Tuesday, June 23, 2015

DIY -- under the quilt

This post will help you get ready for winter -- and goes with my last DIY posting.
What do you put under your quilt?
Well, since mostly you need a quilt in winter, you probably want a blanket under it.
What about under that?
I find it saves a lot of money if you have flannel sheets.
The same flannel you might have bought for quilt backing makes great sheets all by itself.
They are soft.
They are warm.
They wash well.
They last long.
You can turn your heat down to 60 degrees Farenheit at night and still be cosy with flannel sheets. You might even become a sack rat if you aren't one already.  And that 60 degrees will save you money compared to the heat you're paying for now.
Best of all, if you DIY you can save $30 a set.
Buy 5 yards of 108 inch wide flannel.
Cut straight across the exact middle so that you have two pieces, 2 1/2 yards by 108 inches.
Fold over no more than half an inch at the raw ends, and then once more to put the raw ends on the inside; pin them.
Sew across the inside fold -- not the one at the very edge of the top and bottom or the hem will come unfolded -- but the other fold of the hem.
One important thing: this makes two flat sheets.
How you make the bed with a flat sheet is you lay the sheet on the bed, making sure it's even all around.
Now you lift up the bottom of the mattress and fold the sheet flat under it.  Do the same thing at the top.
Now package the mattress in the sheet the way you package a gift box in wrapping paper, with the diagonal corners.  Here's a video.  It's military and you don't have to do the dust cover because you're going to have a quilt, but it makes nice crisp corners.

There used to be a saying that when you make a military rack, the sheets should be so tight you can bounce a quarter off them.  I don't go that far.
I almost prefer a flat sheet to a fitted sheet because there's one thing you can do with a flat sheet that takes extra work with a fitted sheet.
If your flat sheet wears out in the middle, you can sew the two selvages together for a seam.
Then cut from top to bottom at the exact center, through the hole.
Now make new hems where the hole was.  You may have to sacrifice a little cloth to get a straight edge to hem, but since the original flannel was 108 inches wide, that will only be a problem if you have a super-king-size mattress.
This is called a "sides to middle" sheet.  You might recognize the term if you watched enough episodes of Upstairs Downstairs.  It will get another year or two of wear out of the flat sheet.
If you try this with a fitted sheet, you will find you first have to get rid of the elastic.
Then you will probably have to hem all round instead of just at the sides.
The flannel sheets I bought shrank.  Now I only use them as added blankets in the depths of winter.
The ones I made were so large they'll never shrink enough to be a nuisance.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

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