Home » How to make a crib sheet. An easy step-by-step tutorial

How to make a crib sheet. An easy step-by-step tutorial

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DIY crib sheets are so quick and easy to make! Even if you’re a beginner, this fun sewing project is surely not beyond your skills. So, how to make a crib sheet? For instance, how much elastic for a fitted crib sheet? What is the best fabric for crib sheets? How many sets of crib sheets do you need? What is the size of a crib sheet? You’re going to find all the answers in this free sewing tutorial.

This is a super easy DIY project, perfect for beginners. The funny thing is that the most time-consuming part of this sewing project is feeding the elastic through the casing. 

Make your baby crib sheet in a beautiful fabric to complete the nursery of your dreams – there are so many prints and patterns to choose from! DIY crib sheets also make a great baby shower gift.

Or maybe you can turn some old sheets into crib sheets to save money.

Either way, why settle for the crib sheets they have in stores when you can have something better?

This tutorial will show how easy it is to make your own.

How much fabric do you need for a crib sheet?

Standard size for a crib mattress is 51 5/8 inches long by 27 1/4 inches wide by 5 1/2 inches thick. In addition, the mattress should not be thicker than 6 inches.

So, 2 yards of 44” wide fabric will be just enough to make one that fits the standard size crib mattress.

What is the best fabric for DIY crib sheets?

Cotton bed sheets are the most common choice for a baby crib sheet. That’s because cotton is an all-natural breathable fabric, hypoallergenic and durable, which keeps your little one cool during the summer and warm in the winter.

Polyester blends with cotton are also an option. Although not as breathable as 100% cotton fabric, these sheets tend to cost less, are soft and warm, and don’t wrinkle as much – therefore perfect for the cold season, but not great during the summer.

Flannel crib sheets are the best choice for the winter if you want to keep your baby warm and comfy.

How many sets of crib sheets do you need?

Certainly, they are a necessity and it’s always handy to have a good few of them, as things tend to get messy pretty quick with babies.

In theory, baby sheets should be changed 1-2 times per week, including the mattress pad. In practice, crib sheets get soiled almost every day, as most babies throw up small amounts of milk from time to time, or after a messy diaper.

So, how many sets of sheets does a new parent need? The answer is at least two crib sheets. But, to be safe, you should have three to four pieces of crib sheets, so that you can be able to change the bedding whenever needed.

Looking for some other fun stuff to sew for kids?
Here are some ideas for you:

How much elastic for a fitted crib sheet?

We aim to make a crib sheet tight enough that it doesn’t pose a safety concern and at the same time, it’s still easy to get on and off the mattress.

First, make sure to only use elastic that recovers to its original length after stretching. A good elastic length for baby crib sheets can be anywhere from 60” to 70” of 1/4″ wide elastic, but that usually depends on how snug you want the sheet to fit on your mattress and, of course, the elasticity of your elastic.

Keep in mind there is no single right answer on how long to cut the elastic. Some elastics stretch more than others, so make sure to adjust your elastic length accordingly.

How to make a crib sheet

I love flannel sheets, they are so soft and cozy – perfect for keeping the little ones warm on chilly winter nights. And we do have some rough winters here, I can tell you.

Here’s how I made my fitted crib sheet. The directions are super easy to follow, as you’ll see for yourself.

These dimensions fit standard U.S. crib mattresses – 27-28″ wide, 51-52″ long, and 3-6″ deep.

Note: It’s important to pre-shrink the fabric by washing and drying before you start sewing!

Sewing supplies

Step 1

Cut your fabric so that you get a piece measuring 68” long x 44” wide. 

For a standard crib mattress, your fabric piece should measure 44” x 68”.

Step 2

Cut 8 inch squares out of all four corners.

As a result, your piece of fabric should now look like this:

Step 3

Pin the edges of your cut corners, right sides together. Sew with a 5/8″ seam allowance to create corner seams. Use a backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam. Repeat for all other corners.

Finish the edges of each of the four corners with a serger or a zig-zag stitch.

Step 4

Hem the edge of the sheet. You can use a serger, a zig-zag stitch, or you can fold the edge under 1/4″ and press with an iron.

As you can see, I serged all the way around. That’s by far the easiest and fastest method to finish the 224″ long edge of the crib sheet.

Step 5

Make a small casing for the elastic. Then, fold the edge under 1/2 inch and sew it with a straight stitch. Leave a 1” opening, so you can insert the elastic.

Step 6

Cut your elastic 60-70” long and attach safety pins to both ends. Feed the elastic through the entire casing.

Next, overlap your elastic ends and sew them together.

Finally, sew the small opening shut.

And that’s all!

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20 thoughts on “How to make a crib sheet. An easy step-by-step tutorial”

  1. I found an easier way to insert the elastic and it doesn’t take as much time and less frustrating. Take your length of elastic and stitch the ends together making sure your elastic will lay flat. Then after you have pressed your hem up lay the elastic in the crease of the hem (between the two pieces) and stitch making sure you don’t catch the elastic. That way you don’t have to feed the elastic through. Much easier!

  2. I want to use this method to make removable cushion covers for my camper. Would I just measure width and length and add 8+8 to both measurements for thickness like you did? Thanks.

    • Hi Laura,
      So, my crib sheet is made for a 5 1/2 inches thick mattress. This is why I added (8×2)” to each side – see this pic https://static.icansewthis.com/2019/10/DIY-crib-sheet-tutorial-2-scaled.jpg – and this is why I cut a 8″ square to cut the corners.

      You need to measure the depth of your cushion – and then add about 3″ to that measurement*, so you can tuck under each side.
      Your fabric piece will look like this: W+ 2*(D+3″) x L+2*(D+3″). And you should cut a cut a (D+3″) square to cut the corners.
      //W=width of your cushion
      //L=length of your cushion
      //D=depth of your cushion

      *You can also add 4″ if you want more fabric on the back of your cushion.

  3. I like to stretch the elastic out flat and sew it on with a zig zag stitch. Works well though the elastic does show (but not once it is one the mattress)

  4. Thank you for these instructions! Unfortunately I did not see them before I took apart a crib sheet I had bought to find the pattern and figure out how to make one! This will be much easier next time around.

  5. I love this fitted crib sheet pattern. It’s so easy to follow this pattern. I’m not an expert sewer except I love to sew. The simplest is the best. Thank you for posting this.

  6. I made 2 sheets according to these directions.
    The parameters of the top of a crib batters mattress is 160 ” ( 52×2) + (28×2). I cut the elastic at 66 as per the instructions. Well I don’t think anyone wants to
    “Wrestle” with the crib sheet to get it on the mattress. I redid my elastic at 100 ” length and I am MUCH happier.
    Also most flannel will shrink and inch in width and 2″ in length. Be sure to pre wash and dry the flannel twice, or your work may end up being very pretty but totally unusable because it got just a little too small to fit. Very frustrating if that happens.
    Very frustrating.

    • Hi Margean,
      Thank you so much, your feedback is very important to me. I measured again the elastic of my flannel crib sheet, and I did use about 65”, my elastic is very soft and stretchy. Deciding on the elastic length can be tricky, there are so many different types. I will revisit the article, because I don’t want anyone to struggle with anything, really.
      And you’re also right about pre-washing, better safe than sorry. It just slipped my mind and I somehow forgot to mention this part, but it surely deserves attention.
      Thank you again, I really appreciate it!

  7. This is not a comment but a question. Because of the pandemic the world is experiencing at this time I decided to buy fabric online and pick up at the store…Joann’s. What I didn’t may attention to was the with of the fabric. That is a major DUH moment on me. The width is 42 inches. How can I adapt to the 2 inch shortage on the sides? These are sheets I want to make for my son’s lady’s pregnant daughter. I have already been referred to as the great grandma. I don’t know the size of the crib mattress because I don’t think it has been bought yet. Please help regarding the 2 inch difference. Thank you!

    • Hi Nancy, thank you for the comment, and please don’t worry. Your 42-inch wide fabric will still work fine. The crib sheet may end up a bit snug, but it will fit anyway. The mattress should comply with the size regulations and therefore can not be thicker than 6 inches. Have fun sewing!

    • Something I did when I couldn’t get 44″ wide fabric: I bought the folded edging and sewed it to edge. Then I fed the elastic through that. Dudnt give me the missing 2″ but it came very close. It fits the crib just right without being too snug or hard to put on.

  8. Thank you for this detailed post. I need a playpen sheet and I feel like I can adapt these instructions, even with my limited sewing skills.

    • For a porta crib sheet…measure the length and width and add 8 inches to each. Then use a 4”x4” square to cut the corners. Then follow the rest of the directions on sewing. Easy peasy! Good luck!


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