Never the Twain Shall Sheet

Twice a year I take all my bedding off my bed – quilt, pillows, shams, allergy covers, dust ruffle – give it a thorough hot water wash and a long hot dry before putting it all back together again.  This is part of my allergy abatement policy.  I struggled for years before my adult-onset allergies were diagnosed and even 25 years later, I remember how miserable I was.  So I take my allergy precautions pretty seriously. 

The sheets get changed every Saturday in addition to my twice-a-year routine and as I was choosing which sheets tro use, I decided it was a good time to organize the linen cabinet.  I discovered that all of YA’s sheets (yes, we have separate sheets; I like patterns, she likes solids) were all messed up with bottom sheets on different shelves than the matching top sheets.

When I asked her about it, I got the rolled eyes and a comment that she has only used bottom sheets for years and why was I just noticing it now.  Then I asked about WHY no top sheet and she said that it’s a waste to get two sheets dirty instead of one and recommended I look it up.  Apparently it’s a trend; you can even purchase just a bottom fitted sheet instead of an entire set. 

If you don’t want to get a top sheet dirty, then aren’t you worried about getting your blanket, duvet, quilt dirty?  Seems way easier to me to wash a top sheet than a duvet cover or quilt.  Just one more thing about which I am clearly behind the times.

To add insult to injury, I like to put the top sheet pattern down so that when I get into the bed, I have pattern on all sides.  Based on what I see online, I’m in the majority on this (it is apparently controversial), although I was dismayed in my online search to see Bedding 101 by Martha Stewart in which she walks the reader through how to make a bed.  Seriously?

So what about you?  One sheet or two?  Pattern side up or down?  Need help from Martha making your bed?

47 thoughts on “Never the Twain Shall Sheet”

  1. Two sheets. We have quilts on our bed, so there’s no way a quilt is going to be washed regularly and maintain its integrity. Sheets are meant to be “disposable” compared with blankets and quilts.

    Pattern down on the top sheet so when the bed is being used, the pattern “touches” the sleeper. But it’s not a big deal. Some of our sheets are so old it’s hard to tell what side is the pattern side.

    I don’t need Martha, but I am puzzled as to why the 2 or 3 quilts on our bed this time of year always seem to be migrating toward the foot of the bed no matter how hard I pull them up in the morning when I make the bed. You’d think I’d have to constantly be tucking the ends in to the foot of the bed to counteract sleepers pulling the quilts upward to cover their shoulders and necks. *sigh* One of life’s little mysteries.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have three sets of sheets that are slippery. I don’t want to call them silky because that implies that they’re well-made. Alll three of these sets were extremely cheap. But they are slippery and I do find when I use them that my quilt tends to slip down during the night, and even during the day, if the dog jumps on the bed too many times. But all three sets are really cute so their slipperiness does not deter me during the summer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Three. Lighter than blankets. And then there is the rare three sheets to the wind.
    No patterns. Solid blue.
    And lastly, I always struggle finding the correct corner on the single bed. I need a remedial bed-making course. 001.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. The only circumstance I can imagine where you would see which way the top sheet is oriented would be if you were to fold the bedding down at the top, in which case facing the pattern down would make sense, but we don’t do that. We just pull the bedding up to the top.
    I don’t care what Martha does.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. …and two sheets, naturally. As Chris says, the whole point of sheets, like undergarments, is to protect the more difficult to clean outer bedding.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Our sheets are plain white. No patterns or colors. I like a top sheet as I often get too hot, and it is nice to have just the sheet and no blanket.

    I decided that from now on I will only buy percale sheets as I like their crispness.

    Husband’s cpap machine has been recalled along with millions of others, but it may take months to get a replacement, so he has been told to just use the malfunctioning one for now.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Definitely two, for the same reason mentioned – would rather wash a top sheet than a blanket or quilt! And since sheets are so washable, I sometimes find them at thrift shops, where you don’t always get an entire set – I enjoy mixing and matching so the patterns still blend.

    Now that the warm nights are about gone, it’s time to change to flannel.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m puzzled by some of these technical terms. It sounds pretty complex.
    When we used blankets, I wouldn’t have dreamed of not using a top sheet. I’m talking about regular life now. I will NOT delve into what went on in the twelve years I lived in a caravan. Or six months in a lock up garage in a quiet road in Barnstaple. Not to mention a year or two when a bunch of us occupied an empty house, more or less up until squatting became illegal.
    I suppose I changed over to duvets when Jane and I moved in together. It never occurred to me until right now, that a top sheet might be necessary. I always thought there was something missing. But the washing machine rarely stops in this house. Duvet covers, everything, it all gets washed into the ground. No need to be looking for more.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Shams are the covers that go over pillows for decorative purposes. Allergy covers are specially made covers that totally enclose your box spring and mattress to keep out dust mites. Dust ruffle hangs down to the floor supposedly to help a little with the dust as well. I believe you call it a bedskirt in the UK but not even remotely sure what it’s called in Spain.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Always two sheets. Regular sheets are solid color, flannel are patterned. Pattern side up. I learned to make hospital corners while in nursing school and still do that, though perhaps not so tight anymore. I got really good at making up mattresses for isolettes, bassinets, and cribs during my career – a skill no longer needed. And if really pushed, I could probably still change the sheets of an occupied bed.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Years ago as a “nurses’ aide” now called a CNA, I learned to do that. I had acquired such skills helping to care for my dad (MS) who lived at home as a kid. I was sought out by local nursing homes for this and other skills.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    Sheets and sleep are an important topic at my house. We have a split king bed because of my husband’s myriad of sleep disorders, including dream enactment disorder (this includes sleep walking, but he flails and fights in his sleep). When he has periods of this,I move my half of the bed out of range so I do not get hit in the night. I have enough of my own sleep problems without getting hit! So I buy single fitted sheets on the bottom and a large King size sheet for the top. These are available at Land’s End or LLBean. Usually solid color, but some prints, and I like a higher thread count because it makes a smooth sheet. Print side down. I don’t get flannel sheets because I get too hot with those on the bed, although I do love the texture of flannel.

    Weird factoid—farm wives used to make sheets out of cotton cloth flour sacks sewn together—this was early frontier—@1945 when flour companies then began using paper sacking to package flour. Both grandmothers would make these sheets. My mother had several sets of these when she and dad were married, and I slept on those in my early childhood. The thread count was quite coarse and the seams would hurt. Mom threw nothing away until it was entirely used up, so when I broke up her house in 2009, she still had several of these sheets in the linen closet. They had holes too large to darn, but she could not discard them.

    Due to my allergies, I also follow the rigorous “allergy protocol” for beds that VS uses. You have to eliminate all of those dust mites that produce respiratory havoc, as well as sinus infections.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Husband has a sleep disorder that makes him able to move when he dreams. (We shouldn’t be able to move during dreams. He also has Nightmare Disorder, so lamps go flying off the nightstands, I get slugged, etc.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. So here’s one: Gatitos etc :
        Rafael is occasionally spared to come and work on the shed, and today fitted the steel door that Jordi STOLE from me. Jane told me not to keep getting upset about things. Maybe he also fitted the window, after I left, the one I donated, no theft involved this time. Chelo and I discussed what else we want him to do, bearing in mind that once he goes, they won’t pay him to come back again. “Discussed,” that means they talked emphatically to each other for a very long time, the gist being: when Rafael finishes the shed, he’ll move the junk we’ve accumulated, onto a different spot. Then he’ll use the generator and angle grinder to finish cutting the baths into house shapes. Then Chelo and I will put them where the junk was. And maybe we’ll catch some cats.
        Tomorrow is a fiesta day, and we’ll eat paella at long tables in the new Xop premises. Our gang will sit together and bond! All of us, I hope,including Rafael and Axelle. I’ll eat, they’ll talk.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Is there a chance that you might take some photos that you could send us, Fenton? I’m having a hard timing picturing what the scenario is. I’m especially fascinated by the bathtubs turned into cathouses idea.


  9. I have never adjusted to American bedding. I squirm around too much in my sleep to be able to keep a top sheet, blanket and/or quilt aligned and on top of me. I tried, but it was a mess. Besides, I was never comfortably warm, and the weight of the blankets bothered me. Give me a good old-fashioned dyne, that’s the Danish word for what Fenton calls a duvet – or at least I think it is.

    The duvet cover (dynebetræk), which eliminates the need for a top sheet, is essentially a huge pillow case, and it gets laundered when the fitted sheet and the pillowcases do. Husband and I each have two dyner: one extremely light for summer use, the other heavier, but still light, for winter. All of our dyner are filled with down.

    We like our bottom sheets in solid colors, the dynebetræk and pillow cases patterned. IKEA has a really nice selection of bedding including fitted sheets, pillow cases, and duvet covers that allows you to mix and match. Before duvets and covers for them became available in the US, I used to make my own covers by stitching two top sheets together. Of course, I had brought my dyne with me from back home.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. One of my favorite duvet covers has been with me forty-eight years in one form or another. When I moved into the old mansion on Woodbury St. in 1975, I had a huge bedroom with two tall windows. I purchased two flat sheets, blue with an intricate graphic pattern, and made curtains of them. When I moved from Woodbury Street, I no longer needed the curtains, and so I converted them to a duvet cover that is still in the rotation, depending on the color of the fitted sheet of the week. And, now that I think of it, I still love that pattern. A lot of memories connected to that duvet cover, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

      Liked by 4 people

  10. I heard about this whole sheet thing recently!

    We use the top sheet, but they’re just plain. A bigger problem seems to be keeping them tucked in. We have a pretty thick mattress.
    Top sheet, then a sort of woven blanket with the satin edge, then a quilt on top of that. Kelly has another blanket on her side of the bed. That satin edge is important to me; I run my fingers along it and it helps me settle down at night.

    So when I read about the lack of a top sheet and using a duvet instead, I didn’t know what a duvet was and I had to look it up. And I can’t understand why people think taking a cover off a quilt is easier than washing the top sheet??
    A few days after that, I’m out with another townboard guy picking up some old mattress’ dumped in a ditch. There was a large blanket in the pile too and he said something about the quilt. I told him I thought it was a ‘duvet’ :-). He laughed at me.
    Now we get to the recycling center and the guys are telling us to put the mattress’ there and the quilt in bin #3. I said “Actually, it’s a duvet.” He stared at me and said “I didn’t take French”. Then he turns to another guy and says “The ‘duvet’ goes in bin 3.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sheesh, Ben, it’s not a matter of a choice between washing a top sheet or a duvet cover, as clearly it’s more trouble taking the duvet cover off and putting it back on than it is removing and replacing a flat sheet. You mention tucking in the top sheet, and perhaps also the blanket or quilt on top; for me that’s a problem. I want to be able to regulate my body temperature while I sleep, and that means being able to stick my feet out at the bottom, or flinging part of leg on top of my dyne, and I can’t do that with anything tucked in at the bottom.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No, I didn’t mean that; I’m with you, I’ve got my feet out half the time. I mean the fitted sheet comes undone.
        All my leg issues this summer seems to have exacerbated all the other covers coming undone too. I think because I can’t tell what my feet are doing down there.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. So Ben, you said yourself, you have trouble keeping the top sheet tucked in. I bet you have trouble also, keeping the other layers in order, as outlined in a couple of posts here. So do away with all that, have an all in one dyne, as we in the call them, and among the other advantages, those sudden wakenings at three am, with some resentful person yanking all the bedding in their direction, will be simplified. Just one handful of duvet to grab hold of, instead of a tangled mess which was already heading in various directions. One decisive tug, a quick smoothing out if you’re awake enough, and back to sleep. By the way, I thought duvets were well established, by that name, everywhere.
        Ah, my point was, occasionally having to remove and replace the cover is a small price to pay for the other advantages. Jane lessens the pain by having spares, so we can do a quick changeover.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Better yet, have separate duvets. Hans needs more heat than I do to sleep properly, so both his summer and winter duvets are heavier than mine. He is also extremely fussy about his pillow, he even carries his with him when he or we travel.


  11. I found out that I am a weighted blanket candidate. I have always needed to have something more than just a blanket on top of the sheet. I need a heavy blanket and preferably a comforter as well.
    Debbie found a goose down comforter that I picked up somewhere that’s about 2 feet sick. I believe it was meant to be a mattress cover but I sleep under that every night summer and winter and I think I have top sheet but I don’t pay much attention to them I just pull the duvet or the cover, up to cover my body completely and away I go to get my two or three hours of deep slumber
    I also now need to wear something like pajamas, a shirt, a pair of boxers because of the excessive toxins giving off in my sleep don’t sweat like a pig but I definitely moisten the shirt and if I don’t have it on, I end up getting wet comforter, chills in the night

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I’ve also gone with a lightweight fluffy duvet in place of the top sheet. It has smaller dimensions and doesn’t need to be tucked in. Although I used to love flannel sheets, I can’t use them anymore. Just get too warm in the middle of the night. If you had told me when I was thirty that this would happen, I would have thought you were crazy, because then I was always cold at night.

    Liked by 2 people

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