How to Sew Mini Crib Sheets (Easy with Pictures)
If you own a mini crib, most likely the Alma Mini Crib, you have found out that there is only one crib sheet available on the market. It is organic, but it it’s only plain white and kind of pricey. Here are easy, step-by-step directions on how to make your own.
You will need 1-½ yards of fabric for each sheet you want to make (you should be able to make one with 1-¼ yards, but if you shop somewhere where they cut fabric pretty crookedly, you might be cutting it too close, so better to be safe). You will also need 54” of ¼” elastic for each sheet you make, a medium sized safety pin, and of course sewing thread.
Next, you’ll need to wash, dry and iron your fabric or fabrics – if they are very different colors or you are unsure of how colorfast they are it’s a good idea to launder them separately.
Cutting Your Fabric
Trim your fabric to make sure it’s square/straight. This step was especially important for the sheets I made, because all three patterns were on a grid and any crookedness would have been evident once the sheets were done. Now you're ready for the real work.
Cut your fabric down to a 48 ½” X 30 ¾” rectangle. (SEE NOTE AT BOTTOM FOR DIFFERENT SIZED BABY MATTRESSES.)
Then cut out what I call the corner squares; these are 4 ¼” X 4 ¼”.
Here's what the piece of fabric looks like once it's been cut:
Pinning and Sewing Your Corners
Now you’re almost ready to start sewing. First pin the right sides of each of the corner squares together. You could do these one at the time – pin one corner, go sew it then pin the next corner and so on – but I prefer to pin them all and then go sew them all at once.
Sew each corner using about a ¼ “seam. Although you want your fabrics cut straight, absolutely precise seams are not necessary (this is not a quilt!) and most of the sewing ends up under the mattress where no one will see it.
Once you have your four corners sewn, press your seams open.
Making the Elastic Pocket
Next you’re going to create the elastic pocket. You first go around the sheet and press in a ¼” all the way around. Then you go around again and press in about another ½”. You just need to make sure that your elastic will fit inside the pocket you’re creating - you can see how I tested this in the photos below. You'll also need to make sure to sew your pocket seam to the outside edge of the fold to make sure to allow enough space for you elastic and safety pin to pass through. Place pins every 10” or so as you work your way around the second time to hold the fold in place when you sew.
Now you’re going to sew your elastic pocket. In order to avoid accidentally sewing all the way around, I like to place a pair of pins at a 90 degree angle about 10” apart where I want to start and stop my sewing. These act as my red flags. You want at least 10” left un-sewn because it’s a lot easier to join the ends of the elastic when you have some wiggle room. For the same reason, I also find it easier to start and stop on one of the long sides of the sheet.
Feeding the Elastic
Once you have your elastic pocket sewn and leaving about a 10”+ gap, you can now add the elastic. Adding the elastic is probably the hardest part of this project, but it’s really pretty easy once you get the hang of it. The measurement of the elastic is somewhat debatable. I’d say that using a 52” length would make a snug fitting sheet that is still easy to get on and off. Of course, if you like it snugger or looser, adjust your elastic length accordingly. Take your safety pin and attach it to the center of one end of your elastic (seems silly to emphasize center, but I’ve learned the hard way that if you attach it closer to the edge of the elastic sometimes the elastic frays and falls apart midway through your "feeding" process and you have to start all over).
So, you want to feed your safety-pin into the elastic pocket. Slide it as far forward as you can, then with your other hand hold the safety pin in place through the fabric and pull the fabric you’ve just fed the safety pin into back over the elastic.
Continue doing this until you’ve made it all the way around. Once you get all the way around, make sure to hold the safety pin firmly and spread the fabric around the elastic evenly (because it will most likely be bunched up by the end of your safety pin). If you need to put the sheet down for a minute at this point, make sure to safety pin both ends of the elastic together, so that the end of the elastic doesn’t accidentally slip back out of the pocket.
You can also take the sheet as is and place it on your mattress to see how taut it is and if you want to shorten or lengthen your elastic before doing the final sewing.
Now take the two ends of your elastic and lay them over each other and pin them in place. Place this under your presser foot and sew it together (obviously removing the pins as you go). You might want to go over this seam a couple times to reinforce it.
The last step is to sew those last 10”+ of your elastic pocket. There you go! You have a beautiful, custom mini crib sheet.
You’ll notice that when not on the mattress they sort of look like oversized fabric shower caps.
Notes for Different Sized Mattresses
NOTE: Since I've received many comments asking what size fabric to start with for different sized baby mattresses, I thought I'd add this helpful tip.
If you're mattress is 3"-4" thick, you just add 12" to the length and width of your mattress dimensions. For example:
Your mattress is 10" wide x 3" thick x 20" long.
That means your fabric should be cut to 22" wide x 32".
And then you just follow the rest of the directions from there on.
Questions & Answers
You mention adding 12 inches to both edges (length and width), but you don't mention how much to add for the corners. The mattress size is 37.5 x 25.5 x 3. How much do I take off for the corners to make a mini crib sheet?
My mattress is 2 3/4 thick and 38 in long and 32 1/4 wide. How much fabric should I cut to sew mini crib sheets?
You should start with a 43.25"x49" piece of fabric and then follow the directions from there.
What is the pattern for a Baby Box mattress sheet measuring 1-1/4" thick and 26" x 16" overall? How big should the corner squares be?
You should start with a 24" x 34" piece of fabric then cut out 3" squares from each corner.
If my cut fabric is supposed to measure 27" wide and 42" long to fit a three-inch pad, how big should the corner squares be?
You should start with a 39" x 54" piece of fabric and then cut out 4-1/4" corner squares.