My children’s sheets were transparent. As in, the sheets I was using on their beds were so thread-bare that you could literally see through them. They were from the two-pack of crib sheets I had been given shortly before my first child was born, and were the only sheets used for my two kiddos. They weren’t super-fancy sheets to begin with, and they’d been washed a few times. You know, just a few.
Several months ago, well okay, maybe more than a year ago, I was given some nice baby sheet fabric, enough for two standard crib sheets. I finally came to terms with the near-non-existence of my children’s bed sheets a couple months ago and sat down at the sewing machine to construct them some new ones. Thankfully, they aren’t very complicated to make, and if you can get fabric for a decent price (or free) you’ll save a pretty penny sewing your own crib sheets for your little ones. Turns out that even cheap sheets are a little pricey.
Because crib mattresses actually vary in size, I’ve written these directions with a formula and diagram so that you can plug in your mattress’s measurements and end up with a sheet that fits precisely. It looks more complicated than if I were to give you the measurements I used, but the results will be better. Don’t let the diagram and formula scare you. Once you wrap your head around the concept, you’ll find that sewing fitted sheets is really a simple and straight-forward project, as sewing goes. I initially tried making a sheet using measurements from another blog rather than measuring my mattress, and lo and behold, the sheet did not fit well. Just grab a measuring tape, measure your crib mattress, and plug the numbers in as shown.
2 yards of 60” wide, non-stretchy fabric
3 yards FOE (fold-over-elastic)
For your reference:
W is the width of the mattress.
L is the length of the mattress.
D is the depth of the mattress.
All measurements are given in inches (“).
- Measure your crib mattress and calculate the measurements of the rectangle you need to cut from your fabric.
The width of the fabric after you cut it should be the width of the mattress + twice the depth of the mattress + 10”. In other words:
Cut width=W + 2D + 10”
The length of the rectangle should be the length of the mattress + twice the depth of the mattress + 10”. In other words:
Cut length=L + 2D + 10”
- Cut your fabric into a rectangle based on your mattress measurements, as stated above. If you can, have the fabric cut to this size for you when you purchase it. Fabric stores have the luxury of large cutting tables which makes cutting a sizeable piece of fabric much easier than doing it at home (like on my bedroom floor, ahem).
- Take a corner of the rectangle and fold it in half with right sides together so that the raw edges are lined up. Pin in place. This makes a pointy triangle corner triangle. Pencil a line perpendicular to the raw edge of the fabric such that the line measures D+5” from the raw edge of the fabric to the folded edge, as shown.
- Stitch a seam along the penciled line. Repeat step 3 with each remaining corner.
- Cut off the “triangle” outside the seam, leaving a ½” seam allowance, as shown.
- Finish the seam with a serger or a zigzag stitch. You want your sheet to withstand many washings! Repeat steps 4-6 with remaining corners.
- Sew on the FOE. To do this, fold the FOE over the raw edge of the sheet, so that the edge of the fabric is touching the center “line” of the elastic. Set your machine to the 3-step zig-zag (elastic) stitch. Begin stitching the FOE, backstitching several times at the beginning to anchor the elastic. Then stretch the elastic from both directions, as much as you can, as you sew. Be careful to keep the edge of the sheet fabric all the way tucked into the folded elastic as you sew. Stitching slightly over the edge of the FOE prevents it from curling up. I highly recommend practicing applying some FOE onto scrap fabric first if you are using it for the first time. It can be tricky to get used to.
- When you reach the end of the sheet edge, backstitch and cut off the loose FOE, leaving a little extra length on the mattress edge. Fold this extra length over at the end and stitch it down over the beginning of your FOE hem for a finished edge.
- Turn your sheet right side out, wash it, and put it on the mattress!
This is the underside of one of my sheets. You can tell I’m not the greatest seamstress, but hey, it’s functional!