Saturday, 2 June 2012

Sheets wearing thin? Make them over ~

In a recent burst of sewing I took a fresh look at a favourite set of bed linen which had worn thin.  It is a handsome set that I paid a lot for perhaps fifteen or twenty years ago.  It would have been easy to conclude that it had earned its rest but I decided to see if I could give it a fresh lease of life by making some alterations.  

My idea of what I wanted to do seemed simple, and in its essentials it was, but it still took a long time to complete - hours in fact!  I wanted it all to sit really flat so it had to be cut and sewn accurately.  I spent ages on the floor carefully pinning, measuring and cutting, jotting notes in my diary as I did so.  I enjoyed myself.  

Only parts of the set were actually worn out: the pillow slips, the flat sheets and the top edge of the duvet cover.  I don't usually use a top sheet, so the fancy edge of the top sheet was still in good condition, as were the other three edges.  The obvious thing to do was to use these good edges as new panels to replace that worn top edge of the duvet.  I incorporated the pretty border in the outside of the cover.  I sewed it so that it looked like a separate sheet, but of course it isn't.  I was surprised at how good it looked:


I decided that the fancy part of the border would look better if left as a flap...


...although it made sense to sew the edge of it into the side seam:


The panel on the inside edge is less elaborate - it needed to sit nice and flat, so I pressed that seam allowance open to make it as smooth as possible.  I use a zigzag stitch to 'neaten' all my seam allowances, and this didn't produce any noticeable ridging:


When pressing the top edge I was dissatisfied with the look of it: the join tended to roll to the top and I wanted it to sit crisply.  The solution was to under-stitch it, which is what one does on armhole facings: you stitch the facing piece to the seam allowance from the outside, right next to the seam line, which makes the join tend to roll inwards - just slightly.  It proved to be most effective:


So I did the same thing along the side seams as well!  

Once I had completed the duvet cover I still had a good amount of fabric remaining from the sides of the same sheet - just the right amount to make a new pair of pillow slips!

Making these couldn't have been simpler: I cut the the width I wanted for the pillow to fit into and then cut the length so that it allowed for both sides as well as the flaps.  All I had to do then was neatly seam the short edges, which would become the inside edges of the flaps, fold the length into two, and then folded the flap lengths over the top of that again - and sewed down the sides - it was that simple.  If you want to do this yourself and are not sure of this point you will see how to do it by turning any pillow slip inside out and exposing the full length of the side seams.  When you reverse it to show the outside all your seams are hidden from view.

Here you can see the pillow underneath the edge of the duvet:


How fresh and attractive it is!  These will last me a good few years yet! 

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