Early in my housekeeping career, I sewed two import store madras bedspreads together to cover a hiker's not quite ultralight down sleeping bag that zipped open flat. The spreads made a pleasantly sloppy version of a pillow case. The extra length at the top extended the comfort range of the bag. The hand-spun short staple cotton was a warm as flannel. Making the bed was a trivial matter of airing it, flipping the duvet back into place, tucking excess fabric under the edges, and fluffing the pillows. Using a duvet shaved measurable minutes off morning housekeeping.
Perhaps I missed a memo somewhere in the evolution of contemporary housekeeping. The world of bed-making seems to have added the duvet as a layer of complexity rather than the move toward simplicity it was in the beginning. I learned about duvets from mountain climbers who had visited Switzerland.
It's no great task to sew two flat sheets together, even by hand. Double-stick basting tape stabilizes fabric placement. Use a running and/or back stitch and wax the thread. A hand-sewn seam flexes and extends the life of the fabric.
By the way, that original sleeping bag cost a month's 1966 wage. It lasted eleven years in my house and unknown years in a cousin's, saving countless gallons of heating oil and pounds of CO2 in addition to two hundred hours of bed-making. The down of a weary bag can be recycled into pillow filling at the Phinney Ridge down cleaning operation. I believe in respecting the price the goose paid for my comfort. The Great Big Hiking Co-op carries a refined version of the low-end synthetic zip-flat car camping bag that is excellent value at about $70. In this climate, slightly heavier and less compressible synthetic filling performs better than down, although I understand there are now damp-proof down fills on the market.
-30-More after the jump.