I made a duvet cover for my brother and my sister-in-law for their wedding gift (birds on branches).
The pictures labeled “process” illustrates the process I went through to get the image onto the fabric.
The picture labeled “product” shows a few details of the finished product: a duvet cover, fitted sheet, and pillow cases, inside tag with wedding date painted onto it.
For wedding duvet cover, the top fabric is a 4 yr old , used, 100% cotton bed sheet. I purchased a queen sized bed sheet set for my brother and his wife and simply used the top-flat sheet to create the other half of the envelope that is a duvet cover. So now they don’t get a top sheet but that’s ok, they’re overrated anyway and your feet get tangled in them!
1. Draw, print, create the image you would like to have on your duvet cover.
2. Draw a square grid over the design.
3. Find an old (or new if you can afford it) bed sheet (100% cotton) to transfer your design onto (pre-washed & pre-shrunk). Lay the bed sheet out flat on the floor (protect the floor underneath using some newsprint or plastic because you will be using fabric paint, which is water based, and can bleed through fabrics).
4. Draw a square grid over your bed sheet. I used a piece of light coloured chalk so it will wash off easily later (not visible in the photo). The grid I used for the drawing was 4 squares x 4 squares. So, to make my bed sheet grid, I divided the bed sheet into four equal (much larger) squares. In doing this, you can plan to recreate your design, one square at a time, which is not as intimidating as trying to tackle the entire design at once.
5. Using your small design as a reference, sketch your design in large format, one square at a time.
An alternative, to step 4 and 5, is using a projector (these can be bought at craft stores and department stores, or sometimes borrowed from schools). Place your design under the projector and it uses light and magnification to project the image larger onto a wall (which you could pin your bed sheet to) in order to trace the image. Another alternative would be a digital projector connected to a computer to project your image.
6. Once you are happy with your sketch, using a paint brush, paint over/fill in your design using fabric paint (available at most craft stores, art supply stores, some department stores). Silk screening ink will also work. Some of these paints are water based, which is nice because you can add a little water to them to thin them out (though most fabric paint labels will recommend you use another of their products to extend the paint, or thin it out).
*Warning: adding too much water will create a thin, runny consistency and will bleed through fabric more readily. Picture the streaking that happens when you have a stain on clothing, the fluid often will streak in the direction of the weave of the fabric. If you want crisp lines on your design, you don’t want it to bleed and streak in different directions. Test your paint on a scrap of fabric to see how it will adhere to the fabric.
Frugal tip: If you don’t want to pay craft-store/department store prices, acrylic craft paint can be used like fabric paint, but I’m told it doesn’t last as long. I was at the dollar store the other day and saw (beside the acrylic craft paint) tubes of stuff you add to the paint to make it suitable for fabric.
7. Allow paint to dry. Heat iron on high heat.
8. Most of the fabric paints or silk screening inks I have used recommend heating the design for 3-5 minutes on the underside and face. To do this, place a piece of paper over and under the image and iron over the paper in a circular motion on a flat surface, making sure not to stay in one place for too long (and create burn marks). I ironed mine on an ironing board, with a piece of craft paper above and under the sheet. I usually get bored and never do both sides. I have no complaints yet, it will probably shorten the life of my duvet cover image. Whatever, life is short! When in doubt, read the instructions on your product labels.
SEWING THE COVER
1. Once the design is heat treated, and has had time to cool, I like to put it in the wash again. It’s like test-driving it, making sure everything stays put. I would hate to give someone a pretty duvet cover and then have it disappear in the wash!
2. After the sheet is dry, find another flat bed sheet and lay the design sheet on top, face down. Pin the edges around the two sides and top to secure the fabric for sewing. Basically, it should now look like an oversized pillow case, with a design hiding inside.
3. Sew around the edges (leaving the bottom edge open). Once sewn, turn it right-side-out and voila, you have a duvet cover!
4. The bottom remains open for a blanket to slide in and out, but you can create closures. For this one I used ties. To make ties, cut strips of fabric as wide as your pinky finger from the bottom or top bed sheet before you sew them together (cut from an edge that will disappear from sight once the cover is finished). Sew the ties along their edges to make them look nicer, or do what I do-I cut the “finished” seam from one edge of the sheet before sandwiching them together and then just cut lengths of it for ties. No special sewing required. Attach ties to top and bottom sheets so they can be tied together, or come apart for removal of the inner blanket.
You can also sew button holes and use buttons, or sew in a zipper as a closure. I like the look of the ties, and they don’t cost extra. I am a lazy and frugal seamstress.
This project can be made using fabric bought from fabric stores or really any big square of fabric you can find, but I have found (after making a few of these) that bed sheets are easy to come by. They have finished edges already, they are available for purchase individually, you can up-cycle old ones or ask friends for theirs, which makes your project more cost effective and takes some of the work off your hands. After all, what better fabric to use for a blanket cover, than fabric that is already the shape of a bed?
But duvets are expensive, though I love the look of duvet covers, I can’t afford a duvet blanket.
I want to make a duvet for my friend, but he/she only has a regular comforter blanket.
Not a problem, any blanket can be slid into a duvet cover. You don’t need to be surrounded in costly down filled pockets to stay cozy (though it’s a treat). You can insert your current (typically poly-filled) comforter into a duvet cover. Don’t be afraid to make someone a “duvet cover”, who doesn’t own a “duvet blanket”. You can pile as many blankets as you want into a cover, and your bed will look just like the ones in the IKEA magazine advertisements!
*The Birch Tree Duvet Cover is made the same way, except first I laid down three vertical pieces of white fabric to be the trees (held on using black thread, zig-zag stitching), and then used fabric paint on the white fabric*