By: Jessica Rhodes
Table skirts have been coming back in a big way in the past few years, along with a trend toward traditionalism in general. Using a table skirt in a room is a great way to add another element of texture, color, or pattern for that rich, layered look. They are also a practical way to hide additional storage, disguise an unattractive piece of furniture, or simply change your decor with the seasons.
I decided to make two different types of inverted box pleated table skirts - a round one for our entryway table and a rectangular one with trim for a custom-size console table underneath our television. (You can find the tutorial for the Custom-Size Console Table here.)
Both were new-to-me projects -- here’s how I made the Inverted Box Pleated Table Skirt, step by step.
Round Inverted Box Pleat Table Skirt
The first project I worked on was the table skirt for our entryway table. I love the copper top and legs on this table, but I was craving a way to change the look for different seasons.
Measure, plan and, calculate the yardage.
As always, the first step involved a little math to figure out how the skirt would be constructed and how much yardage would be necessary. For a round table, you need the height, the diameter, and the circumference. My table is 31 inches in diameter, 97.4 inches in circumference, and 30 inches high.
I chose to use this beautiful striped linen for this table skirt, which was 55 inches wide. I knew that 1 yard would cover the 31 inch round top.
For the skirt, I knew I needed 2 yards to go around the table, but then I needed to factor in the added yardage for the box pleats. I experimented by folding a piece of fabric I already had, and decided I wanted to leave 6 inches for each pleat. Then, I had to decide how many pleats/flat panels I wanted around the table. I experimented by dividing the total circumference into 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 sections. I decided that 6 total sections would leave me with good sized panels between the pleats (around 16 ¼ inches). That meant I would need an extra 36 inches (1 yard) to account for the pleats.
So with 1 yard for the top of the skirt, 2 yards around, and an extra yard for the pleats, I needed 4 yards total for this table skirt. See the quick drawing that helped me determine the yardage/design below:
Cut out the top
I cut out a square that was 33 inches each direction to account for seams. I didn’t bother cutting it into a circle because it will be sewn into a circle when you attach the skirt portion. Set aside for later.
Cut panels for the skirt
If your fabric is solid, you can run the fabric horizontally along the yardage and avoid all but one seam in the skirt. My fabric had a stripe that ran vertically, however, so I had to make multiple panels and sew them together to get the full width necessary to surround the table.
I cut the panels to 33 inches long (with the 55 inch width). I cut 3 panels total.
Sew the panels together
Lay two panels down, right sides together, and pin them together, matching up the pattern along where the seam will be if you’re working with a patterned fabric.Sew the panels together along that pinned line. Repeat for the second and third panels until you have one continuous panel. Press the seam open.
Create the pleats
I started creating the pleats by measuring six inches in from the end of the fabric and drawing a straight line, then folding and pressing the fabric along that line. Then I measured 16 inches from that pressed line and drew another line, folded it, and pressed it. Then I measured 6 inches, and did the same. Then 16 inches, and so on, until I had six 16 inch panels with six inch inverted pleats between them. I pinned the pleats together where the pressed edges met to keep the fabric neat.
Next, I sewed twice along the top edge of the fabric, 1 inch in, to hold the pleats in place.Here is how the skirt looked once all the pleats were pressed, pinned, and stitched together.
Attach the skirt to the top
Take the square of fabric you cut out for the top and lay it right side down on top of your table. Start pinning the table skirt, wrong side facing out, to your top. Pin just along the line you sewed earlier to hold the pleats in place.
When you come to the open side of the table skirt, the last pressed edge on either side should meet up. Do not pin those edges to the top of the skirt until you complete the next step.
Sew the skirt closed
Take your pinned skirt off the table and bring it back to your sewing machine. Now, you have to pin the two ends of the table skirt together. You should have 6 inches on either side for the final pleat. Pin together so that there is a total of 6 inches in that pleat (3 inches on either side). If you need to adjust to make the amount of fabric inside the pleat a little larger or smaller to make sure the seam is in an inconspicuous spot considering the pattern, that will not be noticeable.
Sew the skirt closed along that line with the right sides together, and trim the excess. Now, sew along the top of that final pleat to hold the pleat together at the top, with the seam 1 inch from the top as you did with the rest.
Sew the skirt to the top
Put the skirt back on the table (still inside out) and pin the skirt to the top in that final section. I then used a pencil to go around the top of the table skirt and mark the table edge exactly so that I would have a line to sew along, which you can see below.
Sew along the pencil line, removing the pins as you go. Sew a second line outside the first for durability.
Hem the skirt
Put the table skirt on the table right side out. You may have to move the inside seams out of the way (point them down the skirt instead of having them lay along the top of the table) to have the skirt lay flat on the table.
Once it is situated, use straight pins to mark along the bottom of the skirt exactly where it hits the floor all the way around. Remove the skirt from the table and press the hem along the line created by the pins.
Then fold the raw edge under and stitch the hem shut.
Put the skirt on the table
And you're done!