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Turquoise Floral Duvet with Schoolgirl Plaid Piping

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A new duvet is a single-project solution that can create a big change in your bedroom decor. One side of our duvet is a solid color, which complements the pretty print on the other side. With a quick flip of the bedding, you have two completely different looks. Find out how easy it is to sew your own duvet cover, then head to the fabric store to play with some complementary colors and prints. I found my fabric while shopping in the Garment District in New York City. The fabric isn't traditional home dec fabric - it has a slight stretch as well as a sateen finish. I thought it looked quite luxurious for bedding, and it's wonderfully soft. The lesson learned from that trip is this: Don't limit your shopping to the home decor section - sometimes the greatest ideas strike you while browsing in the 'wrong' place!

A quick internet search reveals standard comforter sizes. As we were developing our project, we realized some comforters do not follow these guidelines specifically, so your best course of action is to measure your comforter and work with that measurement.

Our project features cording in a complementary color as an inset square in the center of the cover. This is a fancy trick to avoid matching up fabric prints when sewing seams with large fabric motifs. You can skip this step if you're working with a solid or a small print. If you'd like to skip this step, but are still looking to create the duvet cover with a large print, be sure to purchase extra fabric to match the prints at the seams.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • Five 1" buttons
  • Fabric for top according to chart below
  • Fabric for bottom according to chart below
  • 1 yd accent fabric (for piping)
  • 3/8" thick cording according to chart below
  • All Purpose sewing thread in colors to match fabrics
  • Pins
  • Ruler
  • Rotary cutter or scissors
  • Iron and ironing board


    Getting Started

    1. Cut the five pieces of fabric needed for your duvet TOP according to the chart below. Note: You may need to alter these sizes somewhat based on the actual size of your comforter. A little smaller won't be a problem, but if the comforter you want to use inside the duvet is two or more inches larger than the measurements shown, you should cut all the pieces larger to accommodate.


    1. Cut the two or three pieces of backing fabric according to the chart below.


    1. Cut 1¾" bias strips for cording. Cut enough strips to measure the length necessary according to the chart below.


    At Your Sewing Machine

    Create Piping for the Center Section

    For an illustrated tutorial on creating your own bias strips and piping, read our tutorial How to Make and Attach Your Own Piping.

    1. Attach the bias strips cut above end to end to create one long strip.
    2. Place your nice long fabric strip, right side down on a large flat surface.
    3. Lay the cord in the center.
    4. Fold the fabric over the cord, keeping the cord centered and matching the raw edges of the fabric.
    5. Pin to hold in place.
    6. Carefully move to your sewing machine and adjust the piping so the raw edges line up on your seam allowance marking and the cord pokes out to the left of your foot. NOTE: We highly recommend using a Zipper Foot so you can get as close to the cord as possible.

    Stitch Piping to the Top Center Section

    Again, our tutorial on creating your bias strips and piping will help with the steps below if you are new to the process. Read: How to Make and Attach Your Own Piping.

    1. Lay the fabric for the Center Section right side up. Pin the piping to the right side of the Center Section, corded side facing in. Start in the middle of one side and go all the way around the square, leaving a 2" tail free. Be sure to line up the edge of the piping's insertion fabric with the edge of the main fabric square.
    2. Before you start sewing with the Zipper Foot, be sure to move the needle to the left. You need to do this for two reasons. First, and most important, there is not a hole in the center of the Zipper Foot, so you have to move the needle over or it will simply hit the foot and break. Second, you want to get as close to the piping as possible, and this will allow for a tighter seam.
    3. With the foot as close to the edge of the piping as possible, stitch the piping in place. At each corner, stop with the needle down, lift the presser foot, and pivot the fabric 90˚.
    4. Continue sewing your piping in place until you are back to where you started. Using that "tail" you accounted for at the beginning, cut off any excess piping so you have about 1" to work with.
    5. With a seam ripper, peel back the fabric to expose the cording underneath.
    6. Trim the end of cording tail so it exactly meets the end of the sewn-down cording. Fold under the end of the loose fabric to create a clean edge and wrap around the ends. Overlap about 1/2" and stitch in place, matching your seam line.
    7. Clip the insertion fabric of the piping at each corner to allow the piping to lay flat in the seam. When clipping the piping, be sure to clip within the seam allowance – do not clip through the seam or through the stitching that holds the internal cord in place.

    Attach the End and Side Pieces

    1. Place one side piece, right sides together, on top of on side of the center square with piping. The piping will be sandwiched between the center and side pieces. Pin, being sure that the edges of the fabric are aligned exactly.
    2. Turn the fabric over, so that you can see the stitches you created when you attached the piping to the center square. Using these stitches as a guide, stitch the side piece to the center piece. Repeat to attach the second side piece to the opposite side of the center square.
    3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to attach the top and bottom pieces to the center square.
    4. Trim around the edges to square up all sides.

    Create the Backing

    1. You have already cut your pieces to the appropriate length according to the table above. Stitch the necessary number of backing pieces together to create the width you need. Trim if necessary to exactly fit your top.
    2. Fold under ½"along one side of the backing fabric and press. Fold again to create a 3" simple double fold hem. With your presser foot close to the inner fabric fold, edgestitch hem in place. Read more in our tutorial: How to Make a Simple Hem.


    1. Starting 2" in from the side of the hem, mark button locations, equally distant from one another, across the width of your fabric. An easy way to do this is to find and mark the center of the hem, then, to see where the next two buttons should be placed, fold into fourths without including the outer 2" of the fabric. The first and last buttons will be placed 2" in from the sides of the fabric.


    1. Create vertical machine buttonholes in the appropriate locations in the hem. Use a seam ripper to open the buttonholes.

    Stitch the Top and Backing together

    1. Determine which end you want to be the top of your duvet. Fold under ½"along this side and press. Fold again to create a 2" simple double fold hem. With your presser foot close to the inner fabric fold, edgestitch hem in place.
    2. Place the duvet top and duvet bottom right sides together, aligning hemmed edges.
    3. Starting at the top of one side, stitch down one side, across the bottom, and up the opposite side. Remember to stop at each corner with your needle in the down position and pivot 90˚. LEAVE THE HEMMED EDGES OPEN – this is the side you'll use to insert your comforter.
    4. Clip the corners of the duvet cover to reduce bulk, and turn the cover right side out.
    5. With the hand sewing needle and thread, stitch buttons to the inside of the Duvet Cover Top, aligning them with the buttonholes sewn into the backing. Note: For a more professional finish, the backstitch from the button should be contained within the fold created by your hem, ie. the stitches from the button shouldn't show on the outside of the duvet cover.


    Other machines suitable for this project include the Brother LX-3125 and the Bernina Aurora 430.



    Comments (5)

    Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
    Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
    @ Rinchen -- we did the best we could with sizing info above, but I don't have exact information for CA King. We would feel awful if we gave you inaccurate advice that caused your finished project to turn out less than successful. Our standard recommendation is to measure your intended situation and compare those measurements to our original dimensions. Do the math to make adjustments and scale the original dimensions up. This is often the exact way we determine our own patterns and instructions.
    Rinchen said:
    Rinchen's picture

    I bought 7 yards of decorator cotton for the front and have a scant yard leftover. Actually since the decorator cotton was 54 inches wide, my leftover piece is 27 inches wide. The back is pieced and probably also 7 yards. I put a zipper in it as the weights of the two sections are different. I bought a piping foot which is a wise investment. Personally I like your version more, but my daughter wanted the grey and white geometric not chevron. Working with decorator weight, Cal King, is not for the faint of heart. My machine is a 1955 Elna Supermatic and it is solid steel. Some of the newer sewing machines would have moved with it all. Now, the shams...

    Rinchen said:
    Rinchen's picture
    I want to make this for a California King? How should I adapt the yardage? Thanks
    Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
    Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
    Hello Karen Warren -- We have .pdf functionality on our wish list of upgrades, but there are a few other items ahead of it on the budgeting list. In the meantime, here is a site that will translate web pages into pdfs for you -- for free:

    Karen Warren said:
    Karen Warren's picture
    I would like to see your projects and directions done in PDF so they could be down loaded to make referring to them easier.