making the bed ::part 2::

Unfortunately, a lovely bed can cost a pretty penny. Last time I found a set of sheets that I really loved I was quite discouraged by the $800 price tag that was attached. But, there are ways around that. I’ve gotten two sets of sheets at Ross in the past year and both cost only $30 (queen size). They were 400 and 440 thread count, cotton sateen. I’ve washed one set (the other just went on our bed yesterday) and it has survived numerous washings quite beautifully. I bought a sateen duvet cover at a local department store a number of years ago (for twice the price of one of those sheet sets) and was quite disappointed when it came out of the first washing dulled and impossibly linty. I think that as long as you have a high enough thread count (and a good price!) it’s hard to go wrong (let me know if you’ve been let down by low-cost-high-thread-count sheets).

Another money saving option is making your own pillowcases and duvet covers. It also gives you complete customizing ability. I made my first duvet cover out of two king sized flat sheets (sage green – remember when that was on everyone’s wedding registry!?). The second one I made was reversible – navy blue and white toille on one side and white with a blue stripe around the outside for the reverse. The toille came in the 90″ width (I think it was supposed to be for quilt backing) so I didn’t even have to deal with a middle seam. I used bias tape for the blue stripe on the other side. I think that one cost me $20 or so (not too bad!). Yesterday I made my latest duvet cover – a deep purple velvet like fabric on top and a matching purple twill (I think) for the back. This one was not quite so cheap ($70) but still a lot better than $800!

Here’s how I did it:

Cut out your fabric to a size that will fit your comforter (I find it easiest to measure a cover I already have), plus seam allowances. So, if your comforter is 84″ wide and 88″ long, add 2″ to the widths (1″ seam allowance for each side) and add 5″ to the length to accomodate the seam allowance and ties at the end. That means two pieces of fabric, each 86″ x 93″. With right sides together, sew the top and two sides together, using a 1″ seam allowance. For extra stability, I like to zig zag stich along the edge too.

When you have the top and sides sewn together, you might want to iron the seams. If not, you can skip right on to ironing the bottom edge ‘hem’. You’ll want to fold it to the inside. First fold about a half inch in (all the way around), and then fold that in about an inch and a half or two. Iron that. (I’m realizing that I’m really bad at writing sewing directions. Feel free to complain.)

Once that’s all done, you’ll need to place your ties. If you’re super ambitious, you can do buttons, but you’ll have to figure that out on your own. For the ties, I use double-fold binding tape (way easier than cutting out your own). Stitch down the middle of the binding tape to keep it double folded. Then cut it into 8″-ish strips. You probably want at least 5 ties along the bottom, so that’s 10 strips. Space five strips evenly along one side of the bottom and pin in place. Sew them in place as you sew the hem for one side of the bottom.

Then, lay the cover out flat and place the other five strips on the other side of the bottom. So, I sewed the strips to the twill side first (shown in the above picture). Then I laid it flat, and pinned the other strips to the velvet side. Now sew that hem just like you did for the first set of strips.

Now you should have a bona fide duvet cover. If you have something that looks more like a parachute with tiny strings, I’m really sorry and I’ll try to improve my sewing directions for next time. Here’s what those ties will look like when you’re all done and the duvet cover is on the duvet:

And here’s the end result:

Next I’m going to make some pillowcases to match. I’m not sure what fabric I’ll use. We’ll wait and see next month. 😉


5 Responses to “making the bed ::part 2::”

  1. 1 swingerofbirches
    October 11, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Thank you for the inspiring post and beautiful pictures. I thoroughly agree about the gladness of keeping the home a welcoming and winsome place, including the bedroom–the sort of place which a husband ought to be thoroughly thrilled to come home to. It is such a joy to be a wife and to have the opportunity to make our homes completely lovely.
    I appreciated your thoughts about sheets and duvets and what not, and once again echo my admiration of your sewing abilities! And may I echo your appreciation of Ross, etc? It’s incredible. We have gotten excellent sheets there with good high thread counts for next to nothing. We have also had some success with Sam’s Club/Costco, believe it or not. Our current comforter and pillows and shams are from Sam’s and I could not be more pleased. It’s a very cozy, downy comforter; one side is brown with a white stripe around the outside edge and the other side is white with a brown stripe around the edge. I like to change it up depending on the season. Anyhow! Thanks!

  2. 2 Betsy
    October 11, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Thanks! The admiration actually goes to my mom, who taught me to love sewing in the first place. She is an avid crafter and quilter (having made dozens and dozens (literally) of quilts) and taught me at a very young age to look at something and say, “I could make that myself for half the price!” But I have learned that you can’t make a set of sheets for $30 (and who would want to deal with the elastic?! Not me!). That’s why I love Ross (and super clearance sales at the department stores!)!

  3. October 11, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    I love the VS bag next to bed! 😉

  4. 4 Betsy
    October 11, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    hehee – and it wasn’t even planted there! I wondered if anyone would notice….;)

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