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Monday, February 09, 2009

How to make your own duvet/comforter cover

First a quick translation to avoid confusion:-

Around here, we use European duvet covers which are the same as American comforter covers except that Europeans omit the second flat sheet. Instead, the duvet cover goes next to your skin, or maybe your pyjamas. This means that Europeans change their duvet covers far more frequently that most Americans change their comforter covers, which are used more like Europeans use eiderdowns.

This is why American sheet sets are packed as follows:- one fitted sheet, one flat sheet and one or maybe two pillow cases. If the pillow cases are fancy, they are sometimes called shams. This is intensely confusing to foreigners such as myself.

Hence if you find yourself with a surfeit of single [twin] flat sheets, it’s very easy to make them into a duvet cover [comforter cover].

First practice with a couple of old tea towels which will provide you with a handy reference map when you’re buried in two six foot sheets. Once you’ve grasped the basic principles it will be very easy to make the real thing.

Since sheets are already hemmed you don’t need to bother with French seams or have any fear of the fabric fraying.

Put the wrong sides of the fabric together.

Fold over the top of each one over in the opposite direction of each other and put a nappy pin at the edge, through all four layers to simulate a seam.

Turn the whole thing inside out and you will see that you’ve formed a double pocket at one end, which will keep the duvet from escaping.

With the big real version, sew the three outer seams first with the right sides of the fabric together. When you turn it right side out you can add an extra layer of stitches at each side at the top flap to make it easier to insert the duvet and strengthen the edges.

Some people add tags to the inside corners or buttons to help keep the duvet in place.

On completion add two to four snap fasteners to the inside edge to help keep the flap from gaping. I avoid Velcro as a quick fix because it often becomes undone, is scratchy and makes for added tactile complications with restless and active sleepers, as with hook and eye closures. Some people use ties but these tend to fray after only a few uses. Buttons are also a tactile issue and the button holes are difficult to fashion quickly unless you have a sophisticated sewing machine.

It is not uncommon to get through three sets of bedding on a bad night around here. If both of them hit a nocturnal phase at the same time, then we may encounter 8 sets of bedding by morning, especially if we parents lose the plot along the way. I find it hard to connect the dots during the night. They are wide awake and fully functioning, but without the day time prompts, accidents are inevitable. As bedding and duvet covers are extremely expensive, we’ve found this an invaluable way of increasing our linen stock without breaking the bank.

Now if anyone has any tips for making your own indestructible, heavy usage washing machine, I’d be extremely grateful.

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