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!

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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:
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Now pin that securely and stitch it down:
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Both pieces should look like this when finished:
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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:
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Now pin those two pieces together, pinning the bottom part the entire way and the sides about 2/3 of the way.
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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.
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Now sew a 1/2 inch seam allowance around the outside of all four sides.
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Where your two pieces overlapped, you should have an opening–you can reach through there and turn the piece right side out now!
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Here you can see both sides, I love these two fabrics together!

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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.

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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!
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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).

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

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Here it is on the “bed”:

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

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

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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!

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!

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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!