Tuesday, May 03, 2011

DIY: Make your own fitted crib sheet



A while back I shared a project I finished up for Eme's room... remember operation granny glam?  Well I've had a few people ask how I made the fitted crib sheet for her room.  Instead of ineffectively attempting to describe the process in 100 word or less, drawing random diagrams on useless scraps of paper, and totally confusing many of my friends... I thought I'd do up another little tutorial for you all!

This project was born out of desperation.  After months of searching high and low for a cute crib sheet... and I mean really cute... I couldn't find anything I loved.  When that happens, I start to turn into my mom and say to myself... I can totally make it myself!  A total "Jan" moment.  As I mentioned before, I found a twin sheet set at Zellers in an awesome bold granny-ish floral pattern.  It's so fun.  I plan to use the pillow case and full size fitted sheet on her bed one day when she grows up, but I'm not really a fan of flat sheets for kids beds.  Instead of letting it go to waste... why not make something out of it?

Here's what you'll need to sew your own fitted crib sheet:
  • fabric suitable for a sheet-- I had lots of leftover material after using the twin sized flat sheet (enough to make up a few throw pillows with the scraps) or two-ish yards of fabric (exact amounts will be determined by the size of your crib mattress)
  • 5 feet of 3/8" elastic
  • A large safety pin
  • A sewing machine (obviously)
Now... what to do:

Step 1-- measure before you cut.

Most mattresses will be the same width and length... they may differ slightly in height.  It's time to pull out your tape measure (if you're at our house... pull out one of our many tape measures... we practically have one in every drawer) and figure out the dimensions of your mattress.

These were my measurements:
 width-- 28"
 length-- 52"
 height-- 5"

Step 2-- calculate.

Now that you have the measurements, it's time to figure out how big to cut the rectangle you'll need to construct the sheet!  Here's how to figure out the dimensions of the rectangle you'll need to cut...

Width of rectangle= width + height (x2) + 6 inches for seam allowance (you'll need about 3" per side)
Length of rectangle= length + height (x2) + 6 inches for seam allowance

Check out those mad math skills!  As my sister would say... I'm not as dumb as I look (love you Trish :)

So that means my rectangle needed to be 44" wide by 68" long.  Because I was cutting up a ready made sheet... I didn't need to worry about having enough material.  But if you plan on purchasing new fabric to make up your crib sheet you'll have to make sure the fabric will be WIDE enough.  Most quilting fabric comes 44" wide-- this would have worked for my mattress, but if yours is higher than mine you could run into trouble.  I would recommend using fabric that comes extra wide or cutting down a ready made sheet for your project.  If the width is close (like an inch close) you should still be okay.  I might incorporate a bit of the salvage edge into my rectangle to make it go a bit further.

Step 3-- cut it out!

Once you've cut out the rectangle, you'll need to cut a square out of each corner to turn your flat rectangle into a box with sides that fit your mattress!

The size of the box will once again depend on the height of your mattress.  Here's how to figure out the size:

Height of mattress + half of seam allowance-- this means that the size of my box was 5" + 3" = 8"

Now, cut a square out of each of the four corners of your rectangle.  When you're finished, your fabric should look something like this:


If it doesn't look like this... whoops.  Either you did something wrong or I'm a terrible tutor :)

Step 4-- sew your corners!


Fold together the two sides of the each corner's square-- right sides together.  If you have a serger (lucky you!) serge the sides together.  If you don't, stitch the sides together leaving a 3/8" seam allowance and then zig zag the crap out of the edge to prevent it from fraying or coming apart.  Once you've stitched together each corner you should have a box that will fit over the mattress!

Step 5-- hem it

Sheets often only have elastic at the corners-- I prefer the ones that have elastic all the way around the bottom so that it's a nice snug fit on the mattress!  If you like sleeping on wrinkly bunchy sheets (gross!)... don't follow my advice.  If you like sheets that stay put... read on :)

To add the elastic to the bottom of the sheet, I just make a slightly wider hem and insert the elastic.  To do this, you'll need to start by pulling out your iron.  Turn the edge under a 1/4" and iron it for a nice crisp edge.  Then turn the edge under a second time-- this time 1/2"-- and iron again (turning the edge under twice hides your raw edge-- no fraying allowed!!).  Then start stitching the turned under hem all the way around the bottom of the sheet.  Make sure your line of stitching is closer to the top than the bottom (see picture below) so that you're stitching through all layers of fabric.  This will hold the raw edge under and give you a nice wide case for the elastic.  Make sure you don't stitch ALL the way around... leave an open space to insert the elastic.


Step 6-- Elastic

It's time to make it stretchy.  I used 5' of elastic for my sheet.  I feel like it worked well-- like a glove baby.  To put the elastic in, attach the safety pin to one end of the elastic.  Then start pushing it through the hem you created around the perimeter of the sheet.  The bigger the pin-- the easier the task.  Once you have fished the elastic around the sheet, sew both ends together well-- you don't want it to come apart.  Then stitch up the remaining few inches of the hem and you're done!!

Clear as mud?  Probably :)  If anyone has any question, let me know!  I may or may not be able to help you.  And if you attempt this project-- let me know how it goes!!

11 comments:

Danae said...

Wow, that's easier than I thought it could be :) Thanks for the info... I'm wondering, do you think the same general pattern could work for a change pad cover?

Trev and Rebekah said...

I love that you get encouragement from your mom and then encourage other mom's to do similar things.

Amy said...

bahaha, I love your little phrases. I will be sure to zig zag the crap out of it to make it fit like a glove ;) Thanks for the tutorial!

Elissa said...

Danae-- it should work! It will work perfectly if the change table pad is a box shaped rectangle like a mattress. If it has ridges on either side to keep the babe from rolling off (like mine) you may need to get creative! My mom and I made an additional cover for mine-- we didn't make it curved to fit exactly, but just made sure we had a substantial seam allowance around the base allowing it covered well. It didn't fit the contour perfectly, but it still looked good!

Donna said...

Hi Elissa,
I just made one of your sheets using satin material. My Granddaughter keeps turning her head back and forth while she sleeps and rubs the hair off the back of her head. My Daughter looked for satin crib sheets, but they were all $35-$45 dollars each. She asked me to make one. It turned out pretty well. The material was only $2.99 a yard and I had the elastic and thread already. Thanks for the tutorial!! Here is a picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mimidonna/7565051034/in/pool-develop2012

christy biel said...

That fabric is seriously cute! I will have to try your tutorial -- thanks!

Martine said...

How can you calculate the length of the elastic? I live in the Netherlands and our matrasses have different measurements from yours.

Thanks for your great tutorial!!!

Lisa Dodd said...

Well! It's very helpful article. I think you have great collection. Now i also want to share some thing that My mom and I made an additional cover for mine-- we didn't make it curved to fit exactly, but just made sure we had a substantial seam allowance around the base allowing it covered well.
Regards: Lisa Dodd

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I am 6 months pregnant with my second baby. This tutorial is a big help. Thanks a lot.

Great data for San Antonio Movers information said...

This has been a big help for me since we are having a baby girl, we wanted to make a pink crib sheet for her. I will show this to hubby.

mark sehgal said...

Amazing post