Heirloom Tree Skirt Revisited Revisited

These photos aren’t much better than the last (the sun is still refusing to cooperate with me), but here are a couple more photos of the “Heirloom Tree Skirt” now that it has been finished-finished by my talented seamstress roommate:

"Heirloom Tree Skirt" FinishedPlease note how the fringe I chose oh-so-many-years-ago exactly matches the fringe from the pattern’s cover photo (see yesterday’s entry for comparison).

And here’s a close-up with the lining showing:

"Heirloom Tree Skirt" Lining Close-upIt feels so good to be able to cross this project off my list that I don’t even care that you can see the lining showing through from the other side. My roommate wisely offered to put in a layer of batting or buckram of some sort, but I foolishly declined. So you can see slight shadows of the lining fabric’s holly pattern from the front of the skirt. Oh well, I can live with it. I’m not going to replace my former guilt over not finishing this project before my mother’s death with new guilt over not making the right decision about the lining. Live and learn.

I think my mom would have loved it.

Heirloom Tree Skirt Revisited

"Heirloom Tree Skirt" by Bea & ChrisFinding and finishing (well, supervising the finishing…) of the “Heirloom Tree Skirt” pattern by Bea & Chris (anybody out there know anything about them?) felt kind of like a trip through time—an archeological dig into the deep, dark history of cross stitch design in the late twentieth century. As such, I thought now would be a good time to point out
some of the changes in cross stitch designs that this pattern highlights.

There are so many more colors of DMC floss now, not to mention all the overdyed flosses and silks and rayons –oh my! The color palette of this pattern is extremely limited, even for its time. For example, follow the use of that obnoxious orange used for the wagon wheel in “Santa with bag of toys on back” and again for the doll’s hair in “Santa with Christmas tree over shoulder.” This orange was also supposed to be used for the hobby horse head in “Santa with bag of toys open as if to offer toys to little children” but I couldn’t stand it so I frogged it and changed it to a rusty brown before I’d “allow” my roommate to sew the lining and fringe on. Nowadays, most designers, I believe, would go ahead and call for three different colors for these three objects, and none of them would be that obnoxious orange.

And, for a naturalistic piece (one that was attempting to make the Santas look realistic) the
juxtaposition of the colors, including shading, is so much more crude than it probably would be today.

In my own growth as a stitcher, I realize that nowadays I would have known right-away that I was never going to sew all of the skirt fringe and the backing together. If I bought this pattern today, I would go ahead and buy the pre-made Tilla Christmas Tree Skirt. I think it was $40 fifteen years ago, which seemed at the time to be an exhorbitant amount for someone on a grad student’s salary. Nowadays, I would buy the pre-made tree skirt and wouldn’t even think twice. I can’t tell if that’s progress or not. You tell me.

Heirloom Tree Skirt Finished!

"Heirloom Tree Skirt" FinishedAbout fifteen years ago (I’m guessing by the date of the copyright on the cross stitch pattern), I gave my mother a Christmas present of a tree skirt I had cross stitched. Let me be more specific—I gave my mother most of the makings of a tree skirt (cross stitched fabric and fringed trim) and promised faithfully to finish it for her by the next Christmas. Finishing would have involved buying some appropriately Christmas-themed fabric, sewing the fabric backing to the cross stitch fabric, shaping a hole in the middle of the cross stitch fabric, and attaching the fringed trim.

Needless to say, my anti-finishing bias held sway and my mother never got her completed Christmas tree skirt, in spite of a couple of oblique (and not so oblique) hints thrown my way. My mother passed away in 1997 of breast cancer, and while, fortunately, I don’t feel as if there was much left unspoken between us, that tree skirt has haunted me ever since, especially around this time of year.

But no more! Thanks to a trip to the JoAnn’s fabric store in Porter Ranch (mmmmm…..so suburban……) and to the sewing skills of my roommate, the tree skirt is done!

Here’s a couple of detail shots–I will try to have a complete picture tomorrow, with a look at the backing. First we have a close-up of “Santa with bag of toys on back”:

Santa with bag of toys on backFollowed by “Santa with bag of toys open as if to offer toys to little children”:

Santa offering to toys to little childrenAnd, for the grand finale, we have “Santa with Christmas tree over shoulder”:

Santa with Christmas tree on shoulder