Tutorial + How-to

Published on October 28th, 2011 | by Karen Lee


DIY: Family Heirloom Christmas Tree Skirt

Quilting with t-shirts is a great eco-friendly project since it uses up old shirts. But it’s also a great way to preserve sentimental memories. It keeps us closer to our past a little longer.

So I thought I’d replace my old ratty Christmas tree skirt with a new quilted skirt made with my family’s old t-shirts. You don’t have to use t-shirts; you can use any of your family’s favorite pieces of clothing – jeans, shirts, ties, or even baby’s onesies that were given to them on their birthdays or even baby blankets. The important idea with the heirloom tree skirt is that it includes memories of your family’s past.

t-shirt tree skirt

For this tutorial, I am just using some t-shirts to illustrate so it will not look like yours. Actually, this is not even the one I am making for my tree because I didn’t have time to complete it to post here. It’s still “work in progress”, you might say.

Anyway, you can add your personal touch to yours and embellish it any way you want. You can embroider names, dates, designs, hand prints, paw prints, or whatever information you want to add to it. You can add holiday motifs and designes too. And hopefully, you can pass it down to your kids and they can add their own personal touch to it and pass it to the next generation.

Here is how you can upcycle old t-shirts to make a family heirloom Christmas tree skirt.

You’ll need:

  • Enough T-shirts from your family members for 6 panels.
  • Binding
  • Sewing Machine
  • Needle and Thread
  • Scissors or Rotary Cutter

The tricky part is cutting a full circle for a tree skirt. But with this method, you won’t need exact measurements. You know me; everything is up to how big you want and I give you how to measure to fit your needs. I like flexibility!


Make a pattern for the panel. I used brown grocery bag to make a pattern of an equilateral triangle – 25″x25″x25″. You can use this to make six (6) panels.

prepare to cut shirts





Cut the shirt according to the pattern. If the shirt is too small, cut the back of the shirt, down the middle and cut around the seams. Then, the bottom of the shirt will be wide enough for the triangle.





You can even sew a pocket to hide special gifts that they’ll find after opening all the boxes on top of the skirt!



And once all the panels are cut, spread them and arrange them in the order that you want. This is also a good time to see if there are spaces that you need to fill, using additional material.

six panels of shirts

sew the panels






Put the right sides together and sew each panels. If the lengths of t-shirts do not match up, don’t worry. The edges will be trimmed later.




The hole where the tree stand goes will look uneven since the t-shirts are all different sizes. After all the panles are sewn together, you can trim the hole as well as the outer edges. They don’t have to be perfect as you will use binding to cover the edges.



You can add a lining if you want after finishing the front panels. Just trace the skirt to a lining material you’d like and put the right sides together and sew.

Sew a binding on the hole and on the outer edges. You can use double width binding or make your own.









Add the ties.

And you are done!

t-shirt tree skirt

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About the Author

Karen lives a simple, frugal, green life and shares her eco tips and news on ecokaren and is a co-founder of Green Sisterhood, a network of community of green women bloggers, making change. When she's not managing Green Sisterhood or blogging on ecokaren, she is a chauffeur to two greenagers, wife to an accidental recycler, master chef to hungry locavores, seamstress, knitter, and dumpster diver, not necessarily in that order.

3 Responses to DIY: Family Heirloom Christmas Tree Skirt

  1. That’s a great idea for the holidays and to upcycle clothes that might have otherwise ended up in the trash. Upcycling is great for the environment. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pingback: How To: Transform Classic Christmas "Candles"

  3. Pingback: Wood Slice Craft Projects

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