Making a rag quilt anything is not a quick project. It takes a bit of time and patience but I simply adore the texture this process creates.
My first rag quilt project was a Rag Quilt Flag Pillow. I liked the results so much I decided to try it out on a tree skirt.
WHAT YOU NEED
The first goal is to create a large square of sewn together strips of alternating fabrics. I wanted my tree skirt to be approximately 50″ in diameter so I was aiming for a 50″ x 50″ square.
HINT: Ikea “Lenda” curtain panels come in beige and white. They are a great weight and feel for projects like this. Ikea lists the panels as 55″ wide x 98″ long. I washed & dried the fabric before cutting. After washing, it measured closer to 50″ wide.
1.25 yd of beige fabric 54″ wide cut into 13 @ 3″ strips
1.25 yd of white fabric 54″ wide cut into 12 @ 3″ strips
2.25 yds of flannel or napped lining (see below) cut into 25 @ 3″ strips
2.25 yds white cotton (optional – see below)
The lining on my tree skirt is a drapery lining called Napped Lining. This lining feels like inner lining or flannel on one side and a regular cotton on the other side. An alternative to this is flannel.
*Some rag quilt tutorials call for an inner layer of flannel plus a backing of cotton creating a total of 3 layers. This tutorial will only show 2 layers.
As I began this tutorial I realized I didn’t have photos of all the steps specifically for this tree skirt. Some of the tutorial photos used here are from the Rag Quilt Pillow Tutorial and will not show the same size strips as for the tree skirt. The process is still the same.
After you’ve cut your strips, begin layering…
1 strip of flannel topped with fabric #1 (plus strip of cotton backing if using 3 layers)
1 strip of flannel topped with fabric #2 (plus strip of cotton backing if using 3 layers)
IMPORTANT – Stitch the two layers of fabrics together with the linings facing each other. This is very important to remember. The object of the rag quilt is to have the raw seam allowance on the top side. So be very sure to sew the strips as if you were sewing wrong sides together.
- With each seam you will be sewing 4 layers together.
- Bottom to top: white, lining, lining, beige.
- Continue sewing alternating strips together until you have sewn all strips.
- 25 @ 3″ strips sewn together with 1/2″ seam allowance, alternating colors, will equal approximately 50″.
The right side or top side of your quilt will look like this. Row after row of raw seam allowances.
The back side will look like this.
CUTTING THE CIRCLE SHAPE
Fold the rag quilt in 1/4’s or quarters.
*This is another step where you’ll see photos of a different fabric in order to show the process. This fabric is a solid piece of the Ikea “Lenda” fabric.
Again, fold your fabric in fourths.
Begin with the folded corner of the fabric.
The object at this point is to measure and mark the correct diameter for your tree skirt.
- If the finished diameter size of your skirt is 50″ then you’ll be marking the fabric at 26″ the radius/25″ – which is 1/2 of your finished diameter plus two @ 1/2″ seam allowances = 26″.
- You can use a soft tape measure but a yard stick is easier.
Measure from the point of your folded corner to the desired length and mark. Continue measuring and marking the fabric until you have marked the entire 1/4 of fabric.
Cut along markings through all four layers of fabric.
(If you have eagle eyes you may notice that this skirt does not measure 26″. Please ignore this fact and do as I say, not as I do. 🙂 This skirt was already cut out so I’m using it for photo purposes.)
Now your fabric is still folded in fourths/quarters but in the shape of a circle.
Go back to the folded point of your circle.
Measure and cut out a 2″ circle following the same process for the “neck” of the tree skirt as you did for the length. This will be the portion of your skirt that circles the tree base.
Open your skirt to a full circle and carefully cut 1 section from the length to the neck.
BACK TO OUR RAG QUILT TREE SKIRT
Here you can see the above process completed on the tree skirt.
At this point, top stitch – using a 1/2″ seam allowance – the entire raw edge perimeter of the skirt being very careful to open flat ALL exposed seam allowances.
NOW FOR THE FUN PART
Snip/cut every 1/2″ through all exposed seam allowances being sure to cut through all layers but NOT through the stitched seam.
I usually save this step and cut while watching a movie. This part can be extremely tedious.
Be sure to cut the perimeter/edges of the tree skirt as well.
WASH AND DRY
After you have cut your entire tree skirt (and wish you’d made a 12″ skirt instead of a 50″ skirt) wash your skirt in cold water and tumble dry. I know this sounds like a scary step but this is why I suggest washing the fabrics first, before beginning, just to be safe.
The washing and drying process is what gives the rag quilt it’s soft and “raggy” texture.
You can add ribbon or fabric ties to tie your tree skirt if desired. To be honest…by the time I finished this tree skirt I was perfectly content for it to just drape around the base of the tree and not be tied closed!
I know this is a long tutorial and a fairly time consuming project but don’t rule out the possibility of a rag quilt project of your own. It’s so worth the effort!
If any of the instructions or steps in this project are confusing or if you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments. I’ll answer as soon as I can and try my best to clear up the tutorial as well as any confusion.
Really beautiful, Sonya! I’m not sure I have the patience to do this…I definitely would have in the past. Looks perfect with your tree.