Last year I bought a new mattress. It’s awesome (Sealy Memory Foam). The only problem is that it’s really thick and I have low ceilings. Although I’m tall, climbing into bed shouldn’t be a chore, so I opted for 5” split box springs. That meant that my dust ruffle would be too long.
Fast forward a year later…I finally finished my dust ruffle. It wasn’t that difficult to make so I thought I’d share the process with you. But before tackling this project, please note that there is a lot of fabric so it’s cumbersome to work with. And making the ruffles is a bit of a pain just due to the sheer volume of the fabric. But I love custom dust ruffles, so I really think it’s worth it!
I don’t have a lot of pictures because I didn’t take any as I was making this. I was on a mission to simply get it finished!
You will need three things: (1) a foundation that you sew the ruffle to, (2) the ruffle fabric, and (3) a walking foot. I used an old sheet for my foundation (the top of the sheet was already hemmed) and 54” home dec fabric for the ruffle.
A queen mattress is 60” wide and 80” long. So, cut your foundation piece 60 1/2” wide and 80 1/4” long. The extra fabric will account for 1/2” seam allowances – yes, it will be slightly smaller, but I didn’t want the seam right at the edge of the box springs…I wanted it to to be in a bit so the mattress would hide it.
I did this by putting two cutting mats together and folding the fabric then cutting with a rotary cutter and ruler. It wasn’t exact but I didn’t really care! You could lay it out and, using a tape measure and marker, draw lines and cut on the lines with scissors.
First measure the distance from the floor to the top of the box springs - mine was 11 1/2” – then take that number and add 2 1/2” for seam allowances – mine was 14”. That is how wide you’ll cut your fabric. If you want your ruffle to drag a bit, add an inch or so. I have cats who like to get under my bed, so I made it easier for them!
For the right amount of fullness, you’ll need seven rows.
I like to draw everything out. So here is what I drew:
On the right and left are the selvages. The line in the middle is the fold. I used about three yards of fabric. If you are using 42” wide fabric, you might want to add two more rows and purchase accordingly. I recommend sketching your dimensions! The seven rows seemed to add the right amount of fullness to the ruffle. If you want it fuller, add a few rows – but keep in mind that it’s more difficult to work with.
Cut your rows. Remove selvages. Sew together along the ends to create one really long piece of fabric! Press seams open.
1. On the two ends (so, the 14” ends of mine), fold in WST about 3/4” and press. Then fold over again and press. Sew close to the edge.
2. On the bottom of the ruffle (get ready…this takes a while), fold in WST 2” and press…the entire length of the ruffle. Open it back up and fold under so raw edge just touches the crease you just made and press. I use a pressing ruler to make this easier. Sew close to the edge. I used my edge stitching foot.
Mark Foundation and Ruffle:
Next you’ll be making registration points on the foundation and ruffle so you can line up the ruffle so it ruffles evenly. On the foundation these will be about every 27 1/2” as shown below.
Take your ruffle and fold it in half end-to-end. On the wrong side, mark that middle point. Then fold it in half again and on the wrong side, mark those two middle points (on the folds). And fold it one more time and mark. Again, don’t worry if it isn’t perfect!
You should have SEVEN marks. These seven marks correspond with the seven marks on the foundation.
Using the directions from my article on making ruffles, zig zag your heart out along the raw edge (top) of the ruffle. This takes forever. If you run out of embroidery floss, try to stop at one of your marks, leave a tail, and add more.
Clear the space to the left of your machine and put on your walking foot. Using a 1/2” seam allowance, with RST, sew the ruffle to the foundation.
OK..it’s a lot to ruffle, so here’s what worked for me: find your first mark on your ruffle and pin it to the first mark on your foundation. At that mark, using the tip of a seam ripper (or something like that), pull the embroidery floss (creating a loop) and start ruffling – trying to even out the ruffle. Just make sure that other end of the embroidery floss is secure! Sew (1/2” seam) and ruffle. Once again, it probably won’t be perfect. Mine is far from a consistent 1/2” seam and not evenly ruffled!
Slowly work your way around the foundation, starting, stopping, and pulling at your registration points. When you reach a corner, stop at about 1/2” in from the end, lift your presser foot, and pivot, adjusting the ruffle as needed. Then start sewing again until you have reached the end.
Pull the embroidery floss out. Now go back and zig zag around the entire raw edge. Make sure you have enough bobbin thread! And make sure that you don’t catch the foundation in the zig zag. I did that and had to rip out and re-zig-zag!
VIOLA!! Done! Grab a friend, move that mattress, and put your dust ruffle on!