Tutorial :: Baby cot sheets

19:48 usefulbox 11 Comments

We bought a cot last weekend along with the change table &, in advance, the high chair.  All from Ikea.  I don't really understand why people spend so much on cots when this one is fine.  Having said that though, when we took it out of the box in our excitement to put it up, it needed some sanding.

I wasn't much good at the sanding part so I stuck to what I am good at.  My contribution to this was the making of the cot sheets.  Here's another thing I don't understand, why I should pay too much when I can whip it up.  I guess that the plus of being able & willing to sew! I bought this starry sheeting from Spotlight for $10 for 2m at 240cm wide.  I had hoped to get 3 sheets out of it but I only got two plus some spare material to make bloomers or swaddles.

I had tried in my head to work out how to make them but after looking online, there were some much easier ways!  Here is my step by step guide to making baby cot fitted sheets.



Enough fabric to fit around the mattress (see calculations below)
Cotton to match fabric
Elastic, 6mm to 1cm thick, depending on your preference or what you have in your useful box
Iron, Fabric scissors & your trusty machine

Time to make up

New sewers - 2 hours
Intermediate to advanced sewers - 1 hour


This is a bit tricky but makes sense once you get going. Basically your sheet needs to fit across, around & have enough at the back to hold. 

My mattress was 120cm h x 60cm w x 10cm d.  Time for some maths! Add twice the depth to both sides & top & bottom.  Therefore my finished sheet was 160cm h x 100cm w.  Plus I then added on 5cm of Seam Allowance all around.  Making the final measurement 165cm h x 105cm w. 

This pic might make better sense!

Cutting out

So you have your sheeting piece laid out, hopefully all flat & the selvedges meet up perfectly.  Measure out your final sizing including seam allowance (165cm x 105cm) & cut out.  I folded over a couple of layers to make it faster to cut out (& because I could't get down on my hands & knees to cut out on the floor!)

Fold your final cut sized pieces in half (just to make things quicker).  In each corner, measure out squares that we will need to cut out.  To be precise, these are the squares which measure double the depth of the mattress.  So in my case I am cutting out squares of 20cm. 

Next we take up the corners & with right sides together, join up the right angle.  Stitch at 1.2cm seam allowance.  It's better to sew from the point to the edge of the fabric.

If you have an overlocker (boy, do I miss my overlocker!), you'll need to zig zag down the edge of the fabric so it doesn't fray. Press. Repeat for all corners. 

Next is the hot work...With the wrong side of the fabric facing you, begin at a corner seam & fold over 2.5cm or 1 inch.  This equates to half of your overall seam allowance around the sheet. I find that pressing with a hot iron as I go the easiest.  Work your way around the sheet. 

Once you have worked a nice pressed inch (or your nominated seam allowance) right the way around the cot sheet, it's time to start making a nice hem.  Simply turn the hem edge back under itself to the pressed line.  Press again. 

You'll end up with something like this...a nice pressed edge ready to be hemmed. 

NOTE: if you have an overlocker, you can skip a step here.  Simply overlock all the edges & then press & turn the hem over once & stitch. You lucky thing!

Now it's time to sew up & right the way around the sheet.  I lined up the edge with a marking on my base plate of the machine & just whizzed around on a straight stitch. 

Once you've finished the hem (wasn't that fun!), now it's time for the fun part & adding in the elastic.  There isn't any mathematical reason as to why I choose 20cm to cut my pieces of elastic.  It just seemed like a logical size considering the squares I cut out in each corner.  So I snipped up 4 pieces of 6mm elastic at 20cm. 

The basic rule of sewing elastic is that you need to stretch it as you sew over the area that needs to be gathered or stretchy. So I pinned an end of the elastic 20cm from each direction of the corner seam.  This making my 20cm elastic stretch over a 40cm area. 

The 'slack' should look like this. 

Now time for sewing, place your machine on a zig zag stitch that is roughly the same width as your elastic. 

Now carefully, place one end of the elastic under the foot & press down.  Use the hand wheel to secure a few first stitches (take your pin out so that it doesn't snap under the pin!).  

Now, you'll need to use both hands to stretch the elastic flat against the sheet while making sure it doesn't snap back behind the needle.  i.e: the 20cm elastic should lay flat against the 40cm of fabric.  This cause some pressure on the machine & foot so you'll need to be vigilant. Always remember to do a few stitches in reverse to secure the ends of the thread.  Behind the needle, you should have a nice gathered corner! Repeat on all corners.

Now it's time to tell if it fits...stretch onto the mattress.  Voila! 

This technique is not just for baby cots, we can employ the exact same instructions on any mattress.  I actually think I may make all our sheets from now on...at least for the baby for now anyway.


Good luck & let me know how you go!


Anita said...

Wow! I never thought making fitted sheets was this easy. Or at least you make it look easy. :-) I gotta try this one day when I get time. One day... :-D

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Anonymous said...

Thankyou so much. You have made a new sewer very happy because I had no idea how to sew
and can now make sheets! Yay!

sewing nanna said...

Very good and useful tutorial that I was able to follow. One thing that did kind of confuse me and might confuse new sewers was where you said you added an extra 5cm all round for seam allowance. Going by the figures you supplied shouldn't the sheet area to be cut then show as 170cm length x 110cm, as length is 120+20+20+5+5 and same with the width = 60+20+20+5+5. Whereas your figures show 165 x 105, which would only give a seam allowance of 2.5cm all around. Or am I reading it completely wrong?

Thanks soo much for your easy to follow instructions. I have spent a lot of time trying a method of my own (basically, I didn't really know the hell I was doing)and your way makes it all so much easier. And with less elastic just in the corners not all the way around as I did it. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Great instructions,thank-you, but just wondering if your cot is a typical size cot as I made these for my grandsons cot & they are way too small.

Anonymous said...

Great success, thank you!

Anonymous said...

I used the same measurement principal for my cot and it was WAY too small and now I have wasted 1.5m of fabric at $17m :(

Anonymous said...

Did the same and as you...way too small for cot. Will teach me to measure first. lol

Anonymous said...

I just followed your instructions to make a new cover for a nappy change mat in a change table and it was very simple. Thanks for your easy to follow instructions & your photos are a big help too. Thanks so much

Sharna said...

Thank you! Finally gave this a go today, took 2 hrs but I think I have done it!! Just got to wait for DD to get out of bed so I can try them on her cot!! Easy to follow, great pictures, very awesome!