Be imaginative when choosing colour schemes and pattern combinations for bed linen. A matching duvet cover and valance looks stylish, particularly when the fabric co-ordinates with the curtains or drapes and other bedroom furnishings. Sheeting is extra-wide fabric sold for making bed linen, and is available in a good range of both plain colours and patterns.
The duvet cover is simply a large bag made from 2 pieces of fabric joined together around the four sides, with an opening left in the bottom edge to allow the duvet to be inserted. Close the opening with a strip of either touch-and-close fastener or press-stud tape. A valance is ideal for covering up an unattractive bed base. It fits over the base, underneath the mattress, and has a frill around 3 of the sides, reaching right down to floor level. A matching gathered valance finishes off this arrangement perfectly. Lace edging sewn around the pillow cases and duvet cover adds a feminine touch.
HOW TO MAKE A DUVET COVER
- Measure the length of the duvet — usually200 cm/78 in — and add 7 cm/21/4 in for hem and seam allowances. Measure the width and add 4 cm/11/2 in for scans allowances. Cut out two pieces of fabric. Turn and stitch a double 2.5 cm/1 in hem along the bottom of each piece. Cut a length of touch-and-close fastener 3 cm/11/4 in longer than the desired opening, separate the strips and pin 1 to the right side of the hems on each piece. Machine stitch around the edge of each strip.
- Place the 2 fabric pieces with the right sides together so that the fastener strips close. Tack (baste) along the bottom hem from 3 cm/11/4 in inside the strip of fastener and up to each corner.
- Machine stitch through both layers at right-angles to the hem and 3 cm/11/4 in inside the fastener strip, to enclose the raw edges. Pivot the fabric and continue stitching along the tacked line to the edge of the fabric. Repeat at the other corner.
- Turn so that the wrong sides are facing. Make a French seam around the remaining three sides, as follows. Pin and stitch 6 min/1/4 in from the raw edge. Trim the seam close to the stitching, then open the fastener and turn the cover so that the right sides are facing. Stitch around the three sides again to enclose the raw edges and complete the seam. Turn the cover to the right side and press.
HOW TO MAKE A VALANCE
- Measure the mattress top and add 3.5 cm/11/2 in to the length and 3 cm/11/4 in to the width. Cut out 1 piece of fabric to this size for the panel. Round off the 2 bottom corners of the panel by drawing around a large plate and then cutting around the curves.
- For the frill, you will need sufficient pieces of fabric wide enough to reach from the top of the bed base to the floor, plus 6.5 cm/21/2 in, to make a long strip 4 times the mattress length plus twice its width. Join the strips with French seams (see Making a Duvet Cover, step 4) and press. Turn a double 2.5 cm/1 in hem along the lower edge. Pin, tack (baste) and stitch.
- Divide the frill into 6 equal sections and mark with pins along the top edge. Work 2 rows of gathering stitches between the pins, leaving long thread ends.
- Divide the sides and bottom edge of the panel into 6 equal sections and mark with pins. Pull up the gathering stitches in each frill section until it fits the corresponding panel section. Pin each section in place with the right sides facing. Stitch the frill in place 12mm/1/2 in from the raw edge.
- Stitch again close to the first line of stitching and neaten the raw edges with machine zigzag. Press the seam allowance towards the panel. Turn a double 12 mm/1/2 in hem along the remaining raw edges of the frill and panel. Pin and stitch.
CHOOSING FABRIC FORBED LINEN
The best choice for bed linen is specially woven sheeting, either in pure cotton or a polyester-and-cotton blend. Although pure cotton is cooler in the summer, synthetic blends do have the advantage of needing little or no ironing. Sheeting is very wide, so joins are not necessary, and it is available in a large range of pastel and strong colours. A crisply checked duvet cover and pillowcases accentuate the light and airy feel of a country bedroom.