Dollhouse tour, Rebecca and Marie-Grace’s bedroom

Here we are with the first installment of the dollhouse tour. I decided it was probably best to start with the room that kind of got the ball rolling! In case you weren’t aware, when I started on this journey with 18″ doll furniture, my intent was to only make a bedroom, and at the time I had Samantha and No-Name doll (who I’ve since given away). Then I got Rebecca, so it was going to be Sam and Rebecca’s room. Then Kit arrived, but she said she was fine sleeping on the floor. Shortly after that Samantha announced she was going to be leaving, so Kit took over the bottom bunk and poor Marie-Grace arrived and slept on the floor until I completed the sleep sofa in the living room–and at this point as you can probably figure out, the doll house had started to expand! I purchased a large shelving unit at Home Depot to turn into the dollhouse because by the time we’d got to this stage, I had been finding all sorts of fun items that could be repurposed for the dollhouse. This shelving unit gave me five 24 inch x 36 inch spaces, a nice area to work with when designing doll rooms.

The hardest part was deciding WHERE to put it. When I initially set it up, it was sitting in the middle of my spare bedroom. It has now been moved, and the dolls have kind of taken that room over. Because I put longer posts in it than it came with to work with the dolls, I had to divide it into two sections, so it takes up a good deal of space. I have not put walls on the rooms as of yet, I’m still deciding if this is going to be the permanent set up or not, so I’m holding off doing that. In the meantime everyone will just have the same wall color!

One of the truly nice things about working in 1/3 scale is that there are so many things out there made for humans that can be used for dolls. You will see from looking at the room tours in the coming weeks that I haven’t really bought all that much in terms of actual doll furniture and accessories. Most of the rooms only have 1 or 2 items that are American Girl furnishings. The rest has been made of some Our Generation pieces (all of which I have been lucky enough to get used), and assorted other items that I’ve discovered at yard sales and thrift stores. A few of the things I’ve made myself as well. I hope you enjoy the dollhouse tour as much as I’ve enjoyed putting this all together.

Here we are: Rebecca and Marie-Grace’s bedroom!
Img_3941

A couple of months ago I wanted my husband to look at something in the dollhouse to tell me if it looked right. As we stood there talking, he casually made the comment that the bedrooms were starting to look realistic because they “had enough of the odds and ends kind of stuff that kids would have!” I thought that was a huge compliment, especially coming from a guy who really has no interest in any of this at all. He is a good sounding board though, and he isn’t afraid to tell me if something looks ridiculous or is the wrong scale.

Img_3942
Here is the bunk bed from American Girl, I’ve had this for a very long time. It is still one of my favorite pieces too. I made the bedding for it and as you can see, the girls have all of their stuffed animals hanging out. Sometimes I wonder how they fit in the bed with all of those toys! Rebecca sleeps on the top bunk and Marie-Grace on the bottom.

Img_3943

The nightstand on the left is also an American Girl piece, I bought it when I bought the bunk bed.  On it you can see the AG clock/radio/phone.  Mine no longer works, I accidentally left batteries in it too long and it corroded.  Even though I was able to clean it and it worked for a bit afterwards, eventually one of the contacts fell off. 😦  I’ve thought about asking an electrician friend to see if he can repair it.  The dresser beside it is a jewelry box that I refinished.  The radio is one of my favorite finds, I paid about $3 and it actually works!  I think it may have been one of those credit card premiums as it isn’t a name brand and I’ve since seen multiples at other thrift stores.  I especially liked that the speakers came off, just like a stereo I used to have. You can see that the girls have all sorts of toys and knick knacks sitting about.  Since they have been rooming together they have become best buds and wanted to be sure to have a photo of the two of them!

Img_1628

The desk is a piece I made in the very early days of the blog. You can read the post about it here if you would like. It has a lot of work space on it, and is a great place for the girls to keep all of their school stuff.  The seashells I actually picked up myself in North Carolina for a jewelry project (I had lots left over!), the lamp, parrot and desk light all came from Dollar Tree, the laptop is actually a cosmetic mirror and the basket came from a local craft store.  Back in the corner you can see a waste basket which is actually a pen cup, also purchased at Dollar Tree.

Img_3949 Img_3947

Lots of space in the drawers for everything from school supplies to phones and MP3 players!

Just like in a kids room, you never know what you are going to find under the bed…

Img_1629

Ah, a basketball, boots, a flute and a violin and some other odds and ends. At least we didn’t find any food stashed!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this part of the tour. Stop by next week when I will be showing you the kitchen. 🙂

Bedding Tutorial #1–A Blanket/Bedspread

Hello everyone! I hope you are here because you want to learn how to make doll bedding. If not, you are in the wrong place! This tutorial series is going to show you how to make doll bedding to fit any size doll bed. It’s really pretty easy once you know a few basic steps. You don’t have to have a bed either, a box that is the right size length and width-wise to fit your doll is all you need. I myself am using a box for this tutorial:
Bed tut A 1
This is the box that Kit’s bed came in. It’s nice and sturdy and since it’s made for a doll bed, definitely long and wide enough. I like keeping the boxes the beds came in whenever possible just in case I would ever have to store them.  A doll box works well for this purpose too.  This tutorial will make it so that you have a bed with a headboard and the box stays intact, no gluing or cutting!

For most of this tutorial series, you are going to need a few basic supplies. Here is a check list:

Scissors
Straight Pins
Paper
Fabric
Thread
Sewing machine (although you can sew this by hand if you don’t have one)
Iron
Ironing board
Yardstick or tape measure
Fiberfill (if you are making the pillow and/or mattress)

As for how much fabric–that’s going to be determined by how many different parts of this series you are going to make. I’m using two coordinating fabrics and I have a yard of each. If you are going to make it all out of the same fabric, 2 yards will be plenty and you are likely to have some left. You will also need a yard of plain white fabric for making the mattress, pillow and the top part of the box cover.

This is the fabric and thread I selected for my project:
Bed tut A 2
I prefer to stick with a cotton fabric, quilt fabric works well for this project. I’ve also used flannel for one side and it worked very well. Try to avoid knits, large prints, and pre-quilted as they are not only not going to lay right, some of those can be difficult to work with, especially if you are just learning.

First thing we need to do is measure the top part of the box.
Bed tut A 3
The width is just over 10 1/4 inches. (excuse the odd picture, I had to take it upside down and flip it because I couldn’t hold the tape measure AND the camera with the same hand LOL)

Bed tut A 4
The length of the box is just over 19 1/2 inches.

Now we have to determine where we want the sides of the bedspread to hit:
Bed tut A 5
The total height of the box is right around 5 inches, but I don’t want my bedspread to hit the floor. Because of the shape of the box, I do want it to hang past the end of the lid, so I am going to use 3 inches as my measurement for the sides.

Now we have to do a little bit of math. Let’s do the width first. Add the width of the box, plus what you want the drop to be (in this case 3 inches), making sure to add that figure in twice (once for each side), then add 1/2 inch in for each side as well for your seam allowance. Add it all together:
Bed tut A 6

Now for the length! We’re going to do the same thing, EXCEPT you are going to add the drop in only one time since this bed is going to have a headboard.
Bed tut A 7

Because I hate working in fractional numbers when cutting things out, I’m just going to round up!
Bed tut A 8

So now it’s time to cut two pieces of fabric, 18 inches x 24 inches. I’m going to cut one piece of each fabric so my bedspread will be reversible! So, how to cut it you ask? You can make a pattern piece, and the easiest way I’ve found to do this is to take several sheets of printer paper and carefully tape them together until they come out to the right size, making sure to keep everything square as you do it. It’s probably best to overlap the sheets, that will help you with alignment. Plus, if you make pattern pieces as you go, you can make more than one blanket (or pillow or mattress!). I usually keep all of my measurements and pattern pieces I make right inside the box (soon to be bed!), that way they are easy to find if you need them!  Other things to make pattern pieces out of: wrapping paper, kraft paper, paper grocery bag.  Don’t use newspaper, the ink tends to come off onto your hands and fabric.

I have to admit that I’ve gotten out of the habit of making pattern pieces though, since I discovered this:
Bed tut A 9  Bed tut A 10

This is a rotary cutter, self healing mat and a measured straight edge, generally used for quilting.  I DO NOT recommend this for an inexperienced person as that blade is MEGA SHARP and very dangerous in inexperienced hands!!!!!  I don’t want to hear about anyone cutting any appendages off while doing this project, so please don’t try it.  These are also rather expensive (the mat alone is about $30!) and I’m sure that whoever owns these wouldn’t appreciate finding them improperly used.  However, if you do have someone who knows how to use one of these, by all means, con ask them into cutting things out for you. 😉

Here are my two pieces, cut and ready to sew!

Bed tut A 11

Place the right sides of the fabric together and pin the two long sides and one short side:
Bed tut A 12
(I have it flipped so you can see that both wrong sides are facing out)
Bed tut A 14
The pins don’t show up all that well in this pic because of the print of the fabric. Just remember that you don’t need to pin the last short side.  You want to leave that side open so you can turn the blanket right side out.

Sew the three pinned sides (2 long, 1 short) using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Remove pins.

At the bottom corners, you are going to need to trim some fabric away–locate your stitches so you don’t cut them!
Bed tut A 15

It should look like this when you trim. The reason for doing this is to eliminate some of the excess fabric so that when you turn this right side out, it doesn’t end up a lumpy mess!
Bed tut A 16

Now, using a hot iron, press open your seams. This is also very important as it helps everything lay better as well.
Don’t be afraid to get help from someone else if using an iron scares you! It scares me too!!!
Bed tut A 17

Now turn your pouch right-side out.  You can use something pointed to help turn the corners better–chopsticks or a knitting needle both work well for this purpose.  Press the piece again, making sure you get a nice, smooth finish at the seams.

Bed tut A 18

Now you need to fold the fabric on your open end down 1/2 inch to the inside and press this as well.
Bed tut A 20
Bed tut A 21
Pin the open sides together after pressing and sew them together using a top stitch. You want this to be fairly close to the edge of the fabric, just be sure that you are catching both sides. It will look like this:
Bed tut A 22
Alrighty, almost done! Now you are going to top stitch the 3 already sewn sides the same way. This serves two purposes. 1) gives a uniform look to the piece and 2) prevents shifting of the side seams in the event you have to launder this piece. If you don’t do this, heaven only knows what shape it will be when you get it out of the washer/dryer!!!!

Bed tut A 23

And there you have it–a bedspread! Custom fit to your bed (box).
Bed tut A 24

Just remember–to fit your bed for the width, take the width of your box, plus the drop x 2, plus 1/2 inch and 1/2 inch for the seam allowance. For the length, take the length of your box, plus the drop (just once!) plus 1/2 inch and 1/2 inch for your seam allowance. As long as you remember these two rules for measuring, you can make a blanket to fit any box or bed! If making it for a daybed, just reduce the amount of drop, you’ll just need enough so you can tuck it in. Easy Peasy! 😉

The next tutorial will be how to make a pillow for a doll bed with a pillowcase. Thanks for stopping by!

From Box to Bed

With Cassandra joining the group, we needed another bed!  I’d been debating on what I wanted to do for a while.  I really didn’t want to purchase another bed, as anyone who collects this stuff knows, it takes up a lot of space.  Then I had one of those “well duh!” kind of moments.  Anyone who reads any American Girl/18 inch doll blogs knows that so many people reuse the boxes for everything and anything.  And I had the perfect box for a doll bed right under my nose, I just hadn’t thought about it.

The box:  this is the box that the American Girl of Today bunk bed set I have came in.  I didn’t want to get rid of it because it does come in handy for storage plus anyone who collects knows that should you ever decide to sell any of your stuff, it usually commands a higher price if you still have the box.  I have no designs on selling this set anytime soon because I just love it, but you never know.  The dimensions were perfect though since it was actually made for shipping a bed!

box bed 1
I put on my thinking cap for several weeks before I started working on it because I had a couple of things I wanted to do, but I did not want to alter the box in any way. Hmmmmm…then all of a sudden I got a brain storm.

First off I didn’t want all of the black to show. It would be fine if some of the bottom was showing because that usually happens with a real bed. So I set to work and made a bed skirt to cover the box:
box bed 2
On the back side I used two strips of elastic, first off to make it fit the box tighter. I had an ulterior motive with this too.

box bed 3
From a piece of foam board I made a headboard and made a sleeve from fabric to cover it with.
box bed 4
And here’s that elastic holding it all in place so I didn’t have to use ANY adhesive!
box bed 5

I made a mattress and fitted sheet for it:
box bed 6
Then finished it off with a reversible comforter and pillows:
box bed 7

box bed 8

I am really tickled with how it turned out! The pink paisley fabric is flannel, I first saw this on Etsy, someone had a bedding set for sale made out of it. I fell in love with it, but couldn’t find the fabric anywhere. 😦 Several weeks ago I finally found it while looking around a Walmart near a friend’s house, I was so excited. The turquoise fabric came from JoAnn Fabrics. The little blue throw pillow came with an Our Generation set that had a sleeping bag in it, I couldn’t get over what a perfect color match it was to my project, it just had to go on this bed.

Marie-Grace couldn’t get her PJ’s on fast enough to crawl in!

Box bed 9

I have a couple of pieces of furniture to paint to go with this, I was able to find the exact turquoise color in paint. With all of these projects-I need a 48-hour day about now. 😉