Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bassinet sheet, envelope style

As promised, I am finally posting about the bassinet sheet I made.  I posted 2 weeks ago about how to make a fitted sheet style cover, but I wanted to explain the "other" style that I made that more closely mimicked the sheet that came with the bassinet (the instructions below will make you an Arm's Reach Mini Cosleeper Bassinet sheet, sold at target for $15 each... for an ugly tan one.).  While there is nothing wrong with the fitted sheet style, I kind of wanted to do this just to prove I could. I could. :-)

For starters, I don't really know when I would recommend this over the fitted sheet style, unless you have a really thin or flexible mattress or pad that you need to cover, or you need something that doesn't gather on the bottom.  Gathered fabric can create unwanted bulk.  This style ends up more like an envelope, hugging the edges, rather than a bag that wraps itself around the mattress.  Thus, you would get less distortion of the pad/item if it is really easily pulled out of shape, and a lot less bulk on the bottom.  However, since it is like an envelope, just as with the mail, anything too thick will not fit well.  Think of that 20 page letter you wrote your long distance boyfriend that one time and tried to cram into the standard envelope size... it gets all bulgy and wont fit.  Not to mention the post office wont mail it since its too heavy and the boy wont read it because he is totally over your obsessive correspondence.  Ok, maybe that was just me. :-)

This design is really simple, although it is a little more complex to conceptualize than the fitted sheet style.  I actually think it is LESS work, but it does take a little figuring out, and it requires a little more fabric.

To begin, cut two pieces of fabric the same size as the top of the mattress, plus a little for finishing the edges (5/8" is standard for seam allowances, but adding an inch to each measurement is much easier than 1 1/4", then just use a 1/2" seam allowance.)  For the Arm's Reach Mini Cosleeper (my project) I used a piece 34"x20".

Take one piece and fold it in quarters.  Next, we will cut a rounded rectangle out of the middle of it.  You should leave a few inches (I did 3" for my project) at the top and at the side, then just draw a nice curved line between them.  Keep the lines on the sides straight until you reach the corner, though, so that it stays a rounded rectangle and not a lopsided oval.  You will need to leave a little extra to finish the inside edge, but 1/4" is plenty.  In fact, if you have too much, it will be difficult to get the cover on, so keep it reasonable and don't overthink too much.  Keep in mind, you should be cutting from folded edge to folded edge, not cutting through the raw edges.  This will give you a "donut" shape when you are done.

Google drawings are so much better than paint!  Go hubby!

Open the rectangle back out, and finish the inside edge, either with a narrow hem or with a serger (serging is much easier, but be careful on the curves.  It can be easy to miss the fabric with the stitching so keep an eye on it.)  Next, sew the whole rectangle and the donut rectangle together along the outside edge, with right sides together.  Again, I used a serger, but you can just make two lines of stitching, one on the seam allowance and one about 1/4" closer to the raw edge.  Then trim the seam allowance close to the stitching.  Your basic shape is now there!  Its that simple!

I ran a little elastic around the curved parts to make it fit more snugly.  As with the other style mattress cover, just use your judgement on the amount of elastic needed.  I took an approximate measurement of the curve, reduced the measurement by 1/3, and cut the elastic.  To add the elastic, pin the ends to the wrong side of the fabric.  Find the center of the elastic and the center of the curve.  Pin the centers together.  You can continue to find centers and match them as you desire, but you shouldn't need more than 5 pins.

5 pins is all you should need to make sure the fullness is distributed evenly over the elastic.

As you stitch, stretch the elastic to fit the curve.  Repeat this for the other end, and voila!  You have a cover!

Put the needle down to hold the fabric and elastic in place before you stretch it or it will pop out from under the presser foot!
Pull the elastic taut as you stitch to make sure you are keeping the fullness evenly distributed.
after stitching
Finished item!

I want to again stress that this wont work for standard depth mattresses as this design does not account for depth in its measurements.  I wouldn't recommend trying to use it for anything thicker than about 1 1/2"-2" deep.  It will end up ill-fitting and hard to get on.  However, the bassinet mattress and changing table pad are only about an inch thick, so this is really perfect.  I plan to make a bassinet mattress pad like this to make it a little softer for baby, too.  This design is ideal for covering without adding any bulk.  If you notice, the sides and back of the cover are really streamlined and there is no gathering or bunching like there is for the fitted sheet style cover.  Although its a little trickier to get on, the lack of bulk could be a big win.

Bottom line:
1 yard of fabric @ $5/yd = $5
scrap elastic = negligible

Time estimate = less than an hour

Retail cost = $15
Total cost to make = $5

Savings = $10  YAY!

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