Jolly Wheel Tree Skirt Tutorial

This quick and EASY tree skirt came about last Sunday, when my mother- and father-in-law brought home not one, but TWO Christmas trees! My mother-in-law commissioned a tree skirt from me last year, so one tree was covered…. and I couldn’t let the other tree sit there skirtless! I only had a few hours (four hours to be exact) before we would be back at their house for dinner, and thought, “I can totally make a tree skirt in four hours.” All I needed was a little push and encouragement from my husband (he’s the best), and I was off chopping up fabric and batting. A few hours later…. BAM. Tree skirt.
My mother-in-law was very surprised and loved it — even though it’s simple!)

Here’s what I did:

+ Fat quarters or 1/2 yard cuts. I used 10 different prints and alternated red.
+ 1 3/4 yd fabric for the backing OR large scraps
+ 4 of 12″ pieces of ribbon for the ties
+ batting
+ walking foot
+ Tree Skirt Wedge Template – click here to download and print.

Of course you can use any fabric you want here. I alternated red, white, green, white, red, etc. Some prints were used only once, while others were used twice. I used a combination of polyester batting and 80/20 batting because I had a lot of large scraps on hand and I didn’t want to waste precious sewing time driving to get more batting! A lot of people are wary of polyester batting, but I promise you, it will work just fine for this. Just note that you will have to be careful when ironing your tree skirt down the road. Also, I used my walking foot to piece the entire thing. Use as close to a 1/4″ seam allowance as you can.

Next, PRINT out your template. You only need to print one (it’s three pages), as you will pin the template to your fabric and batting to cut out your wedges.

CUT out 18 wedges from your fabric, and 18 wedges from your batting. Be as accurate as you can when you cut your fabric (use a pen to trace your template if that helps you), but you don’t have to be super accurate when cutting the batting. As long as the batting is the same size or larger than your fabric wedges, you’re good.

QUILT-AS-YOU-GO to sew each wedge together. Place your first two wedges right sides together. Then place a batting wedge on the wrong sides of each piece of fabric. Pin or clip the sandwich together. (Your “sandwich” order should be: batting, fabric, fabric, batting, as shown below.) Use a 1/4″ seam allowance (or as close as you can get) and your walking foot to sew the wedges together down one straight edge. Be sure you are following your fabric — not the batting — when you sew your seam.

Open your two wedges, making sure there is batting under each side, smooth out the fabric on top of the batting, and quilt along both sides of the seam. I did not press my seams, I just went straight to quilting. I used a 1/4″ seam allowance to quilt along the seams, but a 1/2″ seam allowance would look great here too.

Continue attaching your fabric & batting wedges all the way around, quilting once you finish each seam, until all 18 wedges make a circle. Do not attach the 1st and 18th wedge.

You will notice that my last piece was cut incorrectly. I didn’t realize it in time and since I was in a hurry, I did not cut a new piece. Instead, I just trimmed the piece down so I ended up with a skinny wedge. Luckily, that piece will be in the back of the tree and no one will ever notice! 😉
Also, I’m sorry for my shoe lol… I was not planning to write a tutorial or use this picture for anything when I took it!

PIECE YOUR BACKING as desired. This is a great place to use some odd-colored yardage that is going unused, or larger scraps of fabric. You will need about 1 1/3 yard plus a little extra to cover the entire circle. Lay your tree skirt top on the floor with your backing to help you figure out how to piece your backing.

Once your backing is put together, place your completed top right sides together with the backing. I used safety pins to pin along the outside curve, one straight edge and the inside circle. Looking at the diagram below and using a 1/4″ seam allowance (or as close as you can get), sew the backing and the top together. Again, make sure these are right sides together. Start at the blue dot, and sew along the blue line, around to the yellow dot, so that one end of your tree skirt is open and unfinished (for now). Be sure to insert a tie where indicated by the black lines in the diagram.

Trim the excess backing and turn your tree skirt right side out. I used the handle end of a butter knife to push the seams out. Trim the batting about 1/2″ inside the open edge and press the raw edges to the inside. Pin and top stitch that open edge closed, inserting ties as you go, and continue top stitching all the way around your tree skirt… and you’re done!!

If you make this tree skirt, I would love to see what you make! Use the hashtags #JollyWheelTreeSkirt and #aprilgracequilts!


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