Quick and Easy Adjustable Pleated Crib Skirt

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A lot of customers ask me if it is worth it to make a crib skirt. I always answer that it depends on the crib.  For Braelyn's crib, I made a skirt, and it looked great for the first 5 months of her life when the mattress was raised to its highest position. As soon as we lowered her mattress, you could no longer see it. Her crib has a thick wood panel on the front where the skirt lays, so the skirt became pointless. Mackenzie's crib is a Jenny Lind style crib and is very open; you will be able to see the skirt at all levels.
Knowing this, I wanted to make a skirt that easily adjusts with the mattress. I have made crib skirts in the past, and it takes rehemming to fix them to the new mattress height.  I hate hemming, so the idea of going back to a completed project in less than a year is not appealing to me. I knew there had to be a better way.

There are a lot of tutorials and blogs about making adjustable crib skirts. I have seen so many different concepts, including tutorials with ties, buttons, folds, Velcro, etc. My favorite post is on View Along the Way's blog. I followed Kelly's directions for the most part and really enjoyed all of her pictures and honest descriptions. The only major difference in her skirt and mine is that I added a pleat. I like the pleated look much better than just a flat panel.  I also used clips to attach it to the springs (her suggestions) rather than tacks.

Here are the steps to adding the pleat.

1. Measure your crib.

  •  My dimensions

    • Front and back width = 51.5" 
    • Side width =  27.5"
    • Height (Floor to highest mattress setting) =  19"
2. Cut your fabric. 
The best part of a 19" height is that a 44/45" bolt is perfect for making two panels; just cut down the fold. You will get two pieces with a 22" height. I bought 2 7/8 yards of fabric for my crib. I have 2 panels here because my crib is floating in the room; you really only need 1 front panel if you are pushing it up against a wall. If you are, then just make the three panels (front and 2 sides) and you could potentially buy just 1 7/8 yards, but you will have a seam under your pleat down the middle of the front panel. 
  • Side Panels - 
    • Hemming: add 2" to width and 2" to height for hemming = 21" x 31.5"

    • I bought 7/8 yard of fabric (31.5") for both panels.
      • I wanted to make it easy, so I just cut down the fold and cut the selvage off the bottom giving me two 22" x 31.5" pieces. 
  • Front Panels- 

    • Hemming: add 2" to width and 2" to height for hemming = 21" x 55.5" + Pleat
    • For a pleat, add double the width of your pleat. I wanted to make an even cut with yardage, so 55.5" gave me 1 yard (36") and 19.5" left over. I added 16.5" to make an 8.25 wide pleat. That means I needed 2 yards to make both panels. Again, if you are making just one panel you can buy 1yard, cut it down the fold, and sew a seam down the middle. Use a .25" seam and use an 8" wide pleat. 
    • My final panels were 22" x 72". 
3. Hem your sides.
  • I like to hem the sides first. I turned under each side .5" twice and top stitched them. 
4. Hem the bottoms.
  • It is much easier to do the bottom hem before you create the pleat. 
  • I used a 1" hem on the bottom because I like the look of a thick hem on the bottom. You could even use a blind hem if you do not want to see a top stitch. 
5. Create the pleat.

  • Find center and mark your pleat folds 8.25" (or how big you made your pleat) on each side of center mark. 
  • Fold your pleat in and press.
  • Pin or clip down pleat on both the bottom and top. 
  • Sew a stitch .25? from the top edge to keep pleat.
6. Finish top edges.
  • I used a zig zag to finish the top edges. Normally, I would use a serger but the zig zag worked well. 
You should now have 4 finished panels!!!!

That's it; now just clip or pin them to your crib. I used wonder clips to attach them, and they worked great. Once Mackenzie is old enough and I have to move the mattress down, I will just move the clipped edges in farther. I am very excited about how fast and how easy it was to make this skirt. It was much easier than the traditional crib skirt I made before and it took much less fabric. 


  1. How did you work around the diagonal metal pieces that connect the mattress support to the crib frame? I have the same crib and am just now realizing that you can't use a standard crib skirt with this. Also, since you created 3 difference pieces do you not see a gap at the corners?


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