Rita in So. Cal asked for help, so I figured if I wrote it up for her, I might as well add it here.
There are obviously other tutorials out there, of course. This is just the system I have used, based on my experience making full-size dust ruffles. Frankly, I fiddled as much then as I have done for my miniature beds, and once I could afford to buy one ready made like I wanted, I was happy to do that. lol
If you have no experience with real life pleating, it’s always a good idea to use a paper napkin or paper towel to figure out your miniature pleating before you actually cut your fabric. I find graph paper to be helpful, as well.
READ THROUGH ALL INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE BEGINNING.
1. Measure the drop or the length from the top of the bed (without the mattress) down to the floor. Add one inch for top, a quarter inch for hem at bottom.
2. Measure the length and width of the top of the bed. Decide on how many pleats you desire and the size of the pleats. For each one-inch pleat, add six inches; for a half-inch pleat, add 3 inches, etc. Add an extra inch for each end and at the corners, and at the top of the bed. I generally figure I will need at least three times the perimeter of my bed. Better to err on the side of too much fabric than too little; it’s easier to cut than to add. If I have to piece, I work it so that the seam is inside one of the pleats.
3. Turn up a 1/8 to 1/4-inch section the length of your fabric and press. Run a thin line of glue along the hem and smooth out with a credit card or stiff piece of cardboard. Finger press into place. Unless I am using fabric that contains some synthetic, this is usually enough. If you are adding lace or other trim, eiither under or on top of the hem, add it BEFORE you do the pleating.
NOTE: If you want knife-sharp pleats you will have to baste or pin the pleats so that they can be lifted off and ironed, and then glued in place onto the bed.
4. Decide how wide you want your pleats to be; to my eye they look best when evenly spaced along the side of the bed so that one pleat is centered in the middle of the bed and one is at the corner. Sometimes I have had one pleat extending over the corner; sometimes I have had the pleats meet at the edges at the corner, depening on the bed style. To make a pleat, bring two folds together at the pleat marking. For a one-inch pleat, you should have one-half inch fabric on the left and one-half inch fabric on the right behind each fold, forming a box pleat. Pin it in place.
5. I LIKE TO START THE PLEATING AT EACH CORNER OF THE BED. I find it helps to create a template for the pleats from a thin piece of cardboard. Once you have worked out your paper pattern of pleats, use that to measure fabric so that you can start the pleats at one corner.
Fold the fabric over the template from both sides with fabric meeting in the center, remove the template, then pin in place, LEAVING AT LEAST A HALF INCH OF FABRIC STICKING ABOVE THE BED. It may be helpful to baste the pleats before gluing. Continue setting the pleats down one side, with hem just touching the floor (pleats suggest formality; if I want a puddled on the floor look, I go for ruffled), leaving excess fabric to go around the head of the bed and around the corner.
6. Return to corner and pin across end of bed, being sure pleats are evenly centered, and continue around to head of bed, as above. IF BED HAS BUILT-IN BED POSTS or head and foot boards, you may need to make each section separately.
7. When you are satisfied with the fit, lift pins and add glue to hold pleats in place. Repin as needed into top edge of bed to hold until dry. REMEMBER that if you want sharp as opposed to soft pleats, make your dust ruffle so that it can be pressed, then glue it to the bed. I slip the template inside each pleat as I press.
8. Set bed aside to dry. When dry, trim away rough edges of excess fabric that is still sticking above bed. Run a line of glue around three sides of bed and press excess onto bed and smooth into place. I often set something heavy on to hold the pleats flat until dry.
9. I glue a piece of white fabric, sometimes white paper, to cover the raw edges of the pleats and give a neat look.
10. Add mattress and continue dressing bed.
AND, before anybody asks, I don't have pictures of this process or the beds, which have either been stored in my stash somewhere or given as gifts. I was just asked how I did it ....