This tutorial will teach you how to make a gathered bed skirt, whether you can sew or not. A customized bed skirt is an easy way to personalize any bedroom, while covering up unsightly bed frames and box springs.
Noelle’s gathered bed skirt is finally done! Why is it that the little details are the hardest items to check off the list? I may not have the answer, but I do have a completed bedding ensemble for Noelle, and I’m thrilled to be one step closer to finishing her room. She’s been so patient with how long her bedroom has been taking, but I know we’ll all be happier once she’s settled in here with no more projects going on.
Noelle decided pretty early on that she wanted a gathered, flouncy bed skirt rather than a box pleat bed skirt like the one I made for Hannah’s room. I love that my girls are completely different from each other and both have distinct styles they’re drawn to, so I was happy to make her a gathered bed skirt, and I think it looks sweet with her new quilt (which we are completely in love with).
Click through to learn how to make a gathered bed skirt with a no-sew option.
Materials Needed for Gathered Bed Skirt
- 3-4 yards of material for a full-sized bed/5-6 yards for queen or king
- straight pins
- hot glue gun
- glue sticks (lots)
- sewing machine (if you are sewing this)
- coordinating thread
- contrasting thread (not necessary but helpful when gathering)
- decorative trim (mine was on clearance at Hobby Lobby)
- Stitch Witchery (if you are using the no-sew option)
Directions for How to Make a Gathered Bed Skirt
Step 1 | Lay your fabric out on the floor and fold it lengthwise into thirds. If you are making a bed skirt for a larger bed (queen or king) and don’t have enough floor space for the entire length of fabric, you can cut the length in half and work with two to three yards at a time. I used three yards of fabric, and that took up all the available floor space I had.
Step 2 | Cut your fabric down the middle of each fold so you’re left with three long pieces of fabric all the same size.
This is what you should have once you are done cutting. If you cut your initial piece of fabric in half due to lack of floor space, you’ll do this step twice and have six pieces of fabric all the same length.
Step 3 | Measure out your decorative trim. I laid my trim along the edge of one length of fabric and then tripled that for the correct amount. If you are working with six lengths, you’ll need to do this step twice or multiply one length times six for the right amount of trim.
Step 4 : Sewn Version | Attach the lengths together. Using straight pins, attach two ends of fabric together, making sure right sides are facing/touching each other. No-Sew Version | Skip to Step 5.
Step 5: Sewn Version | Sew all pinned ends together. No-Sew Version | Use Stitch Witchery and an iron to attach all ends together. Do this for all lengths of fabric until they are fully connected and you have one long piece of fabric.
Step 6: Sewn Version | Flatten your seams with an iron. No-Sew Version | You shouldn’t need to do anything, but you can iron them flat if you’d like.
This is how your sewn seams should look once you iron them flat. If you have a serger, you can serge the seams. If you don’t have a serger, but want to avoid any fraying or loose fibers, you can zig zag stitch this seam and then press flat. I’m very low maintenance and somewhat lazy when it comes to sewing, so I don’t do any of those things, and it always turns out just fine.
Step 7 | Create a hem for your gathered bed skirt by folding the bottom edge of the fabric under once and ironing it flat, then once again and ironing it flat. You’ll do this step the same for both the sewn and no-sew versions.
Step 8: Sewn Version | Once you have folded and pressed your hem along the entire gathered bed skirt, use your sewing machine to straight stitch it. Settle in because it’s a looooong length to sew. No-Sew Version | Use Stitch Witchery and an iron to secure your hem down the full length of the skirt.
Step 9: Sewn Version | Pin your decorative trim along the bottom edge of the fabric, just above the hem. The placement of your trim is up to you…you can lower it or take it higher, depending on the look you’re going for. No-Sew Version | Use Stitch Witchery and an iron to attach your decorative trim along the bottom, hemmed edge of your fabric.
Step 10 | Using your sewing machine, attach the decorative trim with a straight stitch on both the top and bottom edges of the trim. Again, settle in because this step takes a bit of time.
Step 11: Sewn Version | Set your sewing machine stitch length at the highest it will go (mine is 4), and start stitching a straight line along the top edge of the bed skirt. This is when I like to use a contrasting thread so that I can see the stitching when I begin gathering. No-Sew Version | Skip to Step 12.
Then, go back and sew another straight line along the top edge of the fabric. You should end up with two parallel stitched lines along the top edge of your bed skirt. You could even sew a third line just to really secure your gathered edge. The machine sort of gathers the fabric naturally when you set your stitch length really high, which is nice because it starts the process for you.
Important Note: Leave really long ends of thread at both the beginning and end of your stitched lines. You’ll need these for gathering. Also, make sure your stitched lines are unbroken (continuous from one end to the other) or you will run into problems while gathering.
Step 11 | This is when you’ll begin to create the gathered top edge of your bed skirt. Hold the thread at one end of the bed skirt in one hand, and gently push the fabric in the opposite direction with the other hand. You’ll see it begin to bunch up and look ruffled. I suggest doing this while watching a movie or some other enjoyable, mindless activity because this step is both tricky and time consuming. You have to be gentle enough not to break the thread, but apply enough pressure for the fabric to gather and move down the line.
Also, the best plan of attack for knowing how long your finished bed skirt should be (aka: how much gathering you need to do) is to measure the length of the three sides that will be covered and use that as your guide. You could tape it off on the fabric or lay out your measuring tape and keep checking your gathered fabric against that. There are several ways to do it, but there’s no getting around that this step isn’t very fun. It IS worth it though!
This is what your entire bed skirt should look like when you’re done gathering. Oh yeah, and feel free to fold the ends of the bed skirt under and sew them or use Stitch Witchery on them for a more finished look. I didn’t take a picture of that step, but it does make the ends look really nice.
Step 12: Sewn Version | Okay, so this may be a little unconventional, but I hot glue all my bed skirts onto the box spring. It’s just what I’ve always done (well, one time I used Velcro). I love how easy it is, as well as how the bed skirt always looks nice and neat because of it…no bunching or shifting when changing sheets.
So, once you have your bed skirt gathered and measured out, just start hot gluing it onto the box spring, making sure the length is where you want it and uniform all the way around.
No-Sew Version | If you do not sew, but still want a gathered bed skirt, you can create gathers as you’re hot gluing. I have a confession: I broke my stitching like three different times during this process (impatience, lack of time, etc.), so I actually ended up creating my gathers the no-sew way. I simply put down a line of hot glue onto the box spring and then laid down the top edge of my fabric and scrunched it up into the glue, which created the same gathered look I had with stitching. You can see in the photo below that the gathered part does look a tad different than if the gathered stitching had held, but once the top mattress was on, you couldn’t tell the difference at all.
See what I mean? Once the top mattress is on, it just looks like a cute, gathered bed skirt, and nobody has to know that you hot glued it to the box spring. Although, I love this hack and tell everyone I know about it because it makes the bed skirt stay in place…love that!
Oh, and if you ever want to change the bed skirt, you can just pull hard on the fabric and the hot glue comes right off.
Whether you sew or not, I hope this tutorial is helpful for you if you are planning to make a gathered bed skirt. I’m all about projects like this being easy for beginners but also scalable for more experienced DIYers. I’m hoping to break onto the YouTube scene with videos of all my tutorials soon, but until then, I’ll keep putting these DIY blog posts together for you.
- Fabric (3-6 yards)
- Decorative Trim
- Stitch Witchery
- Sewing Machine
- Hot Glue Gun and Hot Glue Sticks
- Lay fabric out and fold into thirds lengthwise. If you have too much fabric and not enough floor space, you can cut your fabric in half vertically, and then fold each section into thirds lengthwise.
- Measure out your decorative trim and cut to size.
- Cut fabric down each fold lengthwise so you end up with three pieces of fabric the same length. If you cut your fabric in half vertically, you'll wind up with six pieces of fabric the same length.
- Join the ends of the fabric together with right sides together and pin them with straight pins. Attach the lengths of fabric together at the ends by sewing them or using Stitch Witchery to fuse them together.
- Iron down your seams (serge or zig zag stitch them if you desire).
- Create a hem on the bottom edge of the bed skirt by folding the fabric under once (about 1 inch) and ironing it down, then folding it down once more (about 1 inch) and ironing it down again.
- Sew your hem down and press with an iron. Or, use Stitch Witchery and an iron to make your hem permanent.
- Line up your decorative trim along the bottom edge of the bed skirt and pin with straight pins.
- Either sew your decorative trim onto the bed skirt or use Stitch Witchery and an iron to adhere the trim to the bed skirt.
- Set your sewing machine stitch length at the highest it can go and sew one continuous stitched line from one end of the skirt to the other, leaving long ends of thread on either side. Sew a second stitched line underneath the first one, and a third one underneath that if you want extra security for your gathering.
- Measure the length of all three sides the bed skirt will cover and mark that on your fabric so you know how much gathering you need to do. Begin gathering your fabric by holding the ends of the thread in one hand and pushing the fabric into folds with the other hand. Do this all the way down the length of your bed skirt.
- Attach bed skirt to box spring with hot glue (if already gathered). Create a line of hot glue on the box spring and lay down the top edge of your bed skirt into the glue, then scrunch it up quickly to create a gathered look. Do this all the way around the box spring, making sure the drop of the skirt is uniform.
Let me know what sewing (or no-sew) project you’re working on in the comments below!
- Blue Block Print Pillows
- Pink Pillow (From Home Goods but I linked a similar one)
- Rug (One of a kind from Revival Rugs…use code WILDFLOWER10)
- Bed (Vintage)
- Beadboard Paint Color – Sherwin Williams Sea Salt in Satin
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