Friday, February 22, 2008

How-To: Making Your Bed With Dust Ruffle

Level: Moderate difficulty

Please read the following instructions completely before beginning this dust ruffle project. Making a dust ruffle to match the decor of a room is an easy sewing project even though you do have to handle a large quantity of fabric.

The mattress will probably be a standard size but the height off the floor is different for each frame so measure before you shop for fabric. A home made dust ruffle is better than ready made because you can put extra fullness in it and a generous hem creates a heavier, more custom made finished look.


4 yds. fabric for a twin bed
4 1/2 yds. fabric for a double bed
5 yds. fabric for a queen bed
5 1/2 yds. fabric for a king bed thread to match fabric
a flat sheet big enough to attach a ruffle
Fabric amounts are based on 54-in. wide fabric and a standard drop of 14 inches, however measure to make sure this will be enough fabric for your bed.


1. To determine the amount of fabric you will need to cover the three sides of your mattress, measure the length and width of your mattress, then add the length x 2 to the width. If the bed has a foot board then the dust ruffle might be only covering the two long sides. When gathering fabric it is necessary to double the fullness, so take the total inches and multiply by 2.

2. Measure the distance between the top of the box springs and the floor, then add 5 inches to allow for a deep hem on the dust ruffle. Depth of ruffle including hem:

3. Divide the total running inches in step 1 by the width of the fabric to find the number of cuts you need.

Running inches / width of fabric = number of cuts

4. The number in Step 2 x the number in Step 3 will tell how many inches of fabric you will need. Always round that figure up to the nearest yard and you should have enough to complete the project. Depth of ruffle x number of cuts = yards to purchase:

5. Cut your lengths determined in Step 2 and seam these pieces together to make a long piece of fabric.

6. Using your iron and a ruler turn up a 4 inch hem on one side of this strip of fabric. It is easier to finish the hem before you gather the ruffle so check your measurement again before putting the hem in this long strip. Use a straight machine stitch or a blind hem stitch.

7. On the other long side of this hemmed strip, run a double row of gathering threads 3/4 inch from the edge. If using chintz or other heavy weight decorative fabric, be sure your gathering thread is strong enough to pull up the gathers. I like to zig zag over a light cord or upholstery thread when I'm gathering lots of fabric.

8. Remove the top mattress and cut an old sheet or large piece of fabric to fit the top of the box springs. You will attach the dust ruffle to this piece around three sides. If your bed has an unusual post or foot board you may need to make a break in the ruffle at the foot end of the bed. Determine that before you sew the long gathered strip to the sheet. The corners at the foot of the bed can be slightly rounded as you attach to the sheet.

9. To evenly distribute the gathers along the three edges of the sheet it is necessary to make a few reference points. Fold the long strip in half and then in quarters and at each of these folds place a safety pin - not a straight pin, close to the gathered edge. Determine the half way point along the sheet and the quarter point so when you're evening the gathers, look for your safety pins. Neatly turn in a hem at the beginning and ending of the ruffle before you attach it to the sheet.

10. If possible, move your sewing machine to a larger work area so you have room when sewing this ruffle to the sheet. Carefully pin the gathered ruffle to the sheet adjusting the ruffle fullness as you pin. Begin sewing around all three edges attaching the gathered ruffle with a straight stitch to the sheet. This seam should not show after the top mattress is put back on the bed. Step back and enjoy your beautiful new dust ruffle!

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