101brett baraDIYdiy projectssewing 101

sewing 101: making a duvet cover

by Grace Bonney

I don’t know about you, but I never cease to be shocked at the price of bedding. And nothing sets off my “I could make that myself so much cheaper and better” instincts like duvet covers. It’s just a big flat case of fabric, yet even the simplest options easily soar into the three digits—but all it takes to make your own is a bunch of fabric, a few straight seams, and a spare afternoon.

Not only will going DIY with your duvet cover save you some cash, it’ll also allow you to custom-make exactly what you are looking for. What’s better than that? Let’s go! Brett Bara

*if you missed any of brett’s sewing 101 columns this month, check out her archives: curtains, zippered throw pillows, ottoman slip cover

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

What You’ll Need

Approximately 10 yards fabric (see below to calculate exact amount; I suggest buying extra just in case)

Yard stick, long quilter’s ruler or tape measure

Sharp scissors

Straight pins

Sewing machine

Iron and ironing board

Selecting and Preparing Fabric

I recommend machine-washable cottons or cotton-linen blends for duvet covers. Quilting shops are a great place to look for fabrics, as there are tons of choices there for cottons in tiny prints, large prints, solids and everything in between.

Here I’m working with Denise Schmidt Hope Valley Piney Woods from Free Spirit Fabrics.

Be sure to wash, dry and iron your fabric before beginning to pre-shrink it.

Fabric Tips

*If you find yourself head over heels for designer bedding, check to see if you can buy two flat sheets from the line, and use these to sew your own duvet cover. This can be much less expensive than buying the duvet cover itself, and sometimes the manufacturer uses the very same fabric for the sheets as for the duvets, so you’re really working with the exact same material.

*Consider using a different fabric for the front and back of the duvet so that the piece is reversible—two looks for the price of one, and a special bonus for the décor commitment-phobes among us.

Planning and Cutting

There aren’t strict standards for bedding sizes in the US (comforter sizes tend to vary among manufacturers), so I recommend measuring the comforter you plan to cover and using those numbers to plan your duvet cover.

Since fabric generally isn’t sold in widths wide enough for a full duvet, you’ll need to seam a few panels of fabric together to make the front and back. I suggest placing one full panel down the center of the duvet with two smaller panels to each side of it; this is generally nicer-looking than making one seam down the middle of the duvet.

NOTE: Remember that you should trim off the selvedge edges of your fabric (these are the finished edges on both sides of the fabric which are a little different in texture and/or color from the rest of the fabric) before sewing. Remember to subtract the selvedge edge from any measurements as you plan your piece.

Measure the width of your fabric without selvedge; plan to place one full panel of fabric down the center of the duvet and two smaller panels to each side of it. Simply make the side panels as large as they need to be to reach the desired width of your duvet cover, adding 1” to the width of each panel to allow for seam allowance.

So, if your center panel needs to be 40” wide and each side panel needs to be 20” wide, cut the panels 41” wide and 21” wide. Those extra inches will be consumed by the seams.

The length of your duvet is simply the desired finished length plus 2 ½” for hem and seam allowance.

*Remember that you need a front and a back, so plan all your measurements and double them to calculate the total amount of fabric you’ll need.

Here’s what your panels will look like when they’re ready to go.  (Note: I’m making a mini duvet here to make it easier to see the big picture of shape and construction.)

Sewing: French Seams

To begin, you’ll sew each side panel to its corresponding center panel, to make the front and back of the cover.

For a really nice professional-looking finished result, I recommend using French seams in this project. These seams are finished on both the inside and outside, so that no raw edges of fabric will be visible anywhere.

French seams may sound fancy, but they’re really easy! Here’s how:

Place two pieces of fabric WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. (This is the opposite of normal; usually you sew most seams right sides together.)

Sew the seam with a ¼” seam allowance.

Trim away about ½ of the seam allowance, being careful not to get too close to the stitches.

Iron the seam to one side, then fold at the seam so that right sides of the fabric are facing together, and iron the seam closed.

Pin the seam closed to avoid shifting, and sew it again with a ¼” seam allowance. Iron this seam to one side, and your French seam is done.

From the outside it looks like a regular seam, but on the inside all you see is this nice finished flap. Nice, right?!

For a nice finishing touch, you can top stitch to tack down the flap. All you do is top stitch on the right side of the duvet alongside the French seam, stitching over the folded-over flap in the back.

Iron the seam once again after top stitching to smooth and relax it.

Repeat for all center/side panels so that you have a complete front and back.

Attaching the Front and Back Together

Place the front and back together with wrong sides facing, pinning each side seam in place. Sew each side with French seams as described above (but skip the top-stitching for the sides).  After sewing the sides, sew the top closed with a french seam as well.

The inside of the duvet is now fully finished, with no raw edges visible at all. Isn’t that nice? Here is what the corners will look like on the inside.

To hem the bottom of the duvet, fold 1” of fabric to the inside and press. Fold up another 1” and press again; pin folds in place.

Stitch hem close to the exterior fold line and again close to the interior fold line.

Getting Closure

You have many options for closing up the bottom of the duvet (in each of these cases, I suggest placing a button/snap/ribbon about every 8” along the bottom):

*Buttons and buttonholes: easy to do with the buttonhole attachment that comes with most sewing machines.

*Sew-on snaps: very easy to sew on by hand, and quick to snap/unsnap when you change the duvet.

*Snap fastener kit: All you need is a hammer and the special tool that comes in this set to attach snaps without sewing for a very professional-looking result. (Check the instructions on the package.)

*Ribbon or twill tape: even easier to install. I suggest tucking 10” lengths of ribbon or tape under the folds of the hem before sewing it.

*Zippers: long zippers can be purchased online; you might consider a zipper closure along the bottom, using the same zipper-installation method as the zippered pillow cover.

That’s all there is to it! Don’t you feel so wonderfully nice and cozy with your new handmade duvet cover?!

Suggested For You


  • Great tips – thank you! And another idea: I have made duvet covers from sets of twin bed sheets. For my son’s room, I bought two cheap twin sheet sets – one orange, one blue. I used the flat sheets to make the duvet cover, and now have the blue and orange fitted sheets and pillowcases, which I alternate in the wash each week. Very economical way to create two different sets of linen.

  • I agree with Sue or nobaddays – use an inexpensive flat sheet for one panel of the duvet cover – personally I have sewn together some other fabric for the “top” of the duvet cover, and used a sheet at the “back”. Worked really nicely and its the perfect size (cheaper too!)

  • perfect timing! I am working on a duvet cover right now. I am using kona cotton and I’m actually quilting the top before I sew the back on–to give it that textured luxury look. Definitely cheaper-but this quilting is going to take me a little while :) Going to make some quilted shams to match.

  • also, a martha tip, sew lengths of ribbon on each of the inside corners, and then tie around the corners of the duvet to make sure it doesn’t slide around.

  • This is too funny… just last night I was saying that I wanted to make my own duvet cover because I couldn’t find one I wanted or could afford. You totally read my mind! This is awesome!

  • Awesome tutorial! I wish I could have read this two weeks ago when I tried making mine. It looks a little…handmade :) Good thing buying flat sheets is cheap!

  • Thank you so much for these 101 sewing installments. I just registered for a beginners sewing machine for our wedding. I have been bookmarking them all in hopes that I can begin soon!

  • I like this idea. However, 10 yards of good fabric is often $10 or more per yard. That adds up quickly. Maybe if you are used to buying $300 duvet covers. (I tend to buy them for $100 from the Company Store or Pottery Barn.)

    • maggie

      if you check out shops like joanne’s you can often find pretty inexpensive fabric. i picked up a great grey wool 2 years ago (for a winter blanket) for $3 a yard.


  • Don’t you stuff the duvet? The one’s in the store always look so fluffy, what would be a good stuffing material and how do you make sure it doesnt come out?

  • Love this!!! We’re moving into our first house soon, but don’t have a lot of money to spend on decorating. Just last week I mentioned to my husban that maybe I could just make a duvet…this is perfect timing!

  • Thanks all!

    It’s true that fabric can get expensive really quickly, but there are lots of good bargains out there too. And don’t forget thrift shops, where there’s often a lot of fabric by the yard in addition to vintage sheets.

    Raquel: re. stuffing – this is meant to go over a duvet or comforter, so you just “stuff” it with a comforter and you’re done!

  • Apologies if this is a silly question – I am inexperienced at sewing. For the French seams- why do you sew the seam with a 1/4″ allowance and then cut off half the allowance instead of just sewing it with a 1/8″ allowance in the first place? I assume there’s a reason that justifies adding an extra step, but would like to understand what that is. Thanks!

  • What great step-by-step instructions with pictures! Much better than anything I’ve found by googling.

    I’ve been wanting to do this with vintage fabric. Does anyone have any suggestions for good places in the Metro-Chicago area to buy vintage fabric like Brett mentioned??

  • Kenzie & Raquel:
    Used to work for Restoration Hardware–they use 2 quilts to make them fluffy…. ALSO–consider when you sew ribbons (or bias tape) on your duvet cover, sew corresponding tape/ribbon oun your QUITS and tie the cover to the quilts in the corners. Mine DON’T BUDGE! and no bunching up!

    :) Patty

  • Thank you for this series! I love that you show everything step by step and make your instructions really clear! Can’t wait to make a sunny yellow duvet cover just in time for spring! And maybe a cushion cover, oh and of course some curtains…

  • I can answer that question Natasha. Its because its really hard to sew with a 1/8″ SA. Its easier and faster to do a 1/4″ and then cut it off. I recommend a rotary cutter.

    I also agree with Maggie up there on the cost issue. Decent quality fabric is over $10 per yard. Joann does have cute fabric but it wont last as long.If you buy flat sheets and sew together you may find that you are not saving as those flat sheets are most often matched with a Duvet cover in the same fabric. But its nice to be able to sew your own!

  • Natasha,

    Sewing a 1/8″ seam would be really difficult to do, because the fabric would likely get bunched up under the presser foot, not feed correctly, and be difficult to control. The reason you want to cut the seam down is to help reduce bulk in your seams so they look more professional and less “handmade”.

    It does take an extra step, but probably doesn’t really add much time to the overall project in the end. Hope that helps :)

  • Thank you, I have wanted to do this for so long! Also, I just want to mention that I have a duvet cover from IKEA that has no closures at all at the bottom. There is simply a 2 foot opening along the bottom seam, and you stuff the comforter in there. It stays in just fine.

  • is it just me or are half the pictures not showing up for everyone? even still… this is a fabulous tutorial! i always keep my eye out for great flat sheets on sale to use for this purpose. your fabric is gorgeous!

  • I’ve been wanting to make a quilt top and then turn it into a duvet instead of a quilt but I feel like the top piece might need a little more weight than the bottom piece. Has anyone ever tried using some fleece fusible webbing in a situation like this? OR does someone have any other suggestions?

  • Somehow you know exactly what I’ve been wanting to sew, but haven’t yet for lack of know-how. Thank you, thank you! I am going to make this very soon, and I’m super excited about it.

  • I nearly jumped for joy when I saw this!!! I love sewing. I love duvet covers. I love changing the look of my bedroom constantly and I love that I now have a simple solution with a major customization ability at hands! Thank you d*s!

  • what a good idea. last year i was scavenging the internet for the perfect cover – should have just fallen back on my instincts of crafting something myself and saved all the time i spent “looking” and just made something!

    • hi guys

      3 of the photos weren’t working properly, so i re-uploaded them. the other 12 should have been ok. they’re all showing for me now, let me know if you still aren’t seeing any.


  • One question, probably silly, but how do you pronounce “duvet”? I have never heard it pronounced and have only read the word on crafting sites. Thanks!

  • This is so fantastic. I am redoing my bedroom, and had thought about this several times, now I can see it is a possibility. Any chance bedskirts will also be in the picture soon, for a how to?

  • thanks for the tutorial on the french seam. i often have trouble following sewing tutorials, but i find the way you explain it to be very straightforward.

  • Don’t forget about snap tape to close the bottom of the duvet. Snap tape is basically twill tape with both sides of the snaps already affixed. All you have to do is sew it on. My mother made me an awesome duvet cover for college (many years ago) out of two Indian bed-spreads. The snap tape made it so much less labor intensive and the duvet cover was beautiful!

  • Good tutorial…French seams are a lot of work and really work well for lightweight fabrics. Anything heavier than standard quilting weight fabric, and you get some bulky seams. I’d love to see a tutorial on making a plain white “duvet/comforter” to stuff in a great duvet cover!

  • I’ve just made an upholstered bedhead for my bed and now I KNOW I’m going to make a beautiful matching doona cover… (yes, I’m an Aussie and that’s what we call duvets over here…)

  • I can’t believe you posted this today. I was just telling my husband earlier today how incredibly frustrated I was with the price and selection of duvets and how I wanted to make my own! This is perfect!

  • great instructions

    regina! what a lovely looking duvet cover you have sown. i love the fabrics you have chosen especially the numbers one. it really looks trendy and expensive to boot.

    congrats, i am sure you son loves it.

  • This is wonderful. I’ve been meaning to learn how to sew for quite some time. Now I know what to address as soon as I get a moment to sit down and learn! Great post!

  • Seeing the duvet cover right next to an afghan started me thinking “Could one make an afghan cover?” I have several afghans that are great for warmth but ugly in color. I’d probably need to make extra ties on the inside to keep it from moving. Comments?

  • I’m kind of surprised that no one has mentioned shopping on Etsy for material – the prices are way way under $10., and you can find any fabric designer you can think of! If sewing is your thing then be forewarned the fabric section is addictive!

  • Like Kenzie, I’m smack in the middle of sewing a duvet cover right now. I hadn’t thought about using French seams – that will make it so much better. Thanks!

  • This is a FABULOUS tut!! Thank you so much for sharing! I have been debating on whether or not to make a new duvet cover for our master bedroom. Now I’m leaning towards it even more…

  • I made one of these using a vintage, thrift store sheet. http://wisdomofthemoon.blogspot.com/2008/11/retro-comforter-from-thrifted-sheets.html (actually used the colors of the sheet to decorate around) I didn’t do such pretty french seams, but I will totally be doing it on the other daughter’s duvet cover which is next on my to do list. Thanks for the great tutorial.

    Also, I highly recommend using sheets; they can be so much cheaper than fabric and no need to piece the panels together.

  • I made a duvet cover for a boyfriend’s christmas present once. Yes, the straight sewing is easy. but it’s the mass of fabric that is what makes it difficult. I used a sheet for the under side, and I actually cut the underside while serging! and I was almost done! So, remember to manage the layers and mass of fabric.

  • In college, my roomate made us duvet covers from sheet sets and I was very impressed with her sewing skills. Today our website is featuring duvet covers for Dog and Cat beds from Molly Mutt. Their tip: stuff the duvet covers with your old sweatshirts, blankets, etc. and your pet will feel even cozier). I’m sure these would be just as easy to make … except for people like me!

  • French seams! Thank you so much! Could you do a tutorial for a stitched-through blanket as well? I had the idea of making one for a while now but i don’t really know who to.

  • Now, what we need to accompany this is a tutorial on making pillowcases for the bedroom (I mean, pillowcases for standard sleeping pillows)…pretty please?

  • SAFETY PINS ladies!!!!
    that is what I use to attach the corners of my comforter to the inside of my duvet covers….. SO far no sharp accidents!!!
    (btw…. been SERIOUSLY sewing since I was 8… but still…. who has time to sew ribbons to duvets/comfprters!!!
    GREAT tutorial!!!

  • oOOH, This is just the tutorial I was looking for. i found some fabulous sheets at Anthropologie and have been dying to make a duvet cover out of them! Thanks!

  • Great tutorial. I made a duvet once and it was nice, but would have benefited from the french seams. It was Flannel on one side, made wit a Flannel sheet. So cozy!

  • this is so awesome! my aunt just send my fiance and i a bedding set…in the wrong color. lol. this will be perfect!

  • Thank you so much for posting this tutorial. As I type, my sister is finishing a duvet cover for my daughter out of fabric left over from her first birthday party. Your help made this a much easier (and prettier-looking) DIY.

  • Wow, I really love this Sewing 101 series. So many good projects for those of us who maybe don’t intend to ever sew our own clothing but love to have the skills to complete projects for our homes.

  • Even using $10/yd fabric, you’ll get a nicer duvet cover than the rather plain covers available in the stores. My experience is that there isn’t much besides solids or damask duvet covers.

    Re: Joann’s fabric quality. I quilt and NEVER use fabric from Joann’s for quilting. However, I buy fabric for other craft projects at Joann’s and have found that they do have a line of cotton fabric that is very nice. I would judge it based on the project and the individual fabrics you are purchasing. Personally, I’ve seen fabrics at Joann’s that I’d use to make a duvet cover.

  • I’m working on this with a pretty queen sized soft green sheet I found for $2.50 at Goodwill, a twin sheet found in my bedroom closet (from when, I don’t know), and a vintage blue and white Waverly printed fabric that my grandmother-in-law gave me from a project she never finished…I’ve been saving this project for the perfect fabric.

  • Thank you so much for this detailed post. The pictures and explanations helped so much–this is by far the best duvet tutorial i’ve found on the web! I just finished the project using two flat sheets, and I think the french seams take it to a whole other level! Sheets are great for the size but those wrinkles are so hard to get rid of! I was hoping to add a ribbon border to the top for a little detail (Right now its just white)–any suggestions? I wanted to use a velvet ribbon but I’m not sure how that will fare in the washing machine.

    Overall a successful first sewing project, thanks!!

  • Excellent article! The pictures make it easy to follow. With the right fabric and good sewing machine, you can make a high quality duvet cover. More of these please! :)

  • Thank you for posting a duvet tutorial that is ‘not’ two sheets sewn together. There are dozens of tutorials for that. I have the fabric I want to use for my duvet and the same idea of how to piece it together. It’s really nice to know that it will work! These are wonderful directions. Again…thanks!

  • I am getting ready to make a duvet and I was looking at your site for making your own and I had a question the question is If you use a flat sheets would you stillhave to have the side pieces or would you just use the two sheets,

  • I found this while trying to come up with something to get for my sons. i am thinking of doing this but with denim on the top and a bright flannel on the bottom. I need the sturdyness with two boys.

  • hmmm, it’s not a cheaper idea. it’s a “I want my duvet cover exactly like I want” idea. i was looking for a set – duvet covers+3 pillows matching with duvet cover plain light aqua ..well, after 2 years of looking, i am still stuck with my old duvet. Plus i wanted upholstery quality, not quilting…

    The supplies cost me 260CAD…so while certainly not cheaper, it will be closer to what I want. Great article, thanks!

  • Great post! I spent Thanksgiving weekend sewing up a duvet using your directions, more or less (I used upholstery-weight fabric for the top, a sheet for the bottom, fiddled around with the back to make an envelope-type closing like you see on pillow shams). The result is here. Every town seems to have a mill-end store selling home decorating fabrics at a discount — I highly recommend those for a variety of wide-width fabrics at good prices.

  • great site year, and i agree look for the bargains at the thrift shops and clearance racks and use two different colors for reversible Duvet, i just did mine and it looks great Thanks

  • I am going to try this Duvet.The best instructions I have seen.Also the french seam is something I will try.all seems so easy.This is my first time on this site.I will be back freguently.Thanks so much!

  • Hi – Thank you so much for the French seam trick – I looooove having the edges all tucked under neatly! The instructions and pictures are excellent, so clear and easy to follow.

  • A money saving suggestion: If you want to use expensive fabric on the topside, there is usually a selection of wide lightweight quilting muslin at many of the fabric shops – can use the muslin on the back and will save time because not seaming the back.

  • This is such an amazing tutorial! I’m planning on making myself a duvet cover for college, and I am CLUELESS as to what measurements I should use for my twin-xl bed! If you could give me some measurements, that would be great! Thanks :)

  • Gabrielle- Since you’ll be “stuffing” the cover with an actual comforter or duvet (you can buy a cheap plain one at your favorite big-box/home-ware store or use an existing one you’d like to ‘reinvent’) then you should base the measurements off of the comforter you’re covering. I recommend measuring the comforter you’ll be covering because there is no standard between different makers and manufacturers of comforters and blankets. Hope that helps!

  • I just made a king size duvet cover using 102 inch wide unbleached muslin from Hobby Lobby for $8.99 per yard– JoAnn Fabric also carries it. Both carry the muslin, which quilters use for baking, in white and some JoAnn stores carry in a colors. I wanted an off white cover and couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere, for the price I was willing to pay. This one isn’t luxury but gave me what I wanted. When using muslin, as well as any fabric, be sure to wash and dry before cutting and sewing — muslin does shrink a little in that first launder.

  • I’m just starting my second of these. I bought the fabric for it last year after finishing the first one (for master bedroom). It turned out so well, I knew the guest bedroom needed one too! I’m using cotton quilting patterned fabric from Joann, darker color on top and off-white on the reverse. Don’t remember exact cost per yard, but I think it was around $40 total. For closures I’ve used Dritz color snaps, in white, which are actually sort of a pearlized white, and look very high-end and professional. Thanks so much for the great directions!

  • Hi, YOU ARE AWESOME, thanks for sharing :) Do you think if I use King sheets to cover a queen comforter would be fine? insteaf of making 3 pieces?

  • Can you teach how to keep comforter from moving inside? somesew string to corners and then tie, can t find a good tutorial to make it nicely, any ideas?

  • Lovely photos.I will use all these as my PC’s wall picture.On other hand I will use the designing and colors of few of them in my duvet covers.Thanks buddy.

  • When you attach the snaps at the bottom, will they show through to the top of the comforter. Or do you fold in the hem ?

  • I’m doing almost the same for my son – the color and fabric I wanted, costs about $5 a yard, so I found some cheap ($5!) sheets at walmart, already on a twin size, I got I colors and I’ll sew them together tonight. It’ll actually be my very 1st “sewing machine” project hehe. I got 3 or 4 fitted sheets in different colors and patterns, same with the pillowcases, and they all match the basic colors of my 10yo boy’s room: grey, black, white and red. He loves those colors and you can really play around with the decoration, changing often with simple accents, maybe a theme on pillows or posters, and he is all proud of his “big boy” room. Hehe. Thanks for the tutorial, it has encouraged me to start! :)

  • This is such a great tutorial! I just made my first duvet using your tute as a springboard. I wasn’t able to use your french seams (Although the NEXT one I totally will, it makes it look so much more sophisticated!), and added in bits of ribbon on the inside to tie the comforter in place. THANK YOU (and thanks to Google, who directed me to your post). I used King-sized sheets to cover my queen sized duvet, and it just needed a bit of trimming to be perfect :)
    Check it out when you get a chance: http://thecraftedcure.blogspot.com/2012/01/life-lessons-when-your-teacher-is-duvet.html

  • If I wanted to purchase sheets to make a king-sized duvet cover what sized sheets would I need to buy & how many please?

  • Thank you for the easy instructions! Duvet covers are so expensive! I just bought two beautiful curtain panels to use as the top of my king size duvet…it looks very expensive, but it only cost $60 since i used an old flat sheet as the backing!


  • I’m working on the finishing touches of my duvet right now. Thanks for the tutorial! I’m not too good with patterns but I enjoyed the easy to read instructions and visual aide. If you want I can email you a picture so you can see what you inspire (if not that’s fine too!)

    Thanks again. :-)

  • Your tutorial is fantastic – the photos just make it so much easier to visualise. I have a question though – I am making my daughters doona cover with a 10cm ruffle around 3 edges – I can’t do the french seams around the edges still can I? I can’t seem to get my head aorund that one. Any advise on adding the ruffle would be appreciated. Great work! Emx

  • I once sewed my own, but saw how the comforter slipped around inside the cover. How do you keep it from bunching up to one side, or sliding down from the top edge?

  • On the topic of securing the duvet in place – as well as having ties on your covers, sew a little loop on each corner of the duvet.
    In Japan, all the quilts/duvets have loops on the corners (some even have them in midway on each lengh as well,) and all covers have little ties sewn on the inside corners. It’s so intuitive so I don’t understand why they aren’t like that everywhere.

  • The Angry Chicken says some duvet covers have a fold-over closure like a lunch bag. She gives instructions on a tutorial for a snack bag. I am afraid to do that as I might not add enough material on the bottom.

  • Thank you so much for posting this tutorial! I can’t wait to get started on a duvet cover for our bed! Do you have any tutorials on making Euro Shams or other pillows to go with the bed?

  • One more quick question: The ribbon closure sounds adorable, but I’m having trouble picturing it and how to do it. Can you give me a picture or suggestion? Thank you so much!

  • Thanks so much for this tutorial. I just finished making my daughter your duvet cover with the Waverly Paris fabric that I bought 2 years ago for her French themed room. It came out gorgeous! The French seams were beautiful, and so easy to do with your easy instructions & pictures. I sewed ribbon on all the ends to tie the comforter in as well. What a great idea. Off to make some matching curtains now. Thanks again!

  • This is great! I have plenty of cool sheets I plan to use for a duvet! Thanks for making it look easy :D

  • I just recently found shower curtains on clearance (79%off!) off at Target….one matched the living room and became an easy window treatment, and the other two coordinated and matched our master bedroom and became a new duvet cover….button holes already for the shower curtain rings! I was even able to add on a hand crocheted edge. Love it! And for only about $10 for all 3!

  • Quick question…some of you have mentioned that you’ve quilted one side of the duvet before sewing it together. I was going to attempt this but was wondering, can I just sew the squares together and be done or do I need to put some batting behind it to make it an actual “quilt” top?

    • You could just line the whole top by pinning to a sheet and top-stitching the top to it along the lines of your patchwork. then just do the duvet construction. the only difference will be that your top has a double layer of fabric.

  • A great forum: clear instructions for beginners/more experienced alike. Hi Emma! If the ribbon edge is still on your ‘do-list’ it can certainly be achieved – just insert (sandwich) the ribbon between the two sides of fabric so you marry up all 3 seam edges exactly – then pin carefully (I’d also tack it to ensure smooth look to ribbon) before you sow the first quarter inch seam. Next, trim,turn,press and (tack) then sow again/press + top stitch. An economic tip for anyone who’s interested in sowing … try to make use of any existing material. So, for a bottom vallanced sheet (a UK term, which you appear to call a bed skirt) which is rarely worn out or faded, but covers a large surface area – simply create and attach a new ‘skirt’ to the original flat sheet area (the material covering the bed base which is fully hidden by the top mattress). I’ve had great results and saved on buying unnecessary material just by adding a new box-pleated/frilled vallanced edge in either a matching or contrasting fabric, using the existing frill to estimate the material required. Best wishes all you sowers!

  • I went to JoAnn’s yesterday to buy fabric for a 3-color duvet cover. Every quilting fabric was 30% off, which prevented me from using coupons which were 40-50% off. An employee told me that the company made a bid deal of getting coupons out before the last Midnight Madness Sale , but had everything in the store already discounted so the coupons were worthless or dated for a future time. I’m getting tired of their tactics and ready to go somewhere else. Walmart carries fabric in many of their stores as does Hobby Lobby. I’d rather go to a thrift store.

  • Especially if you are considering upholstery-type fabrics, keep in mind that the two layers of fabric in the duvet cover can add considerable weight to the actual duvet inside. Experiment by sleeping with two flat sheets on top of your existing duvet to make sure the weight won’t be too much for you.

  • Just a few thoughts.
    First, if you own a serger, for heaven’s sake use it to finish your seams! So much easier than making French seams! Also, many quilt shops sell wide fabric especially made for quilt backs. These are 106″ or larger and for most projects you won’t have to seam. Definitely use some method to attach your corners of the comforter and duvet cover to each other or the comforter will always be bunched up one way or the other.

  • My Mom and I found some quilt tops that my great-grandmother and grandmother made in the 1930’s and 1940’s. They were never finished into quilts. I would like to make duvet covers out of them instead of quilts. Would I use a quilt back fabric first before sewing a sheet as a bottom for the duvet? Thank you for a great tutorial!

    • For the safety if the quilt top please back it first. I would even recommend tacking down at random places through out the quilt then attach your back if the duvet. They will be wonderful heirlooms you can display . Good Luck

  • This tutorial made a daunting project so much easier and I would never have even considered using the French seams-because I never had before in window treatments, curtains, etc., if you hadn’t included those directions. I was looking for years for a duvet cover that was what I wanted and finally decided to make the investment in the fabric that met my needs which nothing else ever quite did. While the material was not inexpensive, I consider this a great investment because we will have this for the rest of our lives. To justify my cost even more, using the french seams allowed me to make what was intended to be a two-sided duvet cover with two different fabrics/looks, into a completely reversible item with a careful thread color selection and straight stitching. I now have 4 options instead of two that all look professional!! The “wrong” sides of both fabrics were just as lovely- I had discussed using the “wrong”side of one intentionally with an extremely knowledgeable seamstress who actually liked it better than the finished side when she sold me the fabric and now am so incredibly pleased at the versatility of my creation! Your simple directions made a significant impact for me! Thanks so very much!!

  • hi, love the step by step, but still a bit confused over the french seams. 1/8th of an inch seems to be a very tiny amount, and without drawing, or very close up step by step of the seam, can’t figure out quite what I am supposed to do with it . . . without a raw edge showing . Can not get 1/8th inch to fold the way it is supposed to? What am I doing wrong? Any help would be great. this is expensive fabric and I don’t want to ruin it :(

  • Check eBay.., I’ve bought down comforters, 1200 thread count sheet, the whole thing really cheap… Think I will take the top sheets from a couple of sets and make a backup duvet cover though.

  • Although I used to sew everything I wore and all of my home soft furnishings, I quit sewing over a decade ago. I have forgotten SO MUCH! I promised friends 2 duvet covers for their daughters. The hard part of this project is measuring and cutting a large amount of fabric. I was so grateful for the detailed instructions for a perfectly finished duvet. The part that I didn’t consider at all was the open end and the extra length necessary for the 2 inch hem. If I hadn’t read that several times, I would have made the mistake of shorting the hem. It is so nice to have a wide hem for buttonholes and also for allowing the opening to lay flat. Thank you very much for taking the time to take pictures for great visuals to go along with your directions. I found both necessary and helpful in order to complete the duvets. I’m always amazed at the generosity of sharing information in both sewing and food blogs and am really grateful for this generosity.m

  • Awesome project idea! And all the comments are super helpful too. A commenter posted a link to Martha’s (assume they meant Martha Stewart I hope?) instructions for tying the duvet cover to the duvet. I don’t quite understand that part so that’s good. From what other commenters wrote looks like this is a better tutorial on making a duvet cover from sheets than others online, so thank you! I’m not that advanced a sewer so hope it’s not too hard! Thanks all for the tips about places to find cheap sheets and cheap fabric! Gonna check Etsy!

  • Before you go to all the trouble to make a duvet cover, put the duvet on the bed with two layers of the fabric you intend to use. The lighter the fabric the better. Heavier fabrics render the properties of the duvet useless and make the sleeper more uncomfortable because of the weight on their feet and legs. I made a beautiful one with decorator fabrics. I fled to the guest bedroom where it was on the bed and slept under it to escape my husband’s snoring… It was waaaaaaay to heavy!

  • Thank You!!! I have had so much trouble finding twin xl bedding for my dorm room that I like. I think that I will just make my own perfect bedding!! :D

  • In addition, I have found that one really needs to be able to secure the comforter inside – so I added loops of twill tape at the corners and about 2 additional per side on the comforter, then long pieces of twill tape, (about 12″) stitched through the center of the length to corners and corresponding points on the sides. Then, stick one end of the tie t through the loops and tie securely.

  • Just wanted to leave a note to thank you for this awesome tutorial. Just finished my daughter’s queen sized duvet for her college dorm. I did the french seams and it came out beautifully! The down comforter stays securely inside!

  • This was a great tutorial! But my question is how to cut/place the fabric if you are using a print that needs to line up? And how to cut the panels, its great if your fabric is the perfect size…but mine is 43″ wide. To make a queen I need a finished size of 88″ wide…so even four panels uncut would not be enough…where am I gonna put one odd size panel? Or cut them all into 22″? Or leave the top center panel whole and cut the others into even widths? That seems like a ton of work…and cutting!!! Any ideas or sugfeations would be greatly appreciated! I’ve been sitting on this fabric for my sons room for ever! Trying to make it the right size has been a daunting issue…so I just keep putting it off! Help!

  • P.s. the fabric is expensive…$9.99 a yard. So originally I only bought two panels thinking I could use a colored sheet for the bottom…but even to do that I think I will need an additional panel to make it even!

  • @Jen – to get your 88″ inches with only her 3 suggested panels, buy 2.5 yards if a cheap solid cotton that goes with your print. Cut like a 4 – 6″ strip of the solid and piece it into the long seams for contrast, extra width, and not having to worry about matching the prints exactly. And if you want to have them match, cut one panel 2″ longer than your needed length, and cut the two side panels an extra foot or so longer, so you can shift the side panels into the appropriate place.

    I’ve been planning to make one with home dec fabric on one side and a cotton on the other. I will probably use a flat sheet, as suggested. The home dec I am using because my boyfriend’s dog is rough on his sheets. I want to give him a sturdy side and myself a soft comfortable side.

  • Do these measurements take into account the thickness of the comforter? I am tempted to add another 1-2 inches onto these measurements to make sure my comforter is not too constricted and therefore not free and fluffy still.

  • Question: If the duvet is say 50″ x 63″ what would the cover measure? Exactly the same or larger or smaller and by how much? I’m cutting down a king size down filled duvet to fit my full sized bed and want to make a cover for it.

    • Morgan, you would want to make the duvet a little. I would give it 2 inches not counting the seam allowance and the amount needed for your closure so 52×65 plus Seam allowance and the closure amount….

  • What a great tutorial! I was not able to find a reasonably priced 120×120 Duvet Cover anywhere! I saw this and was able to use 108″ wide fabric and added side panels. Thinking of adding bottom corner ruffles to spruce up a plain white cover. Thanks again for your time…This was very helpful for me.

  • I bought my first duvet cover at Ikea about 2 years ago then started to make my own. Have made 6 so far. Sometimes it’s cheaper than what I could buy in the stores, other times not but at least I get to use the fabric I like. I used the first cover as a template for the rest since the duvet itself came from Ikea. For the backing, an inexpensive Queen size sheet from Walmart works well, and only costs $12. The duvet measures 86″x86″ and the cover 82″x82. Works well.

  • Hi, I probably am just not comprehending this.. but about finishing the bottom. Are you supposed to hem each side of the base/opening? So the “top” and “bottom” of the duvet? and then that’s when you sew in your ribbons, etc? What would you recommend if you only want the middle part to be open, so the base of the left and right panels will be closed? Would you recommend hemming and then sewing together? Doing the french seam and hemming the rest?

    Thank you!

  • Excellent! My new duvet cover looks and feels great! I absolutely loved the the french seam, it was my first time using it but it looks very professional!

  • Just wanted to say that I used to purchase all my fabrics to make baby crib sheets from Joann Fabrics. I don’t do that anymore. Almost all of their fabrics are 43″ width rather than the standard 45″. And besides that…having made at least a dozen of these sheets this past year…they all shrink up. I usually purchase 2 yards to make the sheets. The last ones I made shrunk up almost 3″ in length!! I’m trying to find somewhere I can purchase good 45″ fabric that doesn’t shrink much. We need to be careful when we purchase fabric to make these duvet covers. I agree that sheets are probably the very best option…and wash up well. I love this tutorial :-)

    • Always wash and iron your fabric if you think this will be a problem. In fact, I think that easy the second step in the directions.

  • I have searched on a tutorial on how to do a button flap on a queen size duvet cover without success.

    Can you please help me?

    Carol Ann

  • Thank you for clear and easy instructions on making a duvet! Other tutorials I’ve see made it sound too involved. Love the French seam idea and using it for my project:)

  • This is to Sherri J. : Fabrics haven’t been a “standard 45 inches” wide in years. Many are 42 inches. You should always wash cotton fabric before using it. Yes, it will shrink! Always buy more length than you think you will need.

    • Paola, you should really measure the comforter…. even though they are sold as twin, queen, king they are not all standard in sizes.

  • To secure a duvet to the cover is easy, simply cut 4 pieces of velcro, sew them diagonally across the back corners of the duvet and the inside of the cover, (I normally sew these velcro strips onto the rear of the cover before joining it to the front.)
    Never moves until you want to remove it to wash. Works well on polar fleece too, doesnt get full of lint when washing, if it does, sticky tape removes any lint.

  • Thank you so very much for an awesome tutorial. The idea of French seams is great.I am so thrilled with your notes and pics as I am coming to the step of putting the duver cover together. I did heirloom machine embroidery designs on the top cover and a plain white piece for the bottom.now that everything is ironed I have to put this together and here I stumble on your awesome tut. Thank you soo much for your generous tips .reallly appreciate this. God bless

  • Hi! Quick question, you said I would need about 10 yards of fabric, but later on you mentioned something about doubling. Do I need 5 yards for the front and 5 yards for the back?

  • A great tut. I stumbled across it only to realize that I have a feather duvet of my grandmothers that is in rough shape. I haven’t used it for fear of further damage. Now that I have your tut, I can make a cover and actually use it this winter. Thanks so much for the great tut. And simplifying the French seam.

  • I’m about to move into our new beach house and I really wanted to make my own bedding but I didn’t think I could. Thank you so much, I really think I can do this, can’t wait to start !

  • Absolutely fabulous tutorial. I’m an experienced seamstress who’s made lots of bedding and window treatments, but I’d never thought of doing the French seams (as someone else had also commented). Thanks a million for the photos and clear, clear directions!

  • I don’t understand how one can make french seams on the sides and top of the cover. Once I sew one side closed with a french seam, i can no longer finish the other side, because it is not possible to open it so that the right sides are together, for the second portion of makign the french seam. What am I doing wrong?

  • My problem is a little different. I need to make a tailored duvet cover. almost like a day bed cover but the seams are open at the foot instead of closed. or, if that makes no sense, picture a comforter with the corners court out at the foot of the bed, eliminating the corner drape. making the cover is not a problem. I’ve done that. finding an insert with the corners cut out is the problem. I’m using down alternative Dixie to allergy issues and I’m wondering about the feasibility of buying the insert and sewing the corner notches and then trimming. I am reluctant to try this and am open to any alternative solutions. I only found two places online that sell these. One sells only to hotels. the other has a foot panel significantly shorter than the side panel. any ideas?

  • Donna,

    I am making a Duvet cover for a friend, so found your question. This is my first experience with this, but I have done many quilts. I would suggest that, yes, you should get a duvet the size you like and stitch along the corner you wish to cut out. Cut the corner out, and bind the edge with bias tape to secure it further. It may help to make 2 lines of stitching on the side you will keep, to make it easier to bind, and sew a seam 1/2″ into the piece you will cut out so that you aren’t left with a mess of stuffing when you cut. then you can cut between two of the rows you stitched.

  • I made my quilt cover using this tutorial and it turned out fabulously. Thank you for a very easy to follow tutorial. You have done a great job with this tutorial. I will be recommending this tutorial to all my sewing friends. Thank you once again.

  • Thanks, I always thought I could make it too after seeing them in the stores…you did a great job with the instructions, I will make one as soon as possible…thanks again.

  • I did this by sewing 2 king sized flat sheets together and it turned out great. I used button closures at the bottom. Obviously, it matched my bedding exactly!

  • Hi, Donna. Thank you so much for these instructions. I am not much of a sewer, but I am going to give this a try. I feel kind of silly asking this, but I’m not sure I understand how you hem the bottom. So, you do this AFTER you have sewn up the sides and top (so that you are folding, pressing and sewing a big circle of fabric)? Is it possible to hem the bottom of each side separately and then sew the front and back together, or do you get a better result doing it the other way? By the way, I can’t wait to try the French seams! Thanks so much!

  • Kaille, I thought the same thing at first. Perhaps the instructions about the bottom hem are referring to the top and bottom of the duvet cover – separately – BEFORE they are sewn together.

    Design Sponge, these are exactly the type of instructions I was looking for. Will do very small practice one perhaps, and then begin.
    Thanks MUCH!!!


    • Ive never used a sewing machine. Actually, i don’t even have a sewing machine lol but I’ve been wanting one for this project specifically. Anyways, making a small one for practice is a really good idea!! Ill add to your great idea of making a smaller one.. I think ill practice by making “duvet covers” for my pillows.. that will match. :-) oh, is that a pillow case lolol.

  • Thank you so much for the great instructions. Doing French seams made a huge difference in the appearance of the finished duvet. It was a lot of work but well worth it. I used velcro for the bottom closure.

  • I’m planning to make a twin size quilt for my granddaughter. I’ll use a cotton sheet for the top. Can I used a jersey sheet for the bottom, or will it cause problems to have two such different fabrics?

  • Hi there!

    If I wanted to add ties into the inside corners (to hold the duvet in place, as often found in many store-bought duvet covers) at what point in the French seam process would I do that?

    • You would insert the corner ties in the first step of the seam process. layers: bottom fabric (right-side down): ties (layed out toward center of duvet): top fabric (right side up).

      I usually pin my ties to the bottom piece of fabric so that they don’t fall in the way. Then, when I flip the fabric to finish the seam, they continue to stay out of the way.

  • Hi there,

    thanks for writing this blog post, I’ve been going crazy trying to find a nice but affordable duvet cover and have found some beautiful fabric online which I think I will buy to make one myself and for much cheaper (and personalised).

    I am wanting to make one queen and one king size cover, I couldn’t find the measurements of how much fabric I would need to buy in your post but you said you’d post them somewhere.. could you please send me that link? or just let me know the measurements?

    thanks very much!

  • Thank you so much for posting this!! Our duvet is an odd-sized king, and I could not find a cover that would fit it correctly. I sewed together some pieces of leftover fabric I had lying around and used your instructions to make a correctly sized cover for it. The result was far beyond my expectations! I rarely sew, but I was able to follow your instructions easily with a beautiful result! I finished it inside a day. It looks more expensive than any duvet cover I have ever bought and fits perfectly!

    An alternate closure method: I ended up using small pieces (about the size of a button) of sticky velcro to close it. I sewed them in place by hand with a couple small stitches in the very center of each piece. It works nicely – easy to open/close but stays closed well.

  • I sew a 4″ square of colored quilt squares into the center of a white sheet for the top of the duvet. I have to cut the sheet to fit it in. That’s easy. I want to make the bottom sheet top fit over the top of the front. It looks very nice. I did it once, but wonder if you have a tutorial. I struggled for hours before. I used Velcro to close the entire opening. I would like to just leave an 18″ gap next time. Have you ever done this?

  • Betsy
    I have a bed spread for my king size bed and I wanted to make a duvet cover with it and buy fabric for the bottom and saw it together. Since there is not fabric as wide I was thinking o using a king size sheet and adjust it to the measurements so I do not have to worry about sewing pieces of fabric. My questions are, if somebody with sewing experience think this is a good idea? The duvet has to have an overlap fabric so nobody can see where is the top or the bottom? Thanks very much.

    • Hi, I’ve made several duvet covers using king size sheets.
      I use the top of the sheets for the bottom of the duvet, then I don’t need to hem the fabric. I sew a little less than 1/4 (total width) in on either side, you don’t need it open the whole way across.
      With the one I’m making atm, beforei sewed the side seams, I folded a flap in on the inside, sewed it flat, and that gives me hidden fabric to add buttons and button holes, snaps or for a zipper.
      I buy 2 contrasting sets of sheets, and use the flats for the duvet cover. Then I have 2 fitted sheets that match the cover.
      Hope this helps.

  • I was wondering if anyone made a twin size and how much fabric they purchased/used. My daughter is a big super hero fan and I”m trying to find bedding to go with the colors of her room that will mix well with superhero stuff. I think making something is easier then the search of bedding. Thanks.


  • I found some lovely superking size covers which I need to convert for my king size duvet, the only thing is that the bargain duvet cover I bought has Oxford edges to it so I want to recreate that on the sides that I have to alter, I am not sure how. Do I just unpick the side seams and copy how they have done them?

  • I am trying to find out how to make a “Throw Bed”. This looks to be similar to a comforter, but perhaps lighter and is inside of cover like a duvet . I found these in Real Simple Mag 4/16 issue, and only a couple places on purchase them (online), AND they are real expensive!

    Any ideas about how to make one and instructions will be greatly appreciated.

  • I made the twin cover with your instructions. The only question I have, The comforter did not stay to the corners of duvet cover . it rolls over inside. Any suggestions

  • This would have been a better tutorial if you had shown the finished bottom of the cover. All you say is use buttons or velcro or a zipper.

  • Just made the king size duvet, (0: thank you for excellent directions and extra guidance to adding the ties inside. It turned out better than I anticipated. On the back side, I used the top fabric as the center panel and cut a king size flat sheet to size for the outer panels. Love it! Thank you again for the efforts to help us learn. (0: Love the french seams! M

  • I am making a twin size duvet cover for my granddaughter’s birthday using different but coordinating fabrics for the top and underside of the duvet. I plan to use twill tape in the corners to hold the insert in place, but the duvet I’m using as a guide has only a partial opening with the buttons attached to be hidden. Does anyone have directions about how to get this effect?

  • I tried to made my quilt cover using this tutorial and accidentally it turned out fabulously. Wow. Thank you for a very easy to follow tutorial.

  • Wow. Seven years ago and people are still learning from you. How wonderful is that?!!!
    Thanks for the great tutorial. A good seamstress/sewer/designer always uses an iron to obtain professional results. Give yourself a pat on the back!

  • Great tutorial Would you know how much fabric i would need for a twin duvet cover, the fabric is 55″ wide,
    thanks for your help.

  • When I measure the duvet im planning on making the cover for do I need to add any additional length on each side besides the seem allowance?

  • I am just about finished my second duvet cover using your method. The first one was a great success except that the snap fasteners (to close off the bottom) didn’t work too well. They were the kind where you use a tool to hammer them in place. About half of them came off the fabric after a couple of washings. I’m going to use sew-on buttons on my second cover since I just recently mastered the buttonhole attachment on my machine. I’m even going to try to use my machine to sew on the buttons. Wish me luck! Anyway, many thanks for a great tutorial!

  • Hi, I plan to start this as a business specifically for making throw pillows, duvets and bedsheets. What sewing machine would you recommend. Thank you

  • Where do you suggest buying buttons for the duvet closure? Also, can you share a photos of a ribbon closure?

  • What I would like to know is why can’t I find extra wide (90′) fabric? Why isn’t the wider fabric available to the public. I’ve been looking for four months now for a duvet cover in a blue-green shade (patterned) and haven’t found anything I like. Trying to find wide fabric is impossible.

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