How to make your own fitted sheets

By on Oct 18th

finished fitted sheet in useIn our house, we have lots of blankets. We have lots of pillows. We don't have lots of sheets. Regular flat sheets are super easy to make — you just hem the edges of your fabric. Fitted sheets seemed more complicated — and yeah, there are a few more steps involved — but they're super easy to DIY.

This tutorial takes you from two yards of a quirky cotton fabric to a fitted sheet for a crib-size bed. Crib sheets in quirky fabrics make awesome gifts for kids and new mamas. Also great for large dog beds, too!

But at the end of the post are measurements that you can use to makes fitted sheets for larger, adult-size beds. Same process — and all DIY win. Here's how it's done.

Materials and Tools:

  • 2 yards of fabric (quilting cottons are a great fabric for this)
  • 1 package elastic (recommend 3/8 inches wide)
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinated thread
  • Ruler

Step 0: Pre-wash your fabric. I've been a lazy seamstress much of my life, but this is one step NOT to skip. Pre-washing your fabric lets it pre-shrink. If you wash it for the first time after you've completed your project, it'll never fit the same way again. Wash first, and measurements will be accurate forever. Just run it through your washer/dryer with the same settings you'll use when it's dirty for the first time.

Step 1: For a crib sheet, your cotton fabric is the correct width selvedge to selvedge. You'll want to measure the length and cut to 70" (usually taking about 2-3 inches off your total 2-yard cut of fabric). Once at 70" you'll need to finish the raw edges. Fold over ¼ inch, then again ¼ inch, and stitch down using a straight stitch.

Step 2: To make the fitted pocket, we first need to remove a square from each corner. For our crib sheet, this will be an 8"x 8" square. Measure and cut out a square from each corner.

Step 3: Fold over the edges of your square right sides together, lining up the cut raw edges and pin together. Repeat at each corner.

Step 4: Stitch this seam closed with a zig-zag stitch, backstitching at both ends to secure it. Use a small seam allowance – sew close to the edge, but not over it. Repeat at each corner.

Your completed corners will look like this on the top side.


Step 5: Cut 4 12" lengths of elastic.

Step 6: Fold a piece of elastic in half to find center. Pin center to the corner seam. Measure down 11" from the seam on each side and pin the ends of the elastic.

Elastic pinned and not stretched yet — looks weird.

Your pinned elastic should look like this. Repeat at each corner.

Step 7: Using a zig-zag stitch with a long-ish stitch length (4 or 5) tack down one edge of the elastic and backstitch to hold.

Then, holding the seam/pin in one hand and the tacked edge in the other, stretch the elastic to match the fabric and pull through as you sew, attaching the elastic to the sheet. When you get to the corner seam, adjust your hands to pull through to the other end and backstitch to hold at the end. Go slowly and with patience — the long stitch length will let the elastic do it's magic.

Your finished elastic should look like this. Repeat at each corner. Ta-Da! You've made a fitted sheet!

Applications:

Other sized beds can be made with this method by using flat sheets as your base fabric. You can also seam fabric together, but you'll usually feel the seam in the finished product, so your mileage may vary.

To make fitted sheets in larger sizes, you'll want to measure your bed (mattresses are all a little different depth-wise). Here's how:

  • Length = depth of bed + length of bed + depth of bed + 4
  • Width= depth of bed + width of bed + depth of bed + 4
  • Square to cut out of corners = depth of bed + 2
  • Elastic: 12 inches stretched out to 22 inches is usually good. You can go with a wider elastic on larger sheets if you'd prefer.

Tips:

Hold the elastic taut and gently pull through as you sew.

If your corners aren't perfectly square on the outside (say your raw edge is a touch wonky after finishing the hem) that's okay. Make sure your square will be, by lining up to the edges rather than the fabric corner. In other words, close enough is good enough, and a quarter inch isn't going to ruin anything.

Your Turn!

What are you going to make a fitted sheet out of?

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