How to make your own fitted sheets

Guest post by Liz Gubernatis

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.

Finishing the raw edges of your sheet

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 ΒΌ inch, then again ΒΌ inch, and stitch down using a straight stitch.

Measure and cut an 8" square from each corner

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.

Match up the edges of the square to make the pocket and pin in place

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.

zig-zag stitch the pockets closed with a small seam allowance

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.

pocket inside and outsideYour completed corners will look like this on the top side.

cut 4 - 12" pieces of elastic
Step 5: Cut 4 12″ lengths of elastic.

pin the elastic at center and ends 11" away from center
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
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.

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


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.

[related-post align=”right”]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.


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?

Comments on How to make your own fitted sheets

    • Yep. Depth of the pocket really can make a difference. If your sheets are always a bit baggy, give this a try on a flat sheet with your specific mattress measurements. I think you’ll be happy.

  1. Ha this is great! I usually buy flat sheets at thrift stores for fabric ($5 for a king-size sheet’s worth of fabric? yes please!), but so often the fitted sheets have crappy elastic. The tutorial on sewing elastic really helped, and now I can take the flat sheet from my favorite chocolate-colored set and have a second fitted sheet instead. Thanks for posting this!

    • Yes! We never used the flat sheets from sets (well, on guest bed, but not on our bed) so I started turning them into bonus fitted sheets. SO much cheaper and doesn’t take very long, either.

      • That is such an awesome idea both of you! I still put the flat sheet on my bed, but I hate it! It always ends up bunched up at the bottom under the comforter. I’m not sure why I still put it on. It comes with the set, so I just always do. I don’t even think about it. Genius. Fitted sheets FTW!

      • i make the topsheets into half-fitted sheets as my husband likes to have a topsheet.The thing is; he pulls it up while asleep and we end up with the crumpled sheet all over the bed.
        So, just make the bottom only into a fitted sheet and you’ll be rapped!

  2. Oh, baskets! Why didn’t I think of this before? I know what I’m making for my next parent-to-be friends. πŸ™‚

    Out of curiousity, anyone know of places to get wide enough fabrics to make custom sheets for adult mattresses, besides other sheets?

    • Using flat sheets is easiest/most inexpensive. Sometimes, for deep beds, I’ll go a size up on the flat sheet (Use a King size flat sheet for a Queen size bed) but if you want fabric by the yard, try searching for extra wide quilt backing fabric. They’re often anywhere from 90-120″ wide.

    • Quilt shops sell fabric intended for quilt backing. It usually ranges from 90″ to 108″ wide and would be excellent for custom fitted sheets for adult sized mattresses. I’ve found choices to be relatively limited at online quilt shops, but my brick & mortar quilt shop has hundreds of choices. I don’t know if craft stores like JoAnns carry it, but even if they do, the thread count and fabric quality will be much better at an actual quilt shop.

  3. I am never buying sheets again! I hate boring, boring, boring commercially-available sheets with a passion and this tutorial (really, the measurements) are just what I need to just give in and make my own!

    Caloo Calay!

  4. Oohhh how I wish my sewing brain allowed me to make practical items like sheets. Knowing me, I’d buy the fabric and it would sit and wait with all my mending while I work away as a Mad Hatter on my costuming. There has only been 1 completed practical project, and that was to make a blackout cover for our cockatoo. My ears begging for quite at night demanded it though. I’ve learned practical means never getting completed πŸ˜€ But I love this, so maybe at some point, after I actually get around to making curtains.

    • That’s one of the many reasons I’m loving posting for the empire. Makes me work on the practical stuff, too, with bonus photo action to share with others πŸ™‚

  5. Yay! I have an awesome flat sheet to fit a double bed made out of purple flannel that I have been wanting to turn into a cot sheet set for my little one for next winter. I keep thinking that it’ll be too hard to get it right, but this gives me hope that even if I make a couple of mistakes it’ll still do the trick! Now to find the time…

  6. I love this- I don’t use flat sheets, and I don’t like cheap sheets. Very rarely can I buy a 600 thread count fitted sheet alone for a decent price. But I can often find sheet sets at discount stores for a reasonable sum. Now I will turn all the unused (but good quality) flat sheets into fitted sheets! Previously they had just protected the couch from dog hair.

  7. I’m rejoicing over the fact that I can make my own geeky sheets. I’m thinking Harry Potter, Batman, Star Wars, and Avengers just to start with. Maybe Dr. Who from there?

  8. I just bought fleece for less than $2 a yard at a holiday sale to make sheets for my grandsons bunk beds. These instructions are going to make it much easier. Thank you for your help.

  9. I have measured my bed, and I am adding the recommended fabric based on the size chart above. I am assuming that the raw edge hems are included in that formula, or should I add extra for the rolled hem?

    • Hi Kathleen — yes, the raw edge hems are included in that formula for the long edges, with the hem described for the short edges. I’d add a touch extra for a rolled hem. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  10. Just found this tutorial! Love that you included the formulae for calculating length, width and square to cut out. I just used your tutorial to make a fitted table cloth for my table. Now my toddler will have a more difficult time pulling out the table cloth when he sits at the table. Thanks so much!

  11. I have been looking to make fitted sheets for the odd length and width mattresses in our new caravan so this will be great for that. I will use flat sheets cut down. Might be able to make pillow cases with the offcuts. Thanks so much for this!!!
    ps we are going round Australia in our van for a year so these sheets will have lots of use!

  12. Thank you so very much for the instructions. I have a tempur pedic adjustable bed that takes 2 twin xl fitted sheets and a king top sheet I can never find the twin xl fitted sheets by themselves I always have to buy them in sets. Now I can use the top sheets as bonus fitted sheets – again thank you

  13. Thank you for posting this. I just finished my daughter’s dinosaur sheets, and she LOVES them. It is much more fun to make things that fit your personality rather than buy what the stores expect you to like. Bravo!

  14. I love your narrative and pictures also, they make this tutorial so easy to follow. I have just finish 2 crib sheets for our Great Grandson (our 1st) due shortly. I have the fabric for a few other sheet for our local pregnancy center that will match the home-made quilts. However, while going through my “stash” I discovered several yards of sheet material that was given to me a couple of years ago and so I am going to make us a new set of King Sheets but I’m sorry to say that the measurements you promised are not found of my link. I have read all the comments and now know for sure I want your measurements to complete my project. Could you please send me measurements or the correct way to measure for a fitted bottom sheet. Thank you so much, Happy to be a grandma, and very happy to be able to sew.
    Mary :>)

    • Hi Mary! Measuring your bed is going to give you the best fit. Here’s how to translate your bed measurements into sheet measurements:

      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.

      Hope this makes sense! Love to see what you come up with — and thanks for all you do! πŸ™‚

      • Thank you so much for a speedy response. I am glad to understand the information. I got confused with “depth of bed” being twice in the instructions until I wrote the statement out: depth of bed (2x) + l+4″ and all became clear, length depth is top & bottom and right & left sides for width depth. Of coarse your way of writing it is also clear once you envision that mattress and think of it as needing 2 depth measurements for each plain.

        Thanks for being so patient. If I can take pictures I will send you pic’s of what I make. Thanks again,

        Mary :>)

  15. Hi there, your tutorial is so exciting! My daughter has an odd sized memory foam mattress and until now we have suffered baggy sheets with constant tucking in. I’m now going to custom sew her fitted sheets with all the fun quilting fabric available. Just one question… If the seam allowance is 1/2 inch each side, why add 4?? My brain can’t work that one out!! Thanks very much Kay πŸ™‚

  16. Thanks for this awesome tutorial! I just spent the past hour trying to find Spider-Man and Thomas the train fitted sheets for my son. They are just to expensive. Now I can make my own!!

  17. Hello

    I love your tutorial but just a quick question.

    Where can i find fabric for a super-king size bed? Assuming that i dont want to only change flat sheets but start from scratch?


  18. Great instructions! Would you have a picture of the the mattress with the sheet on upside down? I’d like to see how much the elastic corners are pulled under the corner. Thanks.

  19. Hi … I am a total novice when it comes to sewing! Can u give an example to ur measurement section!? I am having trouble understanding the measurements πŸ™
    I have been trying to find instructions on making fitted sheets for so long and have finally found something that i actually understand !!! Please help πŸ™‚

    • Example: a Queen bed is 60″ wide and 80″ long. A common depth of mattress is 12″.
      [Newer ones may often be 15-17″]

      So, for a Queen:

      Length = depth of bed + length of bed + depth of bed + 4
      12 + 80 + 12 + 4 = 108″

      Width= depth of bed + width of bed + depth of bed + 4
      12 + 60 + 12 + 4 = 88″

      Square to cut out of corners = depth of bed + 2
      12 + 2 = 14

      Make sure you measure your mattress, especially for the depth [thickness].
      Good Luck!

  20. My husband wants my sons room to be decorated for an NFL team and I thought team sheets would be cute. Looking online is impossible to find just the sheets, and sets are over $100. I just went to Joann’s yesterday and got fabric for less than $14. Score! Thanks for the tutorial! I found you through Pinterest.

  21. “For a crib sheet, your cotton fabric is the correct width selvedge to selvedge.” Meaning 44/45″ wide fabric? I suppose I can always not be lazy and get out my measuring tape. I think making flannel fitted sheets out of receiving blankets seems like it could be an awesome thing.

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