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Snappy Duvet Cover

A duvet cover is such an effective design tool, wielding the power to dramatically transform a bedroom in a snap! I've always wanted to make one, but the truth is, I've never known where to begin. Sure, I understood the basics, but I could never figure out a tidy way to cut and sew such gigantic pieces of fabric. That may sound crazy since I sew almost everyday, but my comfort zone is at a much smaller scale, and at 90-inches square, a queen size duvet is anything but small!

To conquer this apprehension I decided to simplify. I would not try to cut a 90-inch straight line with a rotary cutter or scissors nor would I attempt to pull a thread every time I needed to cut. I would tear the fabric! Also, instead of trying to make the back and front into two perfectly matching huge squares, I would just cut and tear the back panel out of an extra wide piece of muslin to match the finished front. Armed with my new rules of simplicityI was surprised at how easy it actually is to make a duvet cover!

For the top, I used a gorgeous new linen and cotton blend from the awesome Japanese designer, Yoshiko Jinzenji. My cover's happy yellow color and painterly dots are going to add a lot of pizzaz to my room, and I love that it's truly an original! I also love that, with the help of a snap tape closure, my duvet will actually stay inside its new cover. So simple!

Materials

  • 9 yards of the top fabric. I used Yoshiko Jinzenji Linen Blend in Yellow Dot but the Yoshiko Jinzenji Midweight Cotton would also be great. (This particular fabric is no longer available, but please check out all of our current Japanese fabrics for some great alternatives!)
  • 3 yards of Wide Muslin (108-inches wide) for the backing.
  • Two spools of 100% cotton thread, one to match the top fabric and one to match the backing. I used color 1620 to match the top and 1140 to match the backing.
  • 3 yards of snap tape

Size

90-inches by 90-inches to fit a queen size duvet

Pattern

Cutting and Sewing the Top

You'll be cutting and sewing the top of the cover first and then cutting the backing fabric to match it. The easiest way to get a straight line along a long length is to tear your fabric so you'll be tearing a lot in this project. This results in a bit of a stretched out raw edge but that will be hidden by the seam allowances.

Tear a 92-inch length of the top fabric from the master length of fabric.  This is piece A.

Pin the master length of top fabric to one of piece A's selvage edges, right sides together,  until the end of piece A.

Tear the long length to match piece A. This second piece is piece B.

Sew piece A to piece B along the pinned edge with a 1-inch seam allowance.

Pin the remaining master length to the unsewn selvage edge of piece B in the same manner as you did in the previous step. Tear the fabric to match the length of piece B. This newly torn piece is piece C.

Sew piece C to piece B along the pinned edge with a 1-inch seam allowance.

Cut off the selvages of the seam allowances and zig zag stitch the seam allowances together. Press them to one side.

Fold the sewn piece in half along its 92-inch length, wrong sides together matching the selvage edges of piece A and C together. Mark 46 1/2-inches from the fold on each side (on piece A and piece C). Tear piece A and C along this mark (you'll be tearing off approximately 17 1/2-inches from each side.)

Your top piece should now measure 92-inches by 93-inches. Double fold one of the 92-inch sides over twice 1/2-inch towards the wrong side. Press and pin down this fold.

Edge stitch the fold down with the matching thread. This will be the snap tape edge.

The top piece will now be a 92-inch square.

Cutting the Backing and Sewing on the Snap Tape

Tear the wide muslin from selvage to selvage to make a 92-inch wide piece.

Cut off one of the selvages (as neatly as possible) with scissors or a rotary cutter. Double fold this side over twice 1/2-inch. Press and pin down this fold.

Edge stitch the fold down with the matching thread. This will be the snap tape edge.

Pin one side of the snap tape to the wrong side of the top piece, along the snap tape edge, 1/4-inch from the top of the fabric. Cut off the end of the snap tape to fit.

Pin the opposite side of the snap tape to the backing piece in the same manner.

Snap the two pieces together. Make sure these sides match up perfectly. If one side is longer than the other, cut or tear it to match.

Unsnap the tape and sew it on to each respective side along both long sides of the tape, using thread to match the fabric and a zipper foot. You really need to use the zipper foot here so you can stitch along the edge without having the foot travel over the snaps themselves. Sewing the snap tape on might take a bit of patience. You can practice with the leftover snap tape and some scrap fabric beforehand if you like.

Sewing it all Together

Lay the backing, wrong side up, smoothly on a clean floor. Snap the top to the backing and lay and lay the top, right sides up, on top of the backing. The left and right sides of both pieces should match up (of they don't you can cut or tear them to match) but the bottom side of backing will be a lot longer than the top.

Pin the left and right sides together.

Pin the bottom edge of the top piece to the backing where it lays. Cut (do not tear) the backing to match the top.

Sew the two pieces together along the three pinned edges with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Trim these seam allowances to 1/4-inch.

Unsnap the snapped edge and turn the entire piece wrong side out through the open side. Pin along all three of the just-sewn edges. You're pinning the top to the backing and thus trapping the raw 1/4-inch seam allowance. Sew along these three edges with a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

You will probably have to cut out the snaps at the edges of the snap tape in order to sew across the snap tape.

Turn the piece right sides out (making sure to pull out the corners) and you're all done!

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6 Responses to Snappy Duvet Cover


  1. Allison says:

    I love the use of snap tape! So much tidier looking than buttons, and much easier.

  2. Nancy says:

    I love this, especially since duvets are so expensive and I rarely find one that I like. I love the bright color, too!

  3. Regina says:

    Great tutorial – tearing is so helpful with those large projects. One thing I like to do with duvets, purchased or handmade, is to sew grosgrain ribbon ties into each corner, and on my king sized one, in the center of each side. I then sew corresponding loops to my comforters – and tie the comforter to the inside of the cover. It keeps it from shifting around inside the cover and makes it stay put when I need to shake it to redistribute the feathers. (it's a good use for the ribbon Moda uses to tie up layer cakes – that ties well and doesn't slip)

  4. Michelle Lubbers says:

    I had never heard of snap tape before I saw this post. I am new enough to sewing, so that doesn't make me feel too bad. I have many a duvet with buttonholes that have ripped right through and, as a result, a comforter that is never in its place. I have since repaired my covers, and I am pleased with the functionality–I was about to sew the darn thing shut for good! Thank you!

  5. cherie says:

    Using 2 flat sheets makes this project easier than piecing strips of fabric!

  6. Marie says:

    To build on Nancy's post…
    I use twill tape and sew it diagonally across all 4 corners of my duvet (about 2-3 inches in). Then I sew a length of twill tape into each corner of my duvet cover (about 6 inches long). Onto that length, I hand sew a snap, with one end at the end of the twill tape and the connecting end at the top. That way you just loop that through the twill taped corners if your duvet and snap. Then there is less of a chance that the ties will come undone. And slightly less bulky in the corners.
    Happy sewing!

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