How to Make a Bed Valance

Updated February 21, 2017

Also called a dust ruffle or a bed skirt, a bed valance is a piece of fabric that hangs from a box-spring mattress to the floor, all around the bed. This functional yet decorative item conceals items stored under a bed or unsightly bed frames while giving the room a classy and elegant touch. Although easily available in home department stores, creating your own dust ruffles allows you to choose fabrics you like and coordinate these with the bedspread, carpeting or curtains in the room.

Measure the width and length of the mattress. Add 1 inch to each measurement to make allowances for the seams. Cut a length of white muslin or lightweight cotton the same size.

Measure the space from the top of the box spring to the floor to determine the width of the bed valance. Leave the measurement as it is so the valance hangs 2 inches above the floor, or add 1 inch to it so it hangs 1 inch above the floor.

Cut the fabric for the valance into three strips, each in your desired width. Cut two strips as long as the mattress plus 1 inch. Cut the third strip as long as the width of the mattress plus 1 inch.

Spread a strip over a flat surface such as an ironing board. Fold each of its three edges 1/2-inch, and then 1/2-inch again, sewing the hems in place so they do not come loose.

Leave one edge raw. Repeat the procedure of folding three edges along the remaining two strips.

Spread the muslin or lightweight cotton base on a flat and even surface. Fold one of its short sides down 1/2-inch, and then again 1/2-inch. Sew over the fold. Leave the other short edge raw.

Spread a long strip along a long side of the muslin or lightweight cotton, with the right sides facing each other. Align the edges so they are even before joining the strip to the muslin sheet with pins inserted every 6 inches along the way. Repeat the process to pin the second long strip the same way. Pin the third short strip to the raw short edge of the muslin or lightweight cotton base.

Fold the edge 1/4-inch down and sew over it, removing the straight pins as you proceed. Sew the seam along one long side first, then the base and up along the second long side.

Iron the seam allowances of the bed valance open so they are flat.

Remove the mattress from the bed. Spread the valance over the box spring, with the hemmed side of the muslin or lightweight cotton across the top (or head) of the bed. Even the muslin piece over the box spring along with the skirting so it hangs evenly along the sides and foot of the bed. Put the mattress back in place.


For a gathered valance, multiply the mattress width and length by 2 1/2, and cut the three strips to match the measurement. Pleat each strip until they match the mattress end and sides before sewing to the muslin.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Muslin or lightweight cotton
  • Scissors
  • Ironing board
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Straight pins
  • Iron
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About the Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written numerous articles for various online and print sources. She has a Master of Business Administration in marketing but her passion lies in writing.