5 Easy Ways to Decorate with
By Julie Lohmeier
Want a custom, coordinated look that is inexpensive? Use bedsheets.
Yep, the same sheets you cuddle under at night can turn a bedroom from boring to
stunning. A designer look at Walmart prices.
To coordinate with your bed, just buy extra sheet sets. Use them to make
pillows, drapes, dust ruffles, round table covers and more.
Buy pillow forms at any sewing or craft store. Measure the dimensions. Cut two
pieces from your sheets with these dimensions. Sew seams around the sides (or
use Stitch Witchery(r) and a hot iron), remembering to sew with right sides
together. Leave half of one side for a square or rectangle pillow or 1/6 of the
circumference of a round pillow open. Turn inside out. Stuff your pillow form
into the pillow casing. Stitch the opening closed by hand.
For extra pizzazz, use piping, trims, or beads in the seam.
Swags are the easiest to make. Simply cut one width of the sheet about 24" - 48"
tall - depending on how much fullness you want - whatever is left to hang on the
sides will have to do. Hem both top and bottom by rolling 1", folding in half,
and stitching near the second fold.
If you have wide window or you wish to have the swag fall further down the side
of the window, you'll need to do a bit more work, but it's still fairly easy.
Measure your window width. Determine how long you want the swag to hang down the
sides, then double this measurement. Add it to your width measurement. Add
another 6" - 12" to allow soft draping across the top. Measure the width of your
sheet. Compare it to the measurements you made previously of your window. If
your sheet is 54" wide but you want a swag that's 100" wide, you'll need to
essentially cut two widths. Cut any extra widths as needed. The key for swags,
if you need more than one width, is that you don't want a seam in the center.
Instead, you'll want the full width of the window in one piece, then seam
together the side pieces at the ends of this center piece. When you piece
together patterns, try to match up the patterns between pieces. This may mean
you need to cut your widths at different points across the sheet.
Hang the swag over a pole or in swag holders.
You can also sew a valance and panels. A gathered valance is easy. Measure your
window width. You'll want to cut widths from your sheet that is 50% to 100%
wider than the window, seam together, matching patterns. So if your window is
40", you'll want your curtain to be 60" - 80" wide. You can sew together as many
widths as you need as long as you match your pattern. Decide the height of the
valance. 15" -18" is standard so make the height that you cut from the sheet 40"
- 44". If you want a small ruffle above the valance add 2" - 4" to the
total above. Sew multiple widths together, right sides facing each other. Sew
the top and bottom ends together with right sides facing each other. Turn inside
out and straighten. From the top seam, line pins 1" - 2" down from the
top. Stitch along this line to create your ruffle. Then measure down 3-1/2" and
mark with pins. Stitch along this line to create your rod pocket. Put your
curtain on the rod and hang.
Panels are done much the same way. Measure the length you want the panel to
hang. Add 4-1/2" to the length. Add an additional 2" - 4" if you want a ruffle
at the top. Cut this length out of the LONG part of your sheet. You'll
probably want two panels. You'll need each panel to be 50-100% more than half of
the window width. That means that two panels together will also be 50-100% of
your window width. You may be able to cut two panels from one sheet or you
may need two sheets.
Ideally, you would make a full 3" hem (add 4" extra inches to your length
measurement above if you do this hem), but for simplicity just make a simple
shirt-tail hem at the bottom by marking 1" off the bottom. Then turn half of
this under. Stitch near the top of rolled over fabric. On the top, fold down
4-1/2" from the top (5-1/2" to 6-1/2" if you want a ruffle). Of this folded over
fabric, turn 1" under. Stitch near the bottom where you folded the extra
material underneath. From the very top of the panel, measure 1" - 2" (based on
the size ruffle you wanted) and line pins. Stitch along this line to create your
ruffle and your rod pocket. Put your panels on the rod.
Take a plain sheet and lay it over your box springs. Mark around it 1/2" to 1"
(5/8" is the standard seam width) bigger than the box springs on all four sides.
Cut this out and make a shirt tail hem along one short side. Cut 9" tall widths
from your sheet (you'll need the height of your bed plus 1" if your bed is
higher than standard). You'll need enough widths to go around two long
sides and one short sides of the box springs cover you just cut. Stitch these
widths together with rights sides facing each other. It is best to gather these
widths onto to the box springs cover. To do so, you'll want your total width of
the cut sheet lengths to be 25% longer than the total measurements of the two
long sides and one short side. Make a shirt-tail hem rolling up 1" from
the bottom of each sheet length, turning it under at 1/2" and then stitching
near the end of the fold. Pin the cut sheet lengths to the box springs cover,
gathering as you go. Again, you'll want right sides of the fabric together as
you sew. Flip over when done. Place on the bed. The short side with no dust
ruffle goes against the head of the bed.
Round Table Cover
Make a circle wide enough to cover the table down to the floor. Measure from the
floor on one side of the table, across the center of the table to floor on the
other side. Add 2". This is your diameter. Make a circle with this diameter.
Make a shirt- tail hem rolling 1" from the edge in half and then sewing down
near the fold. Voila. You're done.
You can also make matching blinds using sheets, fusible interfacing, and Stitch
Witchery(r) - no sewing. Buy a shade the proper width for your window. Cut the
fusible interfacing the same width shade. For length make it the height of the
window plus 10-12 inches. Measure and cut your fabric to be 1-1/4 inch
wider than the fusible interfacing. Center the fabric over the interfacing and
iron according to the directions. Turn under the ends on both side and iron down
with Stitch Witchery(r). Fold up 2 inches from the bottom for your shade
pull and affix with Stitch Witchery(r). Remove the original shade and
staple your new designer shade to cardboard pole. Be sure to hang on the proper
side so that when you put it up the right side is showing. Hang your shade on
the shade hardware.
These directions may seem harder than they actually are, but with an hour or two
and some matching and coordinating sheets, you can decorate an entire bedroom.
Julie Lohmeier is the veteran of numerous home remodeling and building projects.
From working hands on and doing much of the work herself to hiring contractors
and construction managers, she has seen the entire spectrum of home improvement.
She shares her remodeling tips, home decorating ideas, and other various rants
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