She’s Crafty: That Time a Made a Tree Skirt

Remember back in November when I took on the goal of improving my craftiness?  Well, I went balls to the wall crafty in the month of December and haven’t done a damn thing since then. I burnt myself out. I knitted so much right before Christmas my wrists hurt. Physical pain.

But some time has passed, and I’m ready to get my craft on again. I’ve also decided to share my projects with you on a monthly (or maybe twice monthly depending on the amount of craftiness I’m rocking over here) series – cleverly named She’s Crafty. This accomplishes two things 1) it makes me continue to grow my crafting skills and 2) it creates a blog series which was one of my #28DBC goals.

For this first installment, I’m sharing the project I’m definitely most proud of. Friends, I sewed a mother-effing tree skirt, and it turned out awesome!

Running In Chucks tree skirt finished

This project was not as quick and easy as I was expecting hoping it would be.  Beginner mistakes were made.  I actually almost cried…more than once. But I now have a handmade tree skirt to celebrate Christmas for years to come. Here’s how the trauma it went down.

I used this pattern from McCalls.  (I also planned to make the stockings, but my mom thought they looked like a fun project so she actually made them for me.) I cut out the pattern and then laid out my fabrics and interfacing to cut the pieces.  Mistake #1 occurred here.  I forgot to iron my fabric until it was too late (read: after I started cutting.)  This is also the point at which I learned I have no good space in my house to do this. Cutting the pieces was a pain in the ass, but I got it done.

It was now time for the sewing begin! The first step was to baste the interfacing to the top pieces. Basting is basically temporarily sewing pieces together. Basting is also, in my opinion, the world’s biggest waste of time. At least for this project. I quickly discovered I could iron the pieces together and the interfacing would melt just enough to stick while I sewed one section to the next.  Easy peasy.

Unfortunately on top off the frustration of basting, my sewing machine was being an asshole. My bobbin wasn’t winding properly (though I discovered later that was my own fault – mistake #2.) My thread kept snapping. It was a hot mess. I called it quits for the night and decided to tackle the project at my mom’s house the next day. She has a nice sewing room with a cutting table, ironing board, and much more high tech machine.

It should be noted that at this point in my sewing career, I sew pretty damn slowly. Putting the sections for the back and front together was easy enough (once I was using a fully functional machine), but a slow process for sure – like 8 hours to put together 8 pieces for the top and 8 pieces for the bottom slow…but I got it done with little drama.

Tree Skirt partial

When it came time to sew the top and the bottom together things got messy (again.) Apparently sewing round edges is not my strong suit. Also, I realized I sewed the button loops on backwards (mistake #3) and had to do that a second time. At this point in the day I was tired, my back hurt, and I was getting really easily frustrated.  My mom offered to finish the skirt for me, but I really wanted to complete the project myself. Half and hour, and very little progress later, I reached that point where I needed to walk away or things would start rapidly progressing downhill. I really needed the project finished that day though so I surrendered and let my mom finish sewing the top and bottom together.

Despite not finishing the project 100% on my own, I’m really proud of myself for getting it done. I absolutely love it, and it looked awesome under the tree if I do say so myself.  Plus it cost far less than buying a tree skirt at the store because tree skirts are apparently ridiculously, absurdly expensive.  Of course, one could argue it cost me way more in time since I spent an entire Saturday working on it, but I like to think of that as the priceless element of the homemade tree skirt we’ll have for years to come!

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