How to Make Your Bedspreads

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Make a bedspread to match your decor.
Make a bedspread to match your decor. (Image: floral bedding - home interiors image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com)

Bedspreads are making a comeback. Although comforters are plentiful in the retail market, bedspreads offer a more traditional look. Designing your own bedspread allows you to control the quality of the finished product. There are no fancy stitches and no complicated patterns to follow.

Things You'll Need

  • Dressmaker's tape measure
  • Decorative fabric
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Tailor shears
  • Cotton or synthetic roll batting (not loose batting)
  • Lining fabric
  • Quilting straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating thread
  • Iron
  • Ironing board

Measuring and Calculating

Measure across your mattress from seam to seam using a flexible tape measure, as recommended by Sew-lutions. Add 2 inches seam allowance to the measurement, 1 inch for each side, and write that number down as the width.

A flexible tape measure conforms to the contours of your bed.
A flexible tape measure conforms to the contours of your bed. (Image: tape measure image by MichMac from Fotolia.com)

Measure down your mattress without pillows from the top seam (head) to the bottom seam (foot) of the bed, over the edge and down to the floor. Add 1 foot plus 2 inches seam allowance to the measurement and write that number down as the length.

Measure from the top side seam of the mattress to the floor. Add 2 inches seam allowance and write that number down as the drop.

Calculate the amount of fabric and batting you will need by multiplying the length measurement by 4. This is the amount of fabric to purchase for the decorative top layer, and it is also the amount needed for the batting and lining layers.

Marking and Cutting

Spread the decorative fabric out on the floor and measure from the top to meet the bed length calculation. Mark it with your fabric marking pen and cut straight across using tailor shears, which Martha Stewart prefers for sturdiness and length. Cut two identical lengths. These two pieces are the center section of your bedspread.

Tailor shears are longer and sturdier than ordinary household scissors.
Tailor shears are longer and sturdier than ordinary household scissors. (Image: Scissors of tailor with green handles image by Olga Sapegina from Fotolia.com)

Mark and cut two more identical lengths of decorative fabric. These two pieces are the left and right drop.

Spread the batting out on the floor and cut pieces to identically match all cut fabric pieces in quantity and in length.

Spread the lining fabric out on the floor and cut pieces to identically match all previous cuts of fabric and batting.

Putting it Together

Spread two pieces of decorative fabric on the floor, one on top of the other, with right sides facing. Pin the pieces together along one side.

Repeat with the batting layer and the lining layer.

Bright-colored pins are easier to see and less likely to be accidentally left in the fabric.
Bright-colored pins are easier to see and less likely to be accidentally left in the fabric. (Image: sewing pin rolls image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com)

Sew the pinned edge with a 1-inch seam allowance, removing pins as you work.

Repeat with the batting layer and the lining layer.

A sturdy sewing machine helps with stitching heavy fabric.
A sturdy sewing machine helps with stitching heavy fabric. (Image: sewing machine image by Peter Baxter from Fotolia.com)

Spread the stitched piece of decorative fabric out on the floor. Measure the width, making sure the seam is in the center, to the mattress width calculation. Mark the width with the fabric marking pen and cut away excess fabric from each side.

Repeat with the batting layer and the lining layer.

Spread another length of decorative fabric out on the floor. Measure and mark the width to match the drop calculation and cut the excess fabric away. Repeat with the last piece of decorative fabric. These are the two side drop, or overhang, pieces.

Repeat with the batting layer and the lining layer.

Spread the sewn center piece of decorative fabric out on the floor, right side up. Place one overhang piece on top, right side down, aligned with the left side of the sewn piece. Pin the edge together. Place the other overhang piece on top, right side down, aligned with the right side. Pin the edge together.

Repeat with the batting layer and the lining layer.

Sew both pinned edges of the decorative fabric with a 1 inch seam allowance and remove the pins. This is your top layer. Press the seams with an iron to make them flat.

Repeat with the lining layer, but do not press the batting layer. Batting is often heat-sensitive and can melt under an iron.

Pressing makes the seams lie flat.
Pressing makes the seams lie flat. (Image: iron image by Robert Grzywaczewski from Fotolia.com)

FInishing the Bedspread

Place the lining on the floor, right side down, for the first layer of the "sandwich," as the website Quilting 101 refers to the stacked fabric and batting layers. Arrange the batting layer on top of the lining, right side up. Place the decorative layer on top, right side up.

Pin the layers together beginning at the center of the bedspread. Work your way from the center out to the edges to prevent puckering.

Sew the bedspread together along the center seam, then sew along the left and right drop seams. Remove pins as you work.

Spread the sewn bedspread out on the floor, lining side up. Trim any ragged or uneven edges away with your tailor shears.

Create the hem by turning over the edge 1/2 inch. Turn again, another 1/2 inch, tucking the raw edge inside the hem. Secure the turned edge with pins as you work. Pin the left and right hems of the bedspread first, saving the top and bottom for last.

Sew the hem around the entire bedspread, removing pins as you work.

Press all seams with a warm iron.

Tips & Warnings

  • Adding the extra foot to the bed length measurement gives you a large tuck for under your pillows. If you use several pillows, consider adding more than 1 foot so the bedspread is long enough to tuck.
  • Typical mattress widths are 39 inches for twin, 54 inches for full, 60 inches for queen and 76 inches for king, but measure yours to make sure.
  • Instead of matching thread, try contrasting thread for a different look.
  • After the bedspread is complete, add decorative hand stitching, embroidery or appliqué work.
  • If you want to make matching toss pillows, purchase additional fabric at the same time to ensure a matching dye lot.
  • If there is a shrinkage danger with your fabric, launder and press it before beginning the project.
  • Remove all pins as you work. Pins accidentally left sandwiched between layers can cause injury, and they are difficult to locate and remove once they have been sewn inside.
  • Use the lowest heat setting possible on the iron to avoid damaging the fabric.
  • Use high-quality thread. Bargain thread will break and cause the bedspread to come apart.
  • Give your machine a thorough cleaning before sewing to prevent dark, greasy marks on the fabric.

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