. Open up both seamed units and place the two units right sides together along their long inner edges. As shown in the diagram above, Piece 1 should be against Piece 2 and Piece 4 should be against Piece 3.
  7. Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance.
  8. Below is Quadrant 1 when finished, which is the position in which it stays when assembled.

  9. Repeat to create Quadrant 2, using the following: Piece #1 in Fabric B, Piece #2 in Fabric F, Piece #3 in Fabric A, and Piece #4 in Fabric G.
  10. Below on the left is Quadrant 2 when finished, and on the right you see it with a one-quarter turn to the left, which is its position when assembled. 
  11. Repeat to create Quadrant 3, using the following: Piece #1 in Fabric F, Piece #2 in Fabric G, Piece #3 in Fabric A, and Piece #4 in Fabric B.
  12. Below on the left is Quadrant 3 when finished, and on the right you see it with a half turn to the left, which is its position when assembled. 

  13. Repeat to create Quadrant 4, using the following: Piece #1 in Fabric H, Piece #2 in Fabric E, Piece #3 in Fabric C, and Piece #4 in Fabric D.
  14. Below on the left is Quadrant 4 when finished, and on the right you see it with a three-quarter turn to the left, which is its position when assembled. 

Assemble the quadrants into a circle

  1. Place your four quadrants in their correction position and correctly rotated on a large work surface or the clean floor. It helps for everything to be in its proper place for the final assembly. Refer to the illustration above to double-check.
  2. Pin Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 2 right sides together along their inner edges. Referring to the drawing above, you can see that you should be lining up the raw edges of Pieces 2 and 3 from Quadrant 1 with the raw edges of Pieces 4 and 3 from Quadrant 2.
  3. Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance.
  4. Place Quadrant 3 right sides together over just the Quadrant 2 side of the Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 seamed unit. Align the inner edges of the Quadrant 3 and Quadrant 2.
  5. Referring to the drawing above, you can see that you should be lining up the raw edges of Pieces 2 and 3 from Quadrant 2 with the raw edges of Pieces 4 and 3 from Quadrant 3.
  6. Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance, from the outer edge into the center.
  7. Place Quadrant 4 right sides together over just the Quadrant 1 side of the Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 seamed unit. Align the inner edges of the Quadrant 4 and Quadrant 1.
  8. Referring to the drawing above, you can see that you should be lining up the raw edges of Pieces 3 and 4 from Quadrant 1 with the raw edges of Pieces 3 and 2 from Quadrant 4.
  9. Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance, from the outer edge into the center.
  10. The inner edges between Quadrant 3 and Quadrant 4 remain unsewn. This is opening of the tree skirt. 
  11. Press the skirt well.
  12. All the seams should lay nice and flat.

Batting and quilting

  1. Place the batting flat on your large work surface or the floor.
  2. Center the assembled skirt top over the batting. Remember there is an opening between the third and fourth Quadrants; make sure you take the time to carefully flatten the skirt so it is wrinkle free and the two sides of the opening slit line up edge to edge but do not overlap. 
  3. Find the safety pins and pin baste through both layers. This is a big piece so don't be afraid to use a lot of pins. However, keep the pins at least 2" away from all the seams so you don't run into them when doing the decorative stitching/quilting. 
  4. Trim away the excess batting, leaving at least 1" all the way around the perimeter. 
  5. Re-thread the machine with variegated thread (on contrasting thread) in the top and bobbin thread in the bobbin. 
  6. Set up the machine for a wide decorative stitch. Switch to a Walking or Even Feed foot.
  7. Stitch in the ditch along all the seams.
  8. As mentioned above, we used the same stitch and the same thread throughout, but you can certainly change out one or both as often as you'd like. 
  9. When all the stitching is complete, find the backing fabric. Lay it wrong side up and flat on your large work surface or the floor. 
  10. Center the skirt top/batting on the backing. Re-pin the safety pins through all the layers. 
  11. Trim the back and the excess batting flush with the perimeter of the skirt top. 
  12. Cut through the backing and batting layers along the slit between Quadrants 3 and 4.

Make the tabs and bind the center, opening slit, and perimeter

  1. Find the Center Circle Template. Pin it at the center of the skirt, aligning the arrows on the pattern with the Quadrant seams. 
  2. Cut around the circle, using the slit as the access point for your scissors. 
  3. Re-thread the machine with matching thread in the top and bobbin. 
  4. Machine baste through all the layers around the inner circle and both sides of the opening slit. 
  5. Find the 2½" x 23" bias strip.
  6. To create binding, fold the strip in half wrong sides together and press to set a center crease. Open wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Press in each long edge to meet in the middle at the crease. Press well. Fold along the original crease line and press one more time.
  7. Slip the binding over the raw edges of the center circle so the center crease of the binding sits right against the raw edges of the opening. Pin in place all around.
  8. Trim the excess binding at either end flush with the raw edges of the opening slit. 
  9. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the binding fabric.
  10. Edgestitch in place. Go slowly to make sure you are catching both sides of the binding in the one seam. We continued to use a Walking Foot.
  11. Find the three 5" x 5" squares of velvet. 
  12. Fold each square in half and pin along the side and one end. 
  13. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the velvet in the top and bobbin. 
  14. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along the side and the one end, pivoting at the corner. 
  15. Trim the corner and press open the seam.
  16. Turn right side out through the open end, push out the corners, and press flat, using a pressing cloth to protect the surface of the velvet. 
  17. Following the manual for your machine, make a buttonhole in each tab. The buttonhole should be 1" down from and parallel to the top finished edge.
  18. Pin the tabs in place along the left raw edge of the opening slit. The first tab should be 4" down from the quadrant seam, the second tab should be 14" down from the seam, and the third tab should be 24" down from the seam. Align the raw edges of the tab with the raw edges of the opening slit. 
  19. Baste each tab in place.
  20. Find the bias strips of velvet. Stitch them together end to end to create one long length.
  21. Using the same steps as above the the center hole binding, fold and press the velvet strip into binding: first fold in half and then fold in each long edge. 
  22. Un-fold so the crease lines are visible and pin the binding right side together with the outer perimeter of the skirt. Start with the head end of the binding flush with the raw edge of the opening slit. The tail end can be trimmed flush as needed at the opposite side of the slit. 
  23. Stitch along the first crease of the binding all around. We are still using a Walking foot.
  24. Re-fold the binding and bring it up and over to the back of the skirt, making sure it covers the seam. Hand stitch in place all around. The velvet is too thick to neatly stitch in place by machine. 
  25. Find the remaining two lengths of binding for the opening slit. Confirm the length of each on the actual skirt, measuring from the inner edge of the finished circle to the outer edge of the outer binding, then add 1" to allow for a finished edge on the binding top and bottom.
  26. Fold and press to create binding in the same manner as for the circle and perimeter binding. 
  27. Unfold and pin one strip to each raw edge, first folding in each end ½" to create a clean finish. You want the top and bottom of the binding to be flush with the circle and the outer binding; if ½" isn't exactly right, roll the fold narrower or wider as needed until it perfectly aligns. 
  28. Stitch along the inner crease line. 
  29. As with the velvet binding, fold up and over to the back and pin in place, making sure the fold at the back covers the seam line. Since the fabric is much thinner, this final binding you can stitch in place by machine. Edgestitch along the front, catching the back in the same seam.

    NOTE:
    If you are new to working with bias binding, we have two great tutorials to check out on measuring and making as well as on attaching and finishing
  30. We hand stitched the top and bottom of each binding strip closed for a neat finish. 
  31. Fold each buttonhole tab over the binding to the opposite side of the opening. With the tab in place and laying flat, mark with a pin for the button position. 
  32. Stitch each button in place.

Contributors
Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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Comments (4)

iknithappy said:
iknithappy's picture

This project was very neat. I really like the closure too!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ iknithappy - thanks! we love the buttons too -- neater and flatter than ties.

Susan Schneider said:
Susan Schneider's picture

While I love my 35 year old tree skirt, I am ready to create a new one! This is the year - I have been thinking about it for a long time. This is the one! Thanks for the detailed instructions.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Susan Schneider - enjoy! Let us know how yours turns out 

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