Mending Sheets

We bought the Cherub’s bed from a Korean family who were moving.  They brought their beds with them when they came here. The sheets were included. This is good, because as it turns out, most (not all, but most that we have seen) of the twin bed sheets here are not nearly so deep as the Korean mattress is, so the pockets of the fitted sheets you buy at the market probably do not fit.  I learned this because we also bought the Boy’s twin bed from the same family, and our Boy is 18 and considers himself a man, and their boy is 12 and still likes power rangers and transformers and that sort of thing.  So I went to buy the boy some plain sheets and didn’t think to check the actual depth of the pockets, and what I came home with really cannot even be used as an extra cover, for all that it said twin on the corner of the package.

There are variations, of course, but I managed to get a sheet that fits a twin mattress with approximately as much depth as a cracker to put on a mattress with as much depth as the pile the princess slept on over the pea.  I exaggerate, but only slightly.

IT took two trips and a lot of searching to find those sheets, too- the store I looked at had no order to the sheets on their shelves, and the colours and patterns were jarring to my western eyes.  I could overlook that for my sheets, but my Boy would not have been pleased with red, pink, yellow and blue stripes with blue silhouettes of birds against the pink  background of one of the broad stripes, and borders of what looks like stamps of jacks from the children’s game.


There is a reason for this background- The Cherub’s fitted sheet somehow suffered a long, jagged t shaped tear across the bottom starting  from the middle of one of the corners, where the short bar of the t stretched vertically, and stretching at least 20 inches from the middle of the pocket out toward the center of the long end of her mattress.  I do not know how or when this happened- I didn’t make her bed when we moved in, and so it was hidden from me  for some time.  It had to be hastily removed and dumped in the wash while the Cherub was hosed off in the bathroom one very ugly morning, and in my haste and the emergency, I didn’t see it (btw, did I mention my washing machine is actually outside, in my backyard?).  So by the time I did notice it, it wasn’t just torn, it was frayed, and there was no way to just reattach the two, no, four sides of the rip and still be able to get the sheet on the bed.  In order to make the two sides of the rip meet,  I needed a buffer.  There’s a metaphor in there.

I had to figure out whether to just leave it alone and let it grow until we had to go buy another sheet, to spend a few hours sewing it back together through some make-shift method, or whether to spend hours and more money (including probably four dollars or more in taxi fare to get where I was most likely to find a sheet for her bed) shopping and looking for a sheet that I hoped would fit her bed.

I decided to hang out at home and sew, and sew, and sew.  I listened to an audio book while I sewed, killing two birds with one stone.  It probably took me 8 hours total and the result isn’t pretty- because I am not a good seamstress, because I was making up what I was doing as I went along, and because once I stitched at least six inches of air to six inches of sheet because I didn’t notice that I hadn’t gone far enough past the fraying edge to reach the the sheet that was still there, so I had to go back and do it again.

But it is functional, and I was able to stay quietly and peacefully at home instead of trying to get the Cherub up and down stairs, in and out of taxis (she will *not* scoot over for me, but belligerently sits as stiffly as she can crossing her legs to establish the fact that she will not move), through stores and past kiosks of tempting food, up and down the escalator (honestly, a nightmare, and not all places of elevators and those that do, they are not necessarily nearest the store I need, so I end up walking to the opposite end of the mall, taking the elevator and then walking the length back).    The last time I took her shopping with me, we had to leave by an entrance with outside stairs and she was so annoyed, she kept trying to sit on the steps. Two young Filipinos came over and one put my groceries in the cab and one took the Cherub and got her down the stairs and in the cab for me, bless their hearts.

Anyway, I think my 8 hours of hand sewing was adequately spent, given the alternative.  This is the kind of things that is hard to explain when expats say that everything takes longer here.

What I did to make sure that repairing the tear wouldn’t make the sheet too small for the corner it has to fit is to take a cut strip from a sock.  I had the strips already, because, remember, I use loops of old socks to stuff my crocheted turtles and octopuses, so I had brought some along.  I also had brought along a small sewing kit from home- needles, a few small spools of cotton thread, scissors, and this is the result:

That’s just part of the straight end of the rip- I didn’t take a picture of the vertical slice.  I might later if I think of it.

So that’s the story of how and why I mended the Korean sheet for my American kid in my house in the Philippines.


*Now one other alternative I might have tried is to pay somebody to do it, but I needed the sheet that night, because we don’t have a spare for her bed, and I didn’t know where to find a sew lady that quickly.  If you’ve been here longer and are more established, you could do that.

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  1. Cat
    Posted March 5, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Well, I am not in S. Korea or the Philippines, but I have HAD it with buying fitted sheets that don’t fit. My solution is to purchase flat sheets only instead of fitted sheets, and tuck under with a nice hospital corner on all four corners. If you’re really committed to a tight fit, buy a double sized flat sheet to replace the twin bed’s fitted sheet so there’s plenty of excess to tuck under, if that makes sense. It’s not necessary, but the mass of the mattress helps hold the sheet nice and tight. Of course, this does not address the garish color and style issue ….

    • Headmistress
      Posted March 5, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      At home I used to buy waterbed sheets to make sure they stayed tucked under and in. During the worst of the PTSD days, I thrashed and twisted and writhed so much in my sleep, pretty much nothing stayed tucked or where it belonged, and waterbed sheets helped.

  2. Lindsey in AL
    Posted March 7, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    You can also convert a flat sheet relatively easily to a fitted sheet. Or maybe pay someone to do that job. Basically you cut a square from each corner, stitch the sides of the squares to each other (along what would be the diagonal of the missing square,), and apply elastic to at least part of the long edges. It’s probably not a job for a total “non-seamstress” but a person with some experience with both sewing and jury-rigging could do it pretty easily. Something to think about for next time 🙂

    • Headmistress
      Posted March 7, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      The flat sheets here are pretty small. I think I’d have to buy at least the next size up for that to work. Maybe two sizes up.

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