I’m pleased to share this bed skirt tutorial with you today. As we discussed in my post Choosing a Bed Skirt Style, my friend chose this pleated skirt for her daughter’s room.
Bed skirts seem like a lot of work, but custom details can add so much to a room! If you visit my bed skirt choices post, you’ll see little touches demonstrating that added punch.
For a base to sew the skirt onto, I use a cheap sheet from Wally World. It’s wider than lining fabric, so no seam is required.
Step One: The Cutting
Use a finished edge of the sheet for the head of the base where no skirting will be attached. Cut your base one inch wider than your bed’s width measurement and 1/2″ longer than the length measurement. Serge or zig-zag those raw edges on the three sides.
By the way, I use 1/2″ seams for machine sewing. It’s much easier to calculate and not any problem to sew. If you’re glued to the 5/8″ seams, calculate accordingly.
For the skirting, cut widths of fabric to your measurement from bed box to floor plus 4″. The bed box for my friend’s daughter sits 17″ from the floor, so my cut length was 21″.
To compute the number of widths needed, multiply your mattress length by 2, add your mattress width, add 16″ per pleat (5 in this case), and add 8″ for side hems and seams.
Here is maybe a simpler way to look at it:
mattress length x 2
16″ per pleat (5 pleats = 80″)
8″ for side hems and seams
My number came to 289″ for a full-sized bed. Divide that number by 54″ to get the number of widths to cut. This skirt came to 5.35 widths, and we always round UP, so 6 widths at 21″ was what I cut.
Step Two: The Sewing
Stitch the widths together, end to end. Surge along the edge that you will stitch to the base (careful of directional prints).
To avoid confusion here, slow down and read carefully. (Imagine me holding a caution sign.) Ready?
When facing the front side of your fabric, lay it with serged (or zig-zagged) edge up. The end (or side edge) that’s on your right is the end you will hem before stitching to your base. Turn that end (or side edge) under by 1″ twice.
Press and top stitch.
I’ll show you later when to hem the other end. You’ll see when we lay it all out and pin everything. (Whew! I’m so glad we survived that moment of possible confusion.)
Along the bottom edge, turn under 4″ and press. As you do this, measure the final length for accuracy. The total length of your skirt here should be your box-to-floor measurement.
Raise the flap you pressed under, fold in half, and press.
Stitch hem, using your favorite hemming method. Now you have a double 2″ hem.
Step Three: The Pinning
Lay your base stretched out flat on the floor, face up. Before pinning anything together, mark the center of each side and the foot center, as well. Place a pin in each center location so you’ll know where the center pleats should go.
I took no picture of the pinned base – too far away from the pins to see them. Maybe a peek at the final pinned skirt at this point would help.
That should give you some idea of what you’re doing. Stretch out your hemmed skirt, face down on top of the base.
Begin pinning the right skirt end you hemmed to the upper right corner of your base. (As luck would have it, my picture direction above is reversed, so my beginning point is the lower left corner in the picture.)
Pin to secure the edges together every 4″-5″. When you reach the center location you pre-pinned, fold the skirt back at the pin. At 4″ from the pin, fold fabric to the right again. I’ve folded the fabric down in this picture so you can see the first half of the pleat.
From here, take the fabric to 4″ beyond the pin, fold it under and return to the pin. From the pin, you can see that the fabric then continues on across the base. Below, I’ve folded down the edge of the box pleat to reveal all the folds. Notice the center pin is still intact.
Secure all the folds of your pleat with pins. You don’t want anything to wiggle away while sewing.
Pin the bottom of the skirt to the base, as well, to hold it securely.
Below, you see this first side pinned and the center pleat complete.
Continue pinning the edges together until you reach the corner.
Don’t shape the corner yet. Place a pin 1/2″ from the end of the base. That is the center marking for your pleat. Form the pleat straight out across (over the edge of the base), pinning the box pleat completely. Then, lift the pinned pleat away from the base, curve the skirt edge to shape it in a rounded corner (but not a sharp turn).
This picture shows what it looks like after pinning. Notice the center of the pleat is in the curve, not at the point of the base.
Here’s another view of the first corner. I’ve pinned down the bottom of the skirt edge, but in the corner, it’s not as neat as the sides.
Continue pinning along the edge, form a pleat at the center again, then the next corner.
Continue along the final edge, folding another pleat at the center.
Let’s have another look at the pinned skirt and base.
Step Four: The Final Stitching
Remember we rounded up on our calculation of widths to sew together? Since we have an extra portion of a width, the skirt is a longer strip than needed. After all pinning is done, trim the skirt 2″ from the end of the base.
Fold and pin the double 1″ side hem as I did above (but don’t pin to the base). Lift everything carefully and top stitch the end there.
Finally, sew the skirt to the base on all three sides with a 1/2″ seam.
Remove all pins while checking pleat stitches for accuracy. Press skirt, and you’re done! This is a corner pleat. It will curve smoothly around the corner of the box spring or foundation.
This long tutorial is very detailed, but it actually doesn’t take very long to make the bed skirt. You’ll have many years of enjoyment from a little labor.
I have a feeling some of you will have questions. This was very hard to write clearly. Midstream, I was really wanting to shoot a video…don’t know how, though.
So, in the comments, ask away! 🙂
I’m sharing this post with Metamorphosis Monday. Join the fun, y’all!