Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sweet Dreams are Made of This

If it weren't for the worldwide predicament, I could invite you for a sleepover.

We certainly have enough beds. Instead, here is a little dollhouse mattress making tutorial.

My project for January was to construct 1:12 scale dollhouse beds. They are made entirely of scrap materials I had in my stash. I loosely followed the YouTube tutorial by Julie Warren. Some of the beds will go to Dawn @livecreatively365 for decorating and dressing, and the rest I will paint and furnish with mattresses so that people can add their own finishing touches.

These are the colours I have in mind. The beds still need some sanding and several coats of paint, but I couldn't wait to get started with the mattresses so let's jump right to that.

I had a large piece of old stripy curtain in my stash. You can see in the selvage that it was originally blue with a charcoal stipe but now it's a gentle, faded grey. Perfect!


My first attempt was the mattress on the left, following Ara's tutorial at Bentley House. Hers is a tutorial for a no-sew mattress using foam core board so if you are averse to sewing, head straight over there. Ara's tutorials are inspirational. I spent hours trying to glue the sides of the mattress neatly. I don't really like using glue on fabric. I believe that if it can be sewn, it should be sewn. Eventually, I gave up and sewed the mattress by hand, but it still didn't look great. Then I invented my own method. Ta da, mattress on the right. I can make three of those in an hour.

The core of my dollhouse mattress consists of three layers - a piece of cereal box measured to fit the base of the bed, a layer of 14mm foam, and a layer of blue craft felt. This is what I had in my stash. When I make more mattresses, I will use slightly thicker foam and possibly quilt batting instead of felt but the materials I had on hand actually worked better than I expected. Glue the layers together.

Mark out a 15mm block grid on the card, then use an awl to poke a hole at each intersection. You can see that I snipped a small triangle off the corners of the card. This is because I want the mattress corners to be rounded.

I used a piece of card the same size as the mattress as a template and added a 10mm seam allowance all around. Cut the fabric with the stripes running lengthwise. Next, I cut a 30mm-wide strip of fabric long enough to go around the mattress. This time the stripes run across. Sew the strip around the mattress cover. Here you can see how it looks on the wrong side and turned right side out.

When making miniatures with fabric, ironing the seams is very important. Compare left and right, smooth seams make all the difference.

The mattresses inside their covers. You can see the wrong side and the right side. It should be a snug fit.

Fold the raw edges over the card and glue down. Start with the long sides, then glue the short ends.

Now comes the fun part. Using a long needle and strong thread, start from the back and sew a little tuft in each of the grid holes you made. It is important to stick the needle straight through the mattress. Make a 2mm stitch on the top side of the mattress, then poke the needle straight through to the back and out the same hole. Move on to the next hole and tuft the entire mattress. You can pull the stitches tight as you go. Because you're using a continuous strand of thread, it's possible to pull on the thread at the back to tighten or release the tufts until they are equal.

Back and front of the finished mattress.

I tidied up the back by gluing a piece of grey felt over the threads.

I love my dollhouse beds so far.

This little bed is mine. I'm ready to crawl under the blankets and read a book.