Thursday Sewing: Making a tree skirt from curtain valances

I had something completely different planned for today’s post! And as you can maybe tell I’m a bit late in posting today. What I had planned will have to wait until next Thursday’s Sewing Session though. So sorry.Today I bring you: Making a Tree Skirt from Curtain Valances

This would be a lot more relevant if we were closer to Christmas, but I also never got a chance to post it over Christmas. I was sick most of the time and we had family in from Brazil. So here it is today, and maybe it will give you a head start on your Christmas sewing?

To begin with, I had some old valances laying around that I had picked up at a thrift store, intending to make a silky bag with them. The bags never came to fruition. I needed a tree skirt. The one we had was too small and I wanted something a bit more elegant. And handmade. So I “found” the valances on my fabric shelf and started taking measurements.

With two of them, I had enough material to make the skirt. To make the skirt, I needed to sew them together, make a circular cut out in the middle, and then make eyelets or something similar for the ties on one side.

The first thing I did was to sew them together in the middle, so that the borders were on the outside edges. Then I folded them into halves and quarters so I could easily make a pie-shaped wedge to cut out the circular middle. I really just measured the top of my tree stand, subtracted about 1/2″ for seam, and measured from the point to the distance on the ruler. I then cut it and seamed it by folding 1/4″ under and running a zig zag stitch all the way around.

During all of this, I’d forgotten that I needed an opening to actually put it around the tree stand. So I cut down the middle of one side, seamed up the sides, and stood back to take a look at it. It needed more. It was just really plain. Here was where my two hour project became four.

I remembered that I had made a filet crocheted set of bells meant to be used as a centerpiece about 11 years ago. They had taken me forever, but were now laying unused in a drawer. I decided they would be perfect for my tree skirt. Sure enough, I got the centerpiece out and laid it across my skirt. Perfect! Now how to sew that sucker on there?

Looking around the craft room, my eyes landed on the can of basting spray I use for quilts. With an Aha! moment and recall of Ashley’s post about attaching her crocheted appliques, I set about spraying small sections and applying the piece to the skirt. This probably would’ve held for a while, but I didn’t want to risk it. I pinned the bells around, making sure to keep the slippery material as smooth as possible underneath the bells and the bells flat as well. With a zig zag stitch set for a long length and a short stitch, I carefully sewed the bells to the tree skirt.

For the final touch, I used an eyelet setting on my Janome. I made small holes down the sides of the open edges and then let the Janome do its thing. With little effort on my part, the eyelets were made and nearly perfect. I then laced it all up using some ribbon I had.

So it got a little involved, but I was really happy with the fact that I upcycled the valances and found a new purpose for my unused centerpiece. I also had a brand spanking new tree skirt that didn’t cost me a dime to make this year. (I’m not considering the initial cost of the valances which was about $3 and the thread used to crochet the bells, or the ribbon that I had on hand. It was all stuff I had on hand and didn’t have to go out to buy.)

With a little thought, looking through your stash, or a fun run through a thrift store, I bet you can find some stuff to make you own Christmas tree skirt for next year. If you make something, would you consider posting it to my group Flickr account? I’d love to see your projects!

*The pattern used for the bells centerpiece was from the November, 2003 issue of Crochet! Magazine and is by Ferosa Harold. You can reference the pattern on Ravelry.

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