This is the second post about sewing in two weeks (first one here). I mention this, because it’s a bit unbelievable to me. I’ve used my sewing machine in the last 6 weeks more than I ever have – and I’ve owned it for something like 6 years! Moreover, I believe I’ve mentioned that straight lines and me just don’t understand each other. (More on that later.)
Today I’m sharing how I made two crib sheets for Eleanor’s Ikea crib. FYI, this is not the “proper way” to do things. I am definitely a rebel when it comes to sewing. Washing the fabric before sewing? Didn’t happen. Ironing the fabric before sewing? Didn’t happen. Pinning? Fuhgeddaboudit! I didn’t wash the fabric, typically done to preshrink it, because in the past all it did was make the fabric really wrinkled. I didn’t iron, because the fabric wasn’t wrinkled. I didn’t pin, because I ain’t got time for that!
Here’s what I used:
- 2 boxes of fold-over elastic (you need about 2 – 3 yards of elastic per sheet)
- 2 yards of cotton fabric preferably 45″ wide (x2 for 2 sheets)
- white all-purpose thread
- Singer sewing machine set on zigzag stitch with the width set at a little past 2
First, I laid one of the fabrics on the floor, then I put Eleanor’s mattress on top of it. There should be enough fabric around the edges to fold over the sides of the mattress (think wrapping a gift.) This is how I determined where to cut the squares that would make the corners. You can use a ruler to draw a square in each corner, but I just eyeballed it. I cut the first square leaving about half an inch of fabric between the edge of the square and the corner of the mattress. There are tutorials out there that will tell you how to find actual measurements to use when cutting, but doing that is how I completely ruined my fabric the first time I ever attempted this. I’ve found it’s easier, and more accurate, to just lay the fabric on the floor, put the mattress in the center of the fabric, and cut the squares in the corners at equal distances. After cutting the first square, I used it as a template to cut the other square on the same side of the fabric. I did not use it to the cut the squares on the opposite side of the sheet, just in case my mattress wasn’t completely centered. I did repeat the same steps on the other side, though.
(Don’t mind Louie. #professionalphotobomber Please forgive the lighting in these photos. It was storming outside when I was taking them, so I had to use the overhead light.)
After cutting the squares on the first fabric, I laid out the second fabric and put the first fabric on top of it to use as a template. With both fabrics cut, it was time to sew. I typically don’t bother changing the thread on my machine; 1. because I always forget how to do it and have to bust out the manual, 2. because I knew it wouldn’t be visible on the finished product.
The next step was folding the corner so that the sides of the same square met.
With the sides folded, I sewed the fabric together making the box corner for the sheet:
I repeated this on the other 3 sides.
After all 4 corners were sewn, it was time to add the elastic. I prefer using fold-over elastic. It’s a bit like stretchy bias tape. You simply fold it over the edge of your fabric and sew; rather than having to sew a hem and then fish your elastic through the hem. I purchased the elastic at Hancock Fabrics for about $6 each.
The elastic has a crease in it. This helps it fold easily and helps line up the elastic evenly around your fabric. Great for the straight-impaired, like myself. You can see the crease in this photo:
So, I folded the elastic over the edge of my fabric, and then stitched it all the way around stretching it as I went. I used a zigzag stitch, and I did a reverse stitch (Stitched normally and then without removing the fabric, held the reverse button my sewing machine to pass back over the same stitch.) at the beginning to give it some extra strength.
See how the fabric is puckering behind the stitch? (Note: I am not stretching the elastic in this photo, because I was using both hands to take the photo, but you definitely want to stretch it as tight as it will go.)
One strip of the elastic was not long enough to go all the way around the sheet. It was short by just a few inches. So, I cut a piece from the other strip of the same color, folded it over the fabric – partially overlapping it on the previous elastic.
I used the reverse stitch, mentioned above, to finish the elastic. (I’m sure you noticed that the pictures switch between the two fabrics. The steps were the exactly the same for both fabrics.)
I still have issues with straight lines…
…but, it’s still secure and the elastic doesn’t show at all when on the mattress, so it’s okay if that part doesn’t look perfect. One corner is slightly off-center (probably should have used a ruler to make the squares), but it doesn’t affect the fit of the sheet at all.
The finished product looks like this:
Sew So much better than those plain white Ikea crib sheets! Now, if we could ever get around to actually decorating / setting up Eleanor’s room. After 4 years, it still looks like we just moved in.