Bed Sheets as Fabric Yardage

Bed Sheets as Fabric Yardage
No need to throw out or give away to secondhand thrifts old but still useable bedsheets that can be recycled, repurposed and made new again into so many useful items. With just a few easy to sew straight seams what was once relegated to the back of the linen closet or torn into rags can have new life as updated items for the home.

Consider the follow easy to sew ideas great for beginning and novice sewers alike:

Braided rag rugs are a great folk tradition. Tear or cut fabric strips about two wide by as long as possible. Strips can be folded in half lengthwise, pressed, then folded/pressed again. No need to fold raw both lengthwise edges into the center and fold in half again to enclose the raw edges unless this is the method preferred. Roll lengths into balls for easy handling. To Start: take three strips of cloth (of uneven lengths so joining is not at the same point for each strip when additional length is attached) and sew them together at one end. Use a binder clip to attach this end to a clip board, end of an ironing board or sturdy piece of cardboard to act like a stabilizing third hand. Begin by braiding with a firm tension. When it is time to add additional strips to continue braiding, there are two choices: cut a slit near to but not at the end of a strip, do the same with the attaching strip, then pass the new strip through the slit in the braided end and through the slit of the attaching strip and tighten. No sewing needed to attach one strip to another. Or, hand or machine sew the ends of the strips together to increase length of each strip. Decide if an oval or a circle rug. The beginning braid can be folded so sides are touching, then hand stitch together using strong thread or use a wide zig zag machine stitch to secure one side of the braid to another. Continue braiding and stitching until the desired size is reached.

Pillow cases are very easy to make. Use an existing pillow case for determining finished dimensions, adding seam allowance all around. Extra fabric can be used to attach a decorative wide band at the pillowcase opening. Embellish the wide band with lace, ribbon or rick rack. Soft flannel printed sheets that have kid-pleasing designs work well for children’s pillow cases. Consider tie dying or indigo dyeing a plain white newly made pillowcase (ombré shaded from light to dark is nice too) for a teen’s bedroom. Thrifted vintage silk or Egyptian cotton sheets made into pillowcases for adults are much appreciated.

Fitted crib sheet - Standard size of a crib mattress is 27 and 1/4 inches by 52 inches. Cut sheet to accommodate this size plus one inch all around in order allow for a double-fold hem. Lay the cut sheet flat, cut out a 6 x 6 inch square from each corner. With right sides facing stitch each corner seam so a pocket is created. Fold and press all edges 1/2 inch then fold over again. Stitch close to edge of seam all around but leave an opening to weave 1/4 inch elastic through the sewn seam allowance tunnel. Secure elastic ends then Hand or machine sew opening closed.

Duvet cover - Two twin flat sheets can cover a tired twin comforter. They can be of two different colors to make the duvet cover reversible. Lay the two sheets right sides together and stitch a narrow seam along two long and one short side. Hem the opening if needed. If the opening is made longer than the comforter a few hook and loop tape (like Velcro) pieces could be sewn to the opening if preferred or ties could be added to close the opening end.

Old bed sheets may just be the ultimate in alternative fabric yardage since so many items can be made from just one sheet. Braided dog pull/chew toys, cylindrical plastic bag holders, stuffed draft catcher to keep out cold breezes, plant covers for when temps go below freezing, pajama bottoms, cozy pillow bed for kids TV watching or lounging, little girls sun dresses, kids teepee tent, shower curtain, summer maxi skirt, quilts, pet beds and the list goes on.

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.