I love browsing at Goodwill stores — you just never know what you’ll find. Recently at my local Goodwill, I found this delightful vintage package of two cotton fitted twin-size bed sheets for $1.99.
Now, I’m a sucker for vintage packaging, and thanks to Google, I’ve ascertained that these Bibb fitted sheets were made sometime in the 1950s! I didn’t buy them just for the packaging though. We’ve been camping a lot lately, and with the warm weather, we’ve been packing fitted sheets for our airbeds. I figured if I found some cotton fitted twin sheets at a good price, I’d pick them up to keep in our camping tote.
Well, a 2-pack of twin fitted sheets for under $2 certainly fit the bill for my boys’ twin airbeds, but I wondered if the sheets would still be in new condition after being sealed in the package for sixty years or more..! Surely the elastic would have dry-rotted, but for $1.99, I figured I’d take a chance.
I bought the sheets. I opened them up, and they seemed fine — they hadn’t even yellowed from age! So, I checked the corners of the sheets where one would expect the elastic to be. These sheets have no elastic — they’re truly a “fitted sheet” with a mitered corner.
I laundered them and slipped a sheet onto one of my son’s beds to try them out. And immediately I wondered… why aren’t sheets made like this any more? They’re incredible! They fit so tightly to the mattress that you could bounce a proverbial quarter off the top of the bed. There are no loose corners here, and there’s no elastic to wear out.
I’m truly impressed that these sheets are still in such great condition considering their age. The fitted corners will be fantastic on our air mattresses too. Sometimes elastic corners don’t hug an inflatable mattress very well, but these should. It does make me wonder why they don’t make bed sheets like this any more though…
1953 Bibb Sheets Woman Laying on Bed Print Ad (7462)
Be the first to review this item
Available from these sellers.
An original vintage advertisement from a magazine printed in the year shown.
Page size approx 5 1/4″ x 13 3/4″.
1 used from $13.99
******JUST FOUND THIS ADD ON AMAZON
Love Goodwill too ,have picked up lots of garden items !and some with stickers still on them (: I think their are lots of stores that donate to them ,I live in the middle of 4 stores probably under 10 miles away and love to hit them all when I can .Sometimes cute Xmas & Halloween decorations too .
And yes things were made much better years ago seems things are getting cheaper made by the year ):
My daughter (12yr)is using sheets that belonged to my Mom. They were my favorite. Even the ones that I had as a child are better than the ones you can buy. Funny enough her favorite sheets are the Holly Hobby ones I had as a child! She even wanted to take the pillowcase to camp. Sorry honey but not happening!
I learn so much from reading your posts! Not only about coupons, but about so many other things as well. For example….the Corning Ware. I had no idea that it had changed. After your post, I started looking for the older Corning at estate sales, and sure enough, I was able to gather quite a nice supply of the older Corning for very little money. But I wouldn’t have even known what to look for without reading your blog.These will certainly be passed down to my daughters at some point in the future. I am going to start looking for these sheets at Goodwill, and at estate sales. And now I know how to identify them. Thanks for posting this. I really appreciate it!
What a bargain! I wonder if these sheets may not fit some of the “newer” twin size mattresses… XL, or even the deeper/taller mattresses. All the old fitted sheets from my childhood seemed to be suited for thinner twin mattresses, and wouldn’t really make it all the way down on our kids’ thicker twin mattresses. That’s even with the elastic. I can’t tell how thick your mattress is here, so perhaps I’m mistaken. I figure the elastic allows more leeway in terms of fit, whereas truly fitted sheets like these may make shopping for a proper fit more challenging? I don’t know… just a guess. Also, it may require more skill (i.e. $$) to sew the seams properly?? I see your point about having a nice “hug” to the mattress.
Grandma Brat says
They make such lousy sheets these days, unlike those beautiful ones you got at Goodwill, that I avoid buying sheets at all costs. I will remake old flat sheets if I have to rather than buy. Have you noticed even the flat sheet are usually off grain and askew?? And we have moderately tall mattresses and old style flat ones and neither one can we get sheets to fit. Even if they are tall enough the elastic is in the wrong place and never holds.
Lynne Allen says
What a shame in this day of so many options, we are forced to buy new sheets with all around elastic on bottom sheets. I can’t stand them and wish we had a choice between those and fitted corners only.
I am DEFINITELY with you on this one. I absolutely detest the fitted sheets with the elastic all around. I keep searching, and searching, hoping that some day, I’ll find Queen size fitted sheets with elastic at the ends ONLY!
Same here. I came to this site because i just unpacked a new fitted sheet my mother had been saving but never used. My mother passed away 18 years ago…and had clearly been saving this sheet for years.. It only has elastic on the corners and i positively love it! When was the switch made for all around elastic? I hate putti g those on so much, a couple tears ago i switched to a system where i rarely change that one but put on top a flat sheet of a smaller size and thats the one i change. Plus this old new sheet i kust reclaimed is wonderfully thin and light weight and immediately made me want to replace all my heavy fabric sheets. Is there any place that still makes old fashioned sheets like this?
Rosalie Geoffroy says
I have two sets of percale sheets that I purchased for my children’s twin sized beds back in the 80’s and they are just as soft, wrinkle free and pill-free as they were when bought. Now, I will admit the gathered corners are beginning to loosen up and I noticed that one set is getting thin; however, I use them all of the time. I too wish I could purchase reasonably-priced sheets that are made to last and feel comfortable. My sheets were either purchased from Sears or JC Penney catalogs, back in the day. Today, there is the craze for Egyptian Cotton (and finding out that many sheets may only contain 1%), well folks I have purchased them and they are not as soft, not wrinkle free and they soon get those lent bumps (whatever they are called) after awhile. I really do not want to have to spend hundreds of dollars for sheets that are not necessarily better just carry a designer name.
Pauline Nielson says
I, too, am fed up with elastic all around sheets. For my new 12″ full size mattress I bought sheets at Penney’s. The bottom sheet won’t stay in place. 2 sets, $150.!!!! I’m reading on your post about twin sheets without elastic–does anyone know where I can buy full sheets without elastic? Or does anyone know how to remove the elastic and have a functioning sheet? Another problem with elastic all around sheets is trying to fold them for the linen closet. Can’t be done–I have to launder and replace the same day.
Coupon Maven says
To the best of my knowledge (and believe me, I have looked!) I cannot find any new fitted sheets made this way.
It’s funny you mention JC Penney’s sheets. I have a set for one of my son’s beds. It’s only a couple of years old, but the elastic in the fitted sheet is shot. It’s completely stretched out and won’t re-gather at the corners, so the sheet won’t stay on the mattress. Of course, the sheets are still in good shape, so it’s frustrating.
What I ended up doing with that sheet was inspired by these fitted sheets — I took them to my sewing machine and sewed the corners together similar to the way these vintage sheets look. Guess what — it worked. I couldn’t make the seams as long as the vintage sheets’ corners, but they stay on the bed now! I didn’t worry about trying to take the busted elastic out.
As far as folding, I “fold” those fitted sheets as best I can and store them inside a pillowcase for the same set of sheets (the other pillowcase, flat and fitted sheets are inside.) Then I just stack them in my linen closet that way. The kids can grab a whole set of sheets at once instead of hunting around for them in the closet.
GREAT IDEA!!!! I never thought of that!! I get sooooo aggravated trying to find the pillow cases that match the sheets! I too hate fitted sheets with elastic all the way around. I have been doing laundry for 40 yrs now and still can’t fold a fitted sheet properly! Looks like I just rolled up a wadded bunch of material. I’d love to have sheets made like these!!
Thank You all !!!!! I thought I was the only one who hated those new kind of sheets !!!!! My gosh the elastic goes all the way around who invented that kind of terrible sheet anyhow? I certainly would like to know, I would write them and tell them to keep their idea to their self I want to see them come back out with those fitted sheets that you can fold real good. whether they have elastic corners or material corners. but do not put the elastic all the way around !!!!! and from all these comments I have read I suppose I will not be able to buy them anywhere either. I guess they just don’t make them anymore. Things these days are being made much worse AND they are more expensive !!!!! this world is just falling apart.
Don Adams says
I have just spent the afternoon looking for the old (50’s) style “contour” sheets that had no elastic and the deep pockets at each corner UNDER the mattress. The first three corners were easy to put on the mattress, but for the 4th corner you had to lift it and pull the pocket around and under the corner. And so very tight when it settled back flat. I would be so grateful to find anything like these. A veteran bedding clerk at Macy’s told me today that she hasn’t seen them for 50 years.
Coupon Maven says
Prior to buying these at the Goodwill store, I cannot ever recall seeing non-elastic fitted sheets in my lifetime. You are absolutely right — you’ve got to work a bit to get them on, but once they are on, they don’t move, and they are perfectly flat and tight.
I imagine that the rise in pillow-top mattresses, and mattress heights in general, has made sheets like these fall out of style. There are so many different mattress heights/depths these days. These vintage sheets fit my children’s twin mattresses perfectly, but those are standard, non-pillowtop mattresses.
I’ve even looked for the same brand (Bibb) online, but their current fitted sheets appear to be all-elastic: https://amzn.to/2nd40i4
Jody Bollard says
I AM WITH YOU ALL,HATE THE ALL AROUND ELASTIC FITTED SHEETS!!!! BRING BACK THE OLD KIND IF YOU FIND THE OLD ONES LET US KNOW
I thought I was the only one that hated the all around elastic. They won’t stay smooth and tight, bunch up when you lay on them, can’t be folded neatly, just all around frustrating. I’ve started making my own to avoid the frustration.
Kenneth Moser says
Me too. Sick of elastic that doesn’t do the job and slips constantly. Pain in the butt, just like mattress pads in both the washing machine and the dryer. I just don’t understand why we keep letting manufacturers dictate to us what we need with really inferior products.
Andrea Carvey says
I agree! I HATE the all-around elastic fitted sheets! Where can we get the old kind??
I’ve hate the fact that bottom sheets without elastic are not made anymore. I have one queen size bottom sheet with the old style corners, and I love it. It fits so tightly on my queen size mattress, that it never wrinkles and begins sliding around. It stays in place, so makes for comfortable sleeping, and easy folding after its washed and dried. The only place you can hope to find them, is at local thrift shops, and at estate sales. A word of caution: Don’t spend lots of money on those expensive sheet sets that are al the rage now. (on line). I decided to buy a set for our queen bed, and I’m very disappointed. The fabric is soft and feels good, but the fitted sheet (elastic all around of course) is sized for a much thicker mattress than what I have. It looks really “baggy” when the bed is first made, and after sleeping on it for a couple of nights, it seems to stretch and get really loose, and develop wrinkles that are uncomfortable. Never again! From now on going to be constantly on the lookout for old fitted sheets!
Claudia Mais says
I thought I was the only one who despises all around elastic fitted sheets!!!! Why won’t manufacturers go back to the old style?!?!?!? 😭😡 Until then I’ll wash our sheets and put them right back on.
I haven’t. Checked yet but Vermont Country Store carries old fashioned favorite items everything you lo ed from back in the day from useful household items. Makeup,,toys, candies, old fashioned underwear that fit like these old fashioned sheets. Whatever you can think o of google them. They are a fun store to shop in. They have grest customer servise contact them online or by phone. They are a popular store in Vermont but they ship everywhere and they have a fun old fashioned catolog. It is easy to spend hours poking around in their store or in their online store. They also have wonderful sales.. If they don’t csalewhat you are lookling for if enough people ask for it they will bring it back even if production stopped in the 40s and they will have it manufactured for todays bedding sizes if possible.
I have a call in to Vermont Country Store to see if their fitted sheets are fully elasticized. I must have spent about an hour on the phone this morning with someone at Bed Bath and Beyond as she went through their entire inventory (in her computer) to find that all their fitted sheets are fully elasticized. I wonder if we need to look to Europe for good sheets now?
Coupon Maven says
Please let us know what you find out.
The issue with European bedding (and other countries too) is that our standard sizing is not the same as theirs.
Absolutely no luck at all finding sheets after contacting every seller I found online. Our mattress is a king sized (bought in England when we lived there) and I hate those “baby diaper” fitted sheets. They are too bulky. So, if anyone finds a decent old style sheet set please let me know. I would be eternally grateful.
Londa buell says
Maybe someone should figure out how to remake sheets to fit individual mattresses. You know sort of like upholstering. I would think it would be similar. I sew but don’t know how to tailor something. That knowledge would also work I would think. If someone can explain how to do it I would love to know. Start a business called custom made sheets.
Coupon Maven says
Londa, I am in the “decent at sewing” category, and I have successfully tailored the worn-out corners of my fitted sheets in a similar style to these vintage sheets once the elastic has worn out. I pull the corners together and use upholstery thread (stronger) to zigzag stitch the corners together about 2-3″ in. Any more than that, and the stitching will rip out once you try to stretch them back on the bed. It does help them fit the mattress again though.
I’ve become so that I despise modern sheets. I want a crisp, stiff, close weave cotton sheet that will last many years. You can’t get them.
If you can find sheets that fit at all, you’re lucky. So I’ve bitten the bullet and spent money on buying extra wide (flax) linen from Bulgaria to make sheets, pillow slips, and quilt covers.
I was going to pre-shrink and lay it on the bed and box out the corners etc to make a fitted sheet – then have a small casing with ties on each corner, instead of elastic. Then I smacked myself in the face and said, “why don’t I just make the bed with hospital corners and just save myself all the be-bother?”
So I’m just gonna cut to size, hem, and done. I forgot how much I like a good hospital corner.
I’m so sick of the rubbishy, weak and over-soft cotton they use now. It either pills or wears too quickly, and there’s no difference from cheap and nasty to expensive, bar the sewing. and even that falls short in the expensive ones. At least if I do it, they’ll all have mitred hems and be sturdy – plus no pillow slip seams falling apart from stingy seam allowances.
BEST OF ALL, I can get whatever colours I want instead of putting up with the questionable taste of some corporate buyer.
Nancy Rusinak says
Hi, would you share the source of your fabric? I’ve been using flat sheets with hospital corners for years. It’s getting hard to find separately sold, quality flat sheets. Time to start hitting the thrift stores…
I am blown away by your find!! Especially as I have begun to experiment with ways to make a fitted sheet with little or preferably no elastic! Would you have a moment to post the actual measurements of the size you have and how much is under the mattress? I was ready to start trying snaps, buttons , but seeing this I would love to work on creating a pattern that’s similar to the real deal.
Thanks in advance!
Coupon Maven says
I will try to get it measured this weekend for you. :)
I’m just happy to have found “my people” – people who dislike elasticized sheets as much as I do, and who care about folding sheets neatly. I just submitted a suggestion to the Vermont Country Store for old-style fitted sheets but I do not expect it to do any good. Cheap is king…. I’m not ready to try to sew my own, but I hadn’t thought of trying thrift stores until I ran across this web site! Going to do that ASAP.
j simmons says
i despise the way current fitted sheets are made also. and you can get the most expensive sheet sets and they all just throw elastic throughout the base of the entire fitted sheet. you ask why? i don’t know for a fact, but it may be because there are so many different thickness mattresses made today. the ‘sheet’ people don’t want to make numerous queen size sheets depending on your mattress thickness so they make these ‘universal’ fitted sheets. that’s why i think it is done, but i don’t know for sure. it could also be that it takes more labor to make them with sewn it pocketsl. i plan to buy a sewing machine and make my own from a flat sheet. i several youtube videos out there showing how to do it. i do have one fitted sheet the old way that is split. i could just measure it too and make my own from it.
kim s (ladykemma's linen blog) says
i gave up on the whole fitted sheet thing. now i make my bed with flat sheets and hospital corners. i have an odd sized bed, with feather beds and lots of padding on top.
then i started sewing my own sheets because the king size sheet wasn’t big enough.
my latest passion is finding vintage cannon muslin sheets on ebay (the crunchy kind that grandma had) and sewing my own.
muslin, not percale, not sateen.