Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DIY Dropcloth Bedskirt

So this particular project turned out awesomely if I do say so myself.  For far too many years our bed had been sporting a too short bedskirt so I finally bit the bullet and made one that is much more attractive.  Not only is it good lookin' but it was cheap and easy to do.

I started by buying a 4' x 15' drop cloth from Home Depot for $15.  I soaked it in bleach for a day, washed it, soaked it again, washed it and dried it.  I have to say that I don't think the bleach made a significant difference in the color.  If I use a drop cloth for a future project I may skip the bleaching step.

Next I found an old flat sheet that I used as the decking which is the piece of cloth that goes between the mattress and the boxspring.  A standard queen mattress measures 60" x 80".  I didn't want any of the decking to be exposed so I cut my sheet to 79 inches on the width and I left the top of the sheet alone so I didn't have to hem it and cut at the bottom of the sheet to make the length 59 inches.  

The dropcloth was cut in half lengthwise giving me 2 pieces each 2' x 15'.  I then sewed these pieces together at the end being careful to keep the scraggly edges at the top and the salvaged edge at the bottom.  I did this purposely because I wanted to avoid sewing a hem along the bottom if possible.  This gave me one really long piece that was 2' x 30'.

I wanted my bedskirt to have a gathered full look but I did not want the hassle of putting 30' of dropcloth through the sewing machine more than needed so I cheated.  Normally, you would run the skirt part through your machine with the stitch length as long as possible, pull that thread to make the gathers and then pin the gathered skirt to the decking and then sew them together.  Instead I just pinned the skirt to the decking making my "gathers" as I went.  Technically I think I may have been making pleats but because I had so many and the seam is hidden between the mattress and the box springs it ends up looking like gathers.

You will notice in the picture that I was doing my pinning on top of the mattress.  It was simply the easiest way to have all the fabric laid out flat but up off the floor.  Assuming your headboard is against the wall you only have your skirting on the two long sides and the footboard end.  I started by pinning each top corner then I pinned the middle of the end.  This was done to ensure I had even amounts of fabric on all sides.

You may be curious why there is no bed frame in the picture above.  That is because I decided in the middle of painting the bed frame that it would be silly to have nice new painted bed without a nice new bedskirt too.  So in between coats of paint I was working on the bedskirt.  Anyhoo...back to the how to stuff...

Then you just start making your little "gathers".  You kinda just have to do this by feel and if your pinning gets too close or too far apart you can just unpin and rearrange the fabric.  It gets a little tricky going around the corners and since there was no method to my madness I can only tell you to just use common sense and pin away.

Once you have pinned all the way around you have to sew your seam.  This is not hard but a pain because there is so much fabric and it gets heavy and you have to keep adjusting it to get it all through the machine.  Just take your time and use a heavy duty needle to get through the dropcloth.

Here it is on the box spring.  Notice I did not say it was finished.

I thought I would be finished.  I was all excited.  But then I decided that it had two problems.  It was too long.  I just did not like the way it draped out on the carpet.  Maybe if we had hardwood floors it would be okay but on the carpet it looked bunchy and not good.  Also, I had failed to account for the way the footboard attaches to the siderails.  Because I had not put in a slit for this the fabric just bunched up at the two end corners which meant it did not sit right along the end of the bed.  

So...I took it off the bed and added a hem and the slits on each corner.  These fixes were fairly easy to do.  At both corners I eyeballed where I thought the exact corner line was and cut from the bottom of the dropcloth to the top seam careful to get only within about a 1/2 inch of the seam.  Then I folded under each raw side 1/4 of an inch and stitched.  To fix the length I had taken a very exact one handwidth measurement while the bedskirt was still on the bed and then at my sewing table I pinned the bottom edge up my one handwidth and stitched it in place.  I did not cut off any excess because if we ever get a new bed or mattress I can make it longer again if needed.

Now my bedskirt is finally done.  And it looks lovely.  You cannot tell at all that it is made from a dropcloth.  It looks like a nice heavier linen-like material.  It is very nice because the dropcloth material does not seem to wrinkle easily like a cotton.

Just for fun here's one for you to pin.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~
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  1. Love it!!! I have been thinking about redoing my bed skirt too. I am your newest follower. Hope you can visit me sometime too:)

  2. Oh I just love your new bedskit! Very inspirational!
    dee dee

  3. So inspirational! It looks just lovely! I'm your newest follower and can't wait to visit you other posts:)Found you at WOW!!

  4. Great tutorial and your bed skirt looks lovely! I have this linked to my bed skirts post too today, well done!


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