Tips for Using Bed Sheets as Fabric

A hand clutching bedsheets

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Bed sheets are an excellent source of extra wide fabric at a reasonable price. Box store websites are a great source for finding the measurements at the location you will be buying sheets. Sheets are also available in a wide variety of colors and prints that tend to work well for home decorating needs.

Because sheets are longer and wider than the bed measurements, many times you can use a twin sheet for a twin duvet cover since the sheet has extra length and width for tucking it in on the bed.

In one of my recent projects, I was able to make custom 33" long bed skirts for a dorm room twin extra long bed for under $15 each while the store offered a twin 13" long bed skirt for about $12 which was made out of the same sheet fabric.

If you have kids chances are you have twin sheets that have stains. Since nail polish and marker rarely wash out of sheets, use the area of the sheets without stains as fabric. Odds are only one of the sheets in a set have stains, use the other sheet as fabric for bedroom accessories such as pillows, bed skirts, and curtains. Sheets are an economical way to have curtains, a bed skirt and throw pillows all one color, allowing the comforter and accessories to add pizazz to the room.

Remember pillowcases as a fabric source. Pillowcases can easily become throw pillows and curtains or valences, and since you have a perfect color match, there is no need to fret about the color being off.

The thread count on sheets is a clue to the quality of the sheets. A five hundred thread count sheet is going to be better quality and be more durable than a two hundred thread count sheet. That is not saying that a 200 thread count sheet can't be used.

Sheets are available in a wide variety of colors and prints, which usually match many other home decorating or bedding items. If you have fabric you will be trying to match or pick up a color from, take a scrap of the fabric to the store with you.

Tips to Use Sheets as Fabric

  • Remove any hems you will not be using before preshrinking the sheets. Removing the top hem on a sheet will extend the length of the sheet by approximately 2". If the raw edges are prone to fraying, apply a seam finish before pre-shrinking. Note the turned under a section of a removed hem. I found that the turned under section varied from 1/4" to 1 1/2" on the same sheet. To keep the edge straight, as it was when hemmed, I trimmed off the turned under section on the fold line. I also found sheets that were perfectly evenly turned under and left that fabric intact.
  • Removing the stitching in sheets is a good time to experiment with how to use a seam ripper to remove stitches and observe sewing machine tension. On most sheets that I have removed stitching form, I found that the sewing machine tension had not been perfectly balanced which made it easier to remove the stitching from one side of the sheet rather than the other.
  • Always pre-shrink the sheets before using them as fabric.
  • Preshrinking also removes most needle marks/holes that may be present if you remove any unwanted stitching before you preshrink the sheets.
  • Press the sheets after the preshrinking process to remove all wrinkles.
  • Measure twice before cutting. Cutting long lengths of fabric can easily become off target. Take your time, marking and pinning as necessary to keep the "fabric" under control. Sheets come with hems in place on all edges. When I was making bed skirts, I choose to use the narrow hems, so I did not remove the narrow hems. I did remove the large top hem before pre-shrinking the sheets. Since the original top hem was sewn after the original side hems, this entailed removing a small section of the sides hem where the top hem intersected the side hem. If the raw edges are prone to fraying, apply a seam finish before pre-shrinking.