Are your bed sheets coming untucked? Do they slide around and get tangled up at night? Do they make you a little crazy sometimes? Would you like to save some money? I’ll show you a very easy way to put new elastic in your bottom sheets, and get them fitting snugly around the mattress again.
Now, I know on a scale of 1 to 10 of world problems, with 10 being the global incidence of malaria as a killer, stretched-out fitted sheets aren’t the biggest problem. But, in the middle of the night, when your bed sheets are coming up around your knees, stretched-out bottom sheets can definitely be annoying.
Today is Frugal Friday, so I’ll share an easy way to “Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without”. It only costs the price of a few yards of elastic, unless you already have some hanging around the house. If so, then this project is free. And it can save you the cost of buying a whole new set of sheets. A queen-size set of sheets, good quality, on sale, costs at least fifty dollars.
If your sheets are a good quality, with a high thread count, they can last a very long time. But here in the tropics, the elastic doesn’t last nearly as long. Pretty soon it loses its elasticity. And then they won’t stay tucked.
This little tutorial assumes you have a sewing machine. If you don’t, this project could be stitched by hand, over the course of a few quiet evenings — remember the women in the Little House in the Prairie books, sitting around sewing at night? I once made a set of curtains for our Little House in the Jungle by hand. So, it could happen. But it will be quicker and easier with a sewing machine.
And here’s the best part — it doesn’t have to be perfect! What you are going to do is never going to show. The ‘fix’ will be tucked under the mattress, or folded up on a shelf in your linen closet. So it doesn’t matter if you can’t sew perfectly and your seams weave left and right, or if your thread doesn’t match the sheet, or if the elastic is ‘too wide.’ Just sew it up and get on with life. (OK, I’ll concede, if it is important to you that your sheets seams are perfect, please go ahead and match your thread.)
So here we go. You’ll need about 3 or 4 yards, or meters, of 1/4″ wide elastic, some straight pins, one or two safety pins, and your thread. Basically we are just going to make a little tunnel, or casing, to pull elastic through on two sides of the sheet. We’re not going to bother taking out the old elastic. The easiest thing to do is choose the sides of the sheet that don’t already have elastic in them. If your elastic goes around all four sides, then pick the two longer sides.
Now, just fold the edge over the width of your elastic plus about another 1/4-inch. Pin the edge. You should probably allow the tunnel to be at least 4-feet or so long, or about 1.3 meters. But longer or shorter, it doesn’t really matter that much.
Then you sew up the edge, leaving the ends open.
Then you thread a piece of elastic on a safety-pin. It helps to weave the elastic in and out a couple of times.
Then pin one end of the elastic to the sheet, close to the end of the tunnel you are going to start with.
Then thread the safety-pin with elastic into the tunnel. Push it down a little ways, scrunch the fabric down the safety-pin, then push it through a little more. Keep doing that until you work it to the other end of the tunnel.
Once you get the elastic all the way through, adjust how tight you want the sheet to be gathered. Then pin the elastic to the other end of the tunnel.
Now sew across the end of the tunnel, being sure to catch the elastic. Sew back and forth a few times. Then repeat at the other end.
Now do the same thing on the other side of the sheet. Trim off the ends of elastic, and you are done.
That’s it. See! Easy, peasy. Now you have nice snug sheets, almost like new. For pennies.