Bedding tutorial #5-a cover for the box

We’re getting very close to finished with this tutorial, after this, just one more post! In this week’s post, you’re going to see how to make a fitted cover for your box that requires no glue, no staples, no tape. In other words, you can make your box look like a real bed without damaging the box, a huge plus for those who save their AG boxes for storage purposes.

I forgot to list elastic in the materials list at the beginning of the series. You’ll need two pieces, just slightly longer than the width of your box. I personally like 1/4″ flat elastic for this part of the project because it lays nicely. Chances are if you’ve been making doll clothing, you’re going to have some of this. If you don’t, you can still make the project and put this on later since it is the last step, but you will need it if you are going to do the headboard project next week. I apologize for this oversight.

First we need to go back to our original measurement of the top of the box. Add 1/2 inch to each side (1 inch total) and 1/2 inch to the bottom and 3/4 inch to the top (for a total of 1 1/4 inches). My box top is 10 1/4 inches wide by 19 1/2 inches long, so I cut my material 11 1/4 inches x 20 3/4 inches. I used the same plain white fabric as I used to make the mattress and the pillow for this as it’s not going to be seen, plus if you’ve ever had a dust ruffle for a bed, most of them are white on the top part where the mattress sits.

Now we need to cut the sides. My box sides measure 5 inches tall by 19 1/2 inches long. I added 1/2 inch to one side of the length and 3/4 inch to the other side, for a total of 1 1/4 inches, just like with the top, coming up with 20 3/4 inches. I added 1/2 inch to the top and 3/4 inches to the bottom, making my cutting measurement 6 1/4 inches. I cut two of these, one for each side. These I cut from the polka dot material.

Last you need to cut the end piece. This is pretty easy to figure out–you are going to use the cutting measurement from the width of the box top piece (11 1/4 inches in my case) and the cutting measurement from the height of the box side (6 1/4 inches for mine). You just need to refer back to your cutting measurements from the previous two pieces.

When you have them all cut, you should have pieces that look like this: (remember, size may vary depending on what box you use)
box 1
Press your pieces so they are nice and flat!

The next thing you need to do is pin the side pieces to the top piece, matching the long sides up. Pin it with right sides facing. Sometimes this is hard to tell on the white piece, just make sure you at least have the right side on your print!

box 2

Once you have it pinned, it will look like this.  Depending on how tall your box is, your pieces may overlap in the middle like mine did.  If your box is short, they may not, in which case you will see the white in 3

Sew the sides to the top piece, using a 1/2 seam allowance.

box 4

Press the seams towards the bottom of the printed material.

box 6

Let’s try it on at this point to make sure that it fits. You want your seams to match up closely with the edges of the top of the box. It’s easier to fix this now than to keep sewing and find out it out later! If it fits, you can now use a zigzag stitch on both of these seams to prevent raveling.  I chose not to for this piece as it was going to add way too much bulk, so when I am done, I may use Fraycheck (it’s a liquid glue used in sewing) on mine to keep them from raveling.  If your fabric is a thinner weight you will probably be okay if you want to zigzag your seams.

box 5

Looks good!  You want it to fit nicely to the top part of the box, with your seams lining up with the top edge of the box.

Now you are going to pin the shorter piece to the white top piece, centering it by aligning this piece with the white top piece. (I hope that made sense!)

It will look like this when it’s pinned:

box 7

Sew it down using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  When you start sewing, you don’t want to start at the end on this piece, you want to start about 1/2 inch down (so that you have room to pin and maneuver the corners later on) as well as ending 1/2 inch from the end:

box 8


Try it on again:

box 9

If everything looks good, first zigzag that seam to prevent raveling if you choose to. You can pin the corners together now.

box 10

I included this picture so you can get the idea of how the corners should look. It’s kind of hard to get the whole idea because of the pins, but I hope this helps. This is the trickiest part of the whole thing and I really am not good at describing it! ;(
box 11

Stitch using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

One more check for fit!  It’s going to look a little sloppy since we haven’t hemmed it yet, but you can check at this point to make sure that all of the top seams line up with the top of the box.
box 12

If it looks as though it’s going to fit properly, you can proceed onto the next step. (If you are doing this part, you can now zigzag those last two seams.)

Now you are going to fold the top edge down 1/4 inch and press, then 1/2 inch and press again. Pin it in place, then stitch.  I highly recommend trying it on before stitching and adjusting if necessary at this point, just so you are sure you aren’t taking too much of a seam allowance.  It’s much easier to check it now and adjust than to have to rip the whole thing out.

box 13 box 14 box 15

Now do the same to the remaining unsewn sides, making it one continuous seam. Again pin in place, then stitch down.  You will want to mitre the corner when you fold it, making a nice neat finish that doesn’t show from the outside.

box 16

box 17 box 18

Pin the whole way around the bottom, you can even try it on the box after you’ve pinned it to double check that it is right.

box 19

Now stitch that down.  If you’ve done it right, it should look like this:

box 20

Now you need to cut two pieces of elastic the same width as your box.
box 21

Pin the pieces of elastic to the backside of the top (where the headboard would be).  I pinned mine 1 1/2 inches from the bottom and 1 1/2 inches from the top seam (where it would hit on the box).  Your measurements may be different depending on the size of your box, but rule of thumb is to space these about 1/3 apart.

box 22

Stitch the elastic firmly in place. I took several stitches forward and then several backwards, repeating this a couple of times so that I was certain it was secure, as this part is going to have some stress put on it.

box 23

Do the same with the other side. I found the easiest way to be sure everything was laying flat is to bring the two sides together as shown.

box 24

Pin the elastic to this other side.

box 25

Stitch that side in place. Now you are ready to put it on the box–and you are done sewing this part!

This is what it will look like at the one end where the headboard will go:
box 27

A view from the side:
box 28

And from the end:
box 29

A side view with all the other parts!
box 30

I will admit I could have gotten a better fit on this where the headboard is going to be. I ran into a bit of an issue because of the way the box is assembled. The lid is significantly larger than the bottom. If you are using an AG doll box, this shouldn’t be a problem as they are sleeved completely instead of overlapping. My brain wasn’t working at 100% either at this point because we are experiencing a horrible heatwave and where my sewing machine is at, I have no air conditioning! It’s not a biggie, I’m just pointing that out. If I have enough fabric left when I am finished, I may insert a piece of fabric there, but I want to be sure I have enough to make my headboard.

I also hope that these instructions work for you, please feel free to ask questions. This is probably the hardest part of the whole project and when I got to certain parts I had to think hard on how best to explain them. I hope that they came across in a way that you can understand them. :/

One last thing to any other WordPress users: Does it drive you bananas on some days???? I was ready to scream by the time I got to the end of writing this tutorial. Some days WordPress works great, that was not the case as I was writing this. It was so bad on this particular day it had me questioning whether or not I want to continue using WordPress for this blog. I know that others have made comments that make me think this is an ongoing issue. Fix it WordPress!!!

See you next week when we complete the last step in this project, the covered headboard.

Bedding tutorial #4-a cover (sheet) for the mattress

We are going to make a cover to help keep that mattress clean! You know how dolls can be sometimes–crawl into bed with dirty feet, eat cookies and crackers while they read in bed. The nerve! We want to keep that nice new mattress clean, and this is just the thing to do it with.

This is not going to be like a conventional fitted sheet for one main reason. If you were to try and use elastic like is on a traditional sheet, it would pull our little mattress out of shape, taking away the realism aspect to it. Instead, we are making a pocket or pouch type cover for our mattress. I can’t take full credit for this idea either, this is something I learned how to do many, many years ago from my mom, she used this technique to make covers for throw pillows. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this method to do the same, it makes them easy to take on and off for laundering purposes.

First you need to decide which fabrics you want to use for the front and the back. Just like with the rest of the project, you have full control. I decided to use the floral fabric for the front side and the polka dot fabric for the back. For your front piece, you will need to cut it the same size as the fabric you cut for the mattress. My mattress pieces were cut 12 inches x 21 1/4 inches, so I cut my floral fabric the same dimensions. You are going to cut two pieces of fabric to make the back piece. To figure out what size they need to be–you’ll need to cut the width the same as the other piece, so the width on both of my pieces will be 12 inches. To calculate the length, take the length of the larger piece and divide it in half (for mine that would be 10 5/8 inches). Round up to the next whole inch (for me, to 11 inches) and then add two more inches (making my total 13 inches). Cut two pieces to these calculated dimensions. Honest, it’s going to make complete sense really soon!

cover 1

First thing you need to do is take the two back pieces and on one of the sides that are the same width measurement as the large piece (on mine, 12 inch) , press it down 1/4 inch and then again 1/2 inch:
cover 2

cover 3

Now pin that securely and stitch it down:
cover 4

Both pieces should look like this when finished:
cover 5

cover 6

Make sure that you have all 3 pieces pressed nice and flat before going on to this next step. Lay your largest piece on a flat surface, right side up. Lay one of the smaller pieces on top of that, right side down (so that both right sides are facing each other). Line up the piece so that the unsewn end lines up with the edge of the large piece, the stitched part should hit somewhere just past the middle:
cover 7

Now pin those two pieces together, pinning the bottom part the entire way and the sides about 2/3 of the way.
cover 8

Now take the other small piece and do the same at the other end. This time pin the sides the rest of the way, making sure to pin where the two pieces overlap securely.
cover 9

cover 10

Now sew a 1/2 inch seam allowance around the outside of all four sides.
cover 11

Where your two pieces overlapped, you should have an opening–you can reach through there and turn the piece right side out now!
cover 12

cover 13

Here you can see both sides, I love these two fabrics together!

cover 14

At this point I recommend putting it on the mattress just to make sure that it fits. It’s a whole lot easier to adjust this if it doesn’t fit at this point rather than later! If it seems loose, you may need to re-sew the whole way around, just making a bigger seam allowance. If it’s too tight, you may have to get the seam ripper and take out the seams and re-sew with a smaller seam allowance. If you’ve done everything right as far as measuring and sewing though, it should fit nicely. I didn’t pull it super tight and push out the corners just yet because we aren’t quite done.

cover 15

Remove it from the mattress and turn it wrong side out again. Now zigzag stitch around all four sides, farther out towards the edge of the seam. This will prevent raveling if you have to launder this piece. As you can see from this picture, my fabric already has a tendency to ravel!
cover 16

You don’t need to trim the corners on this piece because it isn’t a super tight fit, nor is it being top stitched. Once you have zigzag stitched around all four sides, trim any hanging strings and turn it back to right side out. This time you can use something to make sure your corners are pushed out the whole way. (I personally love a clean chopstick for this, it is pointed without being sharp).

cover 17 cover 18

Put your cover on your mattress and you’re done!

cover 19 cover 20 cover 21

Here it is on the “bed”:

cover 22 cover 23

The “flip” side!  I love making this and the blanket reversible because it gives you so many options.

cover 24

Here I made it up two different ways so you can see how versatile the pieces are by using two different coordinated fabrics:

cover 25 cover 26

I hope you enjoyed this part of the tutorial!  Next week I will be showing you how to make a fitted cover for the box.  See you then!