A month or so back I had received a request for a tutorial on Box Pleat Bed Skirts, so here it is. If anyone else has something they want to learn to make, shoot me an e-mail and I will gladly oblige.
This bed skirt was for a designers client, so I don't have pictures of it on the bed. It was for a day bed and required split corners to accommodate the bed frame.
Always measure the box spring itself, not the mattress, their sizes can vary slightly. This day bed measured 71x39"and was to have a 17" long skirt.
Here's the basic anatomy of this bed skirt and the box pleat divisions.
There's going to be a lot of math to figure your cuts, but follow carefully and it won't be hard.
The first thing you will cut is the deck. This is cut out of lining, but you can cut it out of an old sheet. The deck is what goes between the mattress and the box spring. Just add a 1/2" seam allowance to all sides, so I cut mine 72"x40".
If you are making this for a day bed like I am, then cut your flap out of lining too. Add 1" to each side for a small hem allowance and make it a little shorter than the height of the bed skirt. I cut mine 73"x15".
Now to figure the cuts for our box pleats for all three sides. First off, I number my cuts starting from the left side of the bed and working my way around to the right side of the bed. This helps when it is time to sew all these box pleat pieces together. It helps ensure I don't sew them out of order. You can either write directly on the fabric up in the right hand corner(inside the seam allowance) or sometimes I use painters tape to number my pieces.
My left side of my bed skirt is 39" wide. As the diagram above shows I will be making my box pleats 9 3/4" wide. The fabric I used was slightly wider then 54" wide which was good because some of my pieces were 56" wide. I made my pleats 2 1/2" deep.
Cut 1- 3"(double 1 1/2" hem allow.)+5 (2 1/2"+2 1/2" which makes up one half of a pleat)+9 3/4"(pleat front)+10"(2 1/2"+2 1/2"+2 1/2"+2 1/2" which equals a whole pleat)+ 9 3/4"(pleat front)+8 (which makes up 3/4 of a pleat plus seam allow 2 1/2"+2 1/2"+2 1/2"+1/2")=45 1/2" This is how wide you will cut piece 1 of your box pleat skirt. We'll figure the length of these cuts in a bit.
Cut 2- 3"(1/4 of a pleat plus 1/2" seam allow)+9 3/4"(front of pleat)+10(whole pleat)+9 3/4"(pleat front)+5"(half of pleat)+3"(double 1 1/2" side hem)=40 1/2"
Those are the 2 cuts for the left side of this day bed skirt. Now for the front of the day bed, remember these pleat fronts will be different sizes.
Cut 3-3"(double 1 1/2" side hem allow)+5"(half of a pleat)+10 1/4"(pleat front)+10"(whole pleat)+10 1/4"(pleat front)+8"(3/4 of a pleat plus 1/2" seam allow)=46 1/2"
Cut 4- 3"(1/4 of a pleat)+10"(pleat front)+10"(whole pleat)+10"(pleat front)+10"(whole pleat)+10"(pleat front)+3"(1/4 of a pleat plus 1/2" seam allow)=56"....this is the cut that if my fabric was only 54" wide I would not have been able to cut it. I would have had to make an extra cut to accommodate my fabric width.
Cut 5- 8"(3/4 of a pleat)+10 1/4"(pleat front)+10"(whole pleat)+10 1/4"(pleat front)+5"(half a pleat)+3"(double 1 1/2" side hem)=46 1/2".
Those are the cuts for the front of this bed skirt. Now for the left side pieces.
Cut 6- 3"(double 1 1/2" side hem)+5"(half a pleat)+9 3/4"(pleat front)+10"(whole pleat)+9 3/4"(pleat front)+8"(3/4 of a pleat plus seam allow)=45 1/2"
Cut 7- 3"(1/4 of a pleat plus seam allow)+9 3/4"(pleat front)+10"(whole pleat)+9 3/4"(pleat front)+5"(1/4 of a pleat)+3"(double 1 1/2" side hem allow)=40 1/2"
Whew! I hope after a while you could see and understand the series of the cuts and why they end up the size they do. Your bed is not going to be the same size as mine, so it's important that you understand how the pleats and the fronts are joined together so you can figure your own cuts.
Now we have to figure the length of our cuts. Since my bed skirt is going to finish at 17" long, and I wrap my face fabric to the back by 2", this is how I figure my cut lengths.
I also add a banding to the top of my deck out of the face fabric. This banding keeps the white lining from ever showing if the bed skirt shifts. So cut 5 pieces the width of your face fabric by 3" long.
All the math and cutting is done, now we can begin to sew!
Step1- Stitch your bed skirt pieces together. Since mine has split corners I will not sew them all together. Instead I will sew pieces 1&2 together, then 3,4 &5 together, then 6&7 together. But if you don't have split corners, all your pieces will be stitched together to make a really long strip.
Stitch all your lining pieces together to make one really long strip.
Stitch all your banding pieces together to make another really long strip.
Step 3- Stitching the skirt fronts to the skirt lining. With right sides together, stitch the bottom edge of your skirt fronts to the bottom edge of the skirt lining using 1/2" seam allowance.
And since you're at the sewing machine, top stitch the side hems of the flap. And set it a side for now.
Step 4- More pressing- Lay your skirt/lining right side down on your pressing surface and press the seam allowances towards the lining. Then bring the top edge of the lining up to meet the top edge of the face fabric, wrong sides together. Pin along the raw edges up top and press the bottom hem nice and crisp.
I round the corners of my decks because box springs have rounded corners and we want this to fit really nice. I use a 5 1/2" circle template to round my corners. Just draw it on the deck corners making a slight mark where the exact corner is and cut out around the curve.
Once you have your skirt pinned to the deck and in my case my flap pinned too, lay the banding on top with the right side down. Turn under 1/2 at the beginning of your banding. Stitch using 1/2" seam allowance. When you get to the end, cut off any excess banding allowing 1/2" to under at this edge too.
Step 7- Top stitching banding. Open out your deck and skirt and push the banding over the right side of the deck. Top stitch close to the folded edge.