How to Sew a Box Pleat Bedskirt

    by Kate Lee

    About the Author

    Kate Lee's how-to articles have been published in "Sew Simple," "Craft Stylish" and "Soft Dolls & Animals" magazines. She has been sewing for more than 20 years and has a master's degree in technical writing.


    Bed skirts are a simple sewing project that help hide unsightly areas under a bed and give the room a finished look. To make a bed skirt, you’ll need fabric for the skirt itself, as well as a large piece of fabric that goes on top of the box spring and holds the skirt in place. Since this part of the bed skirt won’t show, you may want to use an old flat sheet, but you can also use any inexpensive fabric. If the fabric is narrower than the bed, you’ll need to sew several pieces together to make them wide enough to cover the mattress.

    Things You'll Need

    • Measuring tape
    • Fabric for bed skirt
    • Fabric for bed skirt holder
    • Matching thread
    • Scissors
    • Straight pins
    • Iron
    • Ironing board
    • Sewing machine

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    Sew the Bed Skirt

    Measure the distance from the bottom of the mattress to the floor to determine the length of the bed skirt. Add 1 1/4 inches to this measurement for hems and seam allowance.

    Measure the width of the foot end of the mattress and the length of the sides. Standard mattress sizes include twin (39 by 75 inches), full or double (54 by 75 inches), queen (60 by 80 inches), king (76 by 80) and California king (72 by 84 inches).

    Add 9 1/2 inches to each of the side measurements and 17 1/2 inches to the foot measurement to allow enough extra fabric for the box pleats, hems and seam.

    Cut the bed skirt fabric to size using the dimensions you determined. For example, a twin bed would need two side skirt pieces each about 84 1/2 inches long, and a foot piece about 56 1/2 inches long. If you need to sew several pieces of fabric together to make the bed skirt long enough, make sure to add extra seam allowance to each piece.

    Place one side piece and the foot piece right sides together, lining them up along one short end. Pin them together and stitch them together along the short end using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

    Sew the other side piece to the other end of the foot piece in the same way. The bed skirt should now be one long continuous piece.

    Hem the long lower edge of the bed skirt using 1/2-inch double fold hems. Hem the short ends of the bed skirt the same way.

    Trim the flat sheet or skirt holder fabric so that it’s 1 inch larger than the top of the mattress on each side. Hem the top edge of the skirt holder fabric (the one that goes next to the headboard) using a 1/2-inch double fold hem.

    Make the Box Pleats

    Measure 8 inches to the side of one of the seams between the side and foot pieces. Mark this measurement with a pin along the top edge of the bedskirt. Do the same on the opposite side of the seam, so that the seam is centered between the two pins.

    Bring the pinned areas over to meet the seam in the middle, creating the box pleat. Pin the folded fabric, then stitch along the top edge of the folded fabric to hold the pleat in place.

    Preheat the iron to the appropriate temperature for the type of fabric you’re using, then press the folds in place.

    Create a second box pleat the same way on the other seam at the foot of the bedskirt.

    Pin the upper edge of the bedskirt to the edges of the skirt holder, with the fabric right sides together. Stitch the bedskirt to the skirt holder.

    • You may want to use a damp press cloth, such as a cotton handkerchief, when ironing the box pleats to help create firm creases.
    • Use caution when working with scissors, pins, irons and sewing machines.