diy project: joyce’s spring/fall bedspread

over the next few months, in addition to our regular diy wednesday column, i’ll be posting the full instructions for all of our 2008 diy contest finalists (as well as a few dozen that weren’t finalists but definitely deserved to be celebrated). i’m going to go down the line in order of votes- and our next highest finalist was joyce and her incredible reversible spring/fall bedspread. joyce was kind enough to write up detailed instructions for completing a piece like hers. in addition, there’s a great link in the instructions to a few embroidery video tutorials- perfect for anyone who’s new to the art. click here for the full post and joyce’s instructions, or just click “read more” below. [thanks, joyce!]

Reversible Spring/Fall Bedspread Step-By-Step Instructions

What you’ll need:

–cotton canvas weight fabric for spring base (approx 55″x 67″)*

–cotton canvas weight fabric for fall base (approx 55″x 67″)*

–cotton poplin weight fabric for spring inner rectangle (approx 33″ x 43″)**

–cotton poplin weight fabric for fall inner rectangle (approx 41″ x 53″)**

–assorted fabric scraps and swatches for appliqué

–assorted embroidery thread (I used Gutterman brand series 753)


–embroidery needle

–sewing machine

–measuring tape

–pattern paper or craft paper or any paper lying around your house



*you may want to customize sizes for your bed. These sizes are based on a double futon mattress.

**these sizes should be based on your design, but in case it helps these are the measurements I used.

1. Sketch out a design for both sides of your bedspread. I chose to do a literal design, but something more abstract could be really cool—like bold appliquéd stripes, a single motif in a corner, or just a couple of rows of embroidery stitches (either by hand or machine—I used hand methods because my machine doesn’t do any embroidery stitches—someday…).
2. Cut fabric pieces for the base and inner rectangle of each side.
3. Use your pattern paper to cut out your design pieces and place them on the fabric to see if you like the layout.
4. Cut out design patterns in your chosen fabrics.
5. Lay out and pin appliqué pieces to inner rectangle.
6. Sew on appliqué pieces to the inner rectangle (remember to keep ½” seam allowance on edges of inner rectangles) of each side using machine top stitching or hand embroidery.*
7. If you would like, add decorative hand embroidery finishing touches to your design.
8. Fold back the ½” seam allowance on all sides of the inner rectangles one at a time and iron the seam allowances into place. Pin each inner rectangle, centered onto its base, with the seam allowance pressed under. Topstitch each inner rectangle to its base, taking out the pins as you go along. Up to this point your spring and fall sides are still separate.
9. Pin the spring side to the fall side with the designs facing each other. (It will be like a sandwich with the designs on the inside. You will only be able to see the wrong sides.)
10. Using ½” seam allowance, machine sew all around the perimeter of the bedspread while leaving about 8″ of the border open. You will need this space so that you can turn your bedspread right side out.
11. Turn bedspread right side out and finish gap with a blind stitch (by hand or machine).


* I learned a couple of really cool hand embroidery stitches by watching the videos on this website: On my bedspread two of the hand embroidery stitches I used were the Portuguese knot stem stitch and the outline stitch.

judy gal

This is such a fabulous idea!!.. Anyone with cats knows that these critters LOVE to sleep (and get hair all over) their owner’s bedspread..since I’m allergic to cats (but love my MAX), I’ve been covering my sleeping blankets with an extra sheet that I pull down at night but YOUR cover is SO much more lovely! Thanks so much, Joyce (applause)(applause)


In my humble opinion this was the real winner of the contest…there’s a lot of design and crafting skill here. The dog bed was a very cool/cute idea, but essentially just a pillow inside a suitcase.


I LOVE reversible covers! Joyce’s design is especially sweet. I’m going to spend some serious time on that embroidery site!

manhattan craft room

This *is* a really beautiful project with excellent design and very well-executed craftmanship. There’s so much “quick and easy” these days, I really appreciate all the time that went into this. LOVE it, great work!!!

flea dell

I think you should have a contest to see how many readers can replicate this cat cloth.


The close-up shot of the flowers is just stunning – both in creativity and execution. My hats off to you!


This is gorgeous! I have been searching for a teal and brown bedspread with a natural theme. I have resigned myself to the concept that I will have to make it. Your tute will be so helpful!


This is stunning. Absolutely stunning. I can’t wait to try my own reversible bedspread — as soon as I finish my sister’s graduation quilt…


Nice owl on a tree. Simple yet very beautiful. Lovely colors…This really inspired to try something like this in the near future.

Muffin Puffin

Absolutely gorgeous. Where did you get the cool orange floral pillowcases-love ‘em!