Learn how to sew sheets! Sheets for beds whether flat or fitted, all serve the same purpose, a good night’s sleep, and comfortable bedding. Deciding to sew your own sheets means you will need some guidelines and knowledge about the sizes, the fitting, and the quality of cotton you plan to invest in. The real end product is a good night’s sleep, under the best quality sheets.
How to Sew Sheets
The decision to make bedding could depend on different factors, but usually, a new mattress and the need for new sheets would be the reason. Most people will agree that a flat sheet paired with a fitted sheet is preferable. A fitted sheet fits the mattress and making up beds with them far outweighs the old-fashioned style of creating hospital corners.
The principle of sewing a fitted sheet is the same regardless of the size. Sizing will depend on the mattress size and height. The flat sheet is also a type of sheet easy to make if you feel you need both a flat sheet and a fitted sheet.
- FABRIC - Natural fabric such as cotton or quilting cotton.
- ELASTIC - ¼ inch (6mm) wide elastic for the fitted sheet corners
- SEWING SUPPLIES - Tape measure or ruler, sewing machine, scissors, thread, universal needles and stretch needles for sewing the elastic. Cutting such large pieces of fabric may be easier with a rotary cutter.
How to Sew a Sheet - Flat Sheets
Standard Sheet Sizes
Before you start here are some suggested finished measurements for a flat sheet. There are no standard sizes in the US and a large variation between manufacturers and brands. If possible pull your favorite sheet from the cupboard and measure it up.
|Type of Sheet:
|Finished Measurements: (WxL)
These are roughly the standard sheet sizes. There are other bigger and longer sizes of mattresses and their sheets will all have their own measurements. Getting XL (Extra Long) and bigger bed sizes may prompt you into wanting to make your own bed sheets.
Best Fabric for Making Sheets
Fabric choice is important too. Look out for a higher thread count. Cotton sheets can be 100% cotton or poly-cotton. Winter sheets in a cozy flannelette make those winter nights warmer. Silk and satin sheets have the ultimate feel of luxury. Whatever your choice, the making of the sheets is the same.
Look for sheeting fabric that is extra wide.
How to Sew a Flat Sheet
Steps to cut and sew a flat sheet:
Step1 - Cut the Fabric
Cut the fabric according to the sheet size (not mattress size) required for the bed you are making the flat sheet for.
- Work out your desired finished sheet size. You can use the table above or measure one from your cupboard.
- Add an extra 2” (5cm) in the width and 7” (18cm) in length to allow for the hems.
- Remember your width and length needs to include the depth of the mattress because you need to be able to tuck in the sheet.
Based on the previously mentioned finished sizes of flat sheets, here are some cutting suggestions.
|Type of Sheet:
|Cutting Measurements: (WxL)
Step 2 - Sew the Side Hems
- On the wrong side of the fabric, press the fabric on the sides by ½” (12mm).
- Press the sides by a further ½” (12mm) to form a double fold hem.
- Stitch the hems with a straight stitch using a matching thread.
Step 3 - Sew the Bottom Hem
- On the wrong side, press up the bottom edge by ¼" (6mm).
- Press it up again by ¾" (2cm)
- Stitch across the hem making sure you backstitch at the ends.
Step 4 - Sew the Top Hem
- On the wrong side, press over the top raw edge by 1-inch (2.5cm).
- Press it over again by 5 inches (13cm).
- Stitch across the hem, ensuring you backstitch at the ends.
Your flat sheet is ready to put on your bed. The deeper hem is at the top of the sheet and the narrower hem is at the bottom.
How to Sew a Fitted Sheet (Bottom Sheet)
How to make your own fitted sheet:
Step 1 - Cut the Fabric
Measure the length, width and depth of the mattress.
Cut a rectangle:
- WIDTH = mattress width + (depth x 2) + 4"
- LENGTH = mattress length + (depth x 2) + 4"
The addition of the 4-inches (10cm) measurements is for the seam allowances and a bit of overlap to the underside of the mattress.
EXAMPLE - For a 60x80" mattress with a depth of 10"
- WIDTH = 60 + (10x2) +4 = 84"
- LENGTH = 80 + (10x2) + 4 = 104"
Here are some standard mattress sizes. Depths can vary enormously between 6 to 12 inches so I haven't included them in this table. Once again these can vary between brands and even countries.
Step 3 - Cut the Corners
Fold the fabric into quarters with the four corners one on top of the other. This is to enable you to cut out the corner accurately to make each fitted corner. Cut out a square of cardboard to make a template that will be the mattress depth plus 1 inch. Use the template to cut all four corners the same size.
Step 2 - Hem the Edges
- On the wrong side, press over the top, bottom and sides by ½ inch (12mm). (Ignore the corners)
- Press over again by ½ inch (12mm) to form a double hem.
- Stitch the hems.
Step 4 - Sew the Corners of the Sheet
- Pin the two cut edges right sides together.
- Sew the cut edges together using a ½’’ (12mm) seam allowance.
Step 5 - Sew the Elastic
- Measure your piece of elastic to stretch gently around the mattress size. Generally, measure the distance to be elasticated and cut the elastic to about ½ to ⅓rd of the length you have measured.
Some fitted sheets are elasticated all around the perimeter of the sheet while others are just elasticated at the four corners.
- Sew the elastic straight onto the sheet edge using a zig-zag stitch. Try a width of 5.0 and a stitch length of 2.0.
- Stretch needles will prevent stitches from skipping. You can see a few skipped stitches in my sample as I forgot to change the needle.
- Pull the elastic as you sew to have an evenly spaced stretch of elastic for the garment.
- Backstitch the elastic at the ends.
How to Turn a Flat Sheet into a Fitted Sheet
Did you know that it is easy to turn a flat sheet into a fitted sheet? Flat sheets are generally cheaper than fitted sheets. A budget option would be to buy flat sheets and use the above method to turn them into fitted sheets.
How to Store Sheets
Now you need to fold it and store the fitted sheet in your linen cupboard. Here are four easy steps to take to fold a fitted sheet and ways to store your sheets.
- Lay the fitted sheet on a table with the elasticated sides facing upwards.
- Fold the sheet into thirds by bringing the long side to the middle.
- Do this for both sides and then fold the fabric in half with the sides coming into the middle.
- Fold again.
- Fold the fitted sheet in half width wise and roll the sheet up. This rolled up sheet should resemble a cylinder.
- Store your newly made fitted sheets in a basket or container upright in the linen cupboard.
How to Make a Sheet - In Conclusion
Now you can take a prideful look at the fitted sheets you have made and access them neatly from the cupboard. Another useful storage recommendation is to put your fitted sheet, duvet cover, and matching pillow slips all into an old pillowcase. Mark the case accordingly and you will never find yourself scratching in your linen cupboard for a set of matching sheets. Don't forget to make some matching pillow cases.