The Project: A DIY ruffled crib skirt
Total Time: Several Hours
Pattern: None Used
Costs: Sewing Machine, Material & Thread
Difficulty: Moderate (and Requires Patience)
My Daughter’s DIY Ruffled Crib Skirt
Our crib skirt is by far my favorite DIY project from Small Shaw’s nursery, so I’m excited to share it with you today on MilliGFunk.
I owe it to you to be completely honest about the fact that I don’t sew using patterns. I measure my fabric to the correct sizes, but play just about everything else by ear. I’ll walk you through the steps I used to make Small Shaw’s super-cute crib skirt, but you won’t find a pattern in this post.
I’ve seen adorable crib skirts with one, two, three, and even four layers of ruffled fabric. The more ruffles your skirt has, the fuller and busier the skirt will look.
You’ll need a lot of fabric for this project: You’ll make three panels of ruffles (front, left side, and right side). I measured each panel and then multiplied by 2.5 to figure out what total length of fabric I needed to by.
Note: Because I’m in Germany, I had to convert everything to metric units and take into account the different in fabric bolts here and in the U.S. As a result, I can’t actually remember what the U.S./standard measurements were for each piece. Sorry!
2. Choose Your Fabric(s)
I decided to make a three-tiered skirt using three different fabrics: colorful owls, green & orange polka dots, and an unbleached cream-colored natural fiber cotton that looks almost like feed sack material.
3. Cut Fabric for Backing Panels
These panels will be mostly hidden in the end, so you don’t need to choose an expensive fabric. I repurposed an older flat sheet from our bed that our dog chewed a hole in when she was a puppy.
The panels will be in four parts:
- 1 large center panel that I’ll call the ‘Mattress Panel’. This should be the same size as the crib mattress, and — when you project is complete — will lie between the mattress and the crib springs.
- 2 side panels, each of which should be 12″ or so long (top to bottom) and the same width as the short side of the crib.
- 1 front panel, which should also be about 12″ long (top to bottom) and the same width as the front/long side of the crib.
Important Note: You’ll need to decide which fabric will be used for your top tier of ruffles. That tier will be measured to a smaller height than the others.
Your top ruffle will be entirely visible when your crib skirt is complete. Each of your bottom layers will be partially hidden by the layer above it. If you cut all three ruffles to the same height, you’ll end up giving the effect that your top layer is longer than your other layers. Cutting your top layer an inch short compensates for that.
My finished top ruffle was 5″ tall. Each of my two finished bottom ruffles was 6″. If you choose to use less ruffles, each ruffle will be taller. If you want to use more ruffles, each ruffle will be shorter. You can adjust accordingly.
Which Ruffle Goes Where? As your baby grows and you lower her crib, the ruffles will drop closer to the floor. I suggest using your favorite ruffle fabric as your top layer so that it won’t become hidden when your baby’s crib is lowered all the way.
I cut the fabric for my ruffles so that each strip was 2.5x the length of the finished ruffle. I wanted our skirt to have lots of fullness. For more ruffly ruffles, cut a longer piece of fabric, and for less ruffly ruffles, cut a short length.
5. Create Ruffles
I’d never sewn anything with ruffles, and everything I read made them sound super-intimidating. What I learned was that ruffles aren’t actually difficult, but that I needed patience…and strong thread.
I finished off all of the seams (except for the seam that would become the ruffled edge) of each piece of ruffle fabric before I began ruffling the material. The finished seams will show on your final product, so be sure to choose a thread color that you’ll be happy seeing later.
To create a basic ruffle, use a straight stitch across the length of the entire ruffled seam. Do not finish the ends of that seam.
Once you’ve put your straight stitch all the way across the length of fabric, you’ll have two loose threads at the end. One of those threads will be firmly held in the fabric, but the other one will have some give. (Think of how a slip knot works).
Hold the firm thread with one hand and gently pull the other thread outward. The fabric with gather, and you’ll have just created your first ruffle.
This step is where strong thread is really important. If you use cheap thread, it will break under the pressure of creating these long ruffled edges. If the thread breaks, the only solution is to rip out the entire length of the seam and start again.
Each tier of ruffles must be sewn to its coordinating backing panel. I found that this was easiest to do if I started with the bottom ruffle and worked my way up.
This picture shows a partially finished side panel. If you look closely, you can see that the bottom to ruffles are finished and attached, but that the top tier is laying on top of the other two but not yet finished.
I found that it was easiest to sew the ruffles onto each of the three panels and then attach the panels to the mattress panel. This prevented me from having to force a whole lot of fabric through the arm of my sewing machine.
The final step of your DIY crib skirt project is to attach each of your three ruffled side panels to the main mattress panel that will lie between the mattress and the crib springs:
8. Put your DIY Ruffled Crib Skirt On Your Baby’s Crib!
Stand back, enjoy your good work, and send me a picture of your finished project if you use this tutorial – I’d love to see it!