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Michael Miller Fabrics' Citron-Gray Nursery: Pleated Crib Skirt

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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.

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Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • 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

Getting Started

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

  1. Find the TWELVE 7½" long x 3" wide strips.
  2. 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.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together along the pinned long edge and one end, pivoting at the corners.
  4. Clip the end corners and turn the tie right side out through the open end.
  5. 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.
  6. Repeat to create all 12 ties.
  7. Find the SIX 13" x 23" rectangles, which are your inside pleat panels.
  8. Lay one panel right side up and flat on your work surface. The rectangle should be vertical.
  9. 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.
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  10. 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

  1. Find the EIGHT 15" wide x 23" high rectangles, which are your 15" side skirt panels.
  2. 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.
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  3. 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.
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  4. Find the TWO 25" wide x 23" high rectangles, which are your 25" Center Skirt Panels.
  5. 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.
  6. Repeat to pin and stitch the RIGHT pleat panel/skirt panel to right side of the 25" center skirt panel.
  7. 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.
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  8. 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.
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  9. Find the TWO 77" x 23" Long Lining Panels.
  10. 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.
  11. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch these three sides, pivoting at the corners.
  12. Clip both corners, and turn the piece right side out. Press flat along all three sewn edges.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Pull the seams on either side in towards the center marked line to form a box pleat, as shown below. Press flat.
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  16. 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.
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  17. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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  3. 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

  1. Find the 29" x 53" platform piece.
  2. 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.
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  3. Sew this first skirt panel to platform piece with a ½" seam allowance.
  4. Repeat to attach the opposite side skirt panel to the platform piece.
  5. Next attach each end panel along the remaining 29" sides of the platform piece in the same manner.
  6. At each finished corner, flip the muslin triangle corner back towards the inside of the panel, and press flat.
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  7. Flip the skirt over so all the skirt panels are facing right side out. Press all four skirt panel/platform piece joining seams flat.
  8. 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.
  9. 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".
    Click to Enlarge


Project Concept: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Gregory Dickson



Comments (30)

penny S. said:
penny S.'s picture

Plan to cut out this week. Confused by the lining measurements. With a finished length of 52 " on the long sides and adding on for the 12 " pleat fabric , I come up with 64 " lining. This would allow for a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Where is the 77" coming from?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ penny S - as you can see in the drawings above, the sides are made up of five panels, measuring in width (from L to R): 15", 13", 25", 13" and 15" - when added together this totals 81". Then, taking into account the four interior seams needed to sew the panels together, you take away 4" total for a resulting length of 77". You attach the 77" lining panel and then do the box pleats. Once pleated, it brings you down to the 53" finished length.

Barbara Thomas said:
Barbara Thomas's picture

I understand the math. Of lining, but wold having 2 layers of  pleats (front design and lining) bee bulky. I'm cutting now and am very apprehensive. Thanks Barbara

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Barbara Thomas - Without actually trying it, I can't give you a 100% accurate answer -- there are also variables in the type of fabric(s) you're working with. In general, I don't know that a double row of pleats would be the best option. Pleats are more of a sleek and slim look. If you are hoping for something with more volume for the skirt, billowy ruffles might be a good alternate. 

Katharine L said:
Katharine L's picture

I love this tutorial! I have the panels for the front and sides of the crib put together. However, due to the configuration of the crib my daughter received, I can't hang it behind the rails (there is a drawer in the way that can't be removed). Does anyone have any ideas on how I can hang a crib skirt on the outside of the crib?? : * (

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

You could try Velcro® - you'd want to use sew-in for the fabric side and sticky back against the crib, which means you'd need to buy twice as much - but it could work. You might also take a look at our Hiding Curtain tutorial in which we covered up the back of a bed's headboard with a curtain and used buttonholes and drawer knobs to attach.


KatLaurance said:
KatLaurance's picture

Thanks Liz! I'll try the Velcro route - unless my DD winds up removing the drawer like she's been threatening!! :)

Lori story said:
Lori story's picture

I am making the baby bedding for gym granddaughter that we are expectinin the end of June! Actually I am makinthat'll the bedding and the valances! I am a basic seamstress and need a little help, probably a lot of help! Lol the measurements from the bottom of the matress to the floor is 16" X 51.5.So does that mean I need 17" x 52.5b? Can some one email me at itsybitsystitches @gmail.com, please

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Lori story - As we mention above, just work with the drop measurement - the platform should be pretty standard - the skirt goes over the crib platform, under the mattress. So, as described, if you mattress to floor measurement is 16" - add 1" (top and bottom 1/2" seam allowances) and work with 17" instead of our 23" measurement in the Getting Started section. Leave the other measurements as is. 

Shelby P said:
Shelby P's picture

I know they say to measure the actual height of your crib for the length measurement but I was too excited to dig into this project so made it before we bought our crib.  Bad idea.  Be patient.  I now need to hem almost 5 inches off the bottom even at the highest position :(

Twin Momma To Be said:
Twin Momma To Be's picture

I just made two of these this weekend for the upcoming arrival of our twin girls and I am SO in love with them!  Thank you sew4home!

I did attempt a few cost saving measures though.  Instead of lining the whole skirt with a second piece of fabric, I just ironed on lightweight interfacing for some weight and hemmed all the edges.  Also, to save on fabric, I skipped the large back panel entirely since we know the cribs will always be up against a wall (like adult size crib skirts normally come anyway).  I'm super pleased with the results and happy to have saved a few bucks. 

Amandabe1 said:
Amandabe1's picture


I am ordering my fabric to make this for my baby boy, and just wanted to check that your fabric measurements are for this being on all four sides of the crib.  My crib goes against the wall, so I am trying to decide if I should make all four sides or not.

I love this skirt!!!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Amandabe1 - Yes this tutorial is for a skirt that goes all the way around. 

Twin Momma said:
Twin Momma's picture

Hi!  I'm pregnant with twins and hoping to make these crib skirts for each of them, but my question is, could you eliminate the white lining fabric?  Or substitute it with a low-cost muslin?  As you can imagine, twins are a total blessing but are pretty hard on the wallet so I'm just looking to cut costs without sacrificing quality.

Any help is greatly appreciated!!!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Twin Momma - If you are working with quilting weight cotton, it really is best to use a lining as we describe. But you can certainly substitute a lower-cost fabric. 

cjdj said:
cjdj's picture

I made this for my daughter.  It is adorabale but it is 6" too long.  It is for

 a brand new crib that we just bought them. I guess I didn't realize that cribs were different heights at their high point.  Now I need to redo it. Just an FYI for people in the future.  I used Michael Miller baby blue fabric and coordinates. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ cjdj - thanks for the reminder! This is exactly why we rambled on and on in that opening note in the Getting Started section. There are so many variables when it comes to sizing for projects like these. It sounds like your skirt will turn out just beautifully!  

Linda F said:
Linda F's picture

This is a beautiful pattern.  Could you make it without the ties?  I guess I don't see the purpose to them.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Linda F - The ties are indeed mostly decorative. You would be okay without them. The pleats should stay in place if pressed well and edgestitched. Have fun!

christian louboutin schaussures said:
christian louboutin schaussures's picture
Love those! I enjoy following your posts on facebook and rss!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ autumnjones -- I just got off the phone with our seamstress on this project and we re-measured it all. You are right! The lining pieces should be 41" and 77" to start, which is what your panels should measure when you get them all sewn in a line. Then, after sewing the skirt and lining together you have pieces that are 40" and 76" and after pleating, 28" and 52". I've made the changes above!! Thank you for the catch.
autumnjones said:
autumnjones's picture
I am currently making this wonderful skirt and have found a problem. The short lining piece is measured at 40x23. When all said and done it finishes at 27x23 which will leave more than 1/2 on either end when sewing to the platform piece. So should it measure 41x23 instead?
Dina Larson said:
Dina Larson's picture
My daughter just called to tell me she decided on her nursery. We are going to make all of the citron gray projects and also a few projects from the baby gift group (but in the citron gray fabric). She is so excited. She and her hubby are also painting the nursery to coordinate. First grandchild for either side of the family so we have two grammas, a sis, and cousins all eager to take on a project. Thanks sew4home and Michael Miller!!!
Kathy R said:
Kathy R 's picture
I LOVE this color combination for a nursery! I am going to blog about your website and this post, giving a link back to it!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!! smilies/smiley.gif

HerndonViolet said:
HerndonViolet's picture
I don't heve have a baby, but I just love this nursery and am adapting it for my master bedroom revamp. Well, the drapes and bedskirt and might do the quilt as a throw because I love the pattern and fabric so much.
Sally G said:
Sally G's picture
I love this project, so adorable! I also LOVE Michael Miller fabrics!
MaryBeth27 said:
MaryBeth27's picture
You changed my mind about color in my nursery. Admittedly, I'm not super adventurous with color, but I have been looking and looking at bue with red accents and can't find anything I love.. But the warm yellow or citron, I guess, is just right. Now I can stop looking and begin sewing smilies/cheesy.gif
Heidi W said:
Heidi W's picture
I really love LOVE the skirt. The material choices suit my taste very well and I'm going to try to adapt this pattern to fit my queen bed since I don't have a little one yet.