One component of a well-dressed bed is a bed skirt that fits the bed and the bedroom decor perfectly. If the bed skirt is too long, it will not only look sloppy but it will also be an annoyance and potentially create a tripping hazard.
If a bed skirt is too long, it can be shortened by trimming and re-sewing the hem. The bed can also be raised using a bed riser. If none of those options work, return the bed skirt to the retailer.
What Is a Bed Skirt?
Sometimes referred to as a “dust ruffle,” a bed skirt’s most important function is to cover the unattractive sides of the bed construction and to cover the often dusty space under the bed. To find out more about bed skirts, read our 10 bed skirt styles and ideas article.
A bed skirt is a decorative fabric bedding item that is used to cover three or four sides of a bed attractively. Traditional bed skirts have a fabric sheet that is laid between the mattress and the box spring to keep the decorative skirt in place – hanging over the sides of the bed. Other styles of bed skirts use elastic or Velcro to hold the skirt to the sides. These bed skirts can be installed without lifting the mattress to lay a fabric sheet over the box spring.
Bed skirts generally hang from the top of the box spring to the floor, slightly above the floor, or slightly below the frame to create a puddle effect on the floor. Some bed skirts are ruffled, while others are flat and modern, or pleated. Some bed skirts have slits to go around and expose the bed legs. Every bed is slightly different, so it is important to consider the best way to adjust the length of a bed skirt to fit your own particular bed perfectly. Read our bed skirt height and length guide to help you choose what bed skirt length best suits your decor. You also want to make sure to coordinate your bed skirt to the rest of your bedding. Make sure to also take a look at our related article that talks about sleigh bed comforter ideas for more tips and tricks.
Measuring Bed Skirt Drop Length Before Shortening a Bed Skirt
Correctly measuring the required drop length of the bed skirt is important when you are buying a new bed skirt for your bed or when your bed skirt is too long and you have to make adjustments to it.
To measure the drop length for a bed skirt, measure from the top of the box spring to the floor. Place a ruler (or even a piece of sturdy cardboard) in between the mattress and the box spring, and then measure from the ruler to the floor to determine the bed skirt length.
If you are going to be doing any cutting and sewing to shorten a bed skirt, correctly measuring the length of the drop of a bed skirt will be critical to achieve an even skirt length.
The simplest way to measure how much the bed skirt needs to be shortened is to put the bed skirt on the bed and measure how much excess fabric settles on the floor. Measuring from the hem edge to where you actually want the bed skirt to fall—whether that’s exactly at the floor or slightly higher—then mark the bed skirt with a fabric marker at this measurement all along the hem edge.
How to Resize a Bed Skirt That is Too Long
If your bed skirt is too long, there are two ways to address the problem.
To resize a bed skirt that’s too long, re-hem the bed skirt to the right length so it fits the bed. Alternatively, add bed risers to raise the bed so that the bed skirt fits the bed’s height.
If you have the sewing skills, resizing a bed skirt can give you an opportunity to be creative. You can decorate the edges of the bed skirt according to your desires. By adding fringe or other decorative elements, you can turn it into a custom-made bed skirt. Read our guide to bed skirt uses and tips for more tips and tricks to customize your bed skirt. On the other hand, this is a big job if you are not familiar with sewing techniques. Resizing a bed skirt can be a time-consuming task. You can learn more about resizing the bed skirt here.
Shorten a Bed Skirt by Rehemming It
This method of shortening a bed skirt requires sewing skills. It involves cutting off the excess length of the bed skirt and re-hemming the edges to make it shorter. Since this requires trimming off the extra fabric, you have to be extra careful while taking the measurements. Once you start cutting, there is no going back.
Useful Tools for Shortening a Bed Skirt
|Helpful Tools||Example Amazon Product||Price|
|Soft Tape Measure for Sewing||Retractable Tape Measure||~$5|
|Fabric Marker||Madam Sew Heat Erasable Fabric Pens||~$15|
|Fabric Rotary Cutter||Nicapa Fabric Rotary Cutter||~$15|
|Cutting Mat||Dahle Self-Healing Cutting Mat||~$15|
|Sewing Machine||Singer Stitch Quick Hand-Held Mending Machine||~$30|
|Iron||Martisan Compact Steam Iron||~$20|
Step 1. Carefully Measure the Bed Skirt
Taking measurements accurately is the most important step if you are going to trim and hem your bed skirt. Before measuring, you need to know what hemming technique you will be using. Based on the material of the bedskirt, you need to decide how deep the hem will be, plus the amount of fabric that will be folded over. Remember, unless you are adding decorative trim, you need to calculate the amount of fabric that will make up the hem PLUS a second—usually narrower—fold of fabric that tucks the raw edge of the fabric inside the hem.
The simplest way to measure how much the bed skirt needs to be shortened is to put the bed skirt on the bed and measure the excess fabric that collects on the floor around the bed—measuring from the hem edge. Take several measures around the bed and average them to find out how much you want to shorten the bed skirt. Then, from that, subtract the amount required for the hem. What remains is the amount you will need to cut off the skirt. For example, if your bed skirt is two inches too long, but you need one inch for the hem, including both folds, then you only need to remove one inch of fabric. The second inch will disappear into the hem as it is folded.
Spread the entire bed skirt on the floor and mark what needs to be cut short. With the help of a ruler and the quilting mat, mark around the horizontal length of the bed skirt. The distance of the line from the edge has to be the same around the whole skirt. Before you cut, double check that you have included any amount that you need to leave for folding the hem. This mark will indicate where the excess fabric will be trimmed off.
Step 2. Trim the Extra Fabric
Using sharp scissors, cut the bed skirt along the marked line to remove the surplus fabric. Another fast way to cut off excess fabric on a bed skirt is to use a rotary cutter and self-healing cutting mat like these from Amazon, because they will help you to cut a perfectly straight line all around the bed skirt edge.
Step 3. Hem the Fabric
The cut edges of the bed skirt now need to be finished. Again, place the bed skirt on a flat surface. Measure and fold over your new hem evenly and iron it so that the fabric stays in position as you sew it evenly.
Once you have your hem nicely folded and ironed, stitch up the edges into a hem. It is possible to hand sew the hem, but hemming a bed skirt is much easier on a sewing machine because of its long continuous edge.
If you don’t feel confident enough to sew an entire bed skirt hem, then there is a wonderful fabric tape that can be ironed on the bed skirt edge to create a no-sew hem. This hem tape can be found on Amazon and used with a light-weight iron.
Alternatively, Raise The Bed Using Bed Risers
One of the easiest ways to deal with a bed skirt that is too long for your bed is simply to raise the height of the bed using bed risers. Not only will the bed risers lift the bed to the perfect height for your bedskirt, but they will also provide more space for storage underneath your bed. Some bed risers even have electrical outlets built in, to collect all the electric cords that accumulate around the bed.
Bed risers can benefit people with mobility problems who need the extra bed height to get in and out of bed. Read our article discussing whether bed risers are safe to determine if using bed risers is the best option for you.
Bed risers are available in a variety of materials including plastic, metal, and wood. Additionally bed risers can be purchased with a variety of styles and heights, ranging from about two inches up to ten inches. Most bed risers are designed to raise the bed a specific amount and are not usually adjustable (though a few are). Double-check that the bed riser you choose can fit onto the legs of your particular bed.
Materials Required to Raise a Bed
|Materials Needed||Example Amazon Product||Price|
|Plastic Bed Risers||Whitmor Bed Risers||~$15|
|Aluminium Bed Risers||5 Inch Aluminium Bed Risers||~$35|
|Wood Bed risers||Honey-Can-Do Bed Lifts||~$25|
|Measuring Tape||Komelon Measuring Tape||~$5|
Step 1. Determine the Required Size for the Bed Risers
The first step to fitting bed risers is to determine how much extra height the bed risers need to add to raise the bed so that the bed skirt fits. First, measure the bed skirt drop as we described in a previous section above. Then determine the modified height. This is how much extra bed skirt is collected on the floor using a tape measure. Buy a bed riser that is as tall as the modified height. Generally, bed risers can raise a bed anywhere from two inches up to eight inches. These adjustable bed risers from Amazon start at 3 inches and extend to 8 inches.
Step 2. Choose the Right Set of Bed Risers
Bed risers are generally available in sets of four to accommodate the four legs of the furniture that needs to be lifted. Make sure the bed risers will work for the type of legs that are on your bed. This means measuring the diameter of the bed legs to make sure they will fit on the bed risers.
When choosing bed risers for your bed, also keep in mind the amount of weight your bed usually carries. To avoid any problems, look for sturdy bed risers that will hold the weight of the mattress and all the people who might pile onto it (include children and pets).
Step 3. Fit the Bed Risers onto the Bed
The last step is to simply fit the bed risers to the bed legs. With some assistance, raise one side of the bed frame and put the bed riser underneath one of the bedposts. Make sure that the hole of the bed riser is perfectly aligned with the bedpost. Now carefully lower the bedpost down to the hole of the bed riser so that it fits into it securely. Continue to do the same with the rest of the bedposts. Now, you have raised the bed to fit your previously-too-long bed skirt and you probably have extra storage space under your bed too. This video shows just how easy it is to install bed risers on heavier wood beds.
Quick Ways To Shorten a Bed Skirt
In addition to completely resizing and trimming the bed skirt, there are other methods to deal with a bed skirt that is too long. For even more helpful tips check out our article on bed skirt hacks to stylize your bedroom.
To quickly shorten a bed skirt, use upholstery and bed skirt pins to hold the bed skirt at the desired height. If the bed skirt is a traditional style with a center fabric sheet, an alternate method is to seam the bed skirt down the middle of the fabric sheet to change the size of the bed skirt.
1. Use Upholstery Pins or Bed Skirt Pins
Upholstery pins are round pins with long prongs that come in the form of a corkscrew or in straight versions. They often have clear plastic heads. If a bed skirt is too long, the excess fabric can simply be pulled up and tucked between the mattress and box spring until the bed skirt is hanging evenly and at the right height. Then, simply twist or push the pins through the fabric into the box spring at regular intervals. Your bed skirt will now hang properly for your bed size, but it will need to be repinned each time it is removed for laundering.
There are also flat-headed bed skirt pins with double prongs that can be used to attach the bed skirt to the top edge of the box spring. Read our article on bed skirt hardware for an in-depth look at the various tools and techniques used to secure a bed skirt.
2. Pleat the Bed Skirt Down the Center and Sew
Another way to shorten a traditional bed skirt with a fabric platform is to eliminate the excess fabric from the center of the fabric sheet and sew it together. You don’t need to cut off the extra fabric as it will be hidden under the mattress. Unlike using the pins to hold the excess material under the mattress, this method won’t need to be redone every time the bed skirt is removed for laundering.
To use this technique, first remove the mattress from the bed and lay the bed skirt out over the box spring. Pleat out and use sewing pins to hold the excess fabric across the centers of the bed skirt sheet, first across the bed’s length and then across its width, until the bed skirt falls at the length that you want. Remove the bed skirt from the bed and stitch the pleat in place to capture the excess fabric in a neat fold. You will want to arrange the excess to fall tucked into an attractive pleat (or a gather if it is a very small amount) when you place the bed skirt on the bed frame.
While sewing by machine is quickest, this can be done by hand since no one will see it. If the stitching is not too tight, it may be possible to remove the stitching later to restore the bed skirt to its original size. Learn more about stitching seams here.
Return The Bed Skirt to The Store
If the different methods of dealing with a long bed skirt are not suitable or desirable, you can simply choose to return the bed skirt to the retailer. Resizing, trimming, and sewing can be difficult for people who do not have sewing skills. For any number of reasons, you might not want a higher bed on bed risers just to fit a bed skirt. You might not want to be bothered with pins or pleating. Instead, you can just contact the retailer and find out if the product can be returned.
If the bed skirt can not be returned, the retailer might agree to exchange it for a shorter bed skirt better suited to your bed. Be sure to return the bed skirt in its original condition and packaging so that the retailer can exchange it or give you a refund. To learn more about the various bed skirt styles and designs, read our article on common bed skirt designs and their benefits.
If you’re looking for more ways to dress up a bedroom, make sure to check out some of our related articles too. Our 6 Simple Sleigh Bed Decorating Ideas, for instance, can help turn a simple bedroom into an oasis!