Why not to buy a conventional mattress
Traditional mattress materials
Making a tick
Next, I laid the paper template on my fabric and added an inch to each side (2 inches added to the total width, 2 inches to the total length). I cut out the top and bottom panels at the same time to eliminate any shape inconsistencies. Mattress thickness can be based on personal preference. I chose to make the side panels for my mattress 9 inches wide (7 inches when finished) based on the height of the bed platform. I cut out rectangular side panels from the leftover scraps of my large panels and sewed them into one strip long enough to go around the perimeter of the two long sides and one short side of my large panels. (The other short side is where the button closure goes for stuffing straw – more on that later.)
Next, I pinned and pinned and pinned. Don’t underestimate this step. It takes a lot of patience, but the attention to detail at this point will make sewing much easier later. I took the edges of each panel (about ½ inch) and folded them over twice before pinning to reinforce the seam and make a finished edge on both sides of the fabric. This ensures that your fabric won’t unravel and should make stuffing much easier. You can attach panels to each other by folding with the edges sandwiched together. Make sure to insert pins perpendicular to the direction the thread will be sewn (if using a machine) so the needle glides easily over the pins. This fabric is heavy and unwieldy so pinning one side at a time makes it easier to push through a standard-size sewing machine. Also, make sure to use a heavy-duty needle, made for canvas or jeans, and thick thread.
The panel for the button closure was a little trickier. I wanted the closure to button in the center of the panel rather than at the seam to help put less stress on the edges of the mattress. And they need to be strong enough to take daily abuse. So, I cut out two panels to make up the closure side (one 6 inch wide panel and one 5 ½ inch wide panel) and finished one long side of each panel (where the buttons and button holes would be sewn). After over-lapping the finished edges (about ½ inch), the panel should be 9 inches wide (like the other sides) and easy to sew in place. After sewing everything up, I turned it inside out and stuffed the mattress!