Oh, Christmas tree skirt; oh, Christmas tree skirt

Oh, Christmas tree skirt, Oh, Christmas tree skirt ~

Growing up, my dad would methodically wrap each branch of the Christmas tree with lights; making sure that wires were hidden and each portion of the tree was equally as bright as the next. In the early days there were the large, colored bulbs; and then the tiny lights appeared, sometimes colored, sometimes all white, sometimes flashing, and sometimes all of the above (oh, my!) Then Mom and I would work our magic; carefully unwrapping cherished ornaments, each with its own life and story. To tinsel or not to tinsel would be a yearly topic of discussion. When we gave our collective nod of approval, a white sheet would be placed under the tree, tucking it up and swirling it around. It always reminded me of snow. What might this tree have looked like in its native forest, on Christmases past?

Over the years I've seen many a tree skirt; some folksy, some funny, some plain, some fancy, some akin to the "ugly Christmas sweater", some simple, and some beautifully embellished; but nothing could sway me from my traditional plain white sheet.

The last few years there have been fewer presents under the tree. My husband and I don't really exchange many gifts: These days we purchase things as we need them. My children are now adults, and prefer a single special item rather than a plethera of non-essentials. So the idea of a pretty, new tree skirt to provide a little more sparkle under the tree, in lieu of a multitude of glittery packages, hit me. I knew it must be all white, but with some sparkle, handmade, and larger than your average tree skirt. The Alabama Chanin style fit the bill perfectly!

I began searching for a 5 foot circular table cloth. I opted for a white one with a silvery sheen. This was my base or under layer, and also my template. The top layer is Alabama Chanin's beautiful organic cotton jersey in natural. I used about two yards. White, cream, and silver paint, thread, floss, and beads are my embellishments for my tree skirt.

I began this project last year, full-on into the Christmas season, so I knew it would be a work in progress. I warmed to the idea of pulling the tree skirt out each year just before the Holidays and adding a few more touches before tucking it under the tree. Fingers crossed that just about the time this skirt is finished, one of the kids will be putting up their own tree and needing a tree skirt. I could pass it on to them and start a new one, in hopes of finishing that one just in time for the other child to use for their own tree. It brings a quiet smile to my lips, just imagining what precious times lie ahead for my family.

This is how the tree skirt looked, when I pulled it out of the Christmas closet last month, my 2013 version.

Last year I spread the tablecloth on top of the jersey fabric, and using that as the pattern, cut the jersey to match. I then cut a plate sized hole in the middle of both layers, and formed an opening from the middle hole to the edge.

I wanted a multitude of snowflakes in different sizes and shapes. I found some smaller stencils, but a larger snowflake stencil proved elusive, so I made my own. I followed the directions in the  Alabama Chanin books.

Using Simply Spray fabric paint, I stenciled the tiny and large snowflakes, some in silver and some in white onto the top, cotton jersey layer. I used a medium sized snowflake cookie cutter as a template, outlining it with a silver Sharpie. I had a half dozen shapes and sizes of snowflakes randomly scattered about the skirt.

After the paint dried, I pinned the layers together, cotton jersey stenciled fabric on top of the table cloth. With a double strand of white button craft thread, I used the running stitch to stitch the two pieces together, all along the slit and center hole. I left the middle hole and the slit opening edges raw.

I finished the circular, outside edge off by rolling it up tightly onto itself, about two to three inches at a time, pinning the rolled sections as I worked my way around. I used white embroidery floss to whipstitch around the rolled area. It was a bit tricky and fiddly trying to take up the ease as I progressed around the skirt. There are some rough and tumble patches, but all in all, I'm very pleased with the effect. The rolled edge gives it a heavy, rustic, yet luxurious texture, as well as hides the raw edges and shows the sparkly underside.

I worked the larger snowflakes in a revere applique. With the running stitch, I used white button craft thread to outline the painted shape, and carefully snipped the painted, top layer, middle away.

I like how the sparkly tablecloth shows through.

Still a work in progress, this is my 2014 version.

This year I've added lots more beads! I've worked the medium sized snowflakes in a beaded reverse applique.

I saved these cutouts and appliqued them on, incorporating white beads and sequins.

Around the edges, I've sewn hundreds, and I mean hundreds, of Alabama eyelets in silver floss and white and dogwood button craft thread. Using the "random" beading method from the Alabama chanin books, I added sequins, chop and bugle beads in light gray, silver and white. Finally, I added ties along the slit to keep the tree skirt in place.

Next year I think I'll do some couching and add more beads and sequins, but who knows what might strike my fancy in 2015.

My husband has finished painstakingly wrapping each branch in Christmas tree lights, and I've carefully unwrapped each ornament and placed it on the tree, so it's time to put down my needle and thread for the 2014 version of our Christmas tree skirt, and place it in its new home. It's now wrapped, twirled and tucked under the tree. As I stand back to take it all in, I still wonder, what might this tree have looked like in its native forest, on Christmases past?

Supplies you'll need for your DIY Christmas tree skirt:
1 - 5 foot round table cloth
2 yards organic cotton jersey fabric
Embroidery floss in silver, white, and cream
Coats & Clark button craft thread in white, cream, and dogwood
Bugle and chop beads and sequins in silver, white, and light gray
Fabric paint in white, cream, and silver
Snowflake stencils
Fabric scissors
Embroidery scissors
Safety pins
Any of the Alabama Chanin books will give you further, complete instructions on many of the techniques used here.


  1. How gorgeous is that?! �� it was worth every stitch! I love how it sparkles with the lights. Brava!

  2. Thank you, Carol. Happiest Holidays to you ~~