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The biggest item in most bedrooms is the bed, therefore, it ranks as the star-of-the-show in most room makeovers. Our pretty duvet is made up of a dozen different cuts from seven fabric designers, but they’re cleverly sized into just three simple patchwork panels. This is a great exercise in how to mix and match fabric collections for a fun and vibrant result. We also added a pop of fleece for a texture twist. For more tips on balancing color, pattern and scale, take a read through our fabric blending tutorial. Full diagrams are included below to convert the duvet from its original king size version into a queen or twin. 

Even if you’re just working with the twin size, you’ll be manipulating a lot of fabric during this project! Working on the floor may be your best bet. Make sure the surface is nice and clean, and you’ll probably need to move furniture out of the way. When you’re done with the duvet, maybe you can have a square dance!

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Extra long metal ruler
  • Clamps to secure fabric (optional but helpful for large projects)
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat (or hard surface that’s safe to cut on)
  • Straight pins

Fabric notes:

  1. You’re going to have to do a little bit of your own math and fabric-figurin’ for this project, because the cuts vary based on the size of your bed. Don’t panic. We understand how math story problems can hurt your head (we still have nightmares about those two trains leaving the station), so we did three cutting plans below to show you how our patchwork design works on a king (the bed in our sample), a queen or full, and a twin.
  2. The diagrams show both FINISHED sizes and CUT sizes. Make sure you use the CUT size when you do your fabric planning as it accounts for the ½” seam allowance on all four sides of each fabric cut (yes, we used a ½” seam allowance rather than a ¼” seam allowance to account for frequent laundering).
  3. We also show you a cutting plan for the how we did the back of our king duvet. We added the fun patchwork center panel to make the best use of our standard 45″ width fabric. Rather than piece together three plain pieces to get our finished with, we used two pieces at full width and made up the balance with a patchwork strip of scrap fabrics from the front.
  4. If you’re making a queen or twin, you don’t have the width issue. Two cuts with a simple center seam and you’re in business, but you can certainly add this decorative feature. Simply decide the width you’d like your finished strip to be, then see what scraps you can piece together to fit.
  5. We’ve identified our original fabric cuts below.
    Click to Enlarge
  6. As you plan your yardage, it’s helpful to do a little pencil sketch (you can erase pencil.) Draw a rectangle to represent your flat piece of fabric: label the width (selvedge to selvedge). For most quilting cottons this will be 44-45″.
  7. The length varies, depending on the amount of yardage you buy. You’ll work in increments of 9″ or 18″ (¼ yard or ½ yard; some online fabric retailers have a ½ yard minimum, most local stores will cut down to ¼ yard). One yard (36″) is a good starting point for length. Sketch your various pieces inside the drawn rectangle, seeing how many you can fit in the least amount of space.
  8. If you have any directional prints (like the butterflies in our sample), keep in mind which fabrics are on the top and bottom, and be sure sketch out the direction of your squares so the print is running the right way.
    Click to Enlarge
    Click to Enlarge
    Click to Enlarge
    Click to Enlarge

Getting Started

  1. Since our sample was done for a king bed, this is the size we’ll be referring to throughout our instructions.
  2. As with any project that will be frequently laundered, remember to pre-wash all your fabric!

Duvet front:

  1. Plan your fabric layout and make all your cuts, using the tips and diagrams above. Remember, our diagrams show FINISHED and CUT sizes; make sure you use the CUT sizes when you plan.

Duvet back:

  1. King: you need 5¼ yards of 45″ width fabric plus your 13″ wide scraps for the center strip
  2. Queen/full: you need 5¼ yards to cover the whole back, center strip is optional
  3. Twin: you need 4¾ yards to cover the whole back, center strip is optional

Duvet binding strips and ties:

WOF = Width of Fabric

  1. King: Cut eight strips 7″ x WOF; ten strips 4″ x WOF, and six strips 3″ x 30″
  2. Queen/full: Cut six strips 7″ x WOF; nine strips 4″ x WOF, and six strips 3″ x 30″
  3. Twin: Cut five strips 7″ x WOF; eight strips 4″ x WOF, and six strips 3″ x 30″
  4. This is a perfect project for you to test out your rotary cutter skills. But, you do have to work on a surface that can handle the blade’s sharp edge. We used a large work table with a super hard surface. If you are working on your floor, a rotary cutter is probably not your best choice as there’s a good chance it will leave marks. Stick with scissors.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

This item will be washed frequently, so consider finishing all your seam allowances. We have a great four-part series on machine sewn finishes.

Patchwork is traditionally done with a ¼” seam allowance. But, as mentioned above, we are using a ½” seam allowance to give our seams a bit more stability as well as lasting-power throughout frequent laundering.

Make the front

The front of the duvet cover is made up of three pieced panels. Because this is such a large project, it helps to work in smaller segments whenever possible. You’ll be doing very simple patchwork piecing, but you’re brand new to quilting, you may want to review our five-part Quilting Basics series for a good foundation prior to starting.

  1. Referring to the diagram above, gather the three pieces that make up your first panel.
  2. Still following the diagram (so you make sure you’re piecing in the right direction), pin the first two pieces, right sides together, along one side.
  3. Sew together, using a ½” seam. Press the seam allowance flat.
  4. Take the third piece in the panel, and pin it, right sides together, to the completed two-unit piece.
  5. Sew together, using a ½” seam. Press the seam allowance flat. You now have one completed three-piece panel. If you’re using fleece, keep your iron away from it as much as possible as you can damage the nap with heat.
  6. Continue in this same manner to create the other two panels.
    Click to Enlarge
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Pin panel one to panel two. Be very careful to match your seams so you end up with nice square corners where the pieces intersect.
  8. Sew together, using a ½” seam.
  9. Attach panel three to the one/two unit in the same manner. Remember, at each seam, pin and stitch carefully to keep your seams aligned so your final intersecting corners will be exact.
    NOTE: We used clamps to help hold everything nice and flat when piecing and pinning. It helps a lot when working with BIG projects like this.
  10. Press all seam allowances flat.
  11. Trim all four edges as necessary to make sure they are square and straight. This will be important for the binding steps below.

Make the back

  1. The back of our king duvet is made in same way as the front, except two of the three panels are solid fabric cuts rather than pieced panels.
  2. Follow the steps as above for making the front, remembering to pin and stitch carefully so your seams are aligned.
  3. Press all seams flat and trim all four edges when complete (as noted above) so your completed back is also straight and square.

Make the binding

  1. Collect all the strip cuts you made according the notes above, separating them into three groups by size.
  2. Take your stack of 7″ strips and pull off the first two. Pin them, right sides together, along one 7″ side.
  3. Sew together, using a ½” seam. Press the seam allowance flat.
  4. Continue in this same manner until you have stitched all the 7″ strips together end-to-end into one long piece. Set aside.
  5. Repeat this process with your stack of 4″ strips.

Make the ties

  1. Your final stack, the 3″ x 30″ strips, will become the ties.
  2. With right sides together, fold one 3″ x 30″ strip in half along the width to make one pieces that measures 3″ x 15″.
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both 15″ sides.
  4. Clip the corners and turn the tie right side out through the open, raw-edged end.
  5. Using a long, blunt end tool, such as a knitting needle or chopstick, gently poke out the corners so they are crisp.
  6. Press the tie flat, tucking in the raw edge ½” to create a clean finish.
  7. Topstitch around all four edges so the tie lies nice and flat. This will also secure the open end.
  8. Repeat to create the other five ties. Set all the ties aside.

Attach the binding to create the duvet ‘bag’

  1. Lay down your completed duvet front and duvet back, right sides facing up, and top edges aligned.
  2. For our king duvet, we needed to cut a 98″ length from our 7″ binding strip. Refer to the diagrams above to see how long your piece will need to be. We will use this strip to connect the front to the back and create the duvet’s top binding.
  3. Match one long edge of the binding strip, right sides together, with the top edge of the duvet front, lining up the raw edges. Pin in place.Diagram
  4. Sew together, using a ½” seam. Press the seam allowance flat.
  5. Match the remaining long raw edge of the binding strip, right sides together, with the top edge of the duvet back, lining up the raw edges. Pin in place. You are making one very long piece joined together with the binding strip. Make sure the outside edges of the binding are flush with the edges of the main duvet pieces. Trim excess fabric if necessary. You want a single, clean edge for the side binding steps.
  6. Sew together, using a ½” seam. Press the seam allowance flat.
  7. Lay your GIANT flat duvet on your work surface (the aforementioned square-dance floor), right side up. Take a few minutes to smooth it out so it is as flat as possible.
  8. Locate your long 4″ binding strip and cut it in half. These will be your two side binding pieces.
  9. Take one side binding strip and match it, right sides together, with one side of the laid-out duvet. Pin in place, matching the raw edges. Repeat to attach the remaining binding strip to the opposite side of the duvet.Diagram
  10. Sew together both sides, using a ½” seam. Press the seam allowances flat.
  11. Fold the ENTIRE thing in half, right sides together. Pin in place along both sides.Diagram
  12. Sew together both sides, using a ½” seam. Press the seam allowances flat. Turn right side out. You have a duvet bag!
  13. Press your binding all around, making an especially nice crease along the top, folded edge.Diagram

Finishing the bottom

  1. Find the remaining long piece of 7″ binding. This is for finishing the bottom opening.
  2. For our king sample, our bottom opening is 104″ along both the front and back so we needed at least 208″ of binding plus a few inches for finishing. Cut your 7″ piece to the length you need.
  3. Press the strip in half lengthwise so it is 3½”.
  4. Press one raw edge under ½”. Leave the other edge raw.
  5. Yes … that’s a lot of pressing.
  6. Pin the raw edge (the un-pressed edge) of the binding strip to the raw edge of the duvet bottom opening.
  7. Pin around the entire opening in one continuous circle. Where the two ends come together, turn under both ends and overlap to create a clean finish.
  8. Stitch all the way around. Press the seam allowances up towards the binding .
  9. Fold the binding down so the ½” folded edge covers the seam allowance. You are folding the binding into the inside of the duvet. Pin in place all the way around.Diagram
  10. Topstitch in place.Diagram
  11. With the duvet still right side out, press the binding. Then, close up the duvet so the opening edges are completely flush. Measure 12″ from each side and pin closed.
  12. Stitch along the previous topstitching to secure. By stitching the duvet bottom closed approximately 12″ from each side, you prevent the comforter from dropping out at the corners. You could also add more ties. But this is easier and it gives the bottom of the duvet a nice, straight finish.Diagram

Attach the ties

  1. Collect your six finished ties, and using the diagrams above as your guide, position three ties along each side of the remaining opening.
  2. Secure each tie in position with a little box of stitching
    Click to Enlarge
  3. Insert your comforter and make three nice bows with your ties.
    Click to Enlarge

Hints and Tips

Re-inserting your comforter after washing

For an easier time inserting the duvet after washing, choose four colors of ribbon or seam binding. Cut two pieces of each color about 10″ long. Turn the duvet inside out and lay the comforter on top. Pin a ribbon to each corner of the comforter and a matching ribbon to each corner of the duvet. Tie the matching ribbons together in a bow and turn the whole thing right sides out. The comforter will not slip around inside, and you will always know which side goes where.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever

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