Saturday, August 4, 2012

Burlap...How I love thee!!!

Has anyone noticed the "new" trend???  Burlap!!!  It's everywhere on Pinterest and it's SOOO ABSOLUTELY COOL!!!  Who knew that this scratchy, neutral, used to be feed sack material material would be the best decorating stuff ever!!!  And I LOVE it!!! 

So last year between Thanksgiving and Christmas...when my Sis introduced me to Pinterest...I spent a ton of time looking at Christmas ideas.  I kept seeing burlap decor...tree skirts, ornaments, stockings, decorative balls, ribbons, flowers...soooo much burlap!!!  And I realized I wanted to make myself a burlap Christmas!!!  I decided to start with a tree skirt and stockings for this year, and then in future years add to the decor.  So instead of putting away my tree skirt I kept it in the hall closet (craft closet) as well as one stocking for a future pattern.  The future has come and the tree skirt is now made!!!

Remember a couple posts ago when I lamented being too busy to craft?  Well, crafting days are here again.  Remember this picture?

It's not calling my name anymore...well, some of it isn't at least.  It's now an awesome Burlap & Muslin Lined Tree Skirt...and here's how I did it!

I started off with my old tree skirt and a couple of yards of muslin.  I laid the tree skirt in half over the muslin folded with the selvages together and traced it with just a plain old ink pin.

I cut the half circle out (keeping it in the two layers of course) then ironed it to remove all those pesky wrinkles. 

I then cut up the center fold line to the middle of the circle.  I'd marked it using the old tree skirt that had a split up the center to go around the tree.  It made it a lot easier than measuring.  Use all the tricks you can!!!

I then used the muslin to measure and cut out the burlap.  I folded the burlap in half just like the muslin and used the fold as the center, then I cut up the center just like I did with the muslin.

I decided I wanted ties on my skirt to keep it together and keep it from being pulled out by kids or cats.  I wanted 2 different ties so it would be good and secure.  To do that I cut 4 pieces of muslin 9" long by 2" wide.  I sewed up one side and closed up one end.  Then using a knitting needle I turned them right side out and ironed them flat. 

I used about a 1/4 inch seam for the ties.

I sandwiched the ties between the burlap and the muslin in the opening I'd cut up the center.  I put the first set 3 1/2 inches from the rounded edge with the second set 3 1/2 inches in from the first set (make sure you measure it carefully on both sides so they will match up well when it's all sewn together).

Laying out the rest of the muslin/burlap I matched it up all the way around and then pinned it.  It didn't always match up exactly, but close enough worked well enough!  Since I've never sewn burlap before, and knowing how much fraying burlap does, I decided to use a zig zag stitch to sew the layers together.  Using the zig zag ensures the seam will stay strong no matter the material (at least that's my hope!!!)  I sewed it all the way around, but left about an 8" opening to turn it right side out.  Then I ironed it flat to get crisp edges and fold in the opening so I could top stitch it.

Here I used a 1/2 inch seam.

This is the top stitching.  I loved how the thread matched the burlap exactly...and I'd bought it separately for a different project!!!
Here it looks at this point...and where I stopped for the day (Thursday night).

This would be an awesome tree skirt at this point.  I've also seen an idea of stencilling a monogram on the burlap.  That would be cool too, but I wanted a more feminine touch to it.  So I made some muslin ruffles to add to it.  I've seen the ones with layers and layers of ruffles.  They're gorgeous, but honestly it's not practical in my house.  We layer the presents under the tree and so all that work and prettiness would be covered up.  Plus, the presents would end up like Jenga blocks...all over the floor in messy piles toppled by an uneven surface!!!  And I'm sure the cats would be eager to help the tumbling!  So, for me, one row of lovely ruffling works well. 

I decided to go with a fairly wide ruffle.  I cut the muslin in 7" strips.  It was a guess as to how many I needed so I went with 7 (the number of can you go wrong!).  I figured if I had extra it would be put to use with stockings later anyway.  Once I had them cut out I ironed them all to get rid of the sharp lines.  But, this project isn't about a perfectly tailored tree skirt.  I wanted it to look shabby sheek (or something like that).  Perhaps it's vintage that I'm looking for...I'm just taking a stab at styles here and hoping I land on the right one.  So once the muslin was all ironed I grabbed it in my hands and ran it up and down one of the pieces to see how I liked it.  I wanted it randomly wrinkly and fraying on the edge.  Here's what I got...

That's it!!! And it was easy to get it that way.  Thankfully my oldest walked in at just that moment...and since it was so easy I put him to work!!!

Doesn't he look thrilled.  I might have given him the starting of a blister...maybe.  Too bad he had nothing to show for it today when he wanted to brag!  But he did an excellent job! 

Now that I had all the wrinkly yumminess I needed to baste the muslin so I could gather it.  I wanted it to gather down the middle so I had ruffles on both sides.  So I needed to baste straight down the middle.  I don't know about you, but my machine doesn't have measurements for 3 1/2 inches.  I find quite often that I need markings beyond what the standard sewing machine gives I made them!!!  Sharpie and ruler and I had what I needed.  Why haven't I ever thought of this before???

Perfect!  I basted each piece at 3 1/2 inches, then began gathering the first one starting at the opening I'd made earlier.  Since I still wasn't sure how many panels I'd need to go the whole circumference of the skirt, I just decided to gather it till I liked the look.  Then I measured the next one off of the first, and so on.  When I started pinning the ruffle on I needed to make sure that I didn't catch or interfere with the ties I'd made, so I measured and lined up the middle of each ruffle 2 1/2 inches in from the rounded edge of the tree skirt.  I pinned on the first ruffle and realized that it ended up reaching a little over a 1/4 of the way around the first half of the skirt.  Having 7 panels I used wise deductive reasoning (or in other words a DUH moment) to figure out that I needed approx. 3 1/2 panels on the one side and it would come out at the end.  It ended up using about 6 and almost half of the 7th panel.  Yep, perfection...almost! 

The blue point is at the edge of the skirt.  So I lined the basted thread up at the 2 1/2" point and it made pinning it in the right place a breeze.  I love having the right tools for the job!!!
Once it was all pinned I sewed the ruffle on following the basted thread as close as I could.  With all that ruffling it's easy to get some of it caught under the presser foot, so I stopped when I removed each pin and used my hands to press and hold the ruffles down and sewed in between.  It worked great!

And suddenly the tree skirt I've been drooling over for months was done!!!  I can't wait to get the tree up this year and add this treasure to it. 

Hopefully soon I can get the stockings done...we'll see what the week holds!!!


Blogs I'm Linking Up With:









  1. It looks good! I never thought of burlap for a tree skirt, but I like it! Thanks for sharing. Found your post from the Weekend Wrap Up Linky Party.

  2. I love this. I had already decided I wanted burlap stockings this year and now I am going to have to have this skirt. Pinning for future sewing. :) Saw your link on Flamingo Toes link.

  3. Fabulous! You did a wonderful job. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Its great when the kids get involved - great tutorial!

  5. So burlaping pretty! I love it since I love burlap.You also shared with us a great tutorial on how to make one ourselves. Very pretty! So glad you shared your creative inspiration with Sunday’s Best – your creativity helped make the party a success!

  6. Oh my goodness! I know I should be thinking about Christmas crafting but I just can't, not when the weather is so gorgeous out still. You're smart to get a head start. Thanks so much for sharing at Etcetorize this week!

  7. Love your tree skirt! Ive been wanting to start getting all my christmas ideas going :)

  8. That's really a beautiful tree skirt! Can't believe it's already time to start planning for the holidays, but I guess they'll be here before we know it! :)

  9. Thanks for the great tutorial! I can't believe you are getting ready for Christmas already. I’m so glad you linked this up at One Creative Weekend! I love it! I’d love for you to join the party again tomorrow.

  10. What a beautiful tree skirt! I love burlap and ruffles! And thanks for sharing all the details!