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It’s the holiday season again, so today I have a brand new sewing and repurposing tutorial for you: how to make a Christmas tree skirt from a tablecloth!
When I was growing up, my mother had a very festive knit Christmas tree skirt, which I always enjoyed taking out each year. After moving to Italy, for years I used alternative Christmas trees. For a while I decorated a big potted ficus tree. Then I started buying mini pine trees in pots, but those would die off each year. Then we started decorating large pruned olive branches (which you can see here).
Seeing as we never had a regular Christmas tree, I never made a Christmas tree skirt, and instead just wrapped a small red fleece blanket around the pot. Finally my sister-in-law gave me her old fake Christmas tree, and my kids were thrilled to finally have a “normal” Christmas tree to decorate. And so I decided to give our “new” tree a new set of clothing, but in Cucicucicoo style, repurposing what I already had.
And what I happened to have was a red Christmas tablecloth that I inherited from my grandmother. Perfect for a Christmas tree skirt, with emotional value attached, and no cost because I already had everything I needed!
So, would you like to learn how to make a Christmas tree skirt from a tablecloth that you already have hanging around the house? (You can also use regular fabric yardage, too, if you don’t have an appropriate extra tablecloth.) Well, then, let’s get started!
How to make a Christmas tree skirt from a tablecloth:
- tablecloth (see note below)
- measuring tape*
- marking pen with water soluble ink*
- pins*, thread and machine needles
- snaps* (the type you sew by hand or the type that you apply with a snap press*)
- circle skirt template (optional. I’ll tell you more about that in a moment)
If you have a circle tablecloth, you can turn that into a Christmas tree skirt pretty easily. Just make the central circular cut (steps 2-3) and the radial cut (step 6), then either fold the edges under and sew in place, bind with bias tape or hem with bias tape. This way you don’t have to worry about creating the circular shape, just about creating the opening.
In my case, I had a large rectangular tablecloth that was big enough to cut out two circles the size of my skirt. If your tablecloth isn’t big enough for two circles, I’ll explain how you can simply make a one-layer skirt.
Get out your Christmas tree and put it in the stand. The base of our tree was too small and the tree fell over multiple times, so I eventually screwed the base to a larger piece of scrap wood that I had to give it more stability. Very ugly, I know, but the tree never fell over again and no more sentimental ornaments were broken after that. But this ugly base meant that we really couldn’t do without a Christmas tree skirt!
1. Measure from the center of your Christmas tree stand outwards to find the radius of the skirt. I decided that I wanted a skirt with a 45 cm radius.
If you want to cut the circle out more easily, you can use my free circle skirt template. (You can find the tutorial for the circle skirt here and download the template from my free downloads page.) Just line up the two straight edges so that they make up a quarter of the way around the tree stand and cut along the circle that is 1 cm past where you want your skirt to come out to.
2. Fold your fabric in half, then in half again so that you have four layers with all the folded edges lined up. Again, this is similar to how you make a circle skirt, so you can check out my circle skirt tutorial to see better how this is done.
In my case, I wanted to cut two circles from one big rectangle, so I actually folded the rectangle in half to make a square, then folded in half twice more. This made for eight layers of fabric, which are more tricky to line up, but still doable. Otherwise you can cut the rectangle in half and fold/cut each separately.
3. Position a drinking glass over the folded corner of the fabric so that the fabric corner reaches into the center of the glass bottom. Trace around the glass with your fabric marker. This will be the center hole of your tree skirt. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem big enough, because once the fabric is unfolded and the opening sewed, it will be large enough to fit amply around the tree base.
4. Position the 0 of the tape measure along the line from step 3 and mark the length determined in step 1 plus 2 cm. So my 45 cm becomes 47 cm. Swivel the tape measure around so that you make marks that form a wider curve.
Alternatively, you can use the circle skirt template that I mentioned above. Just line up the template’s straight edges with the folded fabric edges and trace around the template curve that you decided on in step 1.
I make a mark on each side of the tape measure each time I move it.
Cutting and Sewing:
5. Cut along the traced lines.
6. Unfold the fabric. If you are sewing together two layers, put one on top of the other, right sides facing. Then cut a straight line from the outer edge to the inside opening.
7. Pin around all the edges (inside circle, straight cut and outside edge) (as seen on left).
8. Sew all around the edges with a 1 cm seam allowance, leaving an opening in one of the straight edges. Clip the curves and corners, turn the fabric right side out, press flat and topstitch all around, closing up the opening (as seen on the right). If you are not familiar with this technique, I suggest you read my lesson on turning and topstitching and clipping and notching.
And there you have yourself a Christmas tree skirt! You can use it like this, just wrapping it around the base of the Christmas tree and overlapping the edges. Otherwise you can add some snaps to close it up.
If you want to add snaps, just sew or apply them on to the two straight edges.
Just perfect! Much better than that ugly plastic and wood base that’s hidden underneath!
I wanted to keep my Christmas tree skirt simple because the original tablecloth was already a fond memory of my grandmother’s home on Christmas, but you can use appliqué to add fun designs to it (learn how to appliqué here) or use more festive fabric to begin with rather than upcycling a tablecloth.
Now all that’s left is to cover up your DIY Christmas tree skirt with lots of colorful gifts!
Everyone loves the color, light and happiness of a Christmas tree! And I love how good the colorful fabric of my reusable gift wrap looks under the tree! (Check out my Ecological Gift Wrapping Guide for the tutorials on how to make furoshiki, drawstring gift bags and other simple reusable gift wrap!)
Our tree has a lot of very unique homemade ornaments on it that are very special to our family. You might recognize the recycled egg carton poinsettias and the woven yarn Hopi Eye ornaments from past tutorials of mine. I made the crochet bell ornament last year from my friend Ilaria‘s book Amigurumi Winter Wonderland*.
Having a homemade tree skirt, in addition to handmade ornaments and gift wrap, make for an incredibly personal and unique Christmas experience! So now that you know how to make a Christmas tree skirt from a tablecloth (or other fabric), get started sewing your own!
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