Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Adventures in Making 3/4 Fitted Sheets

That little 3/4 brass bed that we set up in the spare room in our basement has been somewhat 'problemsome'.  Having no 3/4 sheet sets for it (which you can purchase from the Sears Catalogue or from other sources online), not enough time to order some, and lacking the interest to spend over $90 on a set.......left me in a bit of a pinch.  But, in that pinch I decided to use an extra set of sheets I had for the double bed upstairs in our other spare room.  Since the length of the bed is the same, I figured that I would just tuck in all the extra fitted sheet on the back side of the bed so no one would see.  This worked fine for the few nights that company used the room.  But.......I really would like to have a properly fitted set of sheets for the bed now wouldn't I???  And alas, I am much too cheap to pay the required $90+.......So I decided to retrofit the extra double size set that I had on the bed.  Easy right?  Just need to open up the corners at the top and bottom of one side and resew them a bit narrower to fit the 48 inch width of the mattress.  Unfortunately for me with all the gathering from the elastic in the fitted sheet........it was very difficult to see what was going on.  So in the end I decided to cut away the elastic, cut out the corner seams and start with a flat and more manageable piece of fabric.  The sheet was much more cooperative in this form. 
I knew exactly how I wanted to shape the corners and felt reassured by the thorough instructions at this site that I was on the right track.  Well I was a little surprised when I folded the sheet in neat quarters and prepared to trim it to size and cut out my nice square corners....only to find that I could not.  The manufacturer had made a similar corner cut, but not at all in the same orientation as I had expected.  After a bit of thought, I measured out from both folded edges to locate the intersection of the width and height of the mattress.  This point would mark the corners on the top of the fitted sheet.  I decided I would still cut out my squares of fabric, but I positioned the corner of my quilting square just outside of the intersection I had marked the corner and tilted the square to more match the angle of the manufacturers cuts.  
The angle of placement of the square to be removed only affected the direction that the corner seam would take.  So instead of the seam running vertically from the top corner of the mattress to the bottom, it starts at the top corner of the mattress and runs down at an angle.  The more you tilt the square, the sharper the angle will be.  Mine was only slightly angled towards the foot of the bed.
The formulas for measurement and directions from the link above are very useful, and I will not bother restating them here.  
Additionally I would add:
  • Measure your mattress for length and width very accurately and do not add any ease to the measurement as it will be better for the corner points to be a bit inside the top of the mattress than sliding down the side because the measurement was too big.  Mine were a little low but I'm not about to change it now.
  • Using a flat sheet to start with will eliminate the potential to have to deal with the angle of the corner cut although if you do need to angle it the important thing to note is the location of the where the points of the corners will be on the top surface of the mattress.
  • Once you have cut out your shape, it is the easiest to serge or zigzag all edges before sewing your corners closed.  It will be less bulky, the edges will be protected, and no one will see them as they will be under the mattress.
  • Your least expensive option will likely be finding a nice double (full) sheet set to work with.  Buying separates is usually more expensive.
  • I used 22 inch lengths of thin elastic for each corner. 
  • Cats are counter productive when it come to making the bed.
I have a wool blanket wrapped around the mattress as a mattress protector since the mattress is original and it kind of creeps me out.

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