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DIY Linen Sheets - Easier Than You Might Think!

DIY Linen Sheets

by Katherine Tilton

I was privy to all the excitement around the arrival of the Pratesi linens here at There was some talk about using this wide fabric for making bed linens and I thought ‘oh sure’ — meaning ‘I don’t think so’.

These beautiful linens have been around for awhile on the website. Some sold out. Were re-ordered. I started noticing them; began touching the goods as I walked by — linen feels so lovely and softens so elegantly when washed and tossed in the dryer. Hmm…
Then came a time when I noticed my favorite sheets were wearing out and it was time find some new ones. Since avoidance was in the air for what I ‘should’ be working on in my studio, making sheets for myself seemed like a good idea. And it was.

All the measurements online for sheets were consistent. The top sheet seemed a good place to start, certainly straightforward and simple enough. It was.

Standard measurements for sheets:

  • A Twin flat sheet measures approx. 75" x 100"
  • A Full flat sheet measures approx. 85" x 100"
  • A Queen flat sheet measures approx. 90" x 106"
  • A King flat sheet measures approx. 108" x 106"

I chose the flax color in the 106” wide Pratesi linen.

Using the width of the fabric for the longest length of the sheet, I made the top sheet longer and wider by choice. A generous sheet is always appreciated and if it ever feels like too much it can easily be shortened. This Pratesi linen is so appealing and super easy to sew — must have something to do with over 100 years of making linens.

  • For the long sides and lower edge of the flat sheet added a 1” seam allowance, folded over twice for a 1/2” finished hem.
  • The top edge of the sheet has a 3-1/2” deep hem with the 1/2” selvedge tucked under.
  • The first 1/2” folds on all the hems were pressed in place, which made it simple to make the second fold as I stitched along.
  • My sheets fit a double bed. Check the measurements of your favorite sheets to fit to your bed.*

The fitted sheet presented a bit more of a challenge. Look at the fitted sheets you have.

  • I recommend washing and drying (in the dryer) the linen for the fitted sheet.
  • I used the basic techniques employed to make a commercial fitted sheet that I liked. This included a deep enough ‘pocket’ to completely wrap the mattress
  • Elastic in the corners to hold them in place
  • Elastic in the hem to keep things tidy.

‘Fit’ the mattress:

  • I measure and pinned, and measured again and pinned some more and finally stitched the corners at a right angle.
  • After this it occurred to me that putting the fabric on the actual mattress might be more efficient.
  • Just like fitting clothes on the body works so did fitting on the mattress.
  • Mattress ‘fitting’ is recommended.** Nothing like learning by doing!

Stitch the corners in place.

Corner elastic:

  • Stitch the corner elastic in place in the middle and ends on the short sides to hold.
  • Then stretch and sew down the long center using a zig-zag stitch.
  • Placement is approximately equidistant from the top and hem of the corner.

Hem elastic:

  • Stitch the hem elastic into a 1/2” folded over seam.
  • Catch the elastic with a wide zig-zag stitch to hold it and the hem in place.
  • Stretch and stitch the 1/4” elastic as the stitching happens.
  • I did not measure the elastic;
  • I stretched as I stitched, stretching more at the corners.

* Here’s how I figured out how much fabric was needed:
  • A commercial double/full flat sheet is 81” x 96”.
  • I used the 106” width for the 96” length. With 3” added for hems I used an 88” width for the flat sheet.
  • Both measurements include a bit extra for width and length. You are free to make it larger or smaller as desired.
    Double/full fitted sheet is 54” x 75” without the sides.
  • Measure the depth of your mattress and add at least 4” for tuck-under and hem.
  • I used 10 units for both sheets.
  • Pillowcases: 41” x 36” — 36” length includes 1/2” turn under and 3-1/2” foldover hem.

20/20 Hindsight Tips

  • My fitted sheet fit perfectly when I made it and has annoyingly shrunk since washing.
  • The top sheet can be made without washing first — and I recommend you add 3-5% to your measurements to allow for any shrinkage.
  • It is easier to sew the hems on the sheets when the linen has not been washed but well worth the effort to pre-shrink the linen for the fitted sheet.

At the time of writing, we offer 5 different linen and linen/rayon blend fabrics in wide widths that are perfect for sheets, curtains and clothing as shown below.

Flax Pratesi Linen 106" wide

White Pratesi Linen 106" wide

Ivory Pratesi Linen 106" wide

Pastel Pink Linen/Rayon blend, 112" wide, from Shabby Chic

Pastel Blue Linen/Rayon blend, 112" wide, from Shabby Chic

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© Marcy Tilton