Why do sheets not fit mattresses anymore? This falls under the category of minor things that I get obsessed with fixing, irregardless of the fact that I have not control over them and in reality I’m just wasting my time. Anyway… here is a post that I actually wrote four years ago but never published.
The first time I had trouble with this was about seven years ago, when the lovely sheets my mom had bought me with a ridiculously high thread count became thread-bare and started fall apart at the folded seams. So I set out of find a new set, again with a ridiculously high thread count, because I wanted soft. I knew that cotton blend sheets would be soft, but I couldn’t find any. The choices were high thread count luxury and coarse cotton sandpaper, so I went with the luxury.
The fitted sheet is too big for the mattress
We have a thick mattress, and after buying two sets where the fitted sheet was too small, out of desperation I ordered high end sheets from The Company Store.
Now the fitted sheet was too big, but at least it would go on the bed. So I gave up.
Every time I made the bed, though, it irked me that I’d sprung for nice sheets and they still didn’t fit the bed.
For at least seven years.
Which is when the sheets again started to fray (And yet, I still have a cotton blend set that’s over 30 years old from my childhood that looks PERFECTLY FINE, thank you. I just don’t sleep on a double bed anymore. We have a king.)
I was determined to buy sheets that fit the bed this time.
How can the fitted sheet be too big for the mattress?
For Mother’s Day, Tim came home with the highest quality, highest thread count sheets from Target. A gift because I didn’t have to shop for sheets. Hooray!
Until I put them on the bed. And the fitted sheet was too big. Let me explain what I mean by too big.
The top surface of the mattress is what sheet makers call “the platform.” The sides are what they call “the pocket.”
The history of mattress thickness and fitted sheets – sheet platforms and pockets
If you do a web search for “sheets won’t fit the mattress” (and I have) or talk to high end retailers (which I have) you will find out the following. When mattresses started getting thicker the fitted sheets no longer fit. The pockets were too short. So for some unknown reason they started making the platform of the sheets bigger. The platform of the sheet is what goes on the top surface of the mattress.
I still can’t figure out why they started making the platform bigger instead of making the pockets bigger.
When I ask this of someone who’s supposed to know why sheets are made this way, we always get caught up in a circular discussion. They just can’t seem to grasp what I’m trying to say, so let me explain it this way. If you have a box and you want to make it deeper, do you make the top bigger? (The top of mattresses is called the platform.)
No, you don’t, because then you would just have a bigger box at the same depth.
If you want to make the box deeper you make the sides longer.
So what the sheet makers need to do is to make the pockets deeper instead of making the platforms bigger. Why can’t they see this?
Sheets that fit – but don’t make me happy
Determined not to pay top dollar for an ill-fitting sheet set again (like the ones I used for seven years), I returned the first set and went shopping at department stores. I came home with a lovely set of Martha Stewart cream paisley sheets from Macy’s.
I really was surprised at how lovely a set of cream sheets could be! And the fitted sheet, while just barely going to the bottom edge of the mattress, did fit the “platform” of the bed!
Except these sheets are exceptionally wrinkly.
I mean like it looks like you wadded up a piece of paper and then tried to smooth it a bit. Crinkled-up-looks-like-you-pressed-in-wrinkles.
I don’t even iron our clothes. There is no way I was going to iron my sheets. So I web searched it. Apparently if you snatch the sheets out of the dryer when they are just barely damp and smooth them onto the bed to let them finish drying, you can diminish the wrinkles.
Who has the time to sit there and watch their sheets dry so they can pounce the minute the sheets are optimum dampness?
Okay, I guess you could set the timer. But really I’m lucky if I remember to put the sheets in the dryer before we start to get into bed and realize the sheets are being washed. There is not chance I’m going to remember to put them in a dryer and set a timer early enough that we don’t end up sleeping in a damp bed.
So we used these lovely (but wrinkly) sheets while I waited for a sale to strike on no-iron 100% cotton sheets- wrinkle-resistant jacquard sateen, to be exact – from Garnet Hill.
The sheets are absolutely lovely, and soft. And they have no wrinkles!
And the platform is too big for the mattress. Even though I followed all possible directions and measure my mattress, etc.
Resistance is futile – in which I continue to use a fitted sheet that’s too big
I picked up the phone and waited for the requested supervisor in customer support to try to get to the bottom of this problem. (You really didn’t think I would just let this go, did you?)
She was sympathetic and very nice. But she couldn’t seem to grasp why the pockets should be made bigger instead of the platform, although she said she would make a note.
She told me I wash the sheets a couple of times and see if they shrink a little and fit better. I can still return the sheets even if I’ve washed them. (That’s great customer service from Garnet Hill!)
But if they don’t, I’ll probably get out my sewing machine and pretend I know how to sew again, because – after all – I did get them on sale.
UPDATE 2019 – I never did alter those sheets, and they still frustrate me. <sigh>
But I really wish that I could talk to the all important people who decide what size to make sheets and explain to them about how THEY ARE DOING IT ALL WRONG. 🙂
And I wonder if this is my longest post ever – all about how “fitted” sheets don’t fit anymore. But it’s obvious no one else is tackling this problem. The world must be saved.