Duvet covers are a very practical item in the bedroom. They protect the larger (and more expensive) duvets from stains and the like, and duvet covers are easily removed from the duvet for washing at home. In short, duvet covers are key in setting the stage for the bedroom’s color palette and/or overall style.
This tutorial will walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to sew your own duvet cover out of two flat sheets. It couldn’t be easier, really. If you know how to sew a straight line, you can sew this duvet cover. One with French seams, no less.
DIY Level: Moderate (you know how to use a sewing machine)
- Old duvet (example uses a queen)
- Two flat sheets in the same size as your duvet (example also uses queen)
- Matching/coordinating thread
- About 5” of sew-on velcro (not shown)
- Five 10” strips of fabric tape, not necessarily matching (not shown)
Begin by cutting five 10” strips of fabric tape. This will be important in keeping the duvet in place inside the duvet cover. It’s a simple solution I wish I had known much, much earlier in life.
Lay one flat sheet down on your floor with the right side facing down.
Double check the size of your sheet with the size of your duvet. Note any differences; you can trim the sheets now or simply take the differences into account when you sew the top of your duvet cover. There shouldn’t be that large a discrepancy, though, if you are using sheets and duvets that are slated as the same size.
Lay your second flat sheet on top of the first, wrong sides together (right sides out). I know this seems counter-intuitive, but it’s the way we will sew our French seams. French seams are seams tucked inside themselves. They provide a beautiful and practical finishing element to sewn pieces that will require regular laundering, as fraying will be minimized or avoided altogether.
Depending on the excess length of your sheet, place a folded fabric tape that much down from the top edge of your sheet. In other words, since this sheet is 1-1/2” longer than the duvet length, I placed the folded fabric tape down 1-1/2” from the top end. Align the fabric tape’s fold with the sheet side.
Replace the corner of the second (top) sheet down over the folded fabric tape. The fabric tape should be sandwiched between the wrong sides of the sheets; right sides are facing out. Pinch the tape to hold it in place, and move to your sewing machine.
Sew a small (1/4”) seam, beginning at the top end of your sheets, all the way down the side. Remember, you’re sewing with the right sides of your fabric facing out (which is opposite of how you’ve probably ever sewn before).
When you get to the bottom corner of your sheets, fold a second fabric tape in half, and align it in the bottom corner. Sew into place. Continue on along the bottom of your sheets, sewing more fabric tapes in at the following positions: middle bottom, other bottom corner, other top corner. Maintain a 1/4″ seam.
When all three sides (well, two sides and the bottom) are sewn up, turn your sheets wrong side out. The fabric tapes will be visible now.
Reposition your top corner under your sewing machine foot, and begin to sew a new 1/2” to 5/8” seam all the way around the two sides and bottom of your sheets. The important part about this seam is that it falls outside the edges of your first seam, which you’ll be able to feel underneath your fingers as you sew.
When you finish, you should have a lovely-looking wrong side of your sheets. Notice how the French seam tucks away all unfinished parts of your sheet? It just looks polished.
Keeping your (quite nice-looking) wrong sides out, it’s time to partially sew up the top seam. You’ll want to leave a bit of a gap along the top of your duvet cover, but you don’t need to leave the whole thing open. Sew in from one side seam, along the top, about 18”-24”.
This top seam should be as wide as your measurements allow. This example maintained a top seam of about 1” to 1-1/2”, because that was the amount of extra length the sheets had in comparison to the duvet itself.
Here is one side of the top seam, about 18” in length. Repeat this process on the other side of the top of the sheets.
You should end up with seams on all four sides of your duvet cover, the only exception being a gap in the center of the top end.
You can either use the fabric tape on all your corners and the bottom center of your duvet cover to tie the corners of the duvet, or you can sew additional fabric tape or ribbon onto the corresponding places on your duvet. This example did the latter, since the duvet used here was old.
Aligning the bottom end of the duvet with the bottom end of the duvet cover, tie the corresponding bottom corner fabric tapes together.
(Note: This photo doesn’t show the bottom-center fabric tapes, because they were added in afterward.)
Access the top end of your duvet cover, and open it up. Reach your arms into the opening, each arm aimed at one of the bottom corners.
When your hands reach their corresponding bottom corners, pinch the attached corner of the duvet with your fingers.
Keep holding onto the duvet as you pull your arms out through the opening. This turns the duvet cover right side out, like magic.
Now it’s time to attach the top corners of the duvet with the duvet cover. Tie the correlating fabric tapes together.
Push the now-tied duvet into the duvet cover corner.
Push out and square the duvet cover fabric in each top corner, making sure the duvet itself fits nicely into the corner.
Now it’s time to close up the opening on the top end. Of course, you’ll want to be able to easily access the duvet at any time, so velcro is the way to go with this. Take one set of sew-on velcro (you should have three or four total, each about 1-1/2” long).
Place one side of the velcro on the right side of your duvet cover, about 12” in from where the opening starts on the side.
Sew the velcro into place (remember, you’re sewing it on the right side, right next to the edge of the sheet), taking care to keep the seams only on the outer edge to maximize the velcro-ish-ness.
Carefully align the other part of the velcro on the opposite side of the opening (attach this one to the right side of the fabric as well). Sew into place. Repeat for other two or three sets of velcro strips, all the way along the top opening.
Close up the velcro strips, which in turn closes up the duvet cover opening.
You’ll be folding the right sides in as you close the velcro, which maintains the look of those 18” seam lines that you started on each side of the top end.
Place your freshly covered duvet on your bed, with the “top” of the duvet cover at the foot of your bed and the solid-seamed “bottom” next to your pillows.
It’s a pretty quick and simple project, and it completely transforms the look of the bedroom.
This neutral bedroom was in desperate need of a springy pop of color, and a coral duvet color fit the bill.
Of course, you could always do some hand-sewn details (learn how to sew different hand stitches) along your new duvet cover if you are so inclined. That would be lovely.
It’s interesting how a simple change like this duvet cover can have a domino effect on styling the entire space. That’s one of the perks of DIY – it makes a space better, both directly and indirectly.
I thoroughly hope you enjoy this fast and easy project, and that your duvet cover brings a fresh new look into your space for the upcoming season. Happy DIYing!