college dorm duvet diy

Making a duvet cover from flat sheets is super easy – I learned this trick from family friends we had growing up. They were always up to something really clever and DIY before it was popular, before DIY shows were on TV and before computers. (I know I’m giving away my age here!)  And probably before the term DIY even existed. I think it was just called sewing!   I love this repurpose for many reasons. Sheets have finished edges, and if the size is just right, there’s minimal cutting and measuring.  You can pick almost any colors, making it your own custom look without breaking that piggy bank I keep talking about, (and provided you can find the size and color you would like).

If you’ve followed along, you may recall that I was pretty challenged in my post, Invisible Mom on a Mission, to find that hot pink color in XL for the college dorm bed.  More about how we found them on another post.

My college freshman wanted to do her room in navy, white and hot pink. It would coordinate with her roommate’s bedding without being too matchy matchy.  We love using down comforters and therefore the need for a duvet cover.

We designed ours to be one side hot pink, the other navy blue with chevron covered fabric buttons.  With two opposite colors on the duvet, you can easily turn it over for a different look- I love reversible options.  If you buy in sets, you’ll have coordinating fitted sheets and pillow cases. A cute pattern would be fun as well.

I mentioned it’s super easy… Anyone can do this….A basic old machine will do (Mine is 28 years old and did fine until I got to the button holes) Don’t have a sewing machine? You probably have a friend or relative who does- ask to borrow, I’ve lent mine out several times and I even needed to borrow this time, I’ll explain in a minute…

Let’s get started…
SONY DSC
We started by throwing the sheets in the wash to shrink them. Being all cotton,I’m glad they shrunk to the perfect width.

I then washed the floor.

With the right sides together, lay your sheets flat on the floor. Match up the top hemmed portion of the sheets. The top will have that wide hem that is probably 4 inches wide. If you are lucky the long sides will match up as well and just make it around the comforter. My bottom portion did not match. It appears that different manufacturers make their sheets slightly different in length!

Lay your comforter over the top of the flattened sheets matching the top edge to the sheets’ top edges.

From here, mark your bottom edge, adding only about a half-inch from the bottom edge of the comfortor. (This allows for seam allowance). If you make it too long, it will look wimpy and not full like we want it.

Take your comforter off the sheets and set aside.

This is where you will need to measure a straight line with chalk and then cut.

cutting sheets for duvet

I used pinking shears to minimize the fraying, but regular scissors are fine as well.

Bring to the sewing machine and start your sewing up at the top right corner. Your right sides are already facing together. So start sewing, using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Remember to back-stitch when beginning. (Back stitching is like driving in reverse for a few stitches to anchor your threads, preventing it from falling apart).

You will come down to the bottom right side corner and stop stitching when you get close to a half-inch from that bottom edge. That’s when you need to lift your foot pedal (while the needle is barried in the fabric) and pivot to continue sewing parallel to that bottom edge.

Continue sewing the bottom edge and do the same pivot at the next corner. Work your way to the other top edge, where everything should match up. Back stitch at that top edge.

Turn this all right side out-so those raw edges are inside the cover.

You now have a totally open top edge. This will need closing. I started making the button holes on a sample piece of fabric and unfortunatley it was pretty funky. I posted a picture on Facebook for some advice and got some great ideas.

One follower suggested ties. I liked that idea, in chevron print, that would be cute. Another idea was velcro to keep it closed and still put a button on top for cuteness-no button-hole required.  I like both those ideas- my  daughter had her heart set on functioning buttons, she though velcro was too rough.   From there my very kind friend offered her machine. It did the trick.

So if you want to make button holes here is a great tutorial over at dear hand made life.com where Nicole has a cute story to go with it- about humming songs. Enjoy.

After making the fabric covered buttons (just follow the directions on the covered button kit, they are sold in the notions section of sewing and craft stores) they give you a pattern and it’s very easy). Our buttons were about 1″ in diameter. You will need to measure your button diameter for marking the buttonholes. We used 5 buttons for this Twin comfortor. We measured the width across that top edge and divided by 5 for proper spacing between button holes.

After opening the holes with the seam ripper,as Nicole instructs, Line up your upper open edges of the sheets and pin them together every several inches to keep things aligned. From the open area of each button-hole, mark each center onto the bottom sheet, on its inside. This is where you will sew your button. In our case it was on the pink sheet.
sewing chevron fabric covered buttons

We wanted the buttons to show when viewing from the blue side so we needed to sew buttons onto the pink side. From the inside, facing up through to the blue.

My non sewing daughter got busy both with the covering of the buttons and the cutting cutting fabric for chevron pillows and sewing of the chevron pillows and later the sewing on of the buttons.  We had quite a workshop going on our kitchen table! (Did I mention my youngest was on a very long playdate that day so we could get our DIT (do it together) projects finished. Thank you friends!

Put your down comforter inside with corners matched up and then put those buttons to work and close it up!
There were a lot of details here, please ask any questions in the comment box below. I need to know if anything needs clarification!

Enjoy at least two different looks from this one duvet and ……. peaceful slumber!

~caroline~