Clothing + Fashion Elastic is sewn to each corner of the fitted sheet

Published on July 2nd, 2012 | by Julie Finn

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Six Crafty Green Ways to Upcycle Flat Bed Sheets

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You can sew bed sheets to upcycle them into something completely different.

What to do with that gorgeous vintage bed sheet?

What to do with the cute cartoon sheet set outgrown along with the toddler’s bed?

What to do with the flat sheets that you simply don’t use?

Bed sheets are terrific materials to upcycle, since they contain so much yardage with no seams, darts, or cuts. Unlike with many other upcycling projects, you can turn a recycled bed sheet into something large, like a curtain, pair of pants, or table runner, with little extra cutting or piecing. Additionally, really nice flat sheets are often sold very cheaply at thrift stores when they’re separated from their sets.

Read on for six projects designed to make perfect use of a single upcycled flat sheet.

Elastic is sewn to each corner of the fitted sheet

Before you get started, check out my conversion chart of sheet sizes to yardage. I use this all the time when I’m deciding if a sheet will be the right size for a particular project.

  1. flat sheet to fitted sheet: We just don’t use flat sheets in our bedding, so I figured out a way to remake flat sheets into fitted sheets. I’ve also used this tutorial, with some modifications, to cut down sheets to fit a smaller bed. Read through the Comments before you begin, because although some commenters have breezed through the tutorial, others have had trouble, perhaps due to their using non-standard sheet sizes.
  2. flat sheet to shower curtain: Especially if you have a master bathroom for your bedroom (you lucky duck!), this upcycled shower curtain made from a flat sheet, from Make and Takes, is a terrific way to makeover the room and match your bedroom. The only caveat is that you have to use abstract patterns here, since any sheet pattern that has a discernible direction would be aligned the wrong way for a shower curtain.
  3. flat sheet into circle skirt: Because of all that lovely yardage that you get in a flat sheet, it’s an excellent fabric to upcycle into a very easy to sew circle skirt. It’s also very accommodating to a large range of sizes, since you only have to use a king-sized sheet to add a lot of extra width, or use a toddler bed sheet to sew a teeny-tiny little kid’s skirt. Again, watch for the pattern on your sheet with this project–the pattern will end up going in just about every single direction from your waist, which could actually be a pretty cool effect, depending on the style.
  4. flat sheet into curtains: Honestly, upcycling a sheet into curtains is even easier than sewing curtains from scratch, as this tutorial from Welcome to Heardmont shows, because since you cut the sheet in half lengthwise to make the two curtains, the curtains will match perfectly. Seriously, with just a little care the pattern repeat between the two curtains will be Type A identical.
  5. flat sheet into table runner: Involving less commitment (and less fabric!) than a tablecloth, a table runner upcycled from a vintage flat sheet is an inexpensive way to decorate. One of the commenters on this post even noted that she sews holiday-themed table runners from upcycled holiday fabrics–excellent idea!
  6. flat sheet into pajama pants: You can use any simple pattern for this, or even wing your own–the beauty of the project is that there’s plenty of material in a flat sheet to sew a pair of pajama pants, and vintage sheets are so gorgeous and soft that your pajama pants will outdo any store-bought pair in both quality and fit. And if your sheet is large enough, I’ve discovered that you can even make more than one pair of pajama pants from the same sheet–just enough for matching pajama pants for a father and his two daughters, for instance.

(sewing image via Shutterstock)


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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.



6 Responses to Six Crafty Green Ways to Upcycle Flat Bed Sheets

  1. Susan says:

    Nice post! Great ideas. I recently read this article at Hipcycle.com about things to do with scrap fabric: http://hipcycle.com/blog/2012/06/29/the-hipcycle-materials-series-fabric-waste

    Good stuff! Upcycling rocks!

  2. Stephanie says:

    I used an old sheet from my bed as an extra layer of batting in a quilt. Love your idea about making them into PJ pants! I also saw on pinterest someone used pretty vintage sheets to make cloth napkins. I think I’m going to have to get more creative and find me some more sheets ;)

  3. Kelly says:

    I turned a flat sheet into cloth napkins. I plan to do more, but it takes me a while since I’m such a poor seamstress.

  4. GThrones says:

    Thanks for these ideas. It has never crossed my mind to turn them into fitted sheets. I don’t care for a lot of layers and never use flat sheets.

  5. Cody says:

    These are all great ways to use sheets and I have made them all. Sheets are my favorite go-to fabric and I usually always have a stash and ideas are endless!!

  6. Barbara says:

    I made a large shopping bag out of a recycled flat sheet and some left over denim for the outside bottom.
    http://www.oasisoriginals.net/recycled.html

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