Cotton sheets are crisp and clean and they launder beautifully, but they can also feel cool on baby's cheeks. We suggest switching up to a soft fleece that can help your little one drift off to dreamland in warm and cozy comfort. There are so many lovely fleece options out there today; you're sure to find something that will be a perfect fit for your nursery. One or more of these sheets would make a lovely new baby shower gift.
Since we're moving into the warmer months of the year, retail outlets are looking to make room for summery fabric options, and fleece can often be found on sale. It comes in wonderfully wide widths, often up to 60"+, giving you lots to work with for today's crib sheet with plenty leftover for accompanying projects, such as a Nursing Support Pillow, or a cute receiving blanket.
Some experts suggest the best sleeping surface for babies is a simple sheet-covered mattress without any additional bedding or blankets. This is, as always, the parents' choice and the research is up to them. If it is your chosen route, a soft sheet like this one is a great alternative.
Below are some new Cuddle fleece options from Shannon Fabrics that caught our eye. Click a swatch to learn more:
This project is sized for a standard 52" x 28" x 6" deep crib mattress and is based on an original tutorial by Joanna Armour for Michael Miller Fabrics.
NOTE: Poly materials for nursery items have sometimes generated safety concerns in fire situations, however, the most recent studies show that cotton and linen are more flammable. A snug fit is listed as the most important consideration for sheets. As we always mention in our nursery projects: choosing what to use for your crib linens is a person/parental decisions and your own research and decisions are most important.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2 yards of 44-45"+ wide fleece fabric
- 2 yards of ¼" flat elastic; we used Dritz ¼" Knit Non-Roll Elastic
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Tape measure
- Straight pins
- Safety pin
- From your fabric, cut ONE rectangle 45" wide x 69" long. We were careful when cutting our fabric to insure the dots ran in straight lines.
NOTE: For some fabrics, this cut will mean you use the entire width of the fabric, including the selvedge.
- Using a ruler, tape, or a square you've drawn and cut from paper as a pattern, measure and mark an 8" x 8" square at each corner of your fabric rectangle.
- Cut out the 8" x 8" square from each corner.
- If necessary, cut the elastic into ONE 72" length.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Fold each corner right sides together. You are matching the raw edges of each corner cut, which will create a little "triangle fold" in the fabric at the inside point of the seam. Pin in place.
NOTE: Don't be fooled – our original fleece was double-sided so looks the same on both sides. You really are folding right sides together. If you have a double-sided fleece, simply choose which side wil be your "right" side.
- Using a ¼" seam, stitch together from top to bottom. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot.
- Finish the seam allowance, using your favorite method. Fleece doesn't ravel like woven fabrics, so this finishing step is for strength. We used a triple stretch stitch. For more about machine sewn finishes, check out our four-part series.
- Repeat to pin, seam and finish each corner.
Create the casing tunnel for the elastic
- To create the casing tunnel, fold back the entire perimeter of the sheet ½" and pin in place. As mentioned above, since the fleece won't fray, a double-fold hem is not necessary.
- Set up your machine for a generous zig zag stitch. Stitch around the entire perimeter. Align the zig zag so the raw edge of the single fold is between the left and right swings of the needle. This stitch secures the single fold hem and finishes the edge is one pass, creating a wide enough tunnel for the ¼" elastic to pass through.
- Leave an approximate 3" opening between your starting and ending points. This is where you will insert the elastic. Remember to lock your seam at either side of this opening.
- Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic. Slide the safety pin into the opening of the casing.
- Work the elastic all the way around until it comes out again through the opposite side of the opening.
- Gather the fabric along the length of the elastic as you go, so the unpinned end of the elastic does not accidentally get pulled inside the tunnel. It also helps to hold on to 6"- 8" of the unpinned elastic end to keep it from slipping into the casing.
- When the safety pin comes out of the other side of the tunnel opening, remove the safety pin and overlap the ends 2"- 3". Pin in place (or just hold the ends together), and secure with several rows of zigzag stitching. Be generous with your stitching to make sure the elastic ends will not pull apart. You want to be able to stretch the sheet over and over again; baby linens get changed a lot!
- Pull the tunnel hem straight so the remainder of the elastic disappears inside the tunnel.
- Zig zag the tunnel opening closed, matching your new seam to the start and end points of the existing zig zag seam.
Project Concept: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild