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Old 30-01-2016, 09:33   #1
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Making bed sheets for large vee berth

We have 4 cushions in our large vee berth. 87W" x 75L" We frequently (1 to several times a day) have to lift the cushions to access the gear that is stored beneath them. We are thinking of making individual bottom sheets for each cushion and one top sheet to cover us when we sleep there.

We thought about buying sheets king sized sheets and cutting and sewing them to fit or buying sheet fabric and starting from scratch.

I am wondering what solutions and consideration others have used when making sheets for their vee berth.

Please share them with us, including sources for ready made sheets and bolt fabric.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 30-01-2016, 10:58   #2
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

Quote:
Originally Posted by Onemoreproject View Post
We have 4 cushions in our large vee berth. 87W" x 75L" We frequently (1 to several times a day) have to lift the cushions to access the gear that is stored beneath them. We are thinking of making individual bottom sheets for each cushion and one top sheet to cover us when we sleep there.

We thought about buying sheets king sized sheets and cutting and sewing them to fit or buying sheet fabric and starting from scratch.

I am wondering what solutions and consideration others have used when making sheets for their vee berth.

Please share them with us, including sources for ready made sheets and bolt fabric.

Thanks in advance!
Hi OneMore... [I wish I only had one more project...]

Following is how I [now we...] have been doing our [boat] bedding for the last few decades. [Note: We sail in cooler climates typically north of 55, so those in warmer climes may wish to experiment with non-fleece variations...]

I always hated the fitted sheet wrestling match, so I experimented on myself one winter 30 years ago and made a fleece bedroll the shape of the V-Berth on my boat at that time. Wonderful! I had one item to wash when doing laundry, and making the bed was as easy as standing at the head of the berth and unrolling the fleece on top. This also facilitated easy access to the stowage below the berth.

My original bedroll had the full length matching two-way zippers that met in the middle of the bottom so the top and bottom could be separated, and one of both sides of the bottom could be unzipped for ventilation. But subsequent models eliminated the zippers [which typically failed after a few years...] and were sew together across the bottom and up to about knee/thigh level. [Not much different from regular sheets and blankets...] This is ideal for us; easy to get out of if you have to exit the foot of the berth, and no tangling or burrito effect...

Fast forward to our current boat with a custom queen sized mattress that has a cloth hinge down the middle so the mattress folds in half lengthwise for accessing the storage and steering system underneath. [And a lee cloth can be attached to the hinge to split the bert in two- making 2 pilot berths- when transiting a seaway... We live aboard a monohull...]

The bedroll also eliminates the need to remake the berth every time you fold the mattress over [which isn't really that often, however the convenience is wonderful.]

Since we now have a smaller front-loading clothes washing machine on our current boat, we have taken to making fleece bed sheet sheet liners that fit inside the heavier weight [300] fleece bedroll so we can wash those on the boat. [The one piece fleece bedroll is too big for our 1.8 cu ft washer... A 2-piece bedroll with zippers may work better for us now so we could wash the fleece halves separately onboard...]

Anyway, you get the idea... In case fleece is of interest... [I kept a 2nd boat in Oyster marina for a few years when I was traveling a lot, and my fleece bedroll was very welcome there too since I lived aboard when I was in town...]

Regarding sources:

RE: Fitted sheets, etc: If you haven't already, search The Boat Galley website. Carolyn has several articles coving the custom fitted bed sheets, mattresses, etc.

The fleece for our homemade bedrolls is typically sourced from Malden Mills.

Best wishes on the next iteration of your project.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 30-01-2016, 11:24   #3
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

While custom-fitted sheets might be ideal, you can make any flat sheet fit closely to any odd-shaped cushion, with sufficient sheet suspenders.
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Old 30-01-2016, 11:40   #4
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

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Originally Posted by Jdege View Post
While custom-fitted sheets might be ideal, you can make any flat sheet fit closely to any odd-shaped cushion, with sufficient sheet suspenders.
Yes we used those. I share the OP's dislike of trying to fit a sheet in there. Wakefields idea has merit... if I understand it...
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Old 30-01-2016, 12:35   #5
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

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Yes we used those. I share the OP's dislike of trying to fit a sheet in there. Wakefields idea has merit... if I understand it...
Hi Cheechako,

Sorry if I wasn't too clear about our bedrolls.

Basically, they are made to the shape of the berth, but not attached to the mattress or pad like a fitted sheet would be.

They are a fleece sleeping envelope. So we can just roll them up when not sleeping to allow access to stowage under the berth, and unroll them [shake them out like a blanket over the top of the mattress] and they are ready to crawl into for sleeping... Add fleece blankets on top if/as needed.

For us it couldn't be easier- or more cozy... And they hold up really well if fabricated from a good, non-pilling grade of fleece. [I have a couple of them that are over 20 years old...

We have made plenty of fleece bedrolls for fellow boaters who request them after seeing ours... [We have a Sailrite sewing machine on board... and fleece is relatively cheap to ship...]

In hopes this helps clarify my prior description.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 30-01-2016, 12:42   #6
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

Yes something that just lays on top, has enough 'body" to stay there and doesn't need attachment. Great way to go I would think.
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Old 30-01-2016, 12:53   #7
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Yes something that just lays on top, has enough 'body" to stay there and doesn't need attachment. Great way to go I would think.
You got it Cheechako,

Fleece stays put and is easy to move, wash, store, and sew. And it doesn't stick to you when you toss and turn inside of it, so you don't wake up feeling like you are filling for a burrito or in a warm and fuzzy straight-jacket...

Even when we use our micro fleece bed sheet liners we put inside of our current fleece bedrolls don't get all in a twist! [They are sewn just like the bedroll but are thin enough to fit in our little washing machine...]

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 30-01-2016, 13:39   #8
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

Onemoreproject,

How I did mine, where they were not a rectangle, but a trapezoid, as the foot was way narrower than the head of the bed, was to take the cushions ashore somewhere grassy or even concrete. Take the broom or counter brush so you can sweep the pier or whatever before you put the cushions out on it, top side up if they are larger on the sleeping side than the bottom, due to accommodating to the taper of the hull as it rises.

Using dressmaker's pins, pin a right side up king size sheet tight at the corners, like forming a dart in clothing to shape it. The fabric you pick up will stick out. The top surface should look like you want it to when you're finished. If you want it tighter, pin it tighter. Then remove the cushions without unpinning it.

The next step is to pin those darts so that the fabric comes out on the inside instead of the outside, I mark them on the fabric with a contrasting color, either making tailor tacks or just using ball point pen, or tailor chalk. Re-pin them carefully and then put the top side down on the ground, and place the cushions within. Pin all the darts.

On the underside, you want to have about 10" left for the finished size, and depending on the shape of your bed, you will want to trim away the excess fabric on the sides. You can trim the darts after they're sewn, and if you want to you can make flat felled seams there--I did that once, and found it was more trouble than I wanted to go to, it's really finicky where it goes over the bottom of the sheet.

Stitch the darts twice each, with the second row of stitching 1/16"outside the initial one. [This is for strength.] If your machine has zigzag, trim the seam to 1/4", and zig it. Otherwise, trim it to 1/2, and it will still last for years.

Trim away any excess fabric, if there are raw edges turn under 1/4", and then again, and top-stitch. Make a mark on the fabric 11" each side of the dart on whichever side of the head of the bed as will be most convenient for you when making the bed. There are different ways to do this next part. You can either make a pouch, topstitch it to the hem and put in some elastic through it. Or you can zigzag the elastic down under tension, using the largest size stitch length. You have a 22 inch area, use 20" of elastic. If you don't have zigzag, use the pouch method. Sew down one end of the elastic, feed the tail through the pouch (I use a large safety pin to do it), pull it to the tension you want, sew down the end, trim any excess. Another way is to make a deep enough hem as to fit the elastic, with "feeding gaps" in the hem for inserting the elastic, and then you stitch down one end, stretch, and sew in the other.

If your bed is a simple rectangle, you could do the bottom sheet with darts plus elastic on all the corners. Top sheets, I put the darts in, then ran elastic all the way from around each corner and the foot. I have used 3 mm line to gather then, too, when I ran out of elastic.

Cheers,

I hope this helps,

Ann
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Old 31-01-2016, 10:19   #9
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

Ann's instructions are wonderful - outstanding!

But the question is: Why bother, unless sewing is your hobby.

MEC will sell you most the wonderful ready-made sleeping bags, suitable for every clime at a couplahunnertbux a toss. And that is Can$ worth only about 70 cents US!! Go here:

Sleeping Bag Information - Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). Free Shipping Available.

MEC has branches in the US and is an outfitter respected around the world.

TrentePieds
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Old 31-01-2016, 10:22   #10
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

I wonder if simply cutting a sheet to fit the top of the cushions, Hemming the perimeter, sewing on velcro patches every foot or two to the top outside perimeter would work.
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Old 31-01-2016, 12:26   #11
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

Bonjour, TrentePieds,

Had the machine, got tired of fighting flat sheets into submission, and did it while cruising. Life's funny. Never though of buying lightweight sleeping bags to use instead, although we have them for when it is really cold.

ann
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Old 31-01-2016, 14:20   #12
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Making bed sheets for large vee berth

I made fitted sheets similar to Anne's. I also replaced the bed base with a single piece of ply, spanning both of the single v bunks, and used the hydraulic lifters from a hatchback car's hatch to assist in the lifting and to hold up the whole bed, fully made, for access to the storage beneath. It's way easier now, and only requires one finger to lift the bed. It stays up by itself, and is just pushed back down - stays down by itself as well, but can be locked down if required.
The other benefit is that the (also fitted) mattress protector keeps all the cushions together making it easier to make the bed.
Personally for living aboard, I find proper sheets more comfortable and flexible than sleeping bags.


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Old 31-01-2016, 17:19   #13
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

Thanks, very helpful posts. My sheets, provided by PO, are getting a bit ratty so I will soon have to tackle the job. We are in the tropics, so often want nothing on us as we go to bed, then want to grab a sheet at 2 am, so the bedroll won't (as noted in the original post) work for us.

I did something similar as a mattress topper. The boat had very firm v-berth mattresses. PO had a foam topper (in poor shape). I got a new (1-2") topper, trimmed to fit, and sandwiched it in a couple of comforters. Currently, the bottom sheet goes on top of that + firm foam foundation.

I like the idea of splitting the v-berth into two - both my topper and then the bottom sheet. That would make it much easier to move one side to access storage beneath. Probably then, the bottom sheet would not dislodge. It probably will also solve the super-sheet sizing problem. The width of the v-berth at its greatest is more than a king size sheet (or foam topper, which I had to do some not ideal "cut and paste" to resolve). Not a problem if I make two separate Left/Right sides.

Many thanks for the great tips.
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Old 31-01-2016, 18:16   #14
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

We have a large V berth. Use queen size fitted bottom sheet, regular top sheet and duvet. When I'm alone I use the sleeping bag on top of everything.

Not apparently mentioned although I may have missed it, move that stuff out from under the V berth so you don't have that issue.

Good luck.
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Old 31-01-2016, 18:33   #15
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Re: Making bed sheets for large vee berth

Just wanted to add something to the discussion on fitted sheets...we used several buttons to attach the top sheet to the bottom sheet. This allows them to be separate for washing and drying but makes it easier to get into place on the v-berth. Fitted sheets are much better than sleeping bags in my opinion.

Bob


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