22 November 2010

Box Pleat Shelf Skirt Tutorial

The following is the tutorial I shared on The Polka Dot Chair a couple weeks ago. Enjoy!
My sweet husband helped me to build some shelves for my new crafty space which I shared earlier HERE.  Today I'm posting the tutorial for how I spiffied them up. 

Ready to learn how to make a box-pleat shelf skirt?  Here's the how to.

You'll need:
  • Chosen fabric, plan on about a yard.
  • 1 package bias tape
  • Cutting tools, a rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat are preferred
  • Matching thread
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Sewing tools; including scissors, seam ripper, pins , and sewing machine
Step one.  Measure the shelf you want to dress up.
My finished size needed to be 71 inches, to cover all three sides.  I knew I wanted pleats every 12 inches, with 5 inches needed for each pleat...this meant 9 pleats.  In order to account for each pleat, I added 45" (9x5) to the desired finished size for a total of 116". You'll need the same amount plus 21 inches for the bias tape. 

Step two.  Cut your fabric.
The pleats will be made with folded fabric, so your width should be double your desired finished size.  I cut my fabric in 9 inch strips, along the full width of the fabric.

The only tick for using the plaid is trying to match up the design.  I cut off 2.5" between strips to create a continuous look.  Depending on your fabric you'll need to match up designs.  I cut three 9" wide strips total.

Step two.  Join the cut pieces into one continuous strip.
Since we're using the whole width from the bolt, you will be joining the selvage edges.  Bonus, no seams to finish!

Press the seams open, and then fold the whole length in half.

Iron the whole length of fabric in half, wrong sides together, and mark the center from each end.  Iron that spot to mark it.

Optional.   If you want to have a crisp edge to the ends, open your fabric up again, and with right sides together, sew the edge closed.

Step three.  Mark the pleats and pin in place. 
The funnest thing about box pleats is that they are easy, but look difficult.  To begin, mark the center of each pleat. Be sure to start at the center of your fabric strip.

Next, using your fabric marker, mark your folds.  I numbered mine in the diagram so you can follow along.

To create a box pleat, you bring two folds of fabric to the center.  Pinch the fabric at f2, and bring it to the center.  Pin in place.  F3 should end up over f1.  

Now just repeat making box pleats until you have all the pleats pinned in place.

Step four.  Sew pleats in place and bind with bias tape.

Now to finish off the top edge, insert the pleats inside the bias tape.  I left 10 inches of bias tape off each edge.  That gives you some extra to tie with if you wanted to use this as a bunting or banner. 

As you're going, make sure that the back edge of the bias tape is in line with your pleated fabric.

To apply mine to the shelf, I just pulled out my staple gun and stapled it into place.

There you have it!  A fun way to dress up a utilitarian shelf.  These would look wonderful on a  smaller scale on bookshelves, or as a fun new bunting.

The original guest post was featured on Craft Gossip and One Pretty Thing.

Linked to Blue Cricket Design, and Someday Crafts.

5 happy thoughts:

Stephanie said...

Perfect timing on this tutorial! I want to make a box pleat bed skirt and now I can use your tutorial to make it correctly (cause I didn't really know how I was going to do it) I love the material you used, so cute.

Melissa said...

There is a definite disadvantage to reading blogs late at night - comprehension goes down the toilet. I can say these look cute and because I know your tutorials are good, I will come back and check this out if I need to make box pleats. :)

Megan Gunyan said...

Very cute. I just did one of these on a large scale to hide a mess under my desk! I just eye-balled the pleats, but your method works much better! Thanks for sharing!
I hope you can join my giveaway going on now! http://alittleknickknack.blogspot.com/2010/11/giveaway-with-speckled-dog.html

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

This was a brilliant tutorial. So clear. I think yours are some of the best turoarials out there. Even with something potentially complicated (like this), sounds fairly straightforward.

I love coming to your blog. I suddenly feel I could attempt all sorts of new sewing skills!


very merry vintage style said...

Very cute! I would like to make a chair paid with a box pleat and this really explains things nicely! Thanks for stopping by my blog--have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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