Stained Glass Christmas Tree Skirt

Date made: May 2001

Stained Glass Christmas Tree Skirt

The colors weren't my choice, but chosen to go with my friend's living room scheme. My friend was thrilled with the completed tree skirt, which was extremely gratifying to me. :-)

One thing I learned, though .. it isn't really necessary to use a lofty batting when doing a tree skirt. Heck .. the tree doesn't care if it's kept warm or not! If I ever made another quilted tree skirt, I'd think very seriously about using something like flannel for the batting, which would give essentially the same quilted look, but without the hassle of trying to get the quilt sandwich under my sewing machine.

The pattern was taken from "Christmas Traditions in Stained Glass" by Brenda Henning .. the same book that I used to make the stained glass Christmas stockings for my family. Once again, I used Clover's quick fuse 1/4" bias tape .. lordy, I love that stuff! .. and topstitched each side down with a 4mm double needle. The double needle enabled me to stitch down both sides of the bias at the same time .. effectively cutting my top-stitching time in half. The only tricky part was when I needed to pivot/turn at the corners. With a double needle, you can't pivot with the needle in the fabric.

What I did was, with the needle above the fabric, VERY CAREFULLY turn the fabric in place under the needle, then continue sewing as usual. As I remember, it took me 18 hours over 5 days to complete this item .. although SCMS [Swiss Cheese Memory Syndrome (tm): where everything I need to remember has fallen through the holes] might prove me somewhat inaccurate with those exact figures.

In a way, this technique is easier than traditional piecing. What you do is
1. trace the final stained glass pattern onto a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing, fusible side up. This means the fusible interfacing piece needs to be as large as the final stained glass item. You might need to piece the intefacing together to get a piece large enough. And yes, you trace right onto the fusible web stuff. An alternative would be to use spray baste on a lightweight foundation fabric.

2. cut out each fabric piece the finished size (i.e. no seam allwance) and butt each piece up against each other, per the stained glass pattern. You want each fabric piece to be held in place by the fusible webbing (or spray baste). Once the entire fusible interfacing has been covered with the fabric pieces, secure by ironing them in place.

3. Cover all interior raw edges (i.e, not the perimeter) with bias tape. Stitch the edges down by hand or machine.

4. Bind the perimeter edges. Admire. :-)

Eventhough the Clover quick fusible bias tape is expensive, when I want to use the lamé, I'll spring for the ready-made every time. I HATE sewing on lamé. I've found that the ready-made bias is absolutely flat, flat, FLAT and with the fusible webbing temporarily holding it in place, it's soooo easy to sew down.