Well, we knew that one of the focal features of the room would be the cribs. Why? Well, when you walk into the room… BAM! The cribs are right in front of you. So, we knew that the cribs needed to have quite a bit of style.
I fell in love with these Pottery Barn sheets, because, let’s face it, how can you not love those adorable ocean critters? Plus, I would be able to have Baby Boy’s crib match Baby Girl’s crib in the fabric pattern, but the colors would differ. Perfect!
Not so perfect. They were not available in the stores anymore. That’s okay, I’m sure someone will have them online! Well, that was true, as I could find them on Ebay. Unfortunately, they were quite a bit more expensive than if we had gotten them from PBK. Because these were focal points in the room, however, I was okay with a bit of a splurge.
Now, we needed the crib skirts! If we looked on Pottery Barn Kids, we saw that they had these adorable matching crib skirts. They were simple, tailored, and adorable! The only problem was that they were $59 each! Now, if that was just for one crib, I could understand. For us having to do 2 cribs? No way!
So I went online and found some easy DIY tutorials for the crib skirts. After all, they ARE just rectangles of fabric! Done! I’ll make my own!
Well, after I made that decision, I kept looking to find the best pattern for the skirts. Did I want a pleat? Did I want to keep it easy and just make it flat? Do we attach them with velcro or ribbon? Do I make all 4 sides attach together with a muslin that lies underneath the mattress, or do I make it adjustable for when we lower the crib mattress as the babies grow?
So, I decided that I wanted 2 colors (similar to the picture from PBK), and I would attach them with ribbons to the mattress springs (that ended up changing to velcro). So, I went off to my favorite local fabric store, Quilting Adventures. They are incredible there at helping to decide colors, matching fabrics, and advice for construction. They even let me come back with Tim to use their huge cutting mats and tables so I could prep all of my pieces.
We made some mistakes in the amounts of fabric, but in the interest of this tutorial, I will spare you those details, and instead I will pretend like I did it correct the first time.
3 yards of main fabric if about 45″ wide
2 yards of border fabric if about 45″ wide (you will have lots of this left over, but you need the length to construct the piece correctly)
10 yards of wide rickrack (the wavy “ribbon”)
Thread to match each color fabric used
Cut-able velcro (one side sticky, one side sewable)
Sewing machine, rotary cutter, pins, iron, ruler, and other sewing necessities
1. Pick out your fabric. Hopefully you have someplace as amazing as Quilting Adventures to help with this step (or some crafty friends to bounce ideas off of).
2. Measure your crib and figure out how much you will need of each fabric. Note: these measurements are NOT the cribs themselves, but the mattress base, where you will attach the skirts. The following measurements are based off of our cribs (Pottery Barn Kendall cribs):
Crib mattress length/finished length: 51″
Length with 4″ added due to pleating: 55″
Length with seam allowance added: 57″
Crib mattress width/finished width: 26″
Width with 4″ added due to pleating: 30″
Width with seam allowance added: 32″
Height of main fabric: 18.5″ final, 20″ including seam allowance
Height of border fabric: 4″ final, 6″ including seam allowance
Please note: This picture has incorrect measurements, though it was extremely helpful in figuring out how much of each fabric I would need.
3. Cut the fabric according to your crib.
2 sections of solid blue 6″ x 32″ *
2 sections of cross-hatch blue 20″ x 32″ *
2 sections of solid blue 6″ x 57″ *
2 sections of cross-hatch blue 20″ x 57″ *
*Repeat with pink versions
4. Line up the right-sides of the fabric together, and sew each of the the solid borders to the patterned pieces. These will create your 4 main pieces that will be the sides for your crib.
5. Iron the seams to one side.
6. Measure out 4″ from the seam that connects the two fabrics together. I have this nifty tool that allows you to line up and measure easily. I highly recommend getting it if you like exact measurements!
7. Pin and sew the bottom hem. If you have lots of extra fabric like I did, trim off the excess.
8. This is a good time to go back to your cribs and make sure you know exactly how much room you have from the mattress to the floor. Measure carefully. This will tell you how much of a finished piece you need. Pin, iron flat, and sew the top hem for the skirt. I was able to fold the fabric 0.5″ down, and I sewed a .25″ seam allowance.
9. Pin, iron flat, and sew the side hems for the skirt. You do not need to measure here, as you can fix any issue when you create your pleats.
10. Measure your current finished skirt. It should be longer than you need length-wise, but the height should be exact from mattress to floor. Mark the length of each section. You will then need to do a little math:
[Length of the fabric skirt section] – [Length of the mattress] = P
P stands for Amount of Material Leftover for Pleats
Then do: P / 4 = L
L stands for Amount For Each Section of the Pleats
So, as an example, we had a finished length of the fabric skirt section of 55.75″. We subtracted the length of the mattress (51″). We then divided that by 4 to equal 1 1/8. So, each section of the pleats needed to be 1 and 1/8 inch long.
11. Fold the skirt in half to find the center. Mark it with a pin. Using your ruler, measure out 1 and 1/8 inches (or whatever your “L” is), and mark it with a pin. You will need to have 5 pins total, making 4 different sections.
12. Now, you have to do some folding and ironing. Use the pins to mark the fold lines and create an accordion fold with the fabric. Pin in place. Use your iron to make creases that go down the entire height of the fabric.
13. Sew the top of the pleat.
14. Change your thread color to white and sew on the rickrack over the seam that separates the two fabrics.
15. On the ends, fold over and sew the ends of the rickrack to the back of the fabric.
16. Iron the skirt to make it crisp and clean.
17. Attach velcro to the top of the crib skirt and to the crib itself. For the shorter sections, I used 3 pieces of 2″ velcro. For the longer sides, I used 5 pieces of 2″ velcro. Attach to the crib and enjoy your skirts!
Hints and Tips:
When dealing with rickrack or ribbon, I learned that you can run a flame quickly underneath the unfinished end of the ribbon. This will make sure it doesn’t fray.
You may find that (like me) you need to tack some spots of the pleats down, so you can keep that crisp look. It all depends on your material and how it lays flat. You may have to tack more on some spots than others.
Measure, measure, measure! I am anxious and I like to finish projects. Sometimes, I cut corners. This is one that will create far fewer headaches if you really measure well at first.
Don’t be afraid to diagram! Allow yourself to draw a diagram of how you want it to look. Start with the finished product and work backwards to add seam allowances. Planning in the beginning will save you time (and money) in the long-run.
*Part of this post originally appeared on Dory’s blog “Doyle Dispatch.” To read more posts about Dory’s pregnancy and nursery decorating on her blog, you can see the list here.*