A quilters flat felled dream

During a recent trip to Crimson Tate I had the good fortune of meeting two wonderful ladies. Out for a walk downtown, they happened to stumble into Heather’s store. After a chat and lots of giggles, Julie asked if Heather knew of anyone who could make a duvet cover for her. Naturally I chimed right in. So here is my rundown on how to make a professional quality duvet cover.  I apologize for the photo heavy post. 

Step 1: Buy LOTS of fabric. Julie picked out one of my favorites for the top of her duvet, a print form Timber and Leaf by Sarah Watts. She paired it with a dear stella print which I used as an accent fabric. The back is a lovely kona gray. And to add a pop of color she picked a pretty yellow print by Jenean Morrison for Free Spirit fabrics for some pillow cases.

Step 2: Construct the back. I folded the entire length of fabric (twice the width of the comforter plus a couple of inches for seam allowance) in half lengthwise and stitched a one inch seam starting at the cut ends and working toward the fold. For this step I left my selvedges on so I would have a nice straight edge to follow while sewing. I then cut the folded edge off so the fabric could be opened. This is just long enough for a queen if you are using standard quilters cotton.

Now for a flat felled seam. This seam is commonly used in apparel sewing to encase seams and make them a little stronger. I think it is a good seam for a duvet cover because it will stand up to shifting around in bed and repeated washings without fraying.

I trimmed one side of the fabric, in the seam allowance, to 1/4 inch and the other side to 1/2 inch. This also removed the edge of the selvedge.

step 1

Next, fold the wider seam allowance in half, covering the narrow seam allowance, then lay flat (folded side down) on your fabric.

step 2 Step 3

This is then stitched down, close to the folded edge.

step 4


 finished flat felled finished flat felled outside

Finished seam inside and outside.

Step 3: Construct the duvet front. For this I thought two seams down the sides would look nicer than one seam down the middle. I cut one length of fabric in half lengthwise and added my accent fabric to the top of each panel. These seams were sewn as 1/4 inch and finished with an overlock stitch along the edge to keep them from fraying. I also made a skinny panel of accent fabric to run lengthwise.  The panels were then sewn together, again, using flat felled seams.

overcast foot overcast finished

Overlock foot and finished overlock seam.

Step 4:  Construct pocket hem and placket for button closure.  I attached a 12 inch wide strip of gray to the bottom edge of the back, and finish with an overlock stitch.  Fold the bottom raw edge up twice to form an encased hem (~ 1/2 inch wide).  Fold the whole panel up along the seam to the inside of the back.  Fold the bottom edge of the duvet front to the inside forming a 2 inch wide encased hem.

step 1 step 2

Step 5:  Attach the duvet front and back.  Align the front and back, right sides together, a the bottom edge.  Mark a line two inches from the bottom edge and around 18 inches in from each side.  Stich along this line.  This will help keep the duvet cover closed, and the duvet inside.  Add buttons and button holes along the remainder of the bottom edge.

step 3

Step 6: Insert ties into the four corners.  I used plain cotton twill tape.  These will tie around the corners of the duvet to help keep it in place inside the cover.  Fold the bottom hem (the two inch wide strip with the buttons) up to the back.  The bottom of the side seams will be very thick to sew through, go slow.  Folding in the button placket will keep the bottons hidden once the cover is on.  Sew the sides and top, and make sure to catch the ties in the corners.  The last step is to finish the raw edges of the sides and top with an overlock stich to prevent fraying.

Now you can turn your cover right side out, you’re all done!  I think it turned out nicely.  I also made Julie two standard pillow cases following this tutorial (although I don’t use a french seam, I sew a regular seam and overlock to finish), and a simple body pillow case.


Julie says Bacchus likes it too!

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