As soon as the turkey was cleaned up from Thanksgiving last week, my husband and I started breaking out the Christmas decorations and by the end of last weekend we had everything up! (Granted- we live in an apartment right now so that doesn’t take too long! But stay tuned- I am going to do a post within the next week about how to decorate in such a small space). We spent a lazy Saturday putting up the tree and slowly decorating it, and when all was said and done it looked nice, but it was missing something. Tinsel maybe? Hmmm… but with a new dog, we were afraid he’d eat it… no… what we were missing was a tree skirt. When we went shopping the next day we looked at tree skirts and were shocked at the price of some of them– we saw skirts from $15- well over $100. The $15 ones looked horrible, so the next day, I took a trip to the craft store – I had a few ideas in mind, but nothing specific. After perusing the ribbon aisle, I decided I was going to make a ruffled tree skirt. I had originally discounted that idea because who has time to cut all that fabric, hem it, and then gather it? Not this girl! But- in the ribbon aisle, I discovered a host of ribbons that were wired, and I noticed that by gently pulling on the wire, I could easily “gather” the ribbon with no extra sewing for me. Score!
After spending nearly 45 minutes in the ribbon aisle, this is the color scheme I went with- I thought the blue and silver looked so refreshing and was a nice change of pace from all the red and green.
In order to make this project work, you need to make sure the ribbon you are picking has wire in it, and that the ribbon can easily gather on the wire. See that ribbon in the middle in the picture above (the one with the trees) – I guess I forgot to test that one in the store because the wire was glued to the ribbon and it wouldn’t gather- that one is going back.
My tree skirt is 40″ across – and for that size skirt, I ended up using 5 spools of ribbon. Each spool of ribbon had 12 feet on it and was 2.5 inches wide. You’re going to have to do a little math to figure out how much ribbon you need– and don’t forget that you’re gathering it, so you’ll need about twice as much as you think to make up for the gathering!
Keep in mind that as the circles get smaller towards the center you’ll use significantly less ribbon. My last four rows were all made with just 2 spools of ribbon, so even though my tree skirt actually has 7 rows of ribbon, it was only made with 5 spools total.
Also keep in mind that one 12 foot spool of ribbon (slightly gathered) will comfortably go around a 40″ diameter circle. If your circle is more than that, make sure you get 2 of the same spools of ribbon so you can patch them together!
To get started, decide how wide you’ll want your tree skirt. We have a skinny tree, so I went with 40″ across. Take your measurement, divide it in half, and get a piece of ribbon a bit longer than that. Tie one end to a pen or pencil, and measure out your measurement and pin the ribbon in place in the middle of your felt. What you’re essentially doing is making a huge compass to help you draw a large circle.
After drawing your initial circle, you can draw concentric circles as guidelines to help you place your rows of ribbon. My ribbon was 2.5 inches wide, and I wanted a bit of overlap, so I made my circles every 2 inches. You could omit this step and eyeball it, but some people like that extra assurance!
Cut out your circle, and then cut a slit from the edge to the center
You’re going to be working from the outside in, so pick which ribbon you want on the outside edge and start gathering!
Starting at the slit, fold a bit of the ribbon onto the back and then begin pinning the ribbon along your first guide line.
Keep going until you get all the way around. My outermost row was one entire 12 foot spool of ribbon.
After it is pinned, you’re going to sew it down. Carefully sew along the gathered edge, getting as close as you can to the wire without sewing over it (you don’t want to break a needle!)
After the first row is sewn down, you’re basically going to repeat the last few steps on each concentric circle- gather, pin, sew, rinse and repeat.
This isn’t mandatory, but if your dog can insist on sleeping on your project while you’re working, that would be great.
Keep going until you get to a point where there is about a 12 inch circle of felt left. You can either leave it there (if you have an artificial tree, it probably won’t be a problem, because the “trunk” isn’t that wide), or if you have a real tree, you can cut the white circle out to make sure you have enough space to wrap the skirt around your tree.
An overhead view
I just can’t stop looking at this glittery ruffly goodness!
And here it is gracing our tree!
Hmmm….someone looks guilty don’t they?
As always, if you use my tutorial to make your own, I’d love to see it! Comment, post to my Facebook or hit me up on Instagram at @sewin2disney so you can tag me and use hashtag #handmadeisbetter – I love to see what you come up with! The color combinations are endless!