Bedding Tutorial #3–let’s make a mattress!

I think everyone is going to be surprised at just how easy it is to make a doll mattress. I think of all the bedding parts, it’s probably one of my favorites because it is just so darned cute! Just think how impressed your friends, spouse or family will be when they come home and you say “I made a mattress today!” You don’t have to tell them it was in miniature. 😉

To start, you need the top measurement of your bed or box. As stated before, the top of the box I am using is 10 1/2 inches x 19 3/4 inches. To figure out what I need to cut, I need to add 1/2 inch to each side for the seam allowance and an additional 1/2 inch to allow for stuffing. So, add 1 1/2 inches to your box top measurements. Make sense? (My pieces needed to be 12 inches x 21 1/4 inches.) Now, cut two pieces of white (or other light colored fabric) fabric the size you just calculated. If you want to give it a vintage look, you could also use a stripe fabric. That’s what so great about this project, you customize it to what you want, instead of having to buy what the masses sell!

Photo 1

Once you have your two pieces of fabric cut, you are ready to get started. First thing you need to do is fold down one of the short ends of BOTH pieces 1/2 inch and press.

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I really recommend laying the two pieces on top of each other while doing this so that you can be sure they match and line up correctly.

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After pressing both pieces, put them together, right sides facing each other and pin the three sides that aren’t folded together:
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Now sew your three sides together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

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Trim the two bottom corners.
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Turn your piece right side out now and press.

Now we have to make some marks on it so we know where to sew to make the stitches that will give it that tufted look.  I made my marks 3 inches in from the side and 4 inches down on the top and bottom. You just need to make a small pencil mark so you know where to stitch.  I don’t know how well these will show up on different monitors.

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Then you need to determine the center point and mark that.  You should have 5 pencil marks when you are done.   If making a much larger mattress you may want to make 3 marks on the top and bottom row and 2 in the middle.

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Now you are ready to stuff it.  If using fiberfill, start stuffing and stop when it looks like you have enough.  I can’t tell you exactly how much to use because that’s going to vary according to how thick you want the mattress to be, very much a personal kind of thing.

I used flat quilting fiberfill like I used for the pillow.  I made it four thicknesses, this too can vary depending on brand and how thick it is.  When cutting it be sure to cut it 1/4 inch smaller both directions than the top of your box.  Example: my box is 10 1/2 inches by 19 3/4 inches on the top, so I cut my fill 10 1/4 inches by 19 1/2 inches.  The reason you need to cut it a little smaller is so it doesn’t roll on the sides when you put it in, the thickness will pull the fabric.

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Easiest way I’ve found to get the stuffing in when using the flat batting is to fold it in half lengthwise, put it into the pillowcase and then open it up, flattening as you go.  Work it around until all of the layers are flat.  If you notice that it’s rolling at the sides, you may need to remove it and trim it a little more.  Trim in 1/4 inch increments if necessary.Photo 13

It should look like this!

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Pin your end closed.

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Sew it shut.  Almost done!!!

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Let’s try it on the bed (box):
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Perfect fit!

Now we’re to a point where you are going to have to make a decision and it’s going to be based on how your sewing machine reacts to sewing on thick items. If your machine does not do well with thicker pieces, sew this by hand. NOT ALL SEWING MACHINES ARE CREATED EQUAL! If in doubt, don’t risk damaging your machine. If sewing by hand, you will need to make a few stitches on where your marks are, making sure that your starting stitch and ending stitch both come through on the back. Then you can tie them together, knotting several times and trim your thread.

If sewing by machine–it really isn’t hard if your machine is able to do this. I’m so glad my machine is capable of doing this because I have arthritis in my hands that makes it difficult sometimes for me to sew by hand.

Slide your mattress under the presser foot.  This will also help you decide if it’s going to work.  If it doesn’t slide easily, I wouldn’t risk it.  It will look puffy around the pressure foot, but you shouldn’t have to force it.

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Line up your needle with one of the top pencil marks you made earlier, stitch forward 3 stitches, backwards 3 stitches and forward one last time 3 stitches. Raise needle, raise presser foot and slide the mattress until the needle lines up with the next mark. You don’t need to remove it from the sewing machine each time. Again, line up needle with the mark and make 3 stitches forward, backward and forward again, raise needle and foot and on to the next mark, repeating these steps until you have done this on all 5 marks. (Or however many you have, depending on how big your mattress is).

After you are done sewing your tufts, remove the mattress from the machine.
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In this bottom photo you can see better where the strings go from tuft to tuft. You can now trim these strings off, carefully cutting down close to your stitches. Do this to both the front and back.

That’s it! You have successfully made a doll mattress! Don’t you feel proud now?
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Next time I will show you how to make a fitted cover for your mattress, gotta keep it clean.  You don’t want all of your hard work ruined when one of your dolls drops candy bar pieces in their bed. Be sure to have your measurements from this project handy, you will need them to ensure proper fit. Till next time!

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8 thoughts on “Bedding Tutorial #3–let’s make a mattress!

  1. Thank you!! Just what I needed, I have three doll beds that desperately need a mattress and this tutorial is going to be a great help when I finally get started on it.

    • Terrific, glad to hear it! They work up really fast once you get the general idea, you should be finished in no time once you get started.

  2. See now, I cheat. I buy the uber cheap pillows from Ikea and cut them so I only have to sew one edge and it’s already stuffed! They fit the old Battat bunk beds perfectly. I’m not sure how they fit on top of an AG box. I have too many beds to do that…

    Shoe racks also make great bunk beds and IKEA has some of those too…

    • That works fine for AG, but this tutorial is designed for all kinds of different sizes of dolls. If you learn how to do this method of making bedding, you can make it for any scale you want!

  3. Awesome tutorial! I’m keeping this one too for later. Even if I don’t ever have actual beds it would be nice to have a few mattresses. Thank you for the instructions.

    • Thanks! I’ll admit, this was a figure it out as you go kind of thing when I made the first one! This was number 6, so I had it down pretty well LOL. I was inspired by one that my mom made me MANY years ago for a Barbie bed.

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