Making Doll Beds

Yes, it’s been a while since we’ve ‘talked’ – I have been busy with several projects, one of which I might have some more detail for you later (if it all works out as I’m expecting).   Hope you enjoy my post today it has been a big project.

Blue BedEvery year on the last week-end in November, I am involved in making projects to sell at a local craft fair. One of my ideas for this year was to make doll beds, complete with custom made quilts, sheets, etc. With the movie just out at the theaters “Kit Kittredge, An American Girl”, I thought that the perfect doll to make these beds for would be the American Girl® doll which is an 18” doll. I found some curtain rod finials in a clearance area one day, and thought they would be just perfect for my bed posts – and that sealed the deal! After talking my husband into constructing and painting the beds, I knew it would be my job to complete the project with the custom made sheets, dust ruffle, pillow and quilt.

To make the bed my husband cut a platform 18” x 24” – the perfect size for an American Girl® doll. The legs were cut from 2” X 2” lumber – 6 1/2” tall for the legs at the foot of the bed. For the head of the bed, the legs were 16 1/2″  and had the curtain rod finials added to the top of them. And don’t forget the head-board! Once I got him started on this part I knew my work was going to be cut out for me as well. The quilts just had to match up to the craftsmanship and artistry of the beds.

Mattress: I went to the fabric store and purchased a 2” thick slab of foam to use for the mattress. It was cut 18” x 24” to cover the bed platform. (The best way to cut foam is using an electric knife, but if you don’t have one then I recommend a segregated knife such as a bread knife.)
Mattress Cover: I cut a piece of fabric 24” X 30”. From each corner I cut out a square measuring 2 ½”, then I sewed the two edges of each corner back together, creating a dart shaped corner. I used my serger to finish the bottom edge all away around the sheet with a rolled hem. The last step was to cut 4 pieces of elastic about 6” long. Find the halfway point on the elastic and pin to the center of each darted corner. To finish each corner, stretch the one side of the elastic (3”) as far as you can and sew the whole 6” long piece of elastic around the corner of the sheet, stretching as you go. This will create the nice corner we expect for fitted sheets. Continue until you have completed all four corners in the same manner. Slip the sheet over the foam and you have a fitted sheet for your mattress.

Pillow: I simply made a pillow by cutting a rectangle of off-white cotton fabric and sewing around the four sides leaving an opening big enough to stuff with fiber fill. Whip stitch the opening closed. You could even make a pillow case for the pillow if you wanted too.

Dust Ruffle: A poster bed wouldn’t be complete without a dust ruffle! Because the bed platform was cut 18” X 24”, I cut a piece of off-white cotton fabric 18½” X 24½”. Finish the side of the fabric that will be at the head of your bed by hemming or serging. Next, I cut three 7” strips (width of fabric – 45”) from the dust ruffle fabric. I sewed the 3 strips together making a single strip approximately 7” by 130”. On one edge of the dust ruffle I surged a rolled him edge making a finished edge (hem) on the dust ruffle. On the top of the ruffle I zig-zag sewed over a string to create a way to gather up the ruffle. I sewed the gathered edge to the 3 edges of the off-white cotton fabric to make the dust ruffle. Remember – the head of the bed would not have any dust ruffle only the two sides and the foot of the bed. You can now lay the finished dust ruffle over the wooden platform and place your mattress with the fitted sheet on the bed.

Quilt: The last step is completing the quilt. I had so much fun going through all my scraps of fabrics and creating color combinations. I had already decided that all the quilts would be made using the log cabin quilt design, perfect for an American Girl® doll bed.

I made 48 quilt blocks for each of the quilt tops. Each block has a center piece, two rows of light and two rows of dark fabrics. The quilt is 6 blocks across and 8 blocks down. You can play with the layout of the blocks and get different looks but the way I decided to lay out the blocks it makes it look like a diamond shape radiating out in lights and darks. This layout is called “The Barn Raising” design.
You can refer back to my very first blog post on Jan 24 for some more detailed tips for making a log cabin quilt. Below is a quick explanation of the cuts I used.

Blue CoordBecause I was making a miniature quilt, I cut these strips 1¼” wide (which means the great ruler I talked about in that post would not work for this project). Seam allowance is ¼”
Center block was cut 1¼” square.
First light also cut 1¼” square and then cut 1¼” x 2”
First Dark cuts were 1¼” x 2” and 1¼” x 2 ¾”
2nd light cuts: 1¼” x 2¾” and 1¼” x 3½”
2nd Dark: 1¼” x 3 ½” and 1¼” x 4¾”

I cut the border pieces 2¾” wide to go around the finished blocks.
Cut your batting and backing to finish.
I used embroidery floss to tie the quilts in the centers on each of the blocks.
My final step was to bind the edges of the quilt.

When we put out all the beds and took the pictures it looked like we were running an orphanage for dolls. What a fun project and I simply used fabric out of my fabric stash to make these wonderful “scrappy looking” log cabin quilts.

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We had so much fun making these that we ended up making 28 beds. Here is one of my favorite color combinations with the country green colors.

Of course the first one to get a doll bed made was my granddaughter. Grandpa made sure the bed was sturdy and Grandma made the bed comfortable. After a long day of playing not only did the doll go to bed but our little Mommy was found sound asleep with her legs sticking off the bottom of the bed!

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
Sheila

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9 Responses

  1. There are too pretty for words…and tell your creative DH that the beds look fantastic…grin

  2. Linda,
    Thanks – they were fun to make!
    Sheila

  3. Sheila,
    These are adorable, but the living doll in the last picture is the best! I will put this of my never ending list of things I must do.
    Carol L

  4. Carol,
    I have to agree with you – our grand daughter is the best! She is so special to us.
    Sheila

  5. hey are you going to sale these

  6. Fantastic! You both did a wonderful job.

  7. Super cute! Thanks for sharing! I need to make bedding for my little girl’s dolly bed she’s getting for Christmas this year. I should probably get started. . .

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