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Crib Sheet Tutorial October 8, 2008

Filed under: free pattern,projects,thrifted — clothespin @ 9:21 am
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Rosie’s Crib Sheet Tutorial

by Jeannie

Finished crib sheet in Rosie's bed

After finding out that we were pregnant with our first baby, I began the long and fun process of collecting all of the things that a new human needs to survive. First on the list? A CRIB of course! Beyond the crib (which we found at a consignment sale, along with the crib mattress) a baby needs crib sheets. Happily, Rosie has a talented grandma who was more than happy to provide her with many of the essentials of baby survival – a quilt (with strict instructions to USE it), a few totally cute outfits and 4 crib sheets.

Rosie’s Grandma is a sewing kind of lady and back when I was a kid, money was tight and so, well, she sewed. Beyond making nearly all of our clothes that weren’t hand-me-downs, she also devised a pattern for a crib sheet. Back in the day, people actually made their own sheets for their big beds, too, and she adapted this pattern from one of those patterns.

The pattern is easy, suitable for a beginning sewer, and takes about 1 hour, or several days if you already have a baby who doesn’t like to sleep. Not that I know anything about that at all… What you will need for equipment is a basic sewing machine capable of doing zig-zag and straight stitches, an iron and ironing board and a few basic sewing things, like pins and scissors. For fabric, you can buy new fabric from any fabric store OR do the environmentally correct (and infinitely cheaper!) thing and repurpose an old grown up sized bed sheet. (Or even more fun, take one of your old childhood sheets and make your baby a sheet out of that!) Flannel sheets for a crib could be wonderful, too, especially for winter babies!

Fabric from the store generally runs anywhere from $2-8/yard… If you’re going to Hobby Lobby, Joanns or Michaels, make sure you use one of their nifty coupons to get 40% off the fabric price. Walmart has fabric too, but in general, it’s thinner and won’t make as nice of a sheet. Of course, the best thing to do if buying new fabric is to support locally owned fabric shops!

Used bed sheets, on the other hand, can be free (from your own closet) or about $1 per sheet. I find them at thrift stores and garage sales… One hint on thrifted sheets – If, like at my Salvation Army thrift store, they fold the sheets up and tape them shut with masking tape – un-tape them and check out the middle. I’ve found several sheets that looked nice and pretty folded up only to be pretty ookey in the middle. Check out the chart in the instructions to see about how many crib sheets you can get out of an adult sized sheet.

Either way, PLEASE be sure to pre-wash and dry your fabric before making this for your baby! Wash in hot water and dry on hot to make sure that it shrinks as much as it is going to and to eliminate any excess dyes or cooties that might harm the baby. Cooties especially from thrifted sheets because, well, you know what happens on sheets, just saying…


  • Fabric from store – 2 yards


thrifted sheet

  • 3 yards (1 package) of ¼ inch stretch elastic, part cotton part rubber

  • thread to match the fabric

  • cardboard to make pattern, about 12 inches square (an old pizza box works great!)

  • scissors, yard stick…


For Store bought fabric:

Fold fabric in half lengthwise. It doesn’t matter if the fabric is wrong or right sides together – either will work fine. Lay the fabric rectangle out flat on your cutting surface (in my case, my kitchen table). Make sure edges are aligned, the selvages should be on the long edges.

Cut the fabric on the end so that this edge is straight, forming a 90 degree angle with the long edge. I use my rotary cutter, ruler and mat, but you can also line it up with something you know is square, like the tiles on your kitchen floor, and cut it with regular fabric scissors.

Measure the fabric on the short side using a yard stick or tape measure and double this – this is the width of your fabric. Find the width of your fabric in the chart below and note the length given below it. This is how long you will cut your fabric.

* All measurements below are in inches!

width – of fabric





length – of fabric





square size





Measure the fabric to the length indicated and again, cut the fabric so that it is square. For example, if my fabric is 43 inches wide, I will cut my fabric to a length of 68 inches.

*** Using the chart, select the correct pattern size to cut out. To make the pattern, on your pizza box, draw a square of the appropriate size (8 inches for a 43 inch wide fabric), then add the triangles to the corners. The triangle should be 1.5 inches wide and 3.5 inches tall. Refer to the picture below for reference.

Cut out the paper pattern and place it on one corner of your rectangle of fabric with the wings of the pattern along the edges of the fabric. The folded edge of the fabric should be at the top and the two open corners at the bottom. Use a pen that writes on fabric (any pen will do, even a sharpie) and trace around your pattern. Repeat this process at the other end of the fabric rectangle.

Cut out both layers of fabric following the traced lines. Save this scrap fabric for later craftiness.

Unfold your fabric – it should look like this with the four corners missing.


To maximize the number of crib sheets that you can get out of one adult sheet, you’re going to have to do a bit of layout vizualizing. I personally have made a large pattern using the back side of wrapping paper, but newspaper will work just as well. Then, I laid it out on the sheet before doing any actual cutting. To make a newspaper pattern, tape together sheets of paper and then meaure out a rectangle 43 by 68 inches. The 43 inch wide size is probably the better size as it allows for more fabric to fold under the crib mattress after the sheet is made, but if it doesn’t fit, try the 41 inches out, it works just as well.

Cut out the newspaper rectangles and place on your sheet (which is probably on the floor) and manuever around until you can maximize the number of crib sheets cut out. As sheets do vary a bit in size, it’s hard to give for sure estimate but… the chart below should give you an idea of how many crib sheets you might get out of an adult sheet (and this is an estimate, I havn’t tried all of the sheet sizes). Also, if there is any particular design that you want centered on the crib sheet (or stains that need to be avoided), now is the time to do so, just be sure to keep the edges all straight with the grain (edge) of the fabric. You can then pin the pattern to the sheet and cut out along the edge.

fitted – standard size

number of crib sheets from fitted

flat – standard size

number of crib sheets from flat


39 x 75


66 x 96


Twin XL

39 x 80


66 x 102



54 x 75


81 x 96



60 x 80


90 x 102



76 x 80


108 x 102


Cal King

72 x 84


102 x 110


* Fitted sheets are cut open at the corners and laid flat before cutting into crib sheets.

Once you have your sheet fabric rectangle cut out, fold it in half lengthwise and then follow the directions starting at *** for store bought fabric. Any leftover sheet fabric can be made into fab sheet shopping bags!


To turn this flat fabric into a sheet, first we have to make the corners. Take one corner of your fabric rectangle and fold WRONG SIDES together, matching the points of the triangle, A to A, B to B.

This is what it should look like folded after matching the points.

Using a straight stitch, sew a scant ¼ inch seam.

Repeat on the remaining 3 corners making sure that they are all wrong sides together.

Turn the corners inside out and iron with your steam iron.

Again, sew the same seam, this time with a full ¼ inch seam – the fabric will now be right sides together. There should now be a seam without any raw edges – so no fraying of the fabric!

You should now have what looks like a fitted sheet, just lacking the elastic.

Next, iron the edge of the sheet ¼ inch up all around.

Fold the fabric edge over again and sew with a straight stitch all around – again, resulting in no raw edges. At the corners, don’t worry if it looks a bit wonky – the elastic that will go here will cover it up and no one will ever see or notice (or care!).

Measure on the long side from each corner 15 inches and place a stick pin at this point. It doesn’t have to be exact, just a rough idea. You should have 4 pins in the sheet, two on each long side with a space in the middle.

Set your sewing machine to zigzag and have the stitch be wide and long (how to do this will depend on your machine, check the owners manual if you don’t know). Take the elastic, place it on the inside of the sheet at the top of the seam and zigzag it back and forth about ½ inch at the point of one pin, with the elastic going towards a corner (and not towards the middle of a long side). This will anchor the elastic to the fabric.

Pull the elastic fairly tight, hold it along the seam edge and zigzag sew the elastic onto the fabric. The fabric will scrunch up behind the stitching.

Sew around the corner and to the next pin. Sew back and forth a couple of times to anchor this end. Cut your thread and elastic and repeat at the other end.

Place your new sheet on a crib mattress to check for fit – this is a picture of my sheet upside down on the mattress.

Now, cross your fingers, wiggle your nose and hop three times on your right foot while singing a sweet lullaby and place your baby onto its new fab sheet – you just might get her to sleep!

Like this pattern? Download a PDF version of the pattern crib-sheet-tutorial!

Creative Commons License

Rosie’s Crib Sheet Tutorial by Jeannie Jessup is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.


47 Responses to “Crib Sheet Tutorial”

  1. […] you have a baby shower coming up, check out her crib sheet tutorial for a very useful, unique […]

  2. Robin Says:

    Thank you for the tutorial! Your crib sheet is very cute. I may have to try this out for my boy. 🙂 I wonder how flannel would work…

  3. Shelly Says:

    I love this! Been wanting to know for a while how to do this–especially now that I’m going to be a first time grandma! This is great! Thanks for telling us the how-tos!

  4. […] Crib Sheet Tutorial: The pattern is easy, suitable for a beginning sewer and takes about 1 hour. […]

  5. Lydia Says:

    Hello, Thanks for the tutorial. I want to make a special design
    for my great grand baby.. The will surly help.

  6. Betsy Says:

    I have a pattern that is very similar to this. When I was making them my grandmother told me to make one sheet with the fitted corners and then make another and just fit the bottom corners. I did this when my little guy went into his toddler bed and it was great having a matching top and bottom sheet (his bed was just like his sister’s) but the top sheet stayed on. Also to answer the flannel question, it works great. We made some for our friend because her little one started to wet the bed during the winter months, years ago in our family we had a bed wetter and the doctor told us to use flannel sheets to keep the child warm and it worked. We made a set for the toddler bed and she hasn’t had a wet bed since.

  7. Maureen Says:

    Do you happen to know the name of the fabric pattern that you made this sheet from or could I get you to see if the selvage is still attached to see if the name is there? I have a friend that is having her first child and wants to match the border that is already in the room. This is the same pattern! Thank you!

  8. Gretchen Says:

    Thanks from Soroptimist International of Topeka Club. We used your information to make fitted crib sheets which were donated to the local Rescue Mission Shelter and the Battered Women’s shelter.

    I used my serger for entire project. Was first time I’d attached elastic using my serger!
    Was so glad to find your directions 🙂

  9. […] patterns i could use here and here, and there are also a few online tutorials like this one and this one. for a bumper pad, i think i could just order something like this from ikea and create a cover […]

  10. […] you have a baby shower coming up, check out her crib sheet tutorial for a very useful, unique […]

  11. […] or "how to make a changing table" here are a few links ehow: how to build a crib how to make fitted crib sheets most of the changing tables are sized for babies so google isn't that helpful hope this helped […]

  12. Montasaki Mama Says:

    Thank you so much for this site, it’s brilliant! Was able to convert a twin set of sheets into a toddler set without too much trouble at all. Your corners, in particular, are fab. The extra little angle at the end makes a big difference in fit, I think.

    I am a little confused as to why you think you can get 0 crib sheets out of a twin fitted. I got one, with room to spare. Once the corners of the twin fitted were sliced, I was left with a sheet that was essentially 64 x 94 with corners missing. The middle section of it, therefore was 64 x 75 which was ample room for a twin sheet using your 43 x 68 dimensions.

    I also made a flat and a fitted out of the twin flat sheet. I opted to put two corners on the bottom of the fitted sheet, so it stays on the bed. I took several inches off the length of the original, so it’s not super long when she pulls it up. I didn’t measure, but I think it was more like 43 x 60 that I started with, and put two corners on that.

    I also took the top decorative part of the twin sheet, cut it off, and the put it back on once I had made the flat sheet (since the flat and fitted came from the sideways version of the twin flat).

    Looks wonderful, and I’m totally thrilled (and kinda proud of myself, being a relative sewing newbie).

    Thank you again for your detailed fabulous instructions, I look forward to finding more awesome twin sheets on clearance and making toddler sets (I have 2 toddlers).

    You rock!

  13. […] the pillow made…I’m even working on a fitted and flat sheet thanks to this helpful tutorial. I never would have picked those colors! I went with what she's mentioned from catalogues and […]

  14. Angela Says:

    Thank you so much! I’m a very beginner sewer and just finished a fitted sheet using your pattern. It was fast and easy and the best part is that it fit the mattress!

  15. Callie Says:

    I used this tutorial and am pretty dissapointed. First of all I bought a flat twin sheet from target thinking I would be able to get 2 fitted sheets out of it based on your chart. Then, when I got home and had already washed it, etc. I realized that according to your measurements there was no way to cut two 43×68 pieces of material from the sheet. A little dissapointed but no big deal, the sheet was not that expensive. Then I cut out and sewed exactly based on the instructions and when I just went to put the crib sheet on my son’s standard crib mattress it was about 9 inches too long. So not only could I have gotten two out of the fabric if the measurements had not be so off but I now have to completely disassemble one whole side. Thanks anyway for the tutorial but anyone considering doing this, make sure you have the same extremely long matterss as the blogger before cutting and sewing.

    • Laura Adams Says:

      Her measurements are spot on…I’m wondering if you have an Ikea crib mattress? Some of their crib mattresses are shorter and wider than a standard one, to fir the cribs they carry that convert into toddler beds. It’s always best to measure your particular mattress and apply the techniques from there.

  16. Angela Says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the tutorial. I have twin boys that seem to dirty up sheets faster than diapers, lol, not quite sure how they manage it. I haven’t gotten around to sewing them yet, (as I just found this tutorial) but I am sure they will be awesome. I am planning on using their older brother’s leftover twin flats, but I do agree, one should always measure first, then cut. Saves a lot of work and time, not to mention frustration. 🙂

  17. sara Says:

    I am so happy with how my sheet worked out! Thank you! I have made a couple others and this is the easiest and looks best in the end. And you made it very easy to understand. :))) Thank you soooo much. Ill be making about 3 more for my little one.

  18. I don’t suppose I’ve never read anything like this before. So good to see someone with some authentic ideas on this subject. I really thank you for beginning it. This web site is something that’s wanted on the net, somebody with a little bit originality.

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  20. Mhairi Says:

    I love this. I use the above method for the top sheet. Make it a fitted sheet at one end and then wider than normal at the other. The fitted end goes down the bottom – obviously! And the other end has plenty of tuck in so that the baby can move without untucking the sheets.

  21. Dylan Shurtz Says:

    DISREGARD….. The software was asking me to create a folder in which to put the downloaded photos! duh…. so far so good…

  22. kdownie Says:

    I love the way that you do the corners! I have used other crib sheet tutorials for my daughter but always ended up having to “fix” the corners. Now that my new son needs crib sheets, I think this is going to be the perfect solution. Thank you!

  23. Rhonda Says:

    thank you, you were the first one on my search and this is just the instructions I was looking for.

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  31. Mimi Says:

    Was just wondering how deep your mattress is. I am making sheets for a mattress that is 52.5 X 28.5 X 6.2. Will your measurements fit this mattress?

  32. mandyelisabeth Says:

    How much of the 3 yards of elastic is used for one sheet… The whole 3 yards? I’m buying by the yard so just curious… Thx

  33. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
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    could we communicate?

  34. 5-htp Says:

    When I initially commented I clicked the
    “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now
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  36. Iris navarro Says:

    Looking for patterns all time

  37. Allison Says:

    What size was the crib mattress you had for these crib sheet measurements?

  38. F. Norton Says:

    Great tutorial. So easy and well worded. The sheet fits perfectly- nice and tight. I will certainly be using this for the other crib sheets I am going to make.

  39. Angela Says:

    Just wanted to write a quick note that I have been using this tutorial for 4 years and and working tonight on sheets for our 3rd child due in 4 weeks. I’ve passed the site along to many friends and am SO grateful for it!

  40. Alyssa Woodfill Says:

    Thank you so much for making the tutorial! It’s very simple and easy to follow. The way you do the corners is awesome! I am using this pattern for all the sheets I make for my nephew. Thanks!

  41. Carol Says:

    Hi I’m confused about how to make the pattern. Help!

  42. lisableu Says:

    To clarify, are we to cut the elastic in 2-1.5 yard pieces?

  43. Angela Says:

    Thank you for the great tutorial. Made the sheet making process so much easier with your clear instructions!

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