At the heart of the concept for the Christmas Cottage playhouse renovation was a real Christmas tree. That meant that I'd need a tree skirt, and I immediately envisioned a beautiful quilted tree skirt in some sort of fabric that would work with my shabby chic theme. Only problem? I don't quilt. At all. My friend (an exceptional quilter) tried to teach me once, but it really didn't work out. My sewing skills just aren't precise enough to handle quilting.

Lucky for me, I came up with an easy way to get around my pesky little sewing inadequacies. Instead of starting with plain fabric, I started with an actual quilt. An extremely inexpensive one from Overstock.com.

Yes, I spent $45 on the quilt. But out of that one quilt, I made my tree skirt, ornaments, stockings, and a smaller quilt for the reading loft. And I got two pre-made pillow shams out of the deal. And it was so easy!

I wanted to preserve the lovely scalloped edges of the quilt, so my first step was to measure and calculate the size of the pieces I'd need.

The first step was to measure how wide I wanted each panel to be at the base. Two scallops were 18" wide in my case. That was the measurement of the base of my triangle. I knew I wanted a 4' diameter circle (actually octagon) shape for my tree skirt, so that meant the height of the triangle would be 24" high. I folded an 19" wide piece of parchment paper in half, and measured 24" on the fold. I then used a straight line to connect the corner of the parchment to the point 24" up the fold and cut, so that when I unfolded the paper, I'd have a perfectly sized isosceles triangle.

After that, it was simply a matter of cutting out 8 triangle pieces.

Here they are pieced together before sewing.

Pin the right sides together...

...and sew!

Once all the triangles were sewn together, I used scissors to cut a circle in the middle for the tree trunk, and hemmed that and the two edges that weren't connected to the adjacent panel (to create the slit at the back of the tree skirt).

It only took a few minutes to whip together (once I remembered enough geometry to figure out the math portion of the project), and it looked absolutely perfect in the Christmas Cottage.