DIY Linen Sheets — Easier Than You Might Think

DIY Linen Sheets — Easier Than You Might Think - Marcy Tilton Fabrics
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.

More Posts