When we were expecting our daughter last year, we were on an extremely tight budget. I mean, there is a TON of stuff you have to buy that just really adds up! Some things, like a car seat, took budget priority, while other things (such as an actually cute crib sheet that doesn't have cartoon characters all over it) really had no place in the budget. Anyone else relate? Okay, well good news, friends. Crib sheets are crazy easy and cheap to make! If you have a couple of yards of cotton or flannel on hand that you love, you really could have this project done in an afternoon with about $5-$10 in supplies. And best of all, you have something that completely fits your own style. So go ahead, put on a good movie, and let's see if you can get this done before the credits roll.
-iron and ironing board
-2 yards of cotton fabric cut into a rectangle, 67" long and 45" wide. I just used plain white fabric— cheap and easier to paint! (If you get your fabric home and panic that it's quilting cotton and only 42" wide including the selvages, don't worry. I have a workaround for you below.)
-80" of skinny elastic (1/4" wide).
-semi-opaque textile paint. This is different from regular craft paint—when it dries, it is almost as soft as the fabric! It's not stiff like craft paints. We got ours here, but check your local fabric store to find it fast.
-foam, adhesive, and wood blocks for your stamps, although you can make stamps however you like! Elsie has a good stamping tutorial here.
Okay. First thing's first: I would recommend prewashing your cotton before you get started. You don't have to, but if you don't, you might want to allow a little extra length on your fabric piece in case of shrinkage. I'm definitely not speaking from experience; no way, not me. I've definitely never shrunk a sheet that I already made, and then it was suddenly too small. No sir. :)
We are now going to cut 8" x 8" squares out of all of our corners! And to those of you that have the 42" quilter's cotton, here is your workaround: Instead of 8" x 8" squares, cut 6" x 6" squares.
Here's an easier way to do this: Fold your whole rectangle in half, and then half again. Measure your square over the top piece where all the outer edges meet, and just cut once into all four layers. Make sense? The shape you should have after you cut your corner squares should look like this:
Lay your piece flat out in a large open area—you'll want to have something underneath your fabric, as the paint will soak through. I decided to use painter's tape to mark where I wanted my pattern so I could see it first and so it wouldn't bug me for years that two strawberries were too close together (any other crazies like me out there?). But if you're feeling confident, skip this step! Enjoy the freedom of not being a control freak!
I decided to make three strawberry stamps so the strawberries would look irregular! I really love how it turned out with the variations. I used a pen to poke holes in the foam so it would show up in the stamp. If you decide to do this, make sure you poke a bigger, deeper point than you need, as it will print smaller. Use this opportunity to take out a little aggression on that foam stamp.
I found that the best-looking strawberries were the ones that I used a paintbrush to paint onto the stamp thinly and then stamped down. They look a little more hand-painted and less globby, and the seeds in the strawberries show up best this way! After the strawberries are stamped, use a brush and hand-paint your leaves on top.
After your paint dries, turn the fabric onto the opposite side and iron your fabric to heat-set the paint. Now you're ready to sew!
First, let's take the corners: Fold the corners together, and pin. Do this to all four corners, and then sew each corner together. If you have a serger, first give yourself a high five for knowing how to use it, and then serge the edges. If you're just a regular gal like me, then we're going to sew our corners raw. It will fray in the wash, but not much at all.
Again, if you have a serger, now you can serge around the entire outside of the sheet, fold it down once about 1/2" wide, and iron it down, to create the casing for the elastic.
If you don't have a serger, you can either fold it down once 1/2" wide, iron it, and decide to sew it with raw edges, or you can fold it down once, and fold it over again for a more finished look. I've made sheets with both, and if you're curious, the edges will fray in the wash on the raw edges, but it doesn't fray very much. You could also put fray check on it, if you're worried. If you are sewing with the 42" quilter's cotton, you must sew your edges raw, as you won't have enough fabric to be able to fold your edges down twice.
Now that your edges are ironed down, let's use a couple pins to create start and stop points so you don't accidentally sew all the edges down and have no way to put the elastic in. :) Start at one pin, and sew your heart out until you reach the next pin.
To put the elastic through, pin one edge down at your opening, and then use a safety pin on the other end to string through your casing, all the way around. Once it's back out at the opening end, pin your two ends together, and use a zigzag stitch to sew them together.
Sew your casing opening down, and you're done! You just made a crib sheet. Go, you!
Even if you don't have any kids or you're not expecting babies any time soon, I think these crib sheets would be a great present for all of those baby showers you get invited to! If you decide to make some sheets, please share them with us! xo. Sarah