Welcome back Duvet lovers!
I hope you have prepared yourself for some excitement, because here it comes:
DIY LINEN DUVET COVER
Materials – For a Queen Size Duvet Cover
Approximately 5 1/2 yards fabric for top
Approximately 5 1/2 yards fabric for underside – or you could simply do all one fabric, 11 yards
Two spools of thread – one matching each fabric
One of those cute tomato pin cushions, or some other equally adorable pin cushion
About 10 Buttons (or Snaps/Ribbon to close duvet opening)
Fabric Scissors/Rotary Cutter and Cutting Board
Tape Measure/Yard Stick
Buttonhole Sewing Machine Foot
A glass/bottle of wine
A free evening or three
1. Determine how much fabric you will need
First, measure the length and width of your duvet insert, or if you have a duvet cover that you know fits your duvet well, sometimes it’s easier to measure this rather than the fluffy duvet insert. Mine is for a queen size bed and measures 90″ x 90″.
I did some research before-hand and I knew that the linen fabric that JoAnn’s carries is 54″ wide and cheaper, cotton/quilting fabric can be closer to 40-44″. I knew that I wanted to do use two different fabrics, linen on top, some boring cotton on the underside – because I am THAT cheap, but if you can swing the price for full linen, please do it and I will congratulate you, jealously. Please note that while I really think linen is the best bedding choice, you obviously don’t have to use linen. The reason I love it — aside from its organic look and the fact that it almost looks cozier when not ironed or tucked in all fancy — is that it seriously gets softer every time you wash it. Because I used linen fabric I know that I will be able to keep this for a very, very long time and that it should only look nicer with age.
So knowing the width of the fabrics and the size of the duvet cover I wanted, I did some simple calculations. I also know that at the fabric store, fabric is purchased by the yard which is 3 feet or 36″ – I am sorry for this much detail, I am sure plenty of you know some of this stuff already, but just in case someone out there lives under a rock (with an internet connection?) and doesn’t know these things, I am adding all the detail I can.
Since the width of the fabric wasn’t enough for the whole width of the duvet (and JoAnn’s doesn’t have such girthy fabric) I knew I was going to have to do a couple of pieces. No offense meant to anyone that disagrees with me – but one seam down the middle would be totally UGH-LY. Actually offense meant, it seriously would be weird and yucky and you should be embarrassed if you disagree. Anyway, to eliminate unnecessary sewing, I figured I would do one piece down the middle that was the width of the fabric and then two smaller pieces on the side with the difference to make the full width of the duvet.
2. Sewing the top and bottom of the duvet cover
Before I start sewing anything I always wash and dry my fabric to do a pre-shrinking and I highly recommend doing this, especially for such a big project. It would be a sad day if you spent all the time sewing and making your beautiful duvet cover only to throw it in the wash to have it shrink. After the wash, iron out your fabric, measure and cut your pieces.
** Because I got solid fabric, my fabric didn’t have a wrong side or a right side, so to keep my head straight as I sewed the pieces together I used a white fabric pencil to mark the “wrong sides”
I sewed my pieces together using a two/double seam process (I believe this is something called “French Seams,” but I choose to call them “Freedom Seams”). What this does is eliminates all raw, cut edges, so you don’t get those wild individual threads popping out anywhere. You definitely don’t have to do this as it does take about twice the time, but if you want a more finished product I would recommend it.
Starting with the top of the duvet, I took piece B and laid it out, then pinned A and C to either side along the length with wrong sides facing. I sewed these three pieces together at a 1/4″ seam with B, the wide piece in the middle and A and C, the smaller pieces on the sides. A-B-C, as in the calculation illustration above. Once that first seam was completed, I cut away the excess fabric along the seam like so:
Now I folded A and C in along the seams to have the right sides facing and ironed along the seam. Pin the right sides together along the seam after ironing and sew over both lengths. Once this is complete, the right side of the piece will have two normal looking seams and the underside will have a nice closed seam that simply needs to be ironed to the side.
Repeat this same process for the bottom side of your duvet cover.
Now you have two giant squares! Yay!
3. Sewing the top and bottom of your duvet cover together
Lay out the bottom of your duvet cover with the right side down. Place the top of the duvet cover on top of your bottom piece with the right side up, in other words, so that both wrong sides (with all the seams) are together. Pin the right and left sides together and sew using 1/4″ seam. Now flip the cover inside out and repeat the double seam process along the two sides.
What I did next was iron (again, I know, sorry.. so much ironing, we are ironing champions) and then looked closely at which end was more aligned and determined that to be the top. You obviously don’t have to do this if you are the perfect fabric cutter or sewer, but for me no matter how precise I try to be I always have one side that is a little crooked or squiggly or taking the bus to crazy town. Because we fold over some fabric to hide our buttons and button holes we can also hide any perfections here, so leave the reject side for the bottom.
Repeat the same process you did with the sides to the top – pin and sew the wrong sides together, trim excess fabric from seam, flip, iron, sew again, iron (for the 7000th time).
Hooray, what progress! Almost have a full duvet cover up in here! Now we just need to…
4. Close this bi-atch up
Along the last, unfinished side of your duvet cover, fold the fabric in (towards wrong side) 1/4″ all along the edge. You know what’s next, folks.. IRON. Make a second fold, another 1/4″ in along the edge, iron and pin that down. Sew to complete a nice hemmed edge along the bottom.
Because I am sure you aren’t yet sick of folding or ironing, let’s do it one more time! This time fold up the fabric 1 and 1/2″ all along the edge and then get your iron on. OK, seriously, I think ironing is done now, if you would like to go destroy your iron in some field somewhere, a la the copier in “Office Space,” go right ahead, I’m not stopping you.
I decided to use buttons on my duvet cover because it was what I was the most familiar with. That being said, there really are a few options here:
– Sew on snaps
– Ribbon (tie your duvet closed)
– Velcro (I don’t know if anyone actually has done this but I suppose that it would work)
I would say that the first three are the most common. Zippers can be really annoying to try to fix/replace if they break, and it’s generally expensive to purchase a real long zipper. Obviously the bigger the opening in your cover the easier it will be to put on or remove.
Moving right along – I am going to walk you through buttons.
For a queen size duvet, or our 90″ X 90″ example, I recommend using about 10 buttons, but you can do as many or as few as your heart desires. I find that about an 8″ space between buttons does the job nicely. Along the top piece of your duvet, on the folded under inch and a half, use a fabric pencil to mark where you want to place your buttons. You don’t have to do this for the whole bottom, but because I had 10 buttons and I was doing 8″ spacing, this was exactly enough to go the whole length. If you want a smaller space, simply flip the duvet inside out and sew along the edge on the portion you would like to close.
Once you have marked where you will place your buttons, do the same on the bottom of the duvet. This will mark where your buttonholes will go. Once you have an X or a dot where your buttonholes will be, take a button, place it on the mark so that it is right in the middle of the button and mark the width of the button – this will be your start and stop guidelines for the buttonhole. Repeat on all the buttonholes.
If you know how to sew buttons or buttonholes, you can skip this next part, but if not here we go:
This tutorial will be for a newer sewing machine and a buttonhole foot. This makes the process very, very easy.
First, switch out your sewing machine foot for the buttonhole foot – each sewing machine is different, check your manual for instructions.
Place one of the buttons into the back of the buttonhole foot. This will tell your machine how long to make your buttonhole.
Always practice a buttonhole on a scrap piece of fabric before trying it for realsies.
I also cut a small rectangle of iron-on (grr sorry, need that dumb iron again) interfacing on the underside of the fabric where each button will go. This will help strengthen the buttonhole.
Taking your duvet cover, place the folded edge of your fabric under the presser foot of your sewing machine. Note: If you don’t want your buttons to be visible, only sew your buttonhole through the one layer of fabric, not through the two layers created by the fold. Line up the bottom line of one of your buttonhole markers with the line on your buttonhole sewing machine foot. Turn on your machine and program the setting for buttonholes (again, different on every machine, see your manual). Now sew, the machine will do the rest. Once the needle has gone up, zig zagged back, created a parallel line and zig zagged back, ultimately returning to its starting point, raise the needle, trim your thread and grab your seam ripper. Between the two parallel rows, insert your seam ripper, and cut the length of the buttonhole. Boom, buttonhole complete. Repeat for remaining buttonholes.
I recommend doing the buttonholes before the buttons, if you skipped ahead because you felt like doing buttons first, go back – you cheater! The reason I start with the buttonholes is because the buttons are easier to move. Once you have made a buttonhole it is pretty permanent. As I add the buttons, I first line up either side of the fabric to make sure my markings are still aligned. If they aren’t, I will adjust the button to align with the buttonhole.
Thread a needle with about 2.5 feet of thread. Tie the two ends of the thread together.
On the mark where your button should go, use two pins and insert them as X, like so:
Holding the button on top of the pins, bring your needle through the underside of the fabric through one of the holes. I had buttons with four holes and chose to do two parallel rows of stitches but you can also chose to do an X or other pattern depending on the number of holes in your buttons. Bring the needle from the top through the second hole and the fabric. Do about four or five loops. Repeat on the second row of holes.
Now bring the needle from the underside of the fabric through to the other side, but not through the button. You will have to put your needle almost parallel to the button to sneak it through. Once you have pulled your thread through, remove the pins and circle the button about five times. Make another circle around the button with your thread but this time pull the needle through the loop you create to make a knot around the button. Under the button, bring the needle back through the fabric again to the underside. Thread the needle through the loops of thread from the button and tie a knot, repeat once more. Cut the thread near the needle and double knot the two pieces of thread. This should create a really strong button. That sucka isn’t going anywhere.
Repeat for the remaining buttons.
5. Take that beautiful new duvet cover and shove that duvet insert in there!
6. Grab your dog/man/woman/she-man/child/bottle of wine/Twighlight life-size cutout and have a total snuggle-fest on your new, awesome, homemade DUVET COVER!
Move over Martha Stewart, we have some crafty-ass mother truckers up in this business.