Making your own fitted cot sheets is quick and easy.
Making your own fitted cot sheets also allows you to choose your own fabric so you can make sure your baby's fitted sheets match the nursery decor. Making your own fitted sheet will take between 45 minutes and 90 minutes, depending on your level of sewing experience. But even if you are a novice sewer, you will be able to create your own custom-size fitted cot sheets in no time at all!
To make your own fitted cot sheet, you will need:
- fabric (for yardage, see below)
- 3/8” braided elastic (not fitted sheet elastic)
- thread to match your fabric
- your sewing machine and basic sewing kit
What type of fabric will you need, and how much?
I recommend you use 100% cotton suitable for sheeting. You might even like to use organic cotton, if you can find it. Steps 1 and 2 will help you to calculate your fabric yardage.
Let's get started!
Step 1 - Take your measurements
You will need to buy enough fabric for the length of the cot mattress, plus twice the depth, plus twice the underhang, plus twice the seam allowance, plus a bit extra for shrinkage and ease. Does that sound a bit complicated? Luckily, we’ve got you covered with a handy table. Fill out this little table below and you’ll be all set! (Use the picture below if it helps!)
My mattress is __________ inches (or cm) long – this is your MATTRESS LENGTH
My mattress is __________ inches (or cm) wide – this is your MATTRESS WIDTH
My mattress is __________ inches (or cm deep) – this is your MATTRESS DEPTH
First, how much underhang do you want your fitted sheet to have? Underhang is what I like to call the part of the sheet that ends up underneath the mattress. It’s nice to have a little bit of underhang, because I find it makes the sheet fit more snugly.
I have decided to have __________ inches (or cm) of underhang – this is your MATTRESS UNDERHANG
MATTRESS DEPTH + UNDERHANG + 1 1/4 “ (or 3 cm) seam allowance = SINGLE MATTRESS WING
2 x SINGLE MATTRESS WING = DOUBLE MATTRESS WING
Step 2 - Calculate your fabric yardage and minimum width and elastic yardage
MATTRESS LENGTH + DOUBLE MATTRESS WING + ADD 10” (or 25cm) for shrinkage etc) = YOUR FABRIC YARDAGE
MATTRESS WIDTH + DOUBLE MATTRESS WING + ADD 10” (or 25cm) for shrinkage etc) = YOUR MINIMUM FABRIC WIDTH
MATTRESS LENGTH x 2 + MATTRESS WIDTH x 2 = elastic length. (You will use a bit less than this, but it’s good to have a bit of length to work with.)
Phew. I’m glad that math bit is over, aren't you? Now you know how much fabric you need and the minimum width of the fabric you can choose, and you have all the measurements for making your fitted sheet.
Step 3 - Prewash and dry your fabric
I recommend your prewash and dry your fabric. Wash and dry your fabric the same way you intend to wash and dry your finished fitted sheet. Press your fabric and let’s get started with the cutting and the sewing.
Step 4 - Cut your fabric
Cut your fabric to a rectangle that measures as follows:
Length (MATTRESS LENGTH + DOUBLE MATTRESS WING) x Width (MATTRESS WIDTH + DOUBLE MATTRESS WING)
Double check your math and your measurements. The old adage, “measure twice, cut once”, is so true.
Step 5 - Fold your rectangle and cut your corners out
Fold your rectangle raw edges together then selvedges together. Find the corner with all raw edges, no folds.
Cut out a square measuring (MATTRESS WING - ¾ “ for seam allowance) through the four layers of fabric.
Step 6 - Sew each corner pair of raw edges together
Sew each pair of raw edges at each of the four corners together, using French seams. (In a French seam, the raw edges are encased by sewing the fabric WRONG sides together first, then right sides together with a slightly bigger seam allowance.) Pin the raw edges, wrong sides together and sew with a ¼ “ seam allowance. Turn the seam inside out, that is, right sides together, and sew with a ½” seam allowance making sure you are encasing the raw seam.
Repeat for the other three corners.
Step 7 - Make the elastic casing
Fold and press under the raw edge of your sheet twice to make the elastic casing. Fold and press ½” (or 1cm) and then fold and press under ¾” ( or 2 cm).
Top stitch your casing very close to the inside fold, leaving two 3” (8cm) openings at approximately opposite points in the casing.
Step 8 - Insert your elastic
Cut your piece of elastic in half. Feed the elastic, using a bodkin or safety pin, through the casing from one opening to the opposite opening so that the elastic is running through the casing along half the sheet. Fix the start of the elastic with a safety pin. Pull through the end of the elastic and shuffle the gathers along the casing so they are evenly distributed and fix the elastic end to the casing with another safety pin. Repeat with the other half of your elastic and the other half of the casing.
Step 9 - Test and adjust your elastic fit
Carefully test whether your fitted sheet, with elastic, fits onto your mattress and sits snugly. If you can’t get your sheet onto your mattress, unpin the ends of the elastic pieces and ease a bit more elastic into the casing. If your sheet is too loose and isn’t snug and secure, unpin the ends of the elastic pieces and pull a bit more elastic through the casing. Resecure the safety pins and test again. Repeat this process until you are happy with the fit of the elastic. (I like to make sure my elastic ends are of equal length so I know that I have my elastic fairly even spread out along the casing before moving on.)
Step 10 - Finish your elastic and casing
Overlap by 2” (or 5cm) one start piece of elastic with the end piece of elastic at one casing opening. Pin. Sew the overlapped ends of the elastic together. Stitch down the opening in the casing. Repeat for the other opening.
Voila – you have finished your fitted sheet!
If you have any questions or feedback on this tutorial, please leave me a comment. I hope your sheet turned out beautifully and that you have a lovely new fitted sheet that looks great in your nursery.