Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Pleated Crib Skirt - no ruffles here

This is a tutorial for a box-pleated mattress skirt. I made this one for new granddaughter's crib, but you can use the same method for any sized mattress. Quilt weight cottons or blends or any similar weight material work well.
GUIDE:  The BASE is white, the SKIRT is the pleated birdie print, the TRIM is green
The BASE.  The size of the crib mattress is 57" x 21".  I cut the base to 58" x 22" using a twin sheet that we no longer use.  (Crib mattresses come in different sizes, so measure yours and add 1/2" to each side for a seam allowance)

The Crib SKIRT.  I chose to cut the design fabric into 18" strips, joining each segment end to end, forming one really long strip. (I used a serger to join the segments and finish the edges in one step, but you can use a regular sewing machine)

All sections of skirt joined with a serged edge
After pressing the seams flat, I folded the strip into approximately 8" pleats along its entire length, pinning each pleat at the beginning and end of each pleat.  I then pinned the pleats to the base and adjusted some of the the pleats so a "pleat-opening" would fall at each corner of the mattress.  I needed to do some adjusting, which made some of the pleats meet 1/2" apart and a few meet up to 1" apart, but its not very noticeable.  (FYI - More fabric is needed for a box-pleat than is needed for a ruffled skirt.  This one ended up having 37 linear feet)

Pleating of the skirt
After all the pleats were pinned the way I wanted, I removed the strip from the base and sewed a basted running-stitch 1" down from the top along the length to hold the pleats in place while completing the remaining steps. 

This pleated strip was then pinned to the base using safety pins which are better when working with so much fabric.   

At this point, I sewed the skirt to the base 1/2" from the edges using my serger to finish the seam off; but again, you can use a regular machine and finish the seams later. 
Attach the pleats to the base, finish edges with serger
The TRIM.  I chose to add a 2" trim along the bottom in a coordinating print.  For the width of a 2" trim piece, you need to cut strips 5" wide (2" on each side, plus 1/2" seam allowance).  Measure the length of the skirt and add 1/2" for each seam allowance.  Also add 1" for the beginning and end pieces that will need to be folded over and overlapped (a total of 2").  (In my case, the length was 37.5 feet, plus 4" more for the seams, plus 2" for the ends)
Serged ends of trim pieces, press in one direction
Join all your segments making sure you trim off the white unprinted areas at the selvedges.  Press the seams to one side before attaching to the bottom of the skirt.
Attach trim to the skirt
Sew the trim to the skirt, leaving the about an inch of each end "un-sewn" until later.

Now that the trim and skirt are attached, it's important to press at this point.  Press the seam toward the trim piece.  While at the ironing board, fold over a double fold along the outer edge of the skirt and press.  Fold the trim over to cover the seam.  Pin and press.
Fold trim over the seam and pin, then press
While you're still at the board, at the point where the two end edges meet, turn over a 1/4" hem, and then another 1/2" hem, press.  Then overlap the two folded edges, placing one on top of the other.  Pin them to the skirt, and press them up and over the hemmed area and pin in place in the same way as the rest of the length. (Now that you've folded over the "un-sewn" ends, you'll need to attach them to the skirt when you get back to your machine)

Now off to your machine to hem the trim (remember to finish sewing the "un-sewn" area first).  At this point, you can hem using a your machine's blind hem stitch, or simply top-stitch a nice straight line (using a regular stitch length).  Now, if you've been serging the seams, you're done.  If you haven't, then its nice to finish the seams to prevent those nagging ravels.  You can either run a line of zig-zagging on each side of the seam edges, or turn the edges under and hem each one.

Remember to remove that basting you did earlier, and you're done.


  1. Karen, it is so cute! You do such good work. I got a headache into the second set of instructions - which is why I go to Bed Bath & Beyond for bed skirts!

    My mom could sew like you do...I lost out on that gene. I think maybe it's called the patience gene, actually. ;)

  2. Haha! That's probably Bed Bath and Beyond is probably the most efficient way, but this way is kinda fun, too. I've made one for my king bed, too, out of sheets I picked up at an estate sale. Cost me $3.00 in material....and kept me off the streets.

  3. Hey, girl... you coming toward Wakefield anytime soon? Let me know.Latane

  4. Hi Latane - not planning another trip that far any time soon...but maybe when the weather breaks we could meet up in Smithfield if you're up to the trip????


Love Comments. Please share your thoughts.....