Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cover Up

I've got another one of my incremental improvements to the master bedroom to share. We got a new duvet cover, thanks to a Crate and Barrel gift card from an aunt and uncle. The pattern is called Lindsey. It's no longer available, because we actually got it quite a while ago. It took me a long time to get it on the bed, because it didn't fit the down comforter. Our comforter is a queen/full size, and the duvet cover was a queen size. There is no standardization for these things, and the cover was way too big, so I needed to do a little work on it before we could use it.
You can see the naked down comforter in this picture from last year.  But mostly I'm showing this picture because I like to compare the before/after pictures. I think it's fun to see the progress we've made in the room since then. :-)
In January, (You know, back when we could use a down comforter, unlike right now with the 100ºF weather we're having.) I re-tailored the duvet to fit our comforter. I am not a particularly experienced or accomplished sewist, so I wanted to make this task as easy for myself as I could. A duvet cover is basically a giant pillow case for your blanket.  Three sides are sewn shut and one end is open with some kind of closure, in this case, buttons. The buttons on mine don't go end to end, but are inset with a placket. I decided to just cut off the end of the duvet cover opposite the buttons, and re-hem it.  I just left the sides a bit wider than my comforter, rather than have to sew any more seams. I liked the additional width it gave the comforter, anyway. Here's a diagram to show what I did. It is not to scale.
The grey box is the comforter. The blue box is the duvet cover, and the dashed line shows where I cut it.  After I cut that part off, all I should have needed to do was sew up a new seam for that end. I wanted it to be well finished so that it would hold up to use and washing, so I decided to do a French seam, which I learned from this tutorial. But just sewing up the seam would have been too easy, right?

I've had duvet covers before, and I know that the comforter has a tendency to slide around inside and get bunched up, especially if the cover's too big. I solved that problem by adding tabs with buttonholes inside each of the four corners of the cover. The cream colored rectangles on the diagram indicate the tabs. It turned out to be easier to do than I expected. I cut four rectangles from some cream colored fabric, folded them in half, and sewed the sides closed. I turned them inside out and then added buttonholes. Here's one of the rectangles and what the tabs looked like before the buttonholes.
I had never done buttonholes with my sewing machine before, but I just followed the directions in the sewing machine manual. It was pretty cool to see how it worked. You can see the buttonhole foot in the picture above. Two of the tabs I just sewed into my seam, like the one below.
The other end of the cover with the buttons had a serged edge. (I don't have a serger, so I couldn't do the same kind of finishing, and I think the French seam is nicer anyway.) I picked apart enough of the serged edge to insert my tabs, and then sewed the edge shut again. That part was kind of a pain, but I didn't want the stitching for the tabs to be visible from the outside.  Here you can see the picked apart serging. I pinned my tabs between the two edges of the fabric I'm holding apart here, and then I sewed them shut again.
I just straight stitched across the tabs, though it's a bit hard to tell that in the picture below. This is one of the tabs inserted into the serged edge. Here it is buttoned to the comforter. The tabs and buttons have worked out really well. The comforter stays put inside the duvet cover, despite the cover being a bit wide
I really like the cover a lot, too. I think it pulls together the greens, blues and browns we have have going on in our room pretty well. It has both the green from the headboard and the darker blue from the wall. One would almost think I had chosen the headboard fabric and wall colors based on the the duvet cover, but I just lucked out in finding one that was a good match.