5 Easy Ways to Decorate with Sheets
by Julie Lohmeier
Description: Tips for using inexpensive sheets to make curtains, pillows, dust ruffles for your bed, and more.
Want a custom, coordinated look that is inexpensive? Use
bedsheets. Yep, the same sheets you cuddle under at night can
turn a bedroom from boring to stunning. A designer look at
To coordinate with your bed, just buy extra sheet sets. Use them
to make pillows, drapes, dust ruffles, round table covers and
Buy pillow forms at any sewing or craft store. Measure the
dimensions. Cut two pieces from your sheets with these
dimensions. Sew seams around the sides (or use Stitch Witchery(r)
and a hot iron), remembering to sew with right sides together.
Leave half of one side for a square or rectangle pillow or 1/6 of
the circumference of a round pillow open. Turn inside out. Stuff
your pillow form into the pillow casing. Stitch the opening
closed by hand.
For extra pizzazz, use piping, trims, or beads in the seam.
Swags are the easiest to make. Simply cut one width of the sheet
about 24" - 48" tall - depending on how much fullness you want -
whatever is left to hang on the sides will have to do. Hem both
top and bottom by rolling 1", folding in half, and stitching near
the second fold.
If you have wide window or you wish to have the swag fall further
down the side of the window, you'll need to do a bit more work,
but it's still fairly easy. Measure your window width. Determine
how long you want the swag to hang down the sides, then double
this measurement. Add it to your width measurement. Add another
6" - 12" to allow soft draping across the top. Measure the width
of your sheet. Compare it to the measurements you made previously
of your window. If your sheet is 54" wide but you want a swag
that's 100" wide, you'll need to essentially cut two widths. Cut
any extra widths as needed. The key for swags, if you need more
than one width, is that you don't want a seam in the center.
Instead, you'll want the full width of the window in one piece,
then seam together the side pieces at the ends of this center
piece. When you piece together patterns, try to match up the
patterns between pieces. This may mean you need to cut your
widths at different points across the sheet.
Hang the swag over a pole or in swag holders.
You can also sew a valance and panels. A gathered valance is
easy. Measure your window width. You'll want to cut widths from
your sheet that is 50% to 100% wider than the window, seam
together, matching patterns. So if your window is 40", you'll
want your curtain to be 60" - 80" wide. You can sew together as
many widths as you need as long as you match your pattern.
Decide the height of the valance. 15" -18" is standard so make
the height that you cut from the sheet 40" - 44". If you want a
small ruffle above the valance add 2" - 4" to the total above.
Sew multiple widths together, right sides facing each other. Sew
the top and bottom ends together with right sides facing each
other. Turn inside out and straighten. From the top seam, line
pins 1" - 2" down from the top. Stitch along this line to create
your ruffle. Then measure down 3-1/2" and mark with pins. Stitch
along this line to create your rod pocket. Put your curtain on
the rod and hang.
Panels are done much the same way. Measure the length you want
the panel to hang. Add 4-1/2" to the length. Add an additional 2"
- 4" if you want a ruffle at the top. Cut this length out of the
LONG part of your sheet. You'll probably want two panels. You'll
need each panel to be 50-100% more than half of the window width.
That means that two panels together will also be 50-100% of your
window width. You may be able to cut two panels from one sheet
or you may need two sheets.
Ideally, you would make a full 3" hem (add 4" extra inches to
your length measurement above if you do this hem), but for
simplicity just make a simple shirt-tail hem at the bottom by
marking 1" off the bottom. Then turn half of this under. Stitch
near the top of rolled over fabric. On the top, fold down 4-1/2"
from the top (5-1/2" to 6-1/2" if you want a ruffle). Of this
folded over fabric, turn 1" under. Stitch near the bottom where
you folded the extra material underneath. From the very top of
the panel, measure 1" - 2" (based on the size ruffle you wanted)
and line pins. Stitch along this line to create your ruffle and
your rod pocket. Put your panels on the rod.
Take a plain sheet and lay it over your box springs. Mark around
it 1/2" to 1" (5/8" is the standard seam width) bigger than the
box springs on all four sides. Cut this out and make a shirt tail
hem along one short side. Cut 9" tall widths from your sheet
(you'll need the height of your bed plus 1" if your bed is higher
than standard). You'll need enough widths to go around two long
sides and one short sides of the box springs cover you just cut.
Stitch these widths together with rights sides facing each other.
It is best to gather these widths onto to the box springs cover.
To do so, you'll want your total width of the cut sheet lengths
to be 25% longer than the total measurements of the two long
sides and one short side. Make a shirt-tail hem rolling up 1"
from the bottom of each sheet length, turning it under at 1/2"
and then stitching near the end of the fold. Pin the cut sheet
lengths to the box springs cover, gathering as you go. Again,
you'll want right sides of the fabric together as you sew. Flip
over when done. Place on the bed. The short side with no dust
ruffle goes against the head of the bed.
Round Table Cover
Make a circle wide enough to cover the table down to the floor.
Measure from the floor on one side of the table, across the
center of the table to floor on the other side. Add 2". This is
your diameter. Make a circle with this diameter. Make a shirt-
tail hem rolling 1" from the edge in half and then sewing down
near the fold. Voila. You're done.
You can also make matching blinds using sheets, fusible
interfacing, and Stitch Witchery(r) - no sewing. Buy a shade the
proper width for your window. Cut the fusible interfacing the
same width shade. For length make it the height of the window
plus 10-12 inches. Measure and cut your fabric to be 1-1/4 inch
wider than the fusible interfacing. Center the fabric over the
interfacing and iron according to the directions. Turn under the
ends on both side and iron down with Stitch Witchery(r). Fold
up 2 inches from the bottom for your shade pull and affix with
Stitch Witchery(r). Remove the original shade and staple your
new designer shade to cardboard pole. Be sure to hang on the
proper side so that when you put it up the right side is showing.
Hang your shade on the shade hardware.
These directions may seem harder than they actually are, but with
an hour or two and some matching and coordinating sheets, you can
decorate an entire bedroom.
Julie Lohmeier is the veteran of numerous home remodeling and
building projects. From working hands on and doing much of the
work herself to hiring contractors and construction managers,
she has seen the entire spectrum of home improvement. She
shares her remodeling tips, home decorating ideas, and other
various rants at http://www.myhomeredux.com. Sign up for her
free email newsletter at:
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