How to sew a box pleat bed skirt

Written by leah james
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How to sew a box pleat bed skirt
Box-pleat bed skirts have inverted pleats on the sides and corners. (guestroom 4 image by Trevor Allen from Fotolia.com)

Box-pleat bed skirts work well with most decorating styles. The tailored pleats look clean enough for modern decor, but they are detailed enough to enhance the most traditional or formal bedrooms. You can buy ready-made bed skirts, but the length is frequently too short or too long for the bed. Instead of settling for an improper fit, make your own box-pleat bed skirt -- one that is custom tailored to your bed.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Flat sheet
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Bed skirt fabric, 44- to 45-inch width
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Iron
  • Ironing board

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the length and width of your box spring in inches. Measure the bed skirt drop, which is the distance from the top edge of the box spring to the floor.

  2. 2

    Add 1 1/2 inches to the box spring length, and 1 inch to the width. Cut a flat sheet -- the size depends on your bed size -- to those measurements to make the decking.

  3. 3

    Turn the decking fabric under 1/2 inch, at the end you will place at the head of the bed. Turn it under another 1/2 inch. Topstitch the fold right side up, using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

  4. 4

    Divide the bed skirt length by two, and add 11 1/2 inches. Add 1 1/2 inches to the bed skirt drop. Cut two widths of fabric -- meaning cut them widthways instead of lengthwise -- to those measurements. Write "A" on the wrong side of the first fabric piece in tailor's chalk, and "F" on the second.

  5. 5

    Divide the bed skirt length by two, and add 7 inches. Add 1 1/2 inches to the drop. Cut one width of fabric to those measurements. Write "B" on the wrong side of the fabric.

  6. 6

    Divide the bed skirt length by two, and add 11 inches. Add 1 1/2 inches to the drop. Cut one width of fabric to those measurements. Label the piece as "E" on the wrong side of the fabric.

  7. 7

    Divide the bed skirt width by two, and add 13 inches. Add 1 1/2 inches to the drop. Cut two widths of fabric to those measurements. Mark a "C" on the wrong side of the first piece, and a "D" on the second.

  8. 8

    Lay fabric piece A on a flat surface, right side up. Lay piece B on top of it, right side down. Align the rightmost edges and pin them together. Pin the rightmost edges of pieces B and C together, with the right sides of the fabric together. Repeat with the rest of the strips, in alphabetical order.

  9. 9

    Sew pieces A and B together at the pinned edge, using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Repeat with the rest of the pieces at the pinned edges, creating one long strip of bed skirt fabric.

  10. 10

    Turn the short sides of the bed skirt fabric under 1/2 inch. Turn them under another 1/2 inch, hiding the raw edges, and pin them into place. Topstitch the ends with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, right sides up.

  11. 11

    Turn the bottom of the bed skirt fabric under 1/2 inch. Turn it under another 1/2 inch and pin. Topstitch along the fold, right side up, using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

  12. 12

    Divide the box spring length by two for the half-length measurement. Divide the box spring width by two for the half-width measurement. Start at the left end of the bed skirt fabric and place straight pins at the following intervals: half length, 12 inches, half length, 12 inches, half width, 12 inches, half width, 12 inches, half length and 12 inches.

  13. 13

    Locate the first set of pins spaced 12 inches apart, starting from the left. Spread that section of the bed skirt right side up on a flat surface. Hold one pin in each hand, and lift the pinned fabric. Bring the pins together, leaving an inverted box pleat behind them. Pin the pleat into place at the top, which is the raw edge. Repeat with the other 4 pairs of pins spaced 12 inches apart.

  14. 14

    Place the pleated fabric on your sewing machine, right side up. Stitch each pleat into place, using a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

  15. 15

    Pin the bed skirt fabric to the decking, right sides together. Align the centre of the second and fourth pleats from the left with the bottom corners of the decking.

  16. 16

    Sew the skirt to the decking with a 1/2-inch seam allowance, skirt side up. Clip any loose threads. Iron the wrong side of the bed skirt, according to the fabric manufacturer's instructions. Press sharp creases into the folds of the box pleats.

Tips and warnings

  • Use upholstery or drapery-width fabric, which is typically 44 to 45 inches wide. With smaller widths, you'll have visible seams on the skirt.
  • You may feel like you're wasting fabric when you make the cuts in Steps 4 through 7. Resist the urge to just seam full widths together. The cuts are calculated to hide the seams within the pleats, no matter what size bed you have.

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