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DIY Fitted Crib Sheet Video Tutorial

Updated on November 4, 2012

Do It Yourself Crib Sheets

I'm an old fashioned kind of girl. I recently found out I was going to be a grandmama for the very first time. That was enough of a thrill but then I started thinking about what I could do to help out and create something unique and one of a kind for the baby to be.

My own experience having kids came to mind. After we'd had our 2 boys, I thought our baby making days were behind us. We'd gotten rid of our crib and everything for newborns. Then much to my surprise, I found out I was pregnant again. At the time, we didn't have much extra money and we had to rebuy many things. In an effort to save a little money, I decided to try and make my own crib sheets. It was one of the easiest sewing projects I've ever undertaken and one of the most rewarding.

Now as a grandmama to be, I thought it would be worth trying again. I have promised my daughter (my wondrous blessing) that I will make our grandbaby many crib sheets. It's fun thinking about my granddaughter or grandson napping away on them. It's also fun knowing I can make them many different ways. The best part about DIY crib sheets is that you have total control over what fabric, what color and what pattern.

I believe in the personal touch in every aspect of life. It doesn't take that long to make things mean something special and this is definitely one of those things.

Some simple tools, 2 yards of fabric and a few yards of elastic--all you need to make your own crib sheets.
Some simple tools, 2 yards of fabric and a few yards of elastic--all you need to make your own crib sheets. | Source

What You Need to Make Your Own Crib Sheets

  • Sewing machine
  • 2 yards of 44-45 inch wide fabric--washed and dried x2
  • Matching thread
  • 90 inches of 1/2 or 3/8-inch elastic (braided or knit preferred) or
  • 48 inches of 1/2 or 3/8-inch elastic cut into 4 pieces for alternative method below
  • Iron
  • Straight pins

Also Helpful to Have

  • Tape measure or ruler
  • 8 or 9-inch square paper pattern (if desired) for cutting out corners
  • Fabric cutting board or flat surface will do
  • Rotary cutter or sharp sewing scissors
  • Threader tool (purchase at fabric store)--substitute safety pin
  • Dressmaker's pencil (purchase at fabric store) if drawing square on fabric

Before Making Crib Sheets

Select fabrics that are appropriate for crib sheets. Jersey materials or soft flannels are good choices for winter or cooler temps. Just be sure and use appropriate threads with them and appropriate sewing machine settings if materials are more stretchy.

Cotton blends are great. There may be a fade factor with some materials though so wash as directed and dry on low setting.

You can also find organic materials if you prefer those.

After washing and drying at least 2 times, I recommend pressing the material and cutting off loose threads, making sure your edges are straight at top and bottom. It saves time in the long run.

Measure the mattress and make sure it's a standard size. Most crib mattresses are 52-1/4" x 28" x 6" in dimensions or close to that dimension.

You don't need to wash elastic before using to make sheets.

Sewing Instructions for Crib Sheets

Prepare your fabric--wash and dry at least twice.

This author ironed the fabric after washing and drying and trimmed all the loose threads off the cut edges of the fabric to minimize fraying and assuring a straight surface to start with.

Lay your washed, dried and pressed fabric on a fabric cutting board though a flat surface of any kind will do. Make sure to line up your fabric so that it's straight.

If you've cut an 8 or 9-inch square pattern out of paper, use that to cut a fabric square from each corner. Use scissors or cutting wheel. If you didn't make a paper pattern, just measure an 8 or 9 inch square and use a dressmaker's pencil to draw the line on the fabric. It brushes off or washes off if any line remains.

Once the fabric squares are cut out, put the cut edges right side together and pin for seam. The purpose here is to cut a square of fabric from each of 4 corners, seaming the remaining cut edges together which will then form the crib sheet corner to fit over the end of the mattress.

For the seams, you have several options. Sew a 1/4" to 1/2" seam with a straight stitch. You can also use a seam sealing stitch that combines a zig-zag stitch with a straight stitch. You could also sew a straight stitched seam and then go back over the seam with a zig-zag stitch to keep it from unraveling. Lastly, you can also sew a straight stitched seam, then press open the seam with an iron. You could then sew each side of the seam with a zig-zag stitch. This is the most time consuming of the seam methods though but does give you an "open" seam so no bumps.

Zig-zag stitches or variants such as seam-sealing stitches are meant to keep fabrics from unraveling after many launderings. This is an essential part of making a crib sheet that will last. Whichever way you do it, the extra effort to ensure the seams don't unravel is worth it.

After you've done 4 corners, go around the crib sheet ironing under a 1/4-inch fold to the wrong side of fabric. Fold over again and form a 1/2-inch fold, ironing and pinning as you go.

Top stitch as close to the edge of the top of the folded over "sleeve" as possible. What you're doing here is creating a sleeve around the bottom of the sheet which you will insert the elastic into. Make sure the sleeve is wide enough to accommodate the size elastic that you've chosen and that you stitch as closely as possible to the top of the sleeve so that the elastic will pass easily through it.

Top stitch the sleeve/pocket around the entire sheet but leave a 1-inch opening to insert the elastic somewhere in the crib sheet--preferably in or near a corner.

Cut the elastic to measure 90" (do not stretch when measuring). Attach the elastic at one end to a safety pin or a threader tool. Insert into your sleeve opening and begin threading the elastic through being careful not to twist the elastic.

Once you reach the opening, bring the final end of the elastic out to meet the starting end. Make sure while threading you don't lose one or both ends of the elastic. You want to have the 2 elastic ends meeting up at the opening left in the pocket or sleeve casing.

Sew the 2 ends of the elastic together with straight or zig-zag stitch so that they're seamed together. Push the elastic back inside the opening and sew the opening shut with a top stitch matching up with the other stitching previously placed.

Basic Steps to Making Elastic Inside Hem Crib Sheet

Start by cutting 8 or 9 inch square from 4 corners of fabric
Start by cutting 8 or 9 inch square from 4 corners of fabric | Source
Sew cut edges together
Sew cut edges together | Source
Sew sleeve into hem of crib sheet
Sew sleeve into hem of crib sheet | Source
Thread elastic into sleeve
Thread elastic into sleeve | Source
Pull elastic all the way through sleeve--sew shut and you're done
Pull elastic all the way through sleeve--sew shut and you're done | Source
Finished elastic inside the hem crib sheet
Finished elastic inside the hem crib sheet | Source

Elastic on the Outside of Crib Sheet Method

If you want an even easier way to do a crib sheet, you can use the method above all the way through the point of adding the elastic.

Follow the instructions through turning under the hem around the sheet twice--fold over 1/4" of fabric and press, then fold over another 1/2" edge on wrong side of fabric, press into place and pin if desired. (You are creating a hem for the crib sheet and sewing it to prevent fraying during laundering.)

Cut a 90" piece of elastic and pin in place at starting point near one corner of the sheet. Begin sewing using a zig-zag stitch gently stretching the elastic as you sew. This method will accomplish the same thing as the "in sleeve" method of adding elastic to the bottom of your crib sheet, but the elastic will be on the outside of the hem on the wrong side and not inside the casing or sleeved hem. The only difference is time--and the fact that the elastic inside the casing or sleeve is invisible.

You can also cut the elastic x 4 equal pieces (12 inches long) and only sew the elastic into the corners using the above method, stretching as you sew. In this method, the sheet would be flat in the middle portions of the sheet and only have elastic at the 4 corners. It's all a matter of preference.

The elastic on the outside method seems to go faster but either method will take you under an hour. This author made 2 sheets in that period of time--which included pressing the fabric at the beginning and relearning how to use my sewing machine because it had been a while since I'd last sewn anything.

Basic Steps for Elastic on Top of Hem Crib Sheet

Use same technique as above--turn under hem once, iron to hem
Use same technique as above--turn under hem once, iron to hem | Source
Turn over again making 1/2 inch hem all the way around and pin
Turn over again making 1/2 inch hem all the way around and pin | Source
Lay elastic on top of turned hem, sew around stretching elastic as you sew
Lay elastic on top of turned hem, sew around stretching elastic as you sew | Source
Finished elastic on top of hem version crib sheet
Finished elastic on top of hem version crib sheet | Source

Advantages of Making Your Own Crib Sheets

  • You most likely will save a lot of money
  • Depending on the price of fabric, you can easily have lots of sheets for very little money
  • To save even more, look for fabric on sale or on clearance
  • Buy on-line--fabrics are available everywhere--even Amazon
  • Use coupons--always available at fabric stores--you'll save even more
  • You can hand pick colors this way
  • You can hand pick fabrics that you prefer for the nursery
  • You can use organic fabrics or ecofriendly products
  • You can pick themes like bees or dogs or...the sky's the limit
  • This project adds the personal touch--whether it's for your own baby, a friend's baby, a shower gift or for your own family's babies--a small way to say you care

Making Sheets for Any Size Mattress

You can make other size sheets using the formula below. This author found this formula on line but I have to admit that it reads like an algebraic riddle to me. I believe you measure the actual length of the mattress, the width of the mattress and the height of the mattress, and then you add the amount of fabric shown (which allows for seams) to the other measurements to determine the size of material necessary.

If you're making a sheet that needs to be wider than 45" or whatever width your fabric is, if the fabric isn't wide enough to cover the mattress in one smooth piece and you need to piece together fabric, don't do it in the middle of the sheet. The reason is that someone could be lying on that portion of the sheet and be uncomfortable with a seam there. It's better to add fabric to the sides of the sheet fabric so that the joined pieces would be out towards the edge of the mattress rather than in the center.

How to Calculate Material for Any Size Sheet

  • Length of mattress =
  • Width of mattress =
  • Height of mattress =
  • Width of sheet = This is width of mattress + 3 times height of mattress + 0.5" for seams
  • Length of sheet = This is the length of mattress + 3 times height of mattress + 0.5" for seams
  • Square = Height of mattress x 1.5
  • Your fabric should be at least as wide as width of sheet (for larger sheets you want to create it has to be as wide as 2 times the height of the mattress + the width of the mattress + 2")
  • Elastic--1/2 inch to 3/4 inch--calculate for type of sheet being made--12" pieces x 4 will be adequate for corner elastics


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    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 5 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Dolores for stopping in---and yes indeed--the fabrics are half the fun~~~

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Audrey - I really like the idea of giving a unique gift, and making your own crib sheets would be a great idea! You could have a lot of fun with fabrics. There are so many adorable fabrics for baby. And your tutorial is so clear!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 5 years ago from Washington

      Awesome, Helena! Congrats to you and yours, too and happy sewing. It's really super easy to do these and feel like a "pro."

    • Helena Ricketts profile image

      Helena Ricketts 5 years ago from Indiana

      I absolutely love this idea! Congratulations on the grand baby. :) I've bookmarked this and will be making a few of these myself for the two new babies that are going to be arriving early next year in our family.