Train Tree Skirt: Concept to Completion – Step 2 Design and Fabric Selection

Now that N had selected the conceptual design for his Train Tree Skirt it was time to do the final design and select fabrics.

The toy train skirt from Monkey’s in My Pocket was our inspiration.
Train Tree Skirt
But, N wanted REAL trains. I told him we could put only 1 or two engines on the skirt. And it took him no time at all to decide what he wanted.

The Daylight and the 1003!!!!

The Daylight is a pretty orange and red steam engine that ran as a passenger train from 1922 to 1955 on the west coast. Even the passenger cars followed the same color scheme.

Daylight 4449

The 1003 is a SOO line train that is stored about 20 minutes away from us. So we get to see it a lot!

SOO Line 1003So I scoured the internet for good side pictures of both engines, tenders and appropriate cars. With two engines there would be room for 4 images per train.

The Daylight being a passenger train didn’t pull a caboose. So the images would include the engine, tender and two passenger cars. To make it more interesting I did two different passenger cars, one a normal passenger car and one a parlor car.

The 1003 being a freight train did have a caboose. So an engine, tender, box car, and caboose were the final car selections. For the box car, I wanted a wood car with wooden cross bar supports. And of course I wanted a cupola for the caboose.

I decided that it would be easier to cut fabric into an octagon than into a circle. And I wanted to cut the base from a single piece of fabric. That meant that the octagon would be 42″ from facet to facet.

Once I found pictures that I liked I started to layout the skirt. I feel much more comfortable designing on a computer than on paper. So I opened one of my favorite software and got started.

First I drew out the octagon to size. Then I added in the images. Once I had everything at the right angles I was able to mess around with the size of the train car until I got something I liked. I needed the cars the right length so they would all fit in the octagon. But, if I left the cars with the right length to height ratio to be true to life they would only be 2″ tall. Way too small for the size of the skirt. So I made them taller – 5″. This gave them a good size and didn’t distort the ratio so much that you would notice. (Well, Mr. Steam might notice, but I am not telling!)

Here’s how the layout ended up looking:

Train Tree Skirt Design

Fabrics were pretty easy, I just needed 3 solid colors – black, burgundy, and orange. I don’t typically use solid colors. So, I was surprised to find that I had solid black and burgundy in my stash. A quick trip to the store for some orange and I was in business!

Now I just needed to print out a couple copies of each car and production could start!


Tree Skirt Series:


About NotYourNormalSteam

I love to make things, food, paper, fabric, the medium doesn’t really matter. I am also an obsessive planner. The day after Christmas I am already working out plans for the next year.
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