How to Make a Patchwork Duvet Cover

comments (9) October 3rd, 2008     

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MaryRay Mary Ray, contributor
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A patchwork duvet cover protects a comforter and gives any bedroom a lift.
Add a 5- to 6-inch extension at the top. Turn in 1/2 inch along the upper edge.
Leave openings at the bottom corners and finish by hemming the seam allowances.
A patchwork duvet cover protects a comforter and gives any bedroom a lift.

A patchwork duvet cover protects a comforter and gives any bedroom a lift.

Photo: Mary Ray
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There’s nothing like a fluffy down comforter when the air turns nippy. But a down comforter is hard to launder, so it needs a cover to protect it. Here’s a great way to make a removable wrapper and give your bedroom a new look, too. I made this cover with a foldover button closure at the top and an opening at each lower corner so I can put my hand through and pull the comforter to the bottom (the hardest part when making the bed!). The top of this duvet cover is composed of large blocks of fabric that are all 18 inches wide but vary in height. I used some home dec fabric remnants as well as some quilt-shop cottons. But this is a great way to use recycled fabric (like some drapes you no longer use or some tablecloths from a tag sale) as long as it’s in good condition. Whether new or used, always prewash the fabric with a little mild soap and dry it in the dryer to avoid shrinkage later. And if those “flea market finds” are going to fall apart and don't survive the agitator, you’ll know before you put all that work into your project!

What you’ll need:

  • Enough compatible fabric pieces to cover the top of the comforter (Comforters don’t come in standard sizes like sheets, so measure your comforter from top to bottom and side to side. Allow some extra for seam allowances, plus about 6 additional inches across the top for the button closure.)
  • A sheet for the back, or enough fabric to make the back
  • About a dozen small buttons
  • A strip of lightweight fusible interfacing


Here’s how to do it:

1. Cut out the fabric blocks (be careful to cut or tear them on grain), arrange them, sew into strips, then sew the strips together. Use 1/2-inch seam allowances and press seams open. Unless the fabric tends to fray a lot, or you intend to wash the cover frequently, I don’t think you'll need to finish the seams—just keep the cover right side out when washing and drying so seam allowances are less exposed. Make the top the size of the comforter plus 1/2-inch seam allowances at the bottom and side edges and a 5-inch extension at the top.


Add a 5- to 6-inch extension at the top. Turn in 1/2 inch along the upper edge.

2. From a large, flat sheet, cut the cover’s back to equal the size of the pieced top. You can make the back from fabric as well. (Some quilt shops carry extra-wide fabric for quilt backs that's about 108 inches wide, or you can seam together narrower fabric.)

3. Pin the pieced top to the back, right sides together, matching the edges. Sew the bottom edge first, starting along one side about 2 inches from the bottom. Pivot at the corner, sew the bottom edge, pivot at the next corner, and sew about 2 inches up the other side. Be sure to backstitch at the start and end of stitching.

4. Sew each side edge, leaving a 5-inch opening at the bottom. Sew to about 5 inches from the top edge.


Leave openings at the bottom corners and finish by hemming the seam allowances.

5. Turn in the seam allowances at the corner openings 1/4 inch and stitch down to finish the openings.

6. Double fold the top of the sheet, creating a 2-1/2- to 3-inch hem, and sew in place along the fold.


Fold the back section at the top, then fold again to create a double hem. The double thickness will stabilize the buttons.


7. Turn in 1/2 inch along the top edge of the pieced section. Fold the extension in half to make a hem. Fuse a 1-inch-wide strip of interfacing to the extension, placing one edge along the fold.


Fuse a strip of lightweight interfacing to the extension to stabilize the buttonholes.

Finish the side edges of the hem by sewing right sides together, then turning right side out.


Finish the corners of the extension.

8. Make buttonholes along the long edge of the folded extension, placing them about 10 inches apart.


Sew buttonholes along the folded edge of the extension, spacing them 10 inches apart.

Fold the extension down again and topstitch along the fold.


Fold the top extension again and topstitch along the fold.

9. Sew buttons in place.


Sew buttons to the top edge of the back.

10. Sew a buttonhole and button to each bottom corner opening.


On each corner opening, sew a button and buttonhole.

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posted in: fabric, vintage, houseware, retro

Comments (9)

Quiltladycreations writes: I am getting ready to make this duvet. Question I have is in #1 you indicate to add 1/2 inches for seam allowances. Then #3 you say to sew 2" from the bottom and sides. Is this a typo or are the seam allowances needed for the sides larges (2") rather than half inch.
Love the idea if putting opening at the bottom to pull the comforter down.
Posted: 1:27 am on October 30th
Stile writes: I may give this a try, using suggested ideas of curtains, tablecloth motifs. thanks for the tutorial.
Posted: 2:25 pm on January 17th
jolily writes: hi MaryRay,
can i use curtain or heavy fabrics for the duvet cover cos i've got stash of them that i inherited from a friend and don't know what to do with them or any other ideas i could use them for except to make curtains cos i'm not excited about making curtains at all.
thanks
Posted: 7:44 am on June 9th
msdbeach writes: I made a quilt top out of vintage hawaiian shirts, list past summer and that was as far as I got. Thanks for inspiring me to do something with it, besides cutting it up.
Posted: 12:45 pm on January 6th
Therapy4Me writes: What a great idea! I have so many decorator swatches and had no clue what to do with them. NOW I do!! Thanks for the instructions...but, since I have a real aversion to button holes, I am going to use the flexible sew-on Velcro strips cut in 2 or 3 inch pieces. I figure if I place them about as far apart as the buttons are, I will get the same effect. One more project to add to my repetroire of UFO's!
Posted: 11:16 pm on November 15th
clematislover writes: I've made a couple duvets and have gotten around the problem of the comforter moving inside the duvet by adding loops and ties inside. Add small elastic loops at each corner and several along each side of the comforter. Topstitch close to the edge, turning under the ends of the elastic. On the inside of the duvet sew in 12" long ties (folded in half) in the same locations. The ties can be made from non - ravel ribbon or hem tape. Turn the duvet inside out, lay on the bed with the comforter on top. Tie the ribbons thru the loops in a double bow or square knot. Turn comforter right side out, close with buttons or Velcro and viola! You can shake the comforter vigorously to fluff it and it will still stay attached to it's cover.
I'm going to make a pieced two sided duvet this winter. The current duvet is wearing thin. I can't find printed cotton sheets anymore, that's what I've used in the past to make the cover.
Posted: 9:10 am on October 31st
MaryRay writes: Judy,
Sorry. I guess I didn't explain well at Step 4 about why you leave the opening at the bottom. However, in the opening paragraph I mention that the cover has openings at the bottom corners so you can put your hand in and pull the comforter to the bottom. I always find that "filling" the cover with the comforter is the hardest part!
Posted: 8:11 pm on October 6th
lorchick writes: hmm, you know, working in a fabric store, there are quilters all around me, all the time, and I'm a little jealous of the art but not sure I'm willing to commit to it. However, I think this would be a quick and easy (ish) way to try out something along those lines and see how i feel about the idea! (and/or a great excuse to try some of those beautiful Feels Like Silk Quilters Collection quilting cottons I've been feeling/eyeing up at work!)
Posted: 10:13 pm on October 3rd
Judy_H writes: Question: instruction no. 4 - leave a 5" opening at the bottom - WHY? I get the top part but not the bottom.
Thank you for the instructions.
Posted: 11:22 am on October 3rd
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