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Crib Sheet Tutorial

This week on the gram I posted a video tutorial of how to make a quick fitted crib sheet - you can check out my posts on my Insta Story Highlights: DIY Crib Sheet for some video references!

Here are all the steps if you want to make your own. You can adjust this tutorial for any type of fitted-sheet-like project - like changing pad covers, pack and play mattress sheet, fitted tablecloth, anything with an elastic edge. 

First thing you’ll need is fabric. A standard crib sheet will need 2 yards of non-stretch cotton fabric. This is in most fabric stores under “quilting cotton”. 

Some of my favorite online sources for fabric are:

You can use the following formula to figure out exactly how much fabric you’ll need if you’re trying to cover something else. 

Total length of fabric = length of item + height of item + 3 inches

Total width of fabric = width of item + height of item + 3 inches 

For example, if you have a changing pad that is 3” tall, 35” long and 20” wide you would need a piece of fabric that is 41” by 26” 

For our project, we're lucky that quilting cotton fabric comes in 43-45” widths, which is exactly what we need! All you need is 2 yards of the quilting cotton right off the bolt.

*A note about washing - I do not prewash my fabrics for crib sheets. I wash them after the sheet is completely made, so the fabric shrinks with the thread, making the crib sheet nice and snug on the mattress. I always recommend the first time you wash any fabric, for any project, to throw in Shout Color Catchers. I use approximately 1 color catcher for 1 yard of unwashed fabric in the wash. 

For our crib sheet we will need 2 yards of elastic. I find myself making many crib sheets so I buy my elastic in bulk from Amazon. To calculate how much elastic you'll need for other projects, you will need the following formula: 

Length of Elastic = Total length of fabric (above) = length of item + height of item + 3 inches 

In addition to the materials you’ll need the following tools to complete this project:

1 safety pin and a bodkin OR 2 safety pins 2 straight pins

Iron and Ironing board

Scissors (Or a rotary cutter and mat)

Ruler (any ruler will work, but quilting rulers will certainly make this easier)

Water soluble fabric pen 

And as a reminder, for a crib sheet you will need:

2 yards of quilting cotton

2 yards of 1/4 inch elastic 

Total Time: 20 minutes

Total Cost of Materials: $20 or less!

Step 1: Ensure your cut of fabric is 2 yards (72 inches) long. For this project you can leave the selvedge edges on your fabric. Using your ruler, mark then cut an 8” square out of each corner of your sheet of fabric. Your fabric should now look like this:

Step 2: Holding the wrong sides of fabric together, fold your corners to match the ends of the short side with the end of the long side. You will be creating the seam that runs the height of the mattress in each corner. Sew these together with a 1/4” seam allowance, back stitching at each end. Repeat for remaining three corners.

Step 3: Trim seam allowance to 1/8”

Step 4: Fold the corners right sides together, and sew with a 1/4” seam allowance, backstitching at both ends to secure. The raw edges of the fabric will now be hidden between the two stitched lines. This is called a French Seam.

*you’ll notice I switch from gingham to red fabric here. I used the gingham to show you the right side/wrong side for the French seams but will make the full crib sheet in solid red.

Step 5: Your fabric should now resemble the shape of a fitted sheet. Fold and press a 1/4” hem around the entire edge of the sheet wrong sides together, including the corners. Stitch the entire hem down, backstitching where you sewing start and finish meet. You’re doing a lap around the entire sheet.

*Take care when sewing over your French seams as there are many layers of fabric here for your sewing machine needle to go through - go slow!

Step 6: Fold and press a 1/2” hem around the entire edge of the sheet, including corners. Pin down the hem with your two pins 3” apart. This will designate the 3” where you will not sew your 1/2” hem, and where you will insert the elastic. Stitch your 1/2” hem down, using a 1/8” seam allowance from the folded edge, from one pin, all the way around to the next, leaving approximately 3” unsewn. We will call this your “elastic pocket”. Remove pins.

Step 7: Secure one end of your elastic to the opening of the elastic pocket using a safety pin. Secure the other end of the elastic to a bodkin (preferred, and much easier!) or a small safety pin. Carefully thread the elastic through your elastic pocket around the perimeter of the sheet. Tug both ends of the elastic so you have approximately 10” at each end hanging out.

Step 8: Using your two straight pins, overlap the tails of your elastic approximately 3” and pin at least 2” apart. Between the pins, sew a zig zag stitch backstitching at least 3 times to secure the ends of elastic together. Trim excess elastic.

Step 9: Tug and stretch the edges of your crib sheet to evenly distribute the elastic, and pull it entirely into the pocket.

Step 10: Find the 3” opening in your elastic pocket. While holding this section of the sheet flat, sew the hole closed using a 1/8” seam, backstitching at both ends.

Congratulations - you're done! You just made your first crib sheet! I'd love to see pictures - post them online and tag me @pearlsNcotton using #pncCribSheet ❤️ 

Here’s a picture of my baby girl and happy custom crib sheet customer 🖤


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