Easy Christmas Tree Skirt ~ Sewing Craft | Janome Sewing Machine
I received a Janome Sewing machine to review and tell you about. My opinion expressed here is 100% my own. This machine is little and cute. It looks like a starter machine and would be great for that, but it’s quite a power-packed, versatile sewing machine.
Janome Graceful Gray 525B Sewing Machine
- It may look cute, but it is not a toy! Performs very well for such a little machine!
- Five stitch lengths and variables, and five zigzag stitches, one more decorative (10 total)
- The instruction manual is easy to understand and clearly outlines steps to get you sewing.
- Easy to thread bobbin and needle
- It’s also in three languages with illustrations, and other helpful information as to needles, type of fabric, etc.
- No light on machine
I always say “avoid touching the tension button” It actually sounds more like “DON’T TOUCH THE TENSION!” when I say it! There are two tension buttons – one upper and one on the bobbin. The lower (bobbin) tension shouldn’t need much adjusting once you get it set. The upper tension can be adjusted to get just the right stitch.
I did find the stitch will be off if you thread the machine incorrectly (guess how I found that out? lol). That said, it was easy to thread both the bobbin and needle. The trouble-shooting guide is a nice plus, as you don’t have to look far to get an answer if you have any questions.
For my review, I decided to make a easy Christmas tree skirt as a test of Janome’s capabilities. I was not disappointed!
The Janome sewing machine has a nice even stitching motion and it performed like a pro on the appliques I put on using narrow zigzag. It handles well and even though it’s a small machine, I had no problem working with a 36″ circle of material. Further, when I put the top and bottom pieces together with a batting, it stitched evenly through all layers. It does a great job!
A little about me
I’m a retired mother and grandmother, and I really enjoy sewing as a hobby. But my mother was an amazing seamstress. When she was younger, she had worked at a factory sewing industrial things like snowmobile suits (which are just like snow pants and ski jackets – in one single jumpsuit). She could sew like nobody’s business! She would sew clothes for her family, her grandkids and great grandkids. She also sewed lots of crafts, quilts – you name it. She would make her own patterns too, she was so thrifty! She was frugal before it was cool! Once, she made Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls for her whole family. Everyone got one! There were a few different sizes, small, medium and large. And they were absolutely gorgeous. She actually made them and sold them at a local craft store, and could not keep up with the orders she got! She did such an amazing job whenever she sewed. She made other stuffed animal type things too, such as bunnies, clowns and other dolls. She also made clothes for dolls, before American Girl was popular. To put it mildly, she was a tough act to follow! So, I come by my love of sewing honestly. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to sew, but when I do it is relaxing and I really enjoy making things to give to people. As a matter of fact, I made a quilted Christmas Tree Skirt and gave it to friends. Later I learned that they had gone through a divorce and actually fought over who would keep the skirt! Not that I’d ever wish that on anyone, but I was oddly flattered (and sad for them, of course).
The point is that when you sew, you create. Sewing without a pattern takes extra creativity and makes the end result extra special. Choosing your shapes, the fabric you’ll use to make them, and the adornments (buttons, etc), makes it personal – almost like scrapbooking. Giving all of this when finished makes it heirloom quality that people will cherish for years to come, and even generations to come. All this, and it’s pretty easy to do!
How to Make an Easy Christmas Tree Skirt
- 2 yards of fabric (or if you’re using two different fabrics, 1 yard of each)
- 1 yard of batting
- small pieces of fabric for trees, tree trunks – I picked Christmas trees as my focus, so I cut an assortment of different sized trees out of variety of fabrics. You could do presents instead and use real bows on the gift boxes! Or you could do Santas, or snowflakes, or something else – it’s totally up to you.
- buttons for tree toppers
- PATTERN: My pattern for Easy Tree Skirt…cut a top and bottom piece of material 36″ round (or size to suit). Easy, no pattern to buy or download. Just cut a 36″ round circle in your material.
- Fold fabric in half and cut out a 36″ circle – because it’s folded, you’ll get two circles. If you want the top and bottom of skirt to be different fabric, use a yard of each different fabric instead
- Cut out your Christmas trees (or whatever shapes you’re doing) TIP: Allow a quarter inch seam allowance for turning to applique. I pressed this back with an iron and pinned to the top circle of fabric. Honestly, I just eyeballed it.
- Top-stitch the whimsey trees onto top circle fabric.
- I also added “tree bases” to finish the look. By this I mean the “wood” tree trunk at the bottom of the Christmas tree. I used a variety of fabric, and it was basically a square at the bottom of the tree shape. Again, press back seam allowance, pin and sew.
- I then free-hand stitched to give some stability and detail to the tops of the trees. Any choice of additions could be done. From buttons to elaborate additions such as those you’d find in the scrapbooking section of a craft store. On mine, the tops were finished with an assortment of buttons…endless choices as to what you can do there. Get creative!
After adhering the tree shapes and adornments, I placed the top and bottom together (inside out). I then cut a batting piece equal to 36″ circle, placed it on top of my fabric and pinned them all together.
Finally, I stitched all around the outside perimeter. And then, I made two lines of stitching from the outside of circle to a smaller circle in the middle (inner circle is 4″). Important note: leave 8″ of one of the straight lines unsewen (shown as “double stitching” below), so that you can turn it rightside-out when you’re finished. These stitches will outline where you’ll cut to split the skirt so that you can put it around the Christmas tree. I then used a scissors and cut between the two lines of stitching from outside of skirt to inside circle, and around the inside circle – leaving a 1/4″ allowance. Simple pattern is shown below with “cut line” in red to illustrate how this is done.
I trimmed back the batting on the edges so there was less bulk when turned right-side-out, and then I trimmed the seam corners.
- After turning right side out, I stitched up the opening…can do by hand or machine. It’s a good idea to press gently to get edges smoothed out and pin to be sure that it lays flat. Then I added ribbons with a darning needle, tying them in front and marked to put the Scallop-stitch overlay. I tacked on the ribbons to tie the back together around the tree.
- I also used the decorative “scallop stitch” to top-stitch on the complete piece, which was two layers and batting. The stitching was even and no bunching up of material. I was very pleased with that as I really wondered if this little Janome was up to the job.
If you are a very advanced seamstress who does a lot of sewing, the New Home Janome may not be the machine you are looking for. But, for an easy-to-tote, durable machine that is good for most jobs, you will be pleased with the Graceful Gray Janome.
The only negative I would give the review of Graceful Gray is that there is no light. I have a portable light that I set up by machine, but it would be a good addition.