Thursday, November 7, 2013

The "I may have lost my mind" November goal: piecing a Dresden tree skirt

It's time to post my November goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. And, since the 50-odd days leading up to Christmas are always so packed full low-key, I decided to go big. Not in size, necessarily, but in everything else. 

I present to you the chevron pieced Dresden Christmas tree skirt! 
My goal for November is to get this completely pieced.

(This is actually a photoshopped picture. To create the chevron look, you cut wedges on one angle from one strip set and wedges on the other angle from a second strip set in order to use your fabric as efficiently as possible.  I only have one strip set (of 8!) pieced, but I really wanted to see how the tree skirt would look, so I flip-flopped the wedges digitally to try it out.)

I've had this project in mind for about a year, but I'm still pretty much winging it when it comes to actually cutting and sewing. My mom bought me Marilyn Doheny's 9-degree circle wedge ruler last year. Here's the first quilt I made with it, for the Dare to Dresden blog hop.

You can read more about it here

After finishing my kids' stockings last January (first Lovely Year of Finishes goal!), I continued collecting fabrics. I scored big with Benartex's Ho-Ho-Ho, Let It Snow collection to round out my stocking leftovers (from Moda's Let It Snow collection, 2 years ago). 
Here's what I started with:

I played around A LOT with strip width and fabric placement, and ultimately switched out a couple prints to some that I thought worked better. I sewed the 11 strips together to make the first set. Note the offset ends--with cutting wedges on an angle, this helps to reduce fabric waste. 

My first wedge cuts:
One other thing I forgot to mention--because of the nature of the wedge shape, if you flip it back and forth, you'll actually get twice as many cuts out of a strip set. But the second set won't work in this chevron pattern. So basically when I'm done, I'll have enough wedges leftover for a second tree skirt, just with the fabrics running in the opposite direction! 

What I sketched out to help me figure out exactly how this worked and if I wanted 45-degree or 60-degree cuts:
(I told you I was winging it! Incidentally, I went with 60-degree cuts to reduce waste. Because I need 8 strip sets to make this, for a 2" wide strip (the large polka dots, for example), I need 1/2 yard of fabric. Multiplied by 11 strips, and some of them are wider. And in some cases I'm working with fabric I bought a while back, so I can't get more.)

I am super excited about this tree skirt--in part because I've been wanting to make one for several years, and in part because I absolutely love the chevron look. Now let's just see how it goes together...definitely need to cut and piece precisely!
And depending on that, if I ever assemble the second one to give as a gift or sell...

Back to some strip set sewing! 
And if the long-winded text in this post thoroughly confused you, no worries. As I progress on this project I'll post again with more photos so it makes more sense. Just had to try out a strip set so I could get my goal up!

1 comment:

  1. Good for you!!!! Maybe the stockings will be for December?!? :)
    Love the look!!!! Can't wait to see the finished project!!!