Sewing Blog

How to Sew a Christmas Tree Skirt in Just One Day

Does your Christmas tree need a little something extra? Learn how to sew a tree skirt that encircles the base and hides the stand while adding a bit of holiday color.

christmas tree skirt with red bows

The fabric can be the star of this show, so with a small amount of sewing you will have a handmade tree skirt you can use for years to come. Here’s how to measure, cut and sew your own.

DIY tree skirt sewing tutorial

For this tutorial, I’m using:

Step 1: Determine size and cut the circle

cut circles out of 2 fabrics with text

Your finished tree skirt can as wide as the width of your fabric. (If you want it to be larger, you’ll need to create a wider piece of fabric.) My fabrics were 44″ wide, and I planned a finished diameter of 42″.

Fold the fabric selvedge edges together (as it comes off the bolt). You can cut the two skirt layers at once if you fold both fabrics and overlay one on top of the other, carefully lining up the folded edges. Alternatively, you can cut out one circle, then place that on top of the lining fabric, and use that as a guide to cut the second circle.

Lay your tape measure along the folded edge. Put three pins in place: One at the beginning of your tape measure, one at the end distance (42″ for me) and right in the center between those pins.

Place the tape measure at center pin and pivot it, measuring out an an equal distance (again, 42″ for me) from the center pin. Mark as desired. Continue pivoting your tape measure until you have enough marks to form a circle. Cut out your circle using these marks.

Step 2: Cut out center opening

cut out center circles for tree trunk

Next, cut out the center opening, which will go around the tree trunk. By keeping the two folded edges aligned and the edges of the circles even, you can cut the center circle out of both fabrics at the same time.

Mark and cut a small circle using the same center pivot method as in the previous step. You want the tree skirt to cover the stand, so the opening circle doesn’t need to be too big — about  a 5″ diameter will be sufficient (unless your Christmas tree is really large).

Step 3: Cut opening in circle

Cut from outer edge to inner circle

You need to be able to wrap the tree skirt around the base of the tree, so it needs a opening — much like a shirt or jacket needs an opening to go around your body.

Open the circles and place one circle aligned exactly over the other.  Cut a straight line from the outer edge to the inner, opening in both fabric circles.

Step 3: Add ties or closures

add ribbon ties on either side of opening

For this tree skirt, I used grosgrain ribbon to for the ties, which will keep the skirt in place around the tree. You can make ties yourself using contrasting fabric, bias tape, ribbon or other trims. The amount and type of closure is yours to improvise!

Here, I pinned ribbons in place at multiple points on either side of the opening so that they could be tied in a bow when placed around the tree. You don’t need to sew them in place just yet — that comes in the next step.

Step 4: Sew the two circles together

stitch along slit and center opening right sides together

Align your two circles one on top of the other, right sides together, and pin in place. (Your ribbons or other trims should be on the inside; just make sure they are out of the way.)

Stitch up one side of the the straight opening, pivot at the corner, continue around the circle and then down the other straight opening. Leave a small opening so you can turn the skirt right-side out. I used a ½” seam allowance.

Step 5: Clip and trim

clip curve at center opening and trim corners

Trim the four corners as shown and clip the circular opening so it can open up and lay flat when turned right side out. 

Step 6: Turn and press

completed tree skirt without ruffle

Turn your fabrics right-side out, stitch the last opening closed, and press both the inner circle and the long edge. 

Step 7: Add embellishments

christmas tree skirt with red bows

If you like, you can add more holiday color! Start with a simple tree skirt shape and add some embellishments like ruffles, quilting, appliqué and even beading. It could be a multi-year project that gets better with every holiday season.

7 Comments

Nel

This is terrific and timely – and such simple, clear directions. I like the idea of making it over time, especially because I like the idea of an embroidered tree skirt – but who has time to embroider the whole thing in the few weeks before Christmas? And who thinks of starting a project like that when you have plenty of months/weeks to do the embroidery before Christmas? Not me. If you don’t mind the embroidery showing on the back of the skirt, you could finish it as above and embroider something new each year – perhaps even with dates. If you want the embroidery to be hidden, just use the outer circle and when you finally have nothing more to add to the embroidery, finish the skirt. You can still use it in its unfinished form if you tack down the raw edges of the circle to keep them from fraying.

I’m inspired! Too bad my flat is too small for a tree!

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Sheryll Seidel

I have made many table top tree skirts. Just cut your fabrics into an 18 or 20 inch circle or whatever will work for you. Make your circular hole a bit smaller. You can make your own ruffle, with fabric cut on the straight of the grain. I use approximately 1 1/2 times the circumference or you can use a ruffled lace. Instead of ties, I’ve always used a strip of sew in velcro. Either is fine. So many options. Have fun.

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Libbie Kirby

This looks like an excellent idea and is cute as well; I will make some for my kids (2).
Sincerely,
Libbie Kirby

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B

The fabric for the red ruffle is included in the materials list, yet there are no instructions for making it. Is it bias cut? Straight? Would you baste or sew it in place first? I’m guessing it’s pieced, since 1 yard won’t reach all the way around a 42″ diameter circle – that’s about 132″ just in circumference, not allowing for the extra fabric needed to make the ruffle all ruffly. Will there be additional tutorials or an edit to finish this one?

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Linda G

If the fabric border is ruffled, it isn’t necessary to cut the ruffle on the bias. It appears the ruffle in the example is cut with a pinking shear or pinking blade or else it is hemmed with a scalloped narrow hem method before the ruffle is gathered and attached. The ruffle in the example shown is attached in the seam on the outside circumference of the skirt before the lining is attached.

To make the ruffle, cut strips the desired finished width + one seam allowance (1/2″ in this example) + hem allowance (if needed, based on hem method). The total length of the strips when sewn together must equal at least 2x (twice) the circumference of the tree skirt. The longer you make this strip, the fuller the ruffle will be.

1. Sew the strips together to make one length. You may want to use a french seam or a felled seam to completely enclose the raw edges of the seam allowances.
2. Hem or finish one long edge as desired. Hem or clean finish the 2 ends.
3. Gather the other long edge.
4. Baste the ruffle gathered edge right sides together to the outside circumference of the skirt top, distributing the gathers evenly, BEFORE sewing the the top to the lining. Start and finish the ruffle attachment at least 1/2″ from each side of the slit in the skirt, to allow for the 1/2″ seam to join the skirt top to the lining.

Continue with the rest of the construction steps to add the ties and attach the skirt top to the lining and finish. Keep the basted ruffle right side to the right side of the skirt top when sewing to the lining (enclosed between the lining and the skirt top). Be sure the ends of the ruffle are kept free of the seam at the slit. When turning right side out, the ruffle should automatically fall around the edge of the skirt.

An additional note: This method for creating a ruffle will allow the wrong side of the ruffled fabric to show. If you wish to have a clean, right side of fabric underside, double the finished width + seam allowance measurement (do not add for a hem), fold and press the strip in half with wrong sides together, and gather the folded strip before attaching. For clean finished ends, you can seam the ends first (fold in half wrong sides together, seam the short ends, turn right side out and press), then press wrong sides together and gather. This will make a thicker, self-lined ruffle. You can also create an edge-lace ruffle, which won’t need to be hemmed or lined.

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Mary Galea

I bought a ruffler attachment for my machine (not cheap either!) and this will be the perfect project to use it! B, yes, a ruffle is just as you describe. You could sew it in place before turning, but it can certainly be added afterwards, which is probably what I would do, as the edge has 4 layers making stretching less likely. It would also make catching the ruffle inside less likely, which I would almost certainly manage to do!

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Cheryl

This pattern makes a perfect picnic tablecloth- if you have an umbrella, add the center hole. I used snaps to hold it closed. I serged mine to keep it light & easy to wash. Have fun.

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