Friday, April 2, 2010

Flat to Fitted Flannel

(Try saying that post title three times quickly) I love having flannel sheets on my bed when it's cold. They're so nice and snuggley, warm to the touch as soon as you get into bed. So for six months out of the year, my bed is made up with flannel sheets.

But flannel sheets are sold in "sets", and therein lies the problem. The fitted bottom sheet always wears out first. First the flanneling wears off, leaving just a regular-type sheeting material. I can live with that, but then even that wears thin, and eventually shreds or tears. If sheet manufacturers really wanted to package a practical sheet set, it would have two bottom sheets with a coordinating flat top sheet, pillowcases optional or sold separately. They'd have my undying consumer loyalty forever (100% cotton please - I can't stand any amount of polyester in my bedding).

I buy a new flannel sheet set every few years, when the previous bottom sheet becomes too worn. I looked at the flannel sheet sets on sale at Christmas time, but decided the current one would make it through until warmer weather got here. It didn't (a very wet winter meant I haven't been able to completely dry my sheets out on the clothesline as often - having to use the dryer really took its toll). About a month ago, I noticed a really thin spot. The past couple of weeks, the mattress cover underneath started showing through, and I knew it would be only a matter of time before it ripped completely.

But it's still so cold at night. I didn't really want to change over to cotton percale sheets yet. So, a few days ago, I went sheet shopping. But, no luck - local stores are all out of their flannel sheet sets until next winter. I double-checked my linen shelf - maybe there was a forgotten flannel fitted sheet for our bed at the bottom of the stack. Nope, just three orphaned flannel top sheets.

Now, I'm a real Princess and the Pea when it comes to my bed. Forget a lump the size of a pea, the thickness of a creased sheet will bother me. I want the nice flat, smoothness of a fitted bottom sheet. Those flat sheets just won't do for a bottom sheet. Well, duh - I have a sewing machine and thread, and I do know how to sew. I can make fitted corners, no problem.

We have a pillowtop mattress, so we don't flip it, but I do spin it top to bottom every six months to equalize the wear. To remind myself, I rotate the mattress around the equinoxes. On this week's sheet-laundry day, I had already planned to turn the mattress. So, since I had the mattress up out of the bed frame, I laid the nicest, thickest flat flannel top sheet out over it, upside down to make the pinning easier, and fitted each corner. I didn't want to cut the fabric and finish the edges inside the corners, so after sewing up the corner, I then folded the excess triangle over to the head and foot sides and sewed that part down (like wrapping a package and taping down the corners). Last little bit was making a small corner to fit underneath the mattress, folding and stitching that part down as well. It's not really pretty, but who's going to see it? It works. And once again, our bed is warm and snuggley, with a nice stretched smooth fit. And the old fitted sheet? The center is worn thin, but around the outside edges, the fabric is still quite good. I think there's enough there to make myself a pair of flannel pajama pants.

1 comment:

Teresa said...

Great ideas! Thank you so much. I love my flannels but have the same problems.