A crib skirt has two main functions: 1) it looks cute as can be, and 2) when it hangs all the way to the floor, it creates a secret, under-bed storage space. For our sleek and modern baby boy nursery, we choose a crisp pleated skirt rather than ruffles. This helps with arguments down the road, such as when my son claims deep emotional scars from wearing his older sister’s ruffled overalls (it was one small ruffle on the pocket and he was two… come on!). This crib skirt tutorial is just one of eight pieces in our new nursery series sponsored by our good friends at Michael Miller Fabrics, and is created using their new Color Story concept.
A crib skirt has two main functions: 1) it looks cute as can be, and 2) when it hangs all the way to the floor, it creates a secret, under-bed storage space. For our sleek and modern baby boy nursery, we choose a crisp pleated skirt rather than ruffles. This helps with arguments down the road, such as when my son claims deep emotional scars from wearing his older sister’s ruffled overalls (it was one small ruffle on the pocket and he was two… come on!).
Unlike most fabric collections that are filled with coordinated prints in multiple colorways, color is what this story is all about. Michael Miller’s Color Story concept combines hues that consistently work so well together, they create their own ambience, their own feeling… their own story. These fabric color pairings are also currently prominent in other areas of fashion, interior style and pop culture, such as: Citron-Gray, Aqua-Red, Cocoa-Berry, It’s a Boy thing, It’s a Girl Thing, Lagoon, Orchid-Gray, Retro, Rouge et Noir, Sorbet, and Urban Grit.
Like good friends who hang together over time, Michael Miller’s Color Story pals will evolve from one release to another. Their stories will update and build momentum as color trends evolve, but their compatibility will remain. You’ll be able to add new fabrics within the same Color Story, knowing they’ll fit in and work well together.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome New Home 7700)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 4 yards of 44-45″ wide print fabric for the outside skirt panels: we used Citron Tiny Gingham from the Citron-Gray Color Story by Michael Miller Fabrics
- 1¾ yards of 44-45″ wide print fabric for the inside of the skirt pleats and the pleat ties: we used Gray Quarter Dot from the Citron-Gray Color Story by Michael Miller Fabrics
- 6¾ yards of 44-45″ wide solid fabric for the skirt panel lining: we used Cotton Couture Broadcloth in Soft White by Michael Miller Fabrics
- 1½ yards of 44-45″ wide solid, inexpensive fabric for the platform piece to which the skirt panels attach: we used a basic cotton muslin
NOTE: When purchasing muslin, pay attention to the writing on the side of the fabric bolt. It will list the width of the fabric. Muslin comes in 36″, 38″, 44″, 45″, 90″, 108″ and 120″ widths (there may even be more, I got tired at 120″). You can buy bleached and unbleached muslin in different thread counts and qualities. This fabric is going to sit under the mattress of the crib and hold the skirt in place, so buy the cheapest you can find. In a lot of instances, the quality of the fabric is of importance, but this is not one of those instances. Buy inexpensive muslin or use anything you have on hand.
- All purpose thread
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Straight pins
NOTE: Our skirt is sized for a to-the-floor drop of 22″, which is a standard drop from the highest mattress setting (the new-born setting). As your baby grows and you lower the mattress, you can take up some of the length by folding up and pinning the platform piece. Many people remove the skirt once the mattress is dropped to its lowest position. If you’d like a shorter skirt, adjust the 23″ lengths shown below to your preferred length. Measure from the bottom of the mattress to the floor, then add 1″ for a seam allowance.
- From the fabric for the skirt ties and the inside of the pleats (Grey Quarter Dot in our example), cut the following:
TWELVE 7½” long x 3″ wide strips. These will be your Skirt Ties.
SIX 13″ wide x 23″ high rectangles. These will be your Inside Pleat Panels.
- From the fabric you are using for the main outside skirt panels (Citron Tiny Gingham in our example), cut the following:
TWO 25″ wide x 23″ high rectangles. These will be your 25″ Center Skirt Panels.
EIGHT 15″ wide x 23″ high rectangles. These will be your 15″ Side Skirt Panels.
- From the fabric you are using for the lining panels (Blanca-White Cotton Sheeting in our example), cut the following:
TWO 77″ wide x 23″ high rectangles. These will be your Long Lining Panels.
TWO 41″ wide x 23″ long rectangles. These will be your Short Lining Panels.
- From the fabric you are using for platform piece (basic cotton muslin in our example), cut ONE 29″ x 53″ rectangle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Make and attach the skirt ties
- Find the TWELVE 7½” long x 3″ wide strips.
- Fold each strip in half lengthwise (so it is now 7½” long x 1½” wide) with right sides together. Align all raw edges. Pin in place along the long edge and one end.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together along the pinned long edge and one end, pivoting at the corners.
- Clip the end corners and turn the tie right side out through the open end.
- Push out the corners so they are nice and sharp, using a blunt tool, like a chopstick or a knitting needle. Press the tie flat along seams.
- Repeat to create all 12 ties.
- Find the SIX 13″ x 23″ rectangles, which are your inside pleat panels.
- Lay one panel right side up and flat on your work surface. The rectangle should be vertical.
- Pin a finished tie to each 23″ side, measuring 4½” down from the top 13″ raw edge. Align the open raw end of the tie with the side raw edge of the pleat panel. Pin in place. Edgestitch in place to secure prior to the final seaming.
- Repeat for all SIX pleat panels (2 ties per panel).
NOTE: To keep the ties out of the way while you sew the remaining steps, pin them in place at the center of the panel, pinning from the right side of the fabric.
Side skirt panels
- Find the EIGHT 15″ wide x 23″ high rectangles, which are your 15″ side skirt panels.
- With right sides together, pin ONE 15″ skirt panel to the LEFT side of one pleat panel (one of the six panels on which you just attached the ties). Align the two panels along one 23″ edge. Pin in place. Stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance.
- With right sides together, pin another 15″ skirt panel to the RIGHT side of another pleat panel. Align the two panels along one 23″ edge. Pin in place and stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance.
- Find the TWO 25″ wide x 23″ high rectangles, which are your 25″ Center Skirt Panels.
- With right sides together, pin the LEFT pleat panel/skirt panel pair to the left side of ONE of the 25″ center skirt panels. In other words, align the left pleat panel’s remaining 23″ raw edge with the left 23″ raw edge of the center skirt panel. Pin in place and stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance.
- Repeat to pin and stitch the RIGHT pleat panel/skirt panel to right side of the 25″ center skirt panel.
- You should now have FIVE panels sewn together to create a completed side skirt. Turn this sewn 5-panel piece so it is right side up.
- At each of the four seams, press the seam allowances towards the pleat panel, and edgestitch through all layers on the pleat panel. This is called ‘understitching’ and will help keep the final pleat edge nice and sharp.
- Find the TWO 77″ x 23″ Long Lining Panels.
- Place one long lining panel right sides together with the completed five-piece side skirt panel. Align all the raw edges. Pin along both ends and across the bottom edge.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch these three sides, pivoting at the corners.
- Clip both corners, and turn the piece right side out. Press flat along all three sewn edges.
- Pin the top raw edges of the outer skirt panel and lining together, then sew together with a ¼” seam allowance. This secures the layers and allows for easier handling when pleating and attaching to the platform piece.
- Find the center point of each pleat panel. You can do this by folding the panel in half and marking with a pin, or you can make a light crease with your iron. You can also draw a line with your fabric pen or pencil, but be SURE it will brush away or disappear with exposure to the air.
- Pull the seams on either side in towards the center marked line to form a box pleat, as shown below. Press flat.
- Pin along the folded top edge of the pleat so it stays closed, then sew closed with a short horizontal line of stitching approximately ¼” from the raw edge. The bottom edge of the pleat remains open.
- With your remaining pieces, repeat all these super fun steps to create the second side skirt panel with its two box pleats.
End Skirt Panels
- You should have four remaining 15″ side skirt panels, two remaining pleat panels, and two remaining short lining panels. You will use these to create the two end panels.
- Follow the same steps as above for the side panels, but create a simple three-panel unit for each end: side skirt panel – pleat panel – side skirt panel.
- Edgestitch (understitch) at each seam line, attach the lining, turn right side, edgestitch the layers to secure, and pleat. It’s all just as you did above, but each end panel has just one pleated panel.
Attach panels to the platform piece
- Find the 29″ x 53″ platform piece.
- Pin one side skirt panel right sides together along one 53″ side of the platform piece. Align the raw edges, but center the side skirt panel so there is ½” of platform piece extending beyond each seamed end of the skirt panel.
- Sew this first skirt panel to platform piece with a ½” seam allowance.
- Repeat to attach the opposite side skirt panel to the platform piece.
- Next attach each end panel along the remaining 29″ sides of the platform piece in the same manner.
- At each finished corner, flip the muslin triangle corner back towards the inside of the panel, and press flat.
- Flip the skirt over so all the skirt panels are facing right side out. Press all four skirt panel/platform piece joining seams flat.
- Center the platform piece on the crib’s mattress platform, and pull the skirt panels down into position. The side openings will wrap nicely on either side of a standard crib’s corner hardware.
- Drop the mattress into place and tie the pleats closed.
NOTE: Our pleat ties are meant to tie close with a simple knot rather than a bow. If you’d like to have a bow, increase the starting length of the ties from 7½” to 15″.
Project Concept: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Gregory Dickson