Sunday, 19 June 2016

Duvet Day

You may remember from many many months ago, that I'd had an idea about making a Duvet cover using some gorgeous chicken themed fabric?

The fabric was very expensive, and I couldn't justify spending that much money on fabric to make a duvet cover for a superking sized bed,  so I'd decided to use the fabric as a feature and to make a duvet cover around it.

I couldn't find really high quality fabric for sheeting,  and then I'd had a brainwave... I'd buy a flat sheet and use that! Brilliant!  It would already be hemmed round the edges, it would be really easy to sew, what could go wrong?

Well, I bought a sheet, in a blue similar to the background of the chickeny fabric, but wasn't sure about using that colour for the top as well.  So I bought another sheet, this time in white, as well.  I'd then have enough for pillowcases too.  I washed the fabric in preparation. I pressed it.    I was very new to sewing then, and I needed to think about it for a bit.   I also suspected that an overlocker would make the whole process much easier, so I decided to wait and see.

And then events overtook me.

We re-designed the front bedroom to make a sewing area.  No point starting until that was done.   Then I waited for my overlocker course to see if it would really help with my projects.  Then I waited until I had bought an overlocker.  Then I started down the path of making tops, in stretch fabric, using the overlocker.

Months passed.  Every time I saw the fabric I thought "hmm, I really must have a go at that."

Then, the other day, I decided I was going to do it.

I got it all out of it's Ikea box, and wasn't enthused.  I wanted a much BOLDER colour to set the fabric off.   I searched online for sheets, looking for a burgundy red to match the red on the fabric.   Few places had sheets that colour.

Eventually, I found some in John Lewis.  I did some sums, and decided that I'd buy 2 flat sheets, and that would give me enough to do the pillowcases (like in my original plan mark 2).   Before I clicked "checkout",  I suddenly wondered about buying a duvet cover and cycling-up  ( "upcycling" as the trend has it) that.

The idea had advantages.  It certainly had poppers already in place, and straight seams.   But that wasn't realy what I'd set out to do, was it?  But then, if I was buying two sheets, why not?

I bought the duvet cover.  I winced at the thought of the total cost of the project (although it was stil cheaper than buying enough chickeny fabric to do the whole thing).  Even the "free" pillowcases weren't really making me feel any better about it.

And yesterday, I had my duvet day.

I started by making a little mockup with the overlocker.  I created a mini duvet cover, overlocked on 3 sides. I cut a section out, and put some other fabric in.   I worked out how to do it so it didn't look like it had just been sewn on the top.   I was going to use the full width of the fabric, but I wasn't sure how long to make it.  I wanted an inset rectangle, ao I used the computer to draw out the duvet cover size..  then the bed, which was was a more visual representation of the size, and then anothe rectangle to work out what sized length looked proportionate.

And then on to the real thing.

Firstly, I have to say,  I should have used 2 sheets.   What was I thinking?!  Trying to lay out, measure, cut, sew a panel in the middle of a duvet cover is a P.I.T.A. 

It was a pain even trying to get it all laid out flat to start measuring and drawing lines, despite pressing it beautifully first.   DH helped as we draped it over the kitchen table.

Then the cutting! Oh my goodness!  I managed to not move the cutting mat at one point, so I cut both layers of fabric.  Thank heavens I wasn't pressing hard, ptherwide I would have gouged the kitchen table too! So, as well as everything else I had to do a repair.  Darning wasn't going to work, but I had an idea about using a really tight zigzag stitch, and using some embroidery stabiliser on the back. It worked.  It looks like a bit of a duelling scar, but it's on the underside, so who cares.   And, on the plus side, I now know how to do a really fab satin stitch, like they do for going round applique.

I used a pen to draw on my cutting lines.  I drew on my sewing lines.   I drew on my corner clipping line.  I checked it was all square, and parallel.   I pressed. With an actual iron!   I got the chickeny fabric, and pressed the seam allowance all round.    Then I attached one side of the the fabric - pinned, pinned, pinned.  I used wonderclips too.  I turned it right side out, to check it looked OK.   I changed my mind about the size of the seam allowance.

I drew the new seam allowance all the way round, moved the pinned side, then pinned and wonderclipped the other 3 sides.  I turned it right side out and checked it looked OK.   I then sewed a side, unpinned, and checked it.  Then I sewed the other sides.   (Yes, I know you don't need to sew first if you're overlocking - but doing so means (a) I don't have to deal with two layers of fabric slipping about while using something as final as an overlocker, and (b) I can see whether I've cocked up before the fabric gets irretrievably cut off)

I decided to take a break, and looked at the pillowcase.  I had one from another bed set, so I looked at how it was constructed. I looked at my fabric.  I had just enough to make 2 pillows, assuming I was adding a band of the fabric as well.   We have special neck pillows,  and I debated whether to make pillowcases to fit those, or whether to make standard sized cases (too big really for our pillows).  I went down the standard route.

I laid out the fabric for one, measuring, measuring, measuring.  I overlocked the fabric to the divet offcut, and then pressed all the seams and cuffs.  I did the same for the second one.  Then I had a go at making them up.  Sew the hem at each end.  Turn over and sew the small inside bit.  Make the cuff. Overlock all round. 

It worked!   The pillowcases looked lovely!

Inspired,  I decided to do the overlocking on the cover,.  It went well.   I then had to finish the corners, which I didn't do particularly well (I'll think about how to make that better for another time).  And, finally, I decided to top stitch, to stop it rolling. Or whatever the reason is you do topstitching.

Top stitching a superking sized duvet cover is quite hard work, there's a lot of fabric to squish up on the sewing machine and to hold out of the way whilst sewing.

A quick press, and I had to put it on the bed to see what it looked like.  The pics make it look more of a scarlet, it isn't that colour at all.  The real colour is in the plain pic further up ^^^

It came out quite well.  Not perfect. One particular corner needs some attention, but I've had enough now, I might try and fix it when I take the cover off for washing.

I think it would have taken half the time if I'd used two sheets instead, and that's what I'll do next time. If there is a next time!

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