Today, I'm excited to show you a recent sewing project I took on while my Mom was in town. We spent a rainy fall afternoon sewing bedding for both of my daughter's American Girl Doll beds. You can see how I customized these $20 IKEA doll beds here: Polka Dot Bed and Stenciled Bed. We made our own pattern rather than buying a pattern. In this post, I'm going to show you my free American Girl Doll Pattern to make bedding so you can make your own bedding and save money by not buying a pattern.
Since my bed measured 19"x12"x1.25", I cut my fabric 20" x 13". That left me a half inch seam on each side. Once I had the fabric cut, I put the right sides together and sewed them leaving an opening at the top. Easy!
Isn't the bedding cute? We went to a craft store and I let each of my girl's pick out 4 fabrics that went together. They had looked at some pictures of bedding on my American Girl Doll Ideas and Sewing Pinterest boards. They both liked the idea of having a fluffy, fuzzy fabric, so we made sure to include some in their selections.
Initially, I was planning to purchase a pattern with which to make this bedding. After talking with my Mom and thinking about it, I realized that I really didn't need a pattern. All I needed to do was measure and pick the sizes I wanted the finished products to be. I'm going to show you what I did as well as give you a few of my tips and tricks if you want to sew your own bedding.
By the way, this was a pretty easy project. To me the only hard parts were the parts my Mom did....all the hand work, the sewing the buttons on the mattresses and the closing of the mattresses and pillows.
The first thing you need to do is to measure the bed for which you are making this bedding. My bed measured 12" wide by 19" long and 1.25" deep.
I started sewing the mattress. I had pinned this tutorial (18" Doll Mattress Sewing Tutorial) on making a mattress for a doll bed quite some time ago. I used it as a basis from which to figure out how to make a mattress. Of course, I change some things to suit my needs and preferences.
I didn't want to use the typical fluff that is used for stuffing pillows and/or mattresses. I bought the batting you can see above. I think it is used for quilts. It is flat and I thought it would be easier to deal with for the mattresses. As you can see above, I just traced around the board for the bottom of the bed to get the right size for the mattress. I wanted my mattress to be about .5 to 1 inch thick. I used all of the batting and just divided it between the two mattresses I was making.
For me, the most helpful part of the tutorial I linked to on Ana White's site, was the part of how to make the box corners and make them super simple. You can click over here to see that. She says you take the corner where you sewed the right sides together and open the corners up so the seams match up, as you can see in #1. Then you mark down from the point. Now, in her tutorial, she is making a 2" thick mattress. I wanted my mattress to only be a half an inch thick. She said to mark a 2' clip off the corner. I figured out that for my thinner mattress I needed to do less. I probably should have done a half inch, but is seemed too small, so I marked mine at 1" as you can see in #2 & 3. Finally you sew where you made that mark and clip the extra fabric, #4.
As I was using the flat batting, I laid the batting on top of the wrong side of my mattress fabric. I put my hand into the mattress and held onto both the mattress fabric and the flat batting and turned it right side out. It worked great! You can see above that I left the opening quite large on this first mattress to accommodate for my flipping the fabric with the batting. It really wasn't necessary to have that large of an opening. On the second mattress, I made the opening much smaller (my Mom really appreciated that when it came time to sew it closed by hand).
You can see the pretty box corner that we got using the simple technique. My Mom added the buttons onto the mattresses just to make sure the batting wouldn't move around and to add a fun touch.
This is Samantha with her new mattress. She is Snowflakes doll. Snowflake made the pillow that matches her mattress completely by herself, including the hand work to close the pillow! Very impressive. She and I worked out the sizing of her pillows. My mom cut them all to have a 1" seam allowance. Her pillows are: 11" x 6.5" for the largest, 9" x 6" for the medium, and 7" x 5.5" for the smallest.
For the sheet for both beds, I determined I didn't want the sheet to go all the way to the top of the bed. That way, you can still see the mattress and the sheet won't cover the dolls head when she is in the bed. I made the sheet 20" wide by 17" long, leaving a half inch seam allowance. I didn't buy enough fabric to double the fabric so that sheet would be reversible. It is my only regret. The sheet looks fine, but I think it would look just a touch nicer if it was the right side showing on both sides.
Samantha with her sheet tucked into her bed.
Felicity with her sheet and pillows on her bed. You can see that the sheet can either be tucked under the mattress as it is show with Samantha or as you can see above hanging out with Felicity.
Pumpkin made the pillow that matches the mattress all by herself (of course since she is 5, my mom did the closing of the pillow once it was stuffed). I sewed the other two pillows on the machine. My Mom came up with the sizes for these pillows. Pumpkin's pillows measured, leaving a 1 inch seam allowance, 13" x 6" for the largest, 11" x 5.5" for the medium, and 9" x 5" for the smallest.
Next up was making the quilt/comforter. I wanted to make these reversible to add to the fun. The girls each picked out a fluffy fabric that would be one side and a cotton fabric for the other side. I had planned on them being a little bit larger than the sheet, but I hadn't bought quite enough fabric. So, they are the same size, 20" x 17" with a half inch seam allowance. The size worked out fine.
My biggest tip in working with the fluffy fabric is to PIN, PIN, PIN! It was hard to work with and I didn't figure out pinning it until I worked on the pillows (which were last). It slipped around a lot and was hard to get things sewn how I wanted them. Pinning lots in the center would have helped that. It made a huge difference in sewing the pillows.
After I sewed the right sides together, I turned the comforter/quilt right side out. Rather than hand sew these closed, which I hate doing, I decided to top stitch around the entire edge of the quilt/comforter. I thought it would be easier than hand closing it and that it would help keep the quilt/comforter from slipping around. It seems to have worked well.
As you can see, Samantha really enjoys her cozy bed and likes her reversible quilt/comforter.
Felicity is quite happy as well. They are both cozy and warm in their beds as the cooler fall temperatures have now hit.
I love all the details and textures! In the bottom, right corner, you can see the sheet that I made. You can see that I decided to double stitch the sheet. I thought it gave it a little more weight and made it look just a touch nicer.
There you have our cute new bedding for our American Girl Dolls. It cost us about $30 for both beds and mattresses with some coupons and sales. We think it looks great and both my girls are very happy with their beds. We did it all without a pattern. Thanks, Mom for spending a fall day sewing with me. It was fun. Maybe next time you come the weather will cooperate so we can actually go on the hike we wanted to do or maybe we will have to find another project!
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