NICU Bedding

The mission of The Preemie Project NICU Bedding Program is to create a comfortable, non-sterile environment for families in Iowa NICUs with donations of soft colorful sheets for the infant’s beds. 

Initially, infants in the NICU are very critically ill.  As a result, nursing staff performs most of the caregiving activities. Being able to choose the sheets for their infant’s bed is often the first and only caregiving act parents are able to perform.

How can you help?

Purchase bright, colorful cotton or flannel fabric to sew and donate bedding to help our NICU families create a homelike atmosphere in their baby’s hospital room. The Preemie Project will also gratefully accept donations of fabric and we will find the sewers.

Crafting Guidelines

  • Cotton or flannel fabrics are used for flat and fitted sheets. 1 yard for a flat sheet, 1 1/2 yards for a fitted sheet.
  • Bright, colorful baby and children’s prints and geometric prints are highly requested.
  • Cotton fabrics are preferred because they last 2 to 3 times longer than flannel. The flannel pills and fades badly after just a few washes in the hospital laundry.
  • Please do not use very old fabrics. Try to use fabric patterns that are desirable to today’s young families.
  • DO NOT use pale colors or very tiny prints. They will fade to white after one or two washes. Bright, bold colors will stand up to the harsh hospital laundry best.
  • If using flannel, many reds and black patterns will bleed and so, are not recommended.

Flat Sheets

A flat sheet is made with one yard of cotton or flannel fabric. Do not cut the fabric to square it.  The entire yard of fabric is needed to fit the bed.

Make flat sheets using a serger:

  1. Use 1 yard of bright, colorful cotton or flannel.  Cotton fabrics are preferred because they last 3 times longer than flannel.
  2. Finish the edge by serging around the entire piece.  
  3. You can make round corners or square corners on the flat sheet.
  4. To make sure the stitching does not unravel, overlap the serging at least a couple inches.
  5. Finished size of a flat sheet should be about 35 inches x 41 inches.

Make flat sheet using a Sewing Machine:

  1. Fold the edges over less than 1/4 inch.  
  2. Iron the edges
  3. Fold the edges over a second time, less than 1/4 inch.
  4. Iron.  
  5. Sew around the entire sheet
  6. Finished size of a flat sheet should be about 35 inches x 41 inches.
  7. NOTE: Make the seam as narrow as possible so you do not lose the width of the fabric. If you tend to make wider hem, buy a couple extra inches of fabric so you can achieve at least a 35-inch width.

Fitted Sheets

  1. A fitted sheet used 1.5 yards of cotton or flannel fabric.
  2. Cotton fabrics are always preferred because they last 3 times longer than flannel.  
  3. Find our pattern HERE.
  4. Brightly colored fun prints are best for fitted sheets.
  5. Please preshrink your fabric in very hot water and dry on high heat before sewing fitted sheets.

Fleece Pads:

Make fleece pads using a serger:

  1. Use a 22in X 30in piece of solid color fleece. We need 10 times more solid fleece pads than pattern fleece pads.
  2. Serge around the entire piece. You can either square the corners or round them.

Make fleece pads using a sewing machine.

  1. Use a 22in X 30in piece of solid color fleece.
  2. Overlay/overcast stitch around the edges to keep it from stretching. Be sure to go over the edges of the fabric as you sew, just like a serger edge. Here is a great video on how to do a serged edge using your sewing machine. That’s it!
  3. You can either round the corners or sew square corner.
  4. PLEASE be sure that you go over the edges of the fabric with your stitch

Third Hand Smoke Policy

In accordance with hospital policies, items from smoking homes will not be donated to hospitals for use in the NICU. Research has proven that tobacco and tobacco smoke clings to furniture, clothes, walls. This is called “third-hand smoke”. “Third-hand smoke” cannot be adequately washed out of fabrics and thus raises the risks for many illnesses in children. Please see the March of Dimes website for more information.

Page Reviewed/Updated: 12/28/18