When Kari at Ucreate said her theme for the November “Create with Me” was tree skirts and stockings- I knew I was in. I was hoping that a deadline would make me all the more dedicated to getting them done (I’ve been wanting to make them for years). Well, then life happend and I just haven’t had the time to get it done. I figured I had missed the deadline and that was that. But, wait, a Christmas Miracle! Kari extended the deadline! I had already purchased the fabric during the black friday sale at Joann’s (on Saturday- I was not about to wait over 3 hours to get fabric cut on Friday!) so I was good to go. I used the tree skirt tutorial included in the create with me post by The Sweet Life.
This is the skirt finished the way the tutorial explains, it’s darling, but I wanted to add a couple more ruffles. And that’s where the next part of this post comes in- I discovered a couple tricks for gathering long strips of fabric that may come in handy if you’re ever making something like this. Normally you would run a gathering stitch the entire length of the strip you are going to gather, people will have you do two rows of stitching in case one thread breaks. (I know about the tension way of gathering on your machine, but I used it, and now my machine has major tension problems so I’m a little gun-shy to try it again)
So, here’s my trick. I had four sections of fabric sewn together to make the long strip I was going to ruffle. At each seam, I stopped stitching, pulled out some thread from the machine and clipped the thread. Then I started stitching again. Now you have sections of thread instead of one long thread to gather along. (even if you have more than four sections of fabric and you can’t use the seams as a guide, you can divide the length of your strip in quarters and mark them with pins, then do the same thing.)
Next, I found the four quarter positions on my tree skirt and lined up the quarter marks on my ruffle. Starting at the center point, you will pin the ruffle fabric to the base fabric. Then, take the end threads and anchor them around the pin (as shown in this picture), this will keep you from pulling out the thread as you gather it. Gather the fabric to the desired length and pin in place. Repeat with the remaining three sections, then stitch in place. I found it was much easier to keep my gathers even and it didn’t shred the edge of the fabric as much as gathering the entire length of the ruffle.
I used extra wide satin blanket binding on the center circle of the skirt (it was what I had on hand. Then I made ties using extra fabric from the ruffles. I pinned the ties in place and folded over the raw edge of the opening 1/2 inch, then another 1/2 inch, making sure to catch the ties in the folds. I stitched twice down the hemmed edges and I was finished! I absolutely LOVE my new tree skirt. Now about the stockings……we’ll see!