A custom duvet sounds like a major splurge. After all, it's designed to fit your bed perfectly, and it comes in any color or pattern you want to help you create your dream bedroom. But what if we told you that in this case, custom is cheaper than off the rack? That's because, yup, you'll be making this one yourself!
DIY'ing a duvet will change the whole vibe in your bedroom. And sewing your own is simpler than you think. Just pick out your fabric, follow our tutorial, and get ready to give your room a total reboot.
Sewing a duvet is easy once you get started. The only tricky part is figuring out the size you'll need. Since most beds are wider than the fabric widths available out there, you'll need to do a little math first to help you save time and stress. In this tutorial, we'll focus on crunching the numbers, and cutting your fabric to fit. The rest is a breeze!
1. Measure the Comforter Size
First, let's look at the layers in a typical bed: You have your mattress, then your sheets, then your comforter, which goes inside the duvet. To determine the duvet size, we'll need to start with the size of the comforter you'll be using inside the duvet. Comforters are typically bigger than the mattress size they're designed for. But for reference, here are the most common mattress measurements in the United States (note that these vary in other countries).
- Twin: 39 x 75 inches
- Twin XL: 39 x 80 inches
- Full/Double: 54 x 75 inches
- Queen: 60 x 80 inches
- California King: 72 x 84 inches
- Eastern King: 78 x 80 inches
Once you know which comforter you'll be using for your bed — it might be the same comforter you already own — make sure you mark down its dimensions before you start the duvet project. Comforter measurements range from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it pays to know exactly what size you'll be basing your duvet on. Chances are, you'll want your duvet to have the same finished size as your comforter, so it fits snugly around it the way a pillow fits around a pillow form.
To mark down your measurements: Start with the comforter width and add ½-inch to each side for a ½-inch seam allowance , so you're adding a total of 1 inch to the width of your comforter. That's the total width you'll be working with.
Now take the length and add ½-inch to the top side for a ½-inch seam allowance. But before you add the extra to the bottom too, you'll need to figure out how you want to finish the opening. That brings us to the next step.
2. Decide what Type of Bottom Closure to Use
Since you'll be stuffing the comforter inside the duvet, you'll need an opening at the bottom. There are lots of ways to handle this, but before you cut your fabric, decide which option is best for you. That way you can leave the right amount of fabric for the duvet closure you want.
One popular option is an invisible zipper . You can sew it in so it's fully enclosed, leaving only the zipper pull visible at the bottom edge. If you do go with this option, all you'll need to add to your bottom edge is a ½-inch seam allowance; then you'll install your zipper at the ½-inch mark.
You might decide to use one of the other closure options, like velcro, snaps or ties. If you're choosing velcro or snaps, you'll need to sew them to the seam allowance of the opening. So depending on the width of your velcro or the diameter of your snaps, make sure you add enough to the bottom edge to allow you to attach them. If you're using ties, you can sew them directly to a seam allowance, so the typical 1/2-inch works perfectly.
Now you've got both the width and the length measurements for your duvet cover. The illustration above uses the sizes for a queen bed, and shows the math for bottom closure options with a 1/2-inch seam allowance.
Don’t forget that you'll need two pieces, one for the top and one for the bottom!
3. Cut the Fabric
Once you've done the math, it's time to figure out how to cut up the fabric. Most people sew duvet covers from a quilt weight cotton fabric or one with a similar weight and fiber content. But here's the thing: It's rare to find this weight in a width larger than 42-45 inches from selvage to selvage.
If you look at the mattress sizes above, you can see that this width won't be enough no matter what bed size you have. Since a comforter is slightly larger than the mattress, even a twin bed (with a 38-inch mattress width) will need a comforter that's wider than the typical quilt weight width. To use this type of fabric from the bolt, you'll need to plan your strategy in advance.
Here's one common way of coming up with the size you need: Use the width of the fabric to create a center panel for the duvet, then take a second length of fabric and cut it in half, and sew it to either side of the center panel. This works best with an all-over print so the seams don't show, or you can choose different fabrics to create an intentionally striped look for the duvet. Or come up with another design you'll love!
If you're planning to use the center-panel strategy mentioned above, this is how to figure out how to cut the fabric and determine the number of yards you'll need. First, you'll chop up the width into segments that fit in the 42-inch to 45-inch width of fabric. Because the selvage edges will shrink at a different rate than the rest of the woven areas, you'll need to cut off that part. Plus, you'll want to pre-shrink the fabric, which might reduce the width a bit too.
You can cut the middle segment to a 35-inch width, which will leave 13-inch panels on either side. The outside of the duvet already includes the seam allowance, but the seams we're creating with these panels still need that part added. Add ½-inch on either side of the 35-inch panel, which will make the middle section 36 inches wide. Then add ½-inch to the seam of the outer panel, making each panel 13½ inches wide.
Now it's time to figure out the length. The cut measurement is 81 inches, and when you divide that by 36 inches (one yard), you get 2¼ yards in length. Using this math, for this size of duvet you'll need 2¼ yards in length twice for each side of the duvet. That's one piece for the center of the duvet, and another piece cut in half for each side panel. So here's what you'll need for two fabric panels on the top and two on the bottom of your duvet: 2¼ yards X 4 panels = 9 yards total for one fabric of a 42-inch to 45-inch width.
Tip: One way to get around all the fabric math is to start with two flat sheets in a print you like, since sheets are wider than fabric on the bolt. Of course you're not exactly saving money that way. Plus you'd still need to cut the sheets down and finish the opening— but you wouldn't need to create panels.
Even though the math can seem tricky at first, it's really just about coming up with enough panels to create the size you want. And since you're only working with straight seams, the sewing part will be a breeze.