Saturday, July 19, 2014

DIY Drop Cloth Ruffle Crib Skirt

I LOVED the look of linen bed sets online! Some of them had a silky fabric peeking from behind, or ruffles of lace stitched along the bottom.  But I definitely did NOT like the three-figured price that came with it.  In my search, I also came across burlap crib skirts--which had a nice look, but a scratchy texture and definitely not a washable fabric.  While I was looking for curtain ideas for our living room, I'd seen so many twists on drop cloths I had to try this out for a crib skirt!  It has a look close to linen, its cheaper, softer than the burlap, AND you can wash it.  

This tutorial makes 3 panels for a crib skirt for less than $30 in materials. (It took me about 3 hours, but that's including my time stopping to take photos along the way.)  A panel for the backside isn't necessary unless you decide to put your crib in the middle of the room...which would be a little weird. :) 


  • One 4' x 15' canvas drop cloth (without the waterproof backing)
  • Scissors
  • High quality polyester thread (Sulky or Gutermann)
  • 4 yards (2 packages) wide Twill tape
  • Tape measure
  • Thicker sewing needle (I used a #18)
  1. Wash, dry, iron.  Trust me.  Canvas is all cotton, so its going to shrink.  The crib skirt isn't going to get super dirty, but it will get dusty so you'll want to be able to wash and dry without it shrinking.  Ironing takes some time, but it will make cutting your panels much easier!
  2. Measure.  I took three measurements: the width and length of the spring mattress support and the the distance from the support to the floor at its HIGHEST setting. My measurements were 50" length, 26.5" wide, and 17.5" to the floor--without adding any allowances.  For each panel, I multiplied my length and width measurements by 2.5 so I have a really nice full ruffle. Doing it this way, it was more of a reference point. I didn't have to be obsessed with getting an exact measurement and account for seams while cutting. The final cut of fabric for the length from the support spring to the floor may be longer than needed, so the ruffle puddles on the floor a bit.  You can always go back and shorten your hem if you like.
  3. Cut. The manufacturer's hems are dis.gus.ting! Mine had white thread, 2 rows of stitching all around. Not pretty.  So cut it ALL off but DO NOT THROW IT AWAY! You need it later. We use all parts of the cow in this tutorial. :)
  4. Fold.  Fold the drop cloth in half the "hamburger" way. (You teachers will know what I'm talking about when I say this!)  It really means folding so the 2 short ends of your drop cloth (4 foot sides) come together. 
  5. Cut some more! Eye-ball it again, or measure...if you must...and cut down the center through all layers of your fabric.  When you unfold, your dropcloth should now be in 2 long pieces.  To make your longest panel, cut off the excess of one of the halves.  With the other half of the drop cloth, you can cut your 2 short panels.  My long panel I cut 125" and my 2 short panels were each 66".   I did all my cutting and measuring on our dining room floor-it was the only clear space big enough!  I used a tape measure because of the length involved, and the little locking slider on top holds my tape in place. 
  6. Hem.  Roll & sew a narrow hem all along the bottom length and short sides for all 3 panels.  The top length of each panel is where you will create the ruffle; leave that part for the next step. 
  7. Ruffle. Okay, people. Here's where it gets tricky.  I would be lying if I said I didn't mess up this part.  I tried to do it the *RIGHT* way, and make 2 rows of parallel stitching, no backstitching, then pull the top threads to make my ruffle, yada yada. This worked all hunky-dory until I tried to do the longest panel--all 125" worth of fabric and BOTH of my threads broke at different points. @#*$!...... So, I ended up bunching up the fabric as I went a long, zig-zagging. And it turned out just fine, and took me less time than the other 2 panels.  So---that part is kinda trial-and-error, and we all love to learn new things, yes?!  Moving on.
  8. Twill tape. After you're done torturing yourself making ruffles, on the back of the ruffle you made, stitch your twill tape the entire length with a zig-zag stitch.  I used this so the ties and ruffle stitches would hopefully have a stronger, more stabilized edging.
  9. Sew ties. Remember the ugly hems we cut off? Yay, you get to sew them back on!  Cut to lengths of about 10".  To attach, fold it in half to form a V shape, and zig-zag the folded point to the twill-tape on the top of your panel.  I used 3 ties for my short panels, and 7 for the long panel. The top edge where all this ruffling and junk is going on is going to look, um....messy. Maybe even terrible? But its not going to show, so don't freak out. :)
  10. Tie to spring support. This step is slightly self-explanatory.

11. Admire your hard work. <3

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