How to Permanently Restore a Mattress Pad

Mattress pads wear out fast, don’t they?

The top is usually in good shape because they are quilted and made fairly well.

But, usually, the sides of the mattress pad are either made of a paper-like material or a thin nylon type that gets holes in it easily. I’ve fought both types for years. And it doesn’t matter how much you pay, they are never made to last.

They tear up after just a few washes and time in the dryer. So, let me show you how to permanently restore a mattress pad.

You can see by the zig zag stitches (in the photo below) that I’ve stitched on this paper-like material, and tried to mend it before.

But, it didn’t last long.

zig zag temporary stitching for a mattress pad, IMG_7530

In some areas, the elastic had torn away from the rest of the paper like material:

the elastic torn away from the mattress pad, IMG_7531

Recently, I decided it was time for a new solution, a more permanent solution….I needed to put new sides on.

This is easier than it sounds.

You will need some cotton fabric and some elastic. The amount you need of both will depend on the size of your mattress pad top. I’ll show you how to calculate what you need. The mattress pad I am revamping is a queen size.

First, measure the width, the length, and the depth (or height) of the mattress pad and write down the measurements on a piece of paper.

measurements of my mattress pad, IMG_7540

Once you have done that, you will add seam allowances to each of the measurements.

As you can see in the diagram below, I drew what each of the pieces would look like if they were separate and lying flat on the table. This is to help you see what shapes you’ll need to cut from the cotton fabric.

I added one inch overall to the width and one inch overall to the length because I want 1/2″ seam allowances.

I added three inches to the height because some of the pad extends underneath the mattress and the extra inch will make it hug the mattress nice and snug.

diagram of all the pieces for the mattress pad sides, IMG_7537

I found some scrap muslin fabric that I had in my cupboard and cut the pieces out according to my measurements.

You don’t need muslin fabric. Any cotton or cotton/polyester blend should do.

After you’ve cut those pieces, set those pieces aside for now.

Next, trim away all the side material from the top of the mattress pad, cutting as close as possible without harming the top. If you don’t cut real close, it’s not a problem.

cutting away the old mattress sides, IMG_7532

Once you have the top piece cut away from the bottom piece, you are going to save the top piece.

the mattress sides cut away, IMG_7534

Next, you will stitch together the rectangles of fabric to form the sides of the mattress pad.

Stitch the vertical seams making sure you have the two short ends opposing each other and the two long pieces opposing each other. Also, make sure you are stitching all the pieces right sides together. You don’t want to twist them and have to rip some of the seams out later.

Here is what one seam looks like from the right side. I haven’t pressed the fabric yet, but it would be a good idea.

the seam of the new mattress pad sides, IMG_7541

Once I stitched the seams, I serged the edges to finish them off nicely. If you don’t have a serger, you could zig zag the edges together. This will keep your seams from raveling over time.

finishing the seam allowances of the new mattress pad sides, IMG_7549

Once the seams are serged, you should have a giant tube of fabric. Go ahead and serge to top edge of the tube all the way around.

Now, let’s talk about the elastic. The company used elastic “thread”. To duplicate this on your mattress pad would require alot of time and work. We are going to make a simple casing and add one piece of elastic.

I like a method that is fast. Most people would tell you to make the casing and then feed the elastic through the casing with a bodkin or a safety pin attached to the end of the elastic. That takes a very long time. I’m going to show you how to streamline the process and do two steps at one time.

To make the casing, fold up and press the bottom edge twice. I like to use 1/2″ wide elastic. So, to make my casing, I folded up the bottom edge 1/4″ and then 3/4″ . The 1/4″ hides the raw edge and the 3/4″ gives you enough room to stitch the elastic in without actually stitching on the elastic itself. We want that elastic to be able to stretch inside the casing as we sew the casing down.

folded edge for the casing for the mattress pad sides, IMG_7551

The cotton tube I sewed for the sides of the mattress pad has a perimeter of about 280″ (80″ + 80″ + 61″ + 61″=282″)

Let’s use the number 280″ for easy math.

Divide 280″ in half and you have 140″ or about 4 yards.

You’ll need to cut a piece of elastic about 4 yards long.

If you don’t have that much on hand, you can certainly use less. It’s not rocket science and you don’t have to be precise on this. You can also piece some smaller pieces together! You just don’t want your mattress pad to creep up or come off while you’re sleeping.

Turn the elastic into a tube and stitch the ends together as shown below. I overlap the ends and sew two rows of stitching to make it stronger.

stitching the ends of the elastic for the mattress pad, IMG_7550

Next, I divide the elastic tube equally into fourths and put a pin in each of the four spots:

Then, I divide the cotton tube into fourths and put a pin in each of those four spots.

dividing the elastic onto 4 equal parts, IMG_7552

Next, I just match up these pins.

matching the elastic to the mattress pad casing, IMG_7555

Then, I tuck the elastic into the folded casing (see below), and put one pin in that spot to anchor the elastic until I can sew it in.

Remember, I am not going to stitch on the elastic itself, just the casing, but the elastic will be tucked down in there.

pinning the elastic into the casing IMG_7554

Next, I stitch the casing down, making sure the elastic is inside the folded area:

stitching the casing down with the elastic inside, IMG_7556

You will have to move the elastic inside the casing when it gets too bunched up as you sew. Just keep pushing the elastic back as you sew.

sewing the elastic into the casing, IMG_7557

Don’t sew over any pins.

When you get to a spot where there is a pin, take the pin out and stitch across the casing to hold the elastic in place. There will be four spots where you stitch across the casing on the tube, by the time you are finished.

anchoring the elastic in the casing, IMG_7558

Here is another angle of what that will look like:

a close up of the elastic in the casing, IMG_7559

This is what the elastic edge will look like when you are finished sewing in the elastic:

how the casing looks all finished, IMG_7560

Now, it’s time to attach the tube to the mattress pad:

Start by dividing the mattress pad into fourths, just like you did with the tube.

Then, divide the tube (the non elastic side of the tube) into fourths.

Once you match up the pins from the mattress pad and the pins from the tube, pin those in place in the four spots.

***The seams on the tube should line up with the corners or curved edges of the mattress pad. This will keep your mattress pad and the sides fitting together nice and square.

Now, pin all the way around the mattress pad. It should be a good fit.

pinning the sides to the mattress pad, IMG_7564

If it’s not exactly right, you can ease in the extra as you sew the two pieces together. It doesn’t matter if there are some gathers here and there. No one will see it. But if you did your math correctly, it should be just right.

If there is a large difference, you may have to take in the seams on the corners of the tube before you sew the two pieces together.

Pin the seams in each corner of the mattress pad:

pinning the corners to the mattress pad, IMG_7563

Stitch all the way around the mattress pad.

stitching all around the mattress pad, IMG_7565

Can you see how the two are attached? The seam runs basically vertically through the photo below:

photo of the mattress pad attached, IMG_7566

Here is the mattress before I put the updated mattress pad on:

mattress before the pad, IMG_7568

Here is the new mattress pad:

new mattress pad on the bed, IMG_7569

Because the new mattress pad has durable cotton sides now, it should last for many years to come!

close up of corner of mattress pad corner on bed, IMG_7570

Here’s a post on How to Mend a Bed Sheet, if you’d like to learn!