Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tutorial: Fleece Fitted Toddler (or Crib) Bed Sheet

Last year I made a fleece fitted sheet for Little Brother's toddler bed.
I wasn't sure how it would turn out long term, and I kind of made it up as I went along.  Sweet Pea has now inherited that bed and the sheet.

It's been my absolute favorite sheet for her bed because it NEVER comes off on it's own.  I decided it was time for her to have a newer one that would coordinate with the quilt she's getting for Christmas.  When I went back to my old post to get the directions on how I made it, I realized that I really should have given a few more details.

So this time around, I took enough pictures for a full tutorial.  I got the idea in the first place from Dana's post on MADE.  It's really hard to improve on one of Dana's tutorials, so you'll want to check hers out, especially if anything in mine is confusing to you.  I did something a little different with the elastic, though, since fleece is quite a bit thicker than the fabrics she was using, so I thought it would be worth writing a tutorial here.

2 yards of fleece
40 inches of 3/4 inch wide elastic
10 inches of 1/4 inch wide elastic
thread, sewing machine, pins, scissors, measuring tape...typical sewing stuff

Here's what you do:

I started by laying the mattress out over the fabric.  (I was able to use our extra mattress because the only time I can work on things like this is when Sweet Pea is occupying her mattress.)  If you don't have access to a crib mattress, that's fine, you'll just need to do some measuring.  I trimmed my fleece so I had a rectangle approximately 70 long by 44 inches wide.  I didn't even bother to trim the salvage on one side, because it was so narrow for this fleece, but you may need to trim off salvage if yours is wide.

Then I cut 8 inch squares out of each corner.  This time I followed the lines on the fabric, but otherwise you can measure it.

Next I pinned each of the corners, with the right sides (the side you want to be up) together.

Then sewed them on my machine with a 5/8 inch seam allowance.

If you end up with something wonky like this (like I did...because those squares in the plaid aren't really squares then just trim them a bit...It won't affect your finished sheet at all.

Next, fold your raw edges under once to make your hem.  Fleece doesn't fray, so you won't need to double fold it, but this will keep the edges from getting stretched out over time.  I didn't bother measuring to make sure the hem was exactly even because it really won't show, but mine was about 1/2 an inch.


Next cut 4 10 inch pieces of 3/4 inch wide elastic.  These will go around your corners to help it hold onto the mattress.  Then mark the middle of the elastic with a pen or pencil.

Measure 10 inches out from each corner seam in both directions.  I just used a regular ball point pen because this is not going to show when we're done.

Pin each piece of elastic, so that the middle of the elastic lines up with each corner seam and the ends of the elastic line up with the marks you made.  You should end up with something that looks like this.
Now we're going to sew the elastic.  I start at one end and do a little straight stitching back and forth to secure the thread.  This is super important because this thread is going to have some strain on from the elastic and will pull out if not secured.

Then I set my dial to my biggest zigzag stitch.  Using a zigzag stitch allows the seam to stretch with the elastic and fleece.

As we sew now, we need to stretch the elastic until it's the same length as that part of the fabric.  Usually when I do this, I have to use my other hand to help the machine pull the fabric under the foot (but I had to use that hand to take the picture.)  This will allow the sheet to gather evenly along the elastic.  If you need to let go of the elastic to reposition things, make sure the needle is down through the fabric first, otherwise, the fabric may slip under the foot.

If you stop somewhere as you're sewing it will look something like this.  Just stretch the elastic back out to start sewing again...making sure that needle is through the fabric first.

When you get to the end, switch back to a straight stitch and go back and forth a few times to secure the thread.  Your elastic should look something like this.
Then I measured 2 5-inch pieces of 1/4 inch elastic.  This is just to help the top and bottom of the sheet from stretching out.  (Fleece stretches in one direction and the way the sheet is cut out, the sheet can stretch from side to side.  This just helps hold everything in more tightly.)
Pin this elastic to the open space between the corner should be about 8 inches wide.  Pin at the ends.
Sew the same way we sewed the wider elastic, securing the thread at each end.
It should now look something like this.

And you're ready to try it out on your mattress.

And now it's ready for the bed or to be wrapped and put under the tree.  Your little one will love how soft it is...and you will love that it won't come off their mattress all the time.

And if you're looking for some other things to do with fleece, you might be interested in making a fleece throw.  I've got an easy tutorials for making them with braided edges, instead of uncomfortable knots.

Here's the single layer version...
Or the double layer version...


  1. Wow - even cozier than flannel sheets. I'll bet the kids love them on chilly nights.

  2. Wow!!! Thank you for this!!!

  3. I wish I would have seen this a few years ago. I hated those sheets that would never stay on. And that looks so soft and snuggly and warm, too.

  4. What a great tutorial! I think I may have to whip one up for my little guy, who wouldn't want to snuggle up on a cozy fleece sheet? I'd be thrilled if you came to link this up to the Head to Head Showdown, going on right now at ~Jen

  5. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing your tutorial!

  6. This tutorial was great. Thank you. But I do have a question. My finished sheet was way too loose. So, I was wondering: Did you pull the fleece really tightly in the first step, before you cut it to the 70x44 size? I wonder if I should cut my fleece shorter/less wide? Thanks!

  7. Lori - I smoothed the fleece out on the carpet, but didn't pull it at all. You might have cut your corner squares out smaller (which would make a bigger sheet) or used too much elastic. If it's too loose, you could try adding elastic to the other two sides to help pull it in or replace some of your elastic with shorter pieces (which will pull it tighter). Hopefully that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Thanks, Polly :)

  8. hmmm... i wonder if i can alter this. my kids are out of toddler beds now. they're in twin size beds. but i'm terrible with measurements. lol! this is a great idea, though! i may have to try it! :)


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