After a month of looking for a duvet cover that would match our new grey-walled, melon-curtained room, and zero luck, I decided to look a little more into the idea of making my own. After a successful fabric-finding mission to JoAnn Fabrics, I decided to just go for it.
My design below is for a king-size duvet comforter that I purchased at Ikea (here), it is an 86″ x 102″ duvet. Most king-sized duvet covers should fit the dimensions below, but you should double check on your sizing once you have found the actual duvet that you will be covering.
Your Duvet Shopping List
Assuming you already own a sewing machine and all of the basic notions needed to use it, this is what you will likely need for your duvet, depending on your preferences:
- Fabric – more then enough to cover the size duvet you own
- Thread – make sure it matches your fabric; rule of thumb is to use the darker shade if you have two different colors bordering (there are exceptions, use your judgement)
- Snaps, a zipper, or closure of choice for the opening of your duvet
- Flat sheet – for the back panel of your duvet cover (optional)
- Other decorative notions (feeling jazzy? You can try tassels on the corners…)
The Beginning – Before You Even Look at Your Sewing Machine
- Wash your fabrics
Because if you don’t, you fabrics may shift once the final product is sewn together, during their first wash. Use fabric softener and a nice dryer sheet so they’ll come out soft.
- Map out your pattern
If you plan to have more than just two giant swatches of fabric to sew together you will need to map out the pattern, accounting for seams, so cut them perfectly.
- Cut your fabrics
Again, only applicable if you are using more than one fabric on a given side (likely in most cases), cut all of your panels, shapes, etc. before you start sewing any of the pieces to ensure you have enough fabric, and it is all in the right shape and size.
Hack: If you are using cotton/cotton blend fabrics, and are familiar and/or brave enough…Your fabric cutting will be much quicker and more accurate if you rip it instead of cutting. The fabric will rip along a seam perfectly (pictured left) as opposed to cutting it free-hand with shears, which is not a guarantee. If you have a tool at home that helps you cut straight that is a great aid as well. If you choose to rip the fabric be sure to leave a quarter-inch or so extra to account for the very normal fraying of the edges.
- Iron your pieces
The pieces are going to be worlds easier to sew, and with far greater accuracy, if they are all ironed before pinning (pictured left).
- Pinning your fabrics
Before you get the fabrics under the needle it is important to make sure you have them perfectly in place. That way when it’s time to sew the pieces together they won’t shift and you won’t need to worry about if you are sewing it in the right place.
Sewing It All Together
- Thread your bobbins
Fill up all of the bobbins you need to, at least one for each color fabric you are working with, most likely. Don’t be shy either, even if you are only making a full-sized duvet that is a lot of fabric to sew.
- Check your machine settings
This step is the catch-all for your particular setup/machine, be sure all of the right settings are locked in before you get sewing.
- Sew your panels/pieces together, one stitch at a time
Pro Tip: Sew as many smaller pieces together as you can before adding them to the bigger pieces. For example, I had 9 total panels and sewed the first 8 panels together one-to-one before adding them together, instead of sewing all of them in a straight line and you’re trying to manager 5, 6, 7, 8 panels together with every stitch. This allowed me to just sew one-to-one 4 times, and then from there I only had 4 more stitches and the front design was totally sewn together. The less fabric that you are trying to manage on the side of the machine the better.
- Iron your seams
As with any other seam, you want to iron it from the inside so that the outside will lay as flat as possible. This is the best way not only because it will yield the most appealing aesthetic for your finished product, but also in case of any sort of iron mishaps.You’d much rather have a small burn mark on the inside of your duvet where no one will see it, right?
You can do this after all of your panels are on or as you go, dealers choice.
Sewing the Front to the Back
My most mind-blowing hack: using a flat sheet for the back side of your duvet.
Unless you plan to make a custom pattern on both sides of your duvet, a very easy backside idea is to buy a simple, single-colored flat sheet of the size bed you are covering, and cut that to fit the back of your duvet. This is particularly great because most sizes of duvets will be bigger than the bolts of fabric will be wide, so you will have to sew multiple pieces together, otherwise.
For mine, I went with a king-sized flat white sheet from Target (less than $20).
- Measure and cut/rip the back panel
If you go the route of a flat sheet, more than likely it will be cotton of sorts, and is also subject to the ripping concept. I did this with my back panel and it turned out fantastic, taking all of 5 minutes, including measuring, to get to the size I needed it to be.
- Pin the front to the back, take final measurements
Self-explanatory, get those pieces together and do a final measure before taking it to the machine.
Pro Tip: Check your bobbin thread often! You are sewing a great deal of fabric and don’t want to run out without realizing it, causing yourself double work.
- Make sure you leave an opening at the bottom!
Nothing would kill your buzz more than sewing the panels completely together, not leaving any way for you to insert the duvet when you’re done. On my king-size duvet I left a 38″ opening, which was 37% (approx. 1/3) of the bottom edge’s width. I modeled this completely off of the duvet cover I already had as it works well, but you can take that 37% (approx. 1/3) rule of thumb to any width duvet cover that you would like.
Pro Tip: While you’re leaving that bottom opening, be sure there is a healthy amount of seam for the snaps/buttons/etc. to be attached (1.5″ at least, I recommend, if you have more you can do a double fold-over to keep it even cleaner).
- Adding your closure and finishing the seam
I chose to use 4 snaps as my closure in the 38″ opening, again, as that is what I know, and know works. I also know people have used zippers, fabric as ties, ribbon, maybe even hook-and-eye etc. so pick your preference, measure, and attach. Be sure to add a clean, straight stitch to your bottom edge’s seam. You will of course be able to see it when you are opening/closing the duvet, and it may even be noticeable at a glance by your guests if it is not finished neatly.
The Finish Line
Flip the duvet right-side-out to see your finished product! Check for any open seams, unfinished stitches, tears, etc. If everything went according to plany, poke your corners out, insert your duvet comforter and enjoy your hard work!
Before and After
Tips, Tricks, Hacks
- JoAnn Fabrics always has coupons on their website – never pay full price!
- Keep an eye out for sales on notions, threads, etc.
- Get your sheet at Target if applicable, save 5% with your RedCard
Total Timeline of Project: 1 week
Total Cost of Project: ~$95*
*estimate based on amount of fabric actually used, not purchased
Let me know if you make your own duvet with #foodwinediy – I would love to see some more homemade duvet covers for decorating inspiration!