How to Make a Bed

Discussion in 'Your Vintage Home' started by Miss Holloway, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. Miss Holloway

    Miss Holloway New in Town

    Under the North Star
    My duvet has come to the end of it's life. And I don't really have any covers for it without holes either. Everything seems to break at the same time. So what's the vintage way? I know its blankets and sheets but what goes where? How many sheets? Is there a sheet on either side of the blanket or no? And can you still get old fashioned sheets anywhere? Or should I make my own? I've got so many questions! Help a girl out?

    How do you make your bed? Do you go vintage? If you do the blankets and sheets thing, does it affect how you sleep?
  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Fitted sheets didn't become common until the early 1950s, so the traditional bed in the Era was made with two flat sheets -- the lower sheet stretched tight and tucked in with "hospital corners," and the upper sheet added on top of that and tucked on the sides and around the two lower corners of the bed. A wool blanket or two depending on the season went on top of that -- likewise tucked like the top sheet. A chennile bedspread was the most common topper, draped over the blankets. You folded the top of the bedspread down, placed the pillows along the top fold, and then drew the fold back, tucking the edge of the bedspread between the mattress and the headboard.

    I use the flat-sheet method myself -- you get twice the wear out of your sheets that way -- and prefer vintage Pequot Plus-Service Muslins in the 81x108 size. These wear like iron, and are very crisp and pleasant to sleep on when dried on a clothesline. They're reasonably easy to find on eBay or Etsy as unused old-store-stock, and once you've bought a few sets, you're all set on sheets for the next twenty years. They were available in department stores as single individually-wrapped sheets or in a six-sheet bulk box, which is often the better buy. Plus it has nifty decoish graphics you'll want to save.


    For blankets, use whatever kind you like. I have a WWI surplus wool Army blanket and a heavy woven cotton thing liberated from a hospital. In the summer I take off the wool blanket and store it away. If you got cold during the winter -- as most people did -- you got a quilt or a comforter out of the cedar chest and threw it over the top of the bed.

    When you first make a bed in this manner it's quite tight, but it loosens up with use. If your sheets are the right size, you don't have to worry about the bed pulling apart. But be sure to allow enough slack so you can pull the sheet over your head when the cat tries to wake you up at 5AM.
  3. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    Chicago, IL US
    According to US Army standard-high and tight; stockade on linen change day. But not for many moons.;) Unkempt disarray works for me.:D
    Miss Holloway and ChiTownScion like this.
  4. Miss Holloway

    Miss Holloway New in Town

    Under the North Star
    Interesting. Many moons ago I worked for a few months in housekeeping in a fancy hotel in England. There they put a second thicker top sheet on top of the blanket. Maybe that's an English thing... Or a fancy hotel thing...

    I found a nice 1950s wool blanket online (fingers crossed I'm able to get it) to go on my bed. I already have some fabric so I'll make my own sheets for now. But since it's modern fabric they'll likely not last that long so thanks for the tip Lizzie!

    I wish I still had my mothers old sheets. She embroidered her own when she got married in the sixties. They lasted until the early 2000s (but just used as bottom sheets after she started using a duvet in the eighties). I still have a small piece of the original unused fabric. It's really thick and stiff and a natural color, not bleached. By the time the sheets started to fall apart the fabric had become super soft and snow white. I saved the lace and some embroidered bits.
  5. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    New York City
    I think you are correct, the sheet on top of the blanket is a "high-end" hotel thing so that everything the "guest" touches can be cleaned regularly (versus the blanket which, obviously, isn't cleaned each time the room turns over).

    I love doing things in a vintage way, but heck, fitted sheets make life much easier, so we go that route. Also, we buy our sheets off season on deep sale (it's amazing how cheap they get off season - on the third or fourth markdown - just tells you how marked up they initially were) and from not-fancy companies. Sadly, they don't last that long, but overall they are not a too painful budget issue owing to the off-season purchase process.

    Most of our blankets are vintage from Ebay or Ebay like places where you can get some really cool old military blankets or train car ones - both of which we have - for very reasonable prices. We've then seen the exact same blankets pop up on high-end retail websites at three, four or more times what we've paid for them (with some wonderful story accompanying them making them sound more like romantic history than a wool blanket).

    We have indulged here or there in a good new blanket - bought a Pendleton one that was pretty expensive, but it is all but bullet proof and will last decades I'll bet. It's also one of the rare times where I'll say something made today is of a higher quality than the older blankets we have. The weave of the Pendleton is incredible tight, the binding very strong, the wool very thick, yet it is softer (less scratchy) than our older blankets. We don't need more blankets now, but would definitely consider another Pendleton (on sale) if we did.
    Miss Holloway likes this.
  6. Haversack

    Haversack One Too Many

    Clipperton Island
    I grew up with making the bed pretty much as LizzieMaine describes except that my family added a cotton seersucker topsheet on top of the blankets. An influence from my grandparents who were in service. Mind, having grown up making hospital corners and a bed tight enough to bounce a quarter off of paid off when I was in basic. Once I was living on the economy in Germany its been duvet and bottom sheet ever since. Flannel for winter and linen for summer.
  7. allan4570

    allan4570 New in Town

    Southeast United States
    20180507_164903.jpg 20180507_164949.jpg 20180507_165030.jpg 20180507_164903.jpg 20180507_164949.jpg 20180507_165012.jpg 20180507_165030.jpg Bedspreads; Ladies and gentleman, I have an old bedspread made of cotton and is maybe 50 to 60 years old. Is there a site or does perhaps someone know how to tell the age and price of early textiles?
    The measurements are 101" Wide X 113" Length.

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