DIY Dollhouse Sewing

by Camela Bryan

One of the delights of sewing for a dollhouse is using fancy silks and delicate lace. Nothing is very expensive when you only need an 1/8 of a yard. Sewing for a dollhouse presents two challenges: draping the fabric into smaller folds and creating the effect that the fabric is heavy enough to hang like full size drapes and tablecloths. When possible use a thiner fabric that mimics a thicker one, woven cotton instead of twill or printed silk instead of brocade.

Items you will need

  • Tape measure
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Liquid fabric stabilizer
  • Upholstery thread
  • Needle
  • Double-sided removable scrapbook tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Cotton
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Gathered Curtains

Step 1

Measure the distance from the top of the window to the floor. Add 1/2 inch to this height.

Step 2

Cut two rectangles of silk or fine cotton fabric the height you calculated and 2 inches wide.

Step 3

Seal the cut edges with a thin line of liquid fabric stabilizer. Use a very thin line on the top and bottom so that the fabric is not stiff along this edge.

Step 4

Thread a needle with 12 inches of upholstery thread and knot one end. Sew a line of 1/4-inch-long stitches 1/4 inch from the top edge of one of the pieces of fabric. Start and stop 1/8 inch from the side so that the knot is against the right side of the fabric on one side and the loose thread is coming out of the right side of the fabric on the other. This will ensure that the right side of the fabric will be visible on the side edges of the curtain.

Step 5

Push the fabric along the gathering thread until the curtain is 1-inch-wide at the top. Knot the thread to hold the gathers in place and cut off the excess thread. Gather the second curtain in the same way.

Step 6

Cut four 1/4-inch wide and 1 inch long strips of removable scrap book tape. Stick a piece of tape to the top and bottom edges on the back of each curtain. Press lightly so that only the back side of the folds sticks to the tape.

Step 7

Attach the curtains on each side of the window so that they overlap the sides of the windows by 1/4 inch.

Bed Pillows

Step 1

Measure the width of the bed at the top. If it is a bed for two dolls, you will need two pillows, so divide this measurement in half. This will be the length of your bed pillow. Calculate the height by multiplying the width by two and dividing by three. A pillow that is 3 inches wide will be 2 inches high.

Step 2

Add 1 inch to both the height and width measurements. Cut two rectangles of thin cotton or silk fabric with these measurements.

Step 3

Place the rectangles together with the right sides of the fabric together and all edges aligned. Sew along all four sides, stitching 1/2-inch from the edge. Leave a 1-inch opening for turning on one side.

Step 4

Clip the corners at a 45-degree angle close to the stitching. Turn the pillow right-side out and stuff if firmly with cotton. You can pull cotton balls apart for the stuffing.

Step 5

Sew the opening in the side of the pillow closed.

Tablecloth

Step 1

Cut a circle of fine fabric 1/2 inch wider than the desired diameter of the table cloth. Add the drop on each side to the diameter of the top of the table to calculate the desired diameter. The drop is the distance from the top of the table to the hem of the tablecloth. It is easiest to make a table cloth that reaches all the way to the floor.

Step 2

Iron up a 1/4 inch hem around the edge of the cloth.

Step 3

Sew a row of 1/4 inch stitches 1/4 inch from the edge of the cloth. Sew halfway around the cloth with one piece of thread. Sew the other half with a second piece of thread. It is easier to gather the cloth evenly if you have two threads. You can sew these seams by hand or machine.

Step 4

Place the cloth on the table and pull the threads to gather the bottom edge of the cloth until the sides of the cloth are perpendicular to the tabletop. It helps to put a lightweight coaster on top of the table to hold the cloth down while you work.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a small piece of double-stick tape to hold down the center of the tablecloth, if it will not damage the surface of the table.
  • Use 1/8 inch middy braid to trim the inside edges of curtains or the bottom edge of a tablecloth. The braid will help hold the cloth down, but you will still have to gather it to give it a convincing drape.
  • You can make a bedspread by either gathering the bottom edge of the spread same way you gathered the tablecloth or you can tuck the edges into the bed frame. You can also hold the edge down by wrapping a "dust ruffle" of ruffled trim around the bottom edge of the bed over the spread.
  • Do not you a heavy coaster to hold down the tablecloth. It could break your table.

About the Author

Camela Bryan's first published article appeared in "Welcome Home" magazine in 1993. She wrote and published SAT preparation worksheets and is also a professional seamstress who has worked for a children's theater as a costume designer and in her own heirloom-sewing business. Bryan has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Florida.

Photo Credits

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