I don't know about you, but I always seem to have a cabinet full of plain glass flower vases. I can never remember exactly where they've all come from, but there they sit. I don't want to throw them out, but they seem to multiply like bunnies. So, here's a great Valentine's Day... or ANY day project to dress up your vases with a pretty fabric skirt. Turn them from kitchen cabinet dust collectors into bright and beautiful flower stem vessels. Our skirts are ruffled and be-ribboned for a pretty and playful feel -- perfect for simple Valentine bouquets of daisys or carnations. But just think of all the other options: satin and lace for roses or silk and voile for giant peony blooms. You could make a whole vase-skirt wardrobe... and empty a cabinet in the process!
Thanks to Fabric.com for providing all the bright and bouncy Premier Prints fabric for this project. It's a great fabric choice for this project because the bold designs are screen printed onto quality 100% cotton duck. This heavier fabric weight means you don't have to worry about interfacing any of the pieces.
Fabric.com has a great selection of the Premier Prints collections in our chosen chartreuse, candy pink and white combo, as well as a number of striking black and white options and black and white plus chartreuse. Sassy!
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome New Home 2030DC)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- One or more simple cylinder style vases
NOTE: If you save vases from the florist, you (like me!) may find lots in your cabinets. You can also buy them very inexpensively at thrift shops and craft stores.
- ½ yard of 54" décor weight fabric for the base of each skirt; we used Premier Prints Lulu in Chartreuse/Candy Pink Stripe and Premier Prints I Heart U in Black/Candy Pink
NOTE: The amount shown above, in the 54" width, was enough to make two vase skirts for each of the vase sizes in our samples.
- ¼ yard of 44-45" medium weight fabric for the ruffle of each skirt; we used Premier Prints Sheeting in Candy Pink/White Desoto Stripe and Chartreuse/White Desoto Stripe
NOTE: The amount is only enough for one ruffle.
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- All purpose thread to contrast with fabrics for topstitching
- 1 yard of 1" wide coordinating ribbon per vase skirt; we used black velvet
- See-through ruler
- Flexible measuring tape
- Fabric pencil
- Mini glue dots (optional)
- Seam sealant (optional)
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Pinking shears (optional)
- Straight pins
- Cylinder vases come in many sizes. You'll need to adapt these instructions to fit the size of your vase(s).
- Wrap your vase with a flexible tape measure to get the circumference. The vases we're using are 11" (large) and 11¼" (small) in circumference.
- Then, measure from the base to the lip of the vase. Our smaller sample vase is 6" tall and the larger vase is 7½" tall. We will use ours as an example, but you can easily adapt these instructions for smaller or larger vases.
- The base of the large vase skirt is designed to be 6" high x 13" wide when finished and its ruffle will be 2" high when finished. The base of the small vase skirt is designed to be 4½" high x 13¼" when finished and its ruffle will be 2" high when finished.
- To determine your base cut height, you need to double the finished base height and add 1" for a seam allowance. In our samples that was 6" x 2 + 1" = 13" and 4½" x 2 = 1" = 10". To determine the base cut width, add two inches to the circumference for an overlap and 1" for a seam allowance. In our samples that was 11" + 3" = 14" and 11¼" + 3" = 14¼" (if you back out the 1" seam allowance, you see that you get the finished widths shown above: 13" x 13¼").
- To determine the ruffle cut height, you need to double the finished height and add 1" for a seam allowance. In our samples that was 2" x 2 +1 = 5". To determine the ruffle width, double the finished width and add 1" for a seam allowance. In our samples that was 13" x 2 + 1" = 27" and 13¼" x 2 + 1" = 27½".
Large Vase Cuts :
From the base fabric (Premier Prints I Heart U in Black/Candy Pink in our sample), cut ONE 13" high x 14" wide rectangle.
From the ruffle fabric (Premier Prints Sheeting in Chartreuse/White Desoto Stripe in our sample), cut ONE 5" high x 27" wide rectangle.
Cut ONE 36" length of ribbon
Small Vase Cuts:
From the base fabric (Premier Prints Lulu in Chartreuse/Candy Pink Stripe in our sample), cut ONE 10" high x 14¼" wide rectangle.
From the ruffle fabric (Premier Prints Sheeting in Candy Pink/White Desoto Stripe in our sample), cut ONE 5" high x 27½" wide rectangle.
Cut ONE 36" length of ribbon
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
NOTE: We took pictures of both the small vase skirt and large vase skirt construction, and I'm hopping back and forth between the two... just to see if you are paying attention and notice when the fabric changes!
- Fold the base piece in half right sides together. Pin along both sides.
- Fold the ruffle piece in half right sides together. Pin along both sides.
NOTE: If you are using directional prints, remember that the fold is at the BOTTOM of the base piece and at the TOP of the ruffle piece.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides of the base and both sides of the ruffle. Clip each corner and pink the seam allowances.
- Press seams open.
- Turn both pieces right side out and, using a long, blunt tool, such as a knitting needle or chopstick, carefully poke out the corners so they are nice and sharp. Press flat.
- Fold down the raw edge of the top opening of the base piece ½" all around. Measure carefully and press well. This is the opening into which you will slide the ruffle.
- Find your pressed ruffle piece, which should be right side out.
- Using a long basting stitch, stitch ⅜" along the bottom raw edges of the ruffle piece through both layers, leaving 4-5" thread tails at the beginning and end of the stitch.
NOTE: If you are new to ruffling, we have a short tutorial on the subject.
- Pull a 4-5" thread tail to gather the ruffle evenly to match the width of the base piece top opening.
- Insert the raw edges of the ruffle into the top opening. The raw edges of the ruffle should align with the folded-in raw edge of the opening.
- Pin in place.
- Re-thread your machine with contrasting thread in the top and bobbin, and topstitch the ruffle in place through all the layers, staying close to the folded edge of the base piece.
Adding the ribbon
- Find the center of the base piece, then measure approximately 3" up from bottom. Using a pin or your fabric pencil, make a short vertical mark at this point.
- Align the center of the one yard length of ribbon with this vertical mark. Pin in place.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match the ribbon in both the top and bobbin.
- Stitch the ribbon in place with a short vertical seam, starting and stopping at the edges of the ribbon. To finish the ends of our velvet ribbon, we cut each end to make a nice diagonal point, and simply applied a thin line of seam sealant to the cut edges.
- The ribbon wraps around the vase to the front and ties over the top of the overlapped ends. We also added our Sew4Home label in the upper right along the topstitching so it peeks out next to the bow when tied.
Hints and Tips
If your vase skirt won't say in place, you can put a glue dot on the center top edge of the skirt, just below the ruffle. Then, position the skirt on the vase (without touching the glue dot to the glass). Remember, your little center seam where the ribbon is stitched is the 'back' of the skirt and the overlap is the 'front.' When the skirt is in place, touch the glue dot to the vase and finish wrapping and tying the ribbon.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 6600 and the Baby Lock Serenade.