Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The One With the Crib Skirt (+ Tutorial)

A while back I showed you Olivia's Woodland Party Nursery. While I was putting her nursery together, I couldn't find a bedding set that I liked so I ended up piecing one together myself. I got her pink sheets from Ikea and decided to make the crib skirt out of some fabric I found that coordinated with some other things I had already picked out.

It turned out so well and is more perfect than any crib skirt I've come across before or since - which is the beauty of DIYing. Back when I made this I couldn't find any good tutorials on how-to, so I decided I'd wing it and then create one myself and then fill you in!

Click "Read more" to view the tutorial:

First things first: Find your measurements. When I started this project, Olivia's crib was still in transit from the warehouse and so I couldn't measure it. I used Ellie's crib instead. I just went ahead and measured the crib - length, width and height. Height can be a bit tricky because they usually have adjustable heights for the growing baby. I measured the longest my crib skirt would need to be and I figure that as I lower the crib I can either tuck or pin the crib skirt up so it doesn't drag along the floor. If need be, it is an easy hem.

My measurements were:
51.5 inches long
25 inches wide
21 inches high

Now, before getting your fabric, determine if you want a straight skirt or a ruffled skirt. I, personally, am a fan of ruffled skirts as the ruffles hide a multitude of flaws. If you want a ruffled skirt, you need to double your length and width measurements. Also determine if you want to make your skirt 3 or 4 sided. I made mine 3 sided - one long and two short sides since the last long side will always be against a wall. If you're fancy and have your crib in the middle of a room, however, you're going to want all 4 sides, so plan accordingly.

To allow for seams, I added one inch to all my measurements to account for 1/2 inch seams on all sides.

So if I double the length and width and add a 1 inch seam allowance on all sides, that means I need:

1 long side: (51.5x2)+1 = 104 inches long, 22 inches high
2 short sides: (25x2)+1= 52 inhces long and 22 inches high

Since most cotton fabrics are 44 inches wide, halving that will give me my 22 inches of height. So I just need a piece that is 104 inches long (round up to 3 yards) and split into three pieces: 2 for the short sides (52 inches x 22 inches) and one for the long side (104 inches x 22 inches).
You also need the base part of your skirt - the part that goes under the mattress. Just get 2 yards of the cheapest muslin there is - nobody is going to see this part. Cut it to fit (51.5 inches x 25 inches in my case).

Now, wash all your fabric in detergent and vinegar (to set the color). Dry it on low. After cutting it using pinking shears, the hardest part is done. Seriously.

Hemming your skirt:
Please note: I like to use a 1/4 inch seam, so that is what I'll be showing you. This is all preference though, so do it a different way if you want.

There are four sides to each piece of the skirt fabric: three that need to be hemmed and the top side which will attach to your muslin base fabric. Take one of the longest sides (the side opposite the one that will be attached to the base) and, using your iron, fold over and press 3/4 inch of fabric. (Remember that we gave ourselves an inch in seam allowances - the other 1/4 inch will be used to secure the skirt to the base.)

No matter what measurements or seams you use, the important thing is that when all your fabric is pressed, it should be roughly the same length:
Now, sew the hem. Since my hem is 3/4 inches, I sewed 1/2 inch from the bottom, or 1/4 inch from the edge of the folded piece.

Once you have hemmed the bottom of all your pieces, finish the sides. Press the hem you want first, making sure to tuck up the corner as shown below. I used a 1/2 inch hem on the two sides of each piece (one inch of seam allowance split in two). Tuck up the corners as you press so that they will lay nicely. Sew as before.

Now you will have some lovely strips of fabric that are finished on three sides. You should have your long side and two short sides. Ready for the ruffling? You can do it!

There are a few ways to ruffle a skirt. Some people sew a basting stitch and then pull the stitching to create the pleats. Personally, I dislike that method. I prefer to create and pin my pleats and then sew a basting stitch to secure them. To do this: Lay your base piece (the part for under the mattress) on the floor. Put a pin at the half-way point of your long side of fabric. Use this as a marker, making sure it lines up with the half-way point of your base fabric. This will help you get the ruffles fairly even. Pleat and pin away until the ruffled skirt piece is the same length as the base piece.

Keep in mind that your ruffles to not have to be perfectly even. That's the beauty of the ruffled skirt! It's haphazard-ness allows a little error. 

Baste your pleats so you can remove the pins and the pleats will still be in place. Repeat for both short sides.

Ready to put it all together? Here's how: Just pin the long side of the skirt piece to a long side of the base piece and sew in place.

Now add the short sides to the short sides of the base piece. Be sure that your seams are all on the same side of the based piece so that when it is laid underneath the mattress, the fabric is facing out.

And voila! You have your very own one-of-a-kind crib skirt! Go put it on your crib!

As your baby grows and your crib skirt needs to shorten, you can take up the hem or use safety pins to pin up the ruffles under the mattress.

You can follow this pattern to make a straight crib skirt as well: just don't double your length and width measurements and omit the whole ruffling part. Some fabrics, especially boldly patterned ones, will probably look better with a straight skirt than a ruffled one.

Have any questions? Did you use this tutorial to make your own crib skirt? I'd love to hear any feedback you've got!


  1. Oh Michelle! This tutorial looks so good! Nice work. Maybe someday I can use it :)

  2. I can't wait to do this someday! Maybe soon...<3


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