Sides to Middling

I don’t like fitted sheets. You may have already guessed this from my responses on this post, but if you hadn’t, let me be clear: I don’t like fitted sheets.

Folding a fitted sheet, step 7

Step SEVEN!

Unfortunately, buying flat sheets that don’t come with fitted sheets is relatively difficult these days. We were fortunate enough to be given a couple of pairs for our wedding, but as that was more than six years ago, they are starting to show signs of age. Particularly the fluffy winter pair – they got so much wear in the first few years of our marriage (before we found a second pair of flat winter sheets) that they are now… well, worn.

Obviously, given their two-hen’s-teeth rarity rating, we weren’t going to just fling them in the bin. Enter the ancient homely art of sides-to-middling. I always found references to this in old books confusing, as they talked about turning the sides to the middle, without mentioning that you also took the middle to the sides.

Here’s how it works: you find the middle of the top or bottom seam. You cut through the thick bit, and tear from top to bottom (or bottom to top, as the case may be). If you have good-quality sheets which are cut on the grain, you now have two rectangles of sheet. If not… you either put up with trapezium sheets (sounds like the sort of thing a circus performer would sleep on), or you reclassify them as ‘fabric’ and make fluffy winter pyjamas.

WVS Bandage-making, 1942. (Art IWM ART LD 2991)

The next step is to put the two halves back together, but this time the insides are outsides, and the outsides are insides. If your sheet is edged with selvages, just overlap them a little and pin in place. If your sheet is edged with hems, you’ll need to turn one half over and them slide the overlapping pieces together until the two hems sit against each other, resulting in a double-wide hem section down the middle.

Whatever you do, do not try to sew the two hem edges on top of each other. Unless, of course, you are engaged in territorial warfare with your bedmate and need some sort of Maginot Line to keep the combatants apart. If your bedmate is a cat, however, don’t bother. Cats don’t do “mine” and “yours” in a bed. From their point of view, the bed is divided into “mine” and “also mine but rather lumpy.”

Once the sheet is appropriately lined up and pinned, sew two lines down the middle (you don’t want any overlap flapping about). Now is the time to decide if the worn edges need reinforcing in any way. Small holes can be darned, large areas can be patched (with a cannibalized pillowcase or similar). If the hole or incipient hole isn’t right on the edge, it can wait til after the next step. Press, pin and sew a double-fold hem down the sides (which used to be the middles) and there you are: one sides-to-middled sheet.

seam

One hem up, one hem down, double seam in the middle.

Now is the time to deal with any holes or dangerously worn bits that aren’t right on the edge, making sure to keep the edges of any patches nice and flat. Wash, dry, and put back in circulation – always remembering to be a little more gentle with this sheet than with others. Remember: if you’re not in the army, you don’t need your sheets tucked so tight you can bounce a coin off them.

 

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Guess Who Snores?

Not me, of course. Not even the Caped Gooseberry, unless he has a cold.

It’s the cat.

Gattohaydeè1
I always knew she was a noisy cat. She has a profound purr which seems like a full-body workout, the way it hurls her back and forth on her chassis with the force required to produce that much noise. And she appears to have the remarkable talent of falling asleep while still purring, which allows her to get her beauty sleep while everyone else is kept awake by the jack-hammer impression.

She does eventually fall so far asleep that the purr shuts down, although you have to be careful about stretching your legs in case she decides to restart the warning buzz to remind you she’s there.

Lolcat
But it is once she’s finally asleep that the real noise starts. Thankfully she’s not a habitual snorer, because you can spend a lot of time lying awake wondering what the noise is before you finally home in on the innocent-looking bundle of fur at the end of the bed.

Could it be the wiring, you ask yourself. Is it the next-door neighbour using power-tools in the small hours? Is there a blowfly trapped in my pillowcase?

I at last realized it was the peacefully snoozing cat, and was then kept awake by trying to render an accurate description in the medium of words. It was such a strange unsnory noise. It sounded – and this is the best analogy I could come up with at that time of night – as though she had swallowed a bee whole and it was now taking advantage of her unconsciousness to attempt an escape.

White Cat Sleeping
She doesn’t so much snore, as buzz.

This is still less disturbing than her son, who has a much less vigorous purr, but who has taken to groaning dramatically in his sleep. Like the squeak of a high-pitched door, opening oh-so-slowly, or a tiny teenager being told to clean his room.

He’ll be lying there, totally relaxed, with nothing but a gentle rise and fall to prove he’s actually still in the land of the living, and then suddenly, this eldritch moan. He doesn’t appear to be distressed, or in the grip of a dream (none of those little twitchy paws). He just delivers this drawn-out groan and then carries on sleeping, while everyone stares in his direction.

Sleeping Golden Cat
Not that I can talk, of course. Because I can, and I do, and what with me babbling in my sleep, the cat buzzing and the ‘kitten’ groaning, it’s a miracle the Caped Gooseberry gets any sleep at all.