Make Your Own Duvet Cover

Tips for redecorating your bedroom with a homemade duvet cover.

Redecorating a bedroom can be an invasive and expensive undertaking, depending on the extent of the project. A simple way to change the look of a bedroom is new bedding, but that, too, can be hard on the pocketbook. The easiest, least expensive means of giving a bedroom a whole new look is to make your own duvet cover. A duvet is like a large pocket that fits around a comforter or quilt. Often a duvet cover is used to protect a down comforter that is not easy to clean, but duvets can be used over any type or thickness of comforter. The comforter is slipped inside the duvet, much like a large pillowcase, and then the duvet is closed at the end with buttons, ties or Velcro. This is one of the simplest sewing projects because it is simply a few large rectangular pieces of fabric being sewn in straight lines.

To make a duvet cover, you'll need fabric, thread to match, a sewing machine, pins, a yard stick, scissors, a fabric pen or pencil, and a large, flat area in which to work. Depending on your preference, you'll need to have Velcro or buttons that match the fabric on hand.

First choose the fabric. Any type of fabric will work, but remember that silkier fabrics will be slippery, possibly causing the comforter to move or bunch up inside the duvet. For colder climates, flannel is a nice touch. Feel free to choose different fabrics for the two sides of the duvet, giving you the option to turn it over, depending on the mood. Some people enjoy having a decorative fabric on one side and flannel on the other for warmth. Whatever you choose, make sure you have enough fabric. The finished duvet cover measurements for standard-sized beds are as follows: twin - 72 by 90, full - 84 by 96, queen - 90 by 102, king - 102 by 108.

Assuming the fabric is 60 inches wide and you're using the same fabric for the top and bottom of the duvet, you'll need 10.75 yards of fabric for a twin-sized duvet, 11.25 yards for a standard, 11.75 for a queen and 12.5 for a king. It never hurts to get a bit more than you'll need to allow for fabric pattern repeats. A handy shortcut to all this is to make a duvet out of bed sheets; these will only have to be cut to size and sewn around the edges.

For this example, we will make a king-sized duvet attached with buttons, so you'll want to have six large buttons on hand that match the fabric and thread. We will cut and sew one side at a time and then sew the two sides together. After choosing the fabric, if the length of material is still in one long piece, measure down 112 inches (3 yards, 4 inches), mark the place with the yard stick and fabric pen, and cut across. As noted, the length of a finished king-sized duvet is 108 inches, but leave 4 extra inches to allow for the hem. Lay this cut, 112-inch panel across your bed or table, put the rest of the fabric next to it, and line up any patterns. When the patterns are lined up, slightly pin the cut panel to the uncut fabric, and then cut the next 112-inch panel. Once the two panels are cut and lightly pinned, turn the whole thing over. Once upside down, pin a 1-inch seam down the middle, checking as you go, to make sure the patterns are still attached at the right places. The pins used on the first side to line up the patterns, can now be removed.

The entire length should now be 112 inches, and the width will be 118 inches. The finished width will be 102 inches, and since it isn't necessary to have giant seams on the sides, measure in 6 inches on the either side, mark it with your fabric pen, and cut, leaving a width of 104 inches. The dimensions of the entire project should now be 112 by 106. Now sew the two panels together with a 1-inch seam. This is a large project that can bunch up easily, so go slowly. As you sew, remove the pins. Once the panels are attached and all the pins are removed, you have created one side of the duvet. Fold it up, and do the exact same thing, using the same dimensions and same techniques with the remaining fabric.

Once both sides of the duvet are prepared, they'll need to be sewn together on 3 sides. To do this, first lay out one side of the duvet face up, paying attention to the way the patterns lie. Then lay the other side on top of the first, face down. Again, the patterns should be running in the same direction, and your unsewn duvet will be inside out. Decide which end will be the top (meaning, the end to lie next to the pillows on the bed). This end won't be sewn together. Sew the other three, leaving a 1-inch hem. Next, take the open side of the duvet, and fold down each side of the opening separately, iron, and sew a 3-inch hem. It must be clear that each side of the opening is hemmed, but they are not sewn together. The duvet should still be inside-out.

Next, to make the buttonholes on the opening end, measure in 3.5 inches from each edge and 1 inch from the top of the fabric, and pin the two openings together. Then from one pinned "buttonhole," measure across 19 inches and pin another buttonhole 1 inch from the top. Do this 3 more times, each time measuring 19 inches between each buttonhole, and make sure they are all 1 inch from the top. Ultimately, there will be a total of 6 buttonholes, each 19 inches apart, with the other two being 3.5 inches from the end. Now take the fabric pen, and mark both sides of the duvet at each pinpoint. Hold it up if necessary, and make sure that the marks for buttons and buttonholes are directly across from the other. When the places are marked, remove the pins, set your sewing machine to the buttonhole setting, and sew the six buttonholes on one side of the duvet at each place you marked. Make sure the buttonholes are the right size for your buttons. After each buttonhole is carefully sewn, slit them open with a seam ripper. Then move to the other side of the duvet and sew on 6 buttons exactly where you made your marks.

When the last button is sewn, turn the entire project inside out. Your work is done! Insert your king-sized comforter into the finished duvet, button up your buttons and give your bedroom a fresh, new look.

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