Beautiful Dreamer, part 1

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When you’re the “crafty one” in the family, sometimes people give you stuff that they think you can use. Sometimes it pans out, and sometimes it goes directly into the donation bin. So a while ago, my mom brought me this doll bed she got at a garage sale. It turned out to be an old American Girl brass bed, but it was in terrible shape. When I tried to clean the rust off it, I managed to make it worse by stripping most of the “brass” finish off. Then, my first attempt at a mattress failed miserably, so I kind of gave up. It got tossed aside in my UFO (unfinished object) pile for a couple of years.


Then, a friend was destashing her doll stuff, and she gave me a fabric-covered box she said was a doll bed. When I discovered it fit perfectly in the bed frame I already had, I decided it was the universe telling me it was time to finish this project. So I went to work.

I bought all the fabric to make the bedding back when I first attempted this project. Apparently I had kind of a quirky, shabby chic style in mind. So I started measuring and cutting.


Above you see the yellow stripes for the sheets, the red, orange and gold fabric for the quilt, the yellow flannel for inside the quilt, and the red stripes for… well, I don’t remember what I bought the red stripes for. I ended up using it for the back of the quilt and I plan to use it for the dust ruffle, but I’m really not sure if that was the original plan or not.

I considered adding some batting to the top of the box before gluing the sheets down, so the doll would sink into it, but I didn’t have any on hand and I didn’t want to throw any more money at this thing, since I don’t know what’ll happen to it after it’s finished. I might sell it, I might keep it. Right now I’m still in love with it, so keeping it sounds like a great idea. That feeling often passes, though.

I went ahead and glued the bottom sheet to the mattress, since I don’t plan to make another set of bedding to change out. That would be way too much like housework. Then I measured and cut the top sheet and hemmed it on all four sides. Real sheets have woven edges rather than hems, but this is all neat and tidy and it totally looks like I made two rows of stitching om purpose, and not because the first row didn’t catch enough of the turned-under part of the hem (You can’t see the two rows of stitching in the picture, but trust me, it turns out I’m really good at sewing a completely straight line. Who knew?).


The quilt is unfinished so far because I had to run to JoAnn’s for yet another cut of fabric. Apparently, when I bought the fabric for the quilt, I forgot you need another fabric for the binding.


So here’s where I am today (and naturally, my cat Soleil thinks the bed is for her). The quilt is ready except for the binding. I was worried about it being too thick to drape well, as mini quilts often are, but I think it works well. If it won’t hang over the sides after the binding is done, I’m going to sew some weights into the corners. Either glass beads or bbs, depending on how much weight it needs.

The sheets are done, so all that’s left are the dust ruffle and the pillows. I can’t wait to see how it looks with all my miniature stuffies on it. The sad thing? This is an MSD-sized bed and both of my minis are currently in pieces, so there’s nobody to lie in it. Oh well, I’m sure one or both of my tinies will fill in until the others get it together.

The big news this week: I’ve decided to exhibit at a BJD show next year. I’m shooting for Austin, but I’ve heard it might be hard to get in there, so if that fails I’ll try Doll-Akon or the one in St. Louis. My theme is going to be “Venetian Carnevale,” so I will consider building another, Renaissance-themed bed. I have a lot of things to build between now and then, but so far this bed has been a lot of fun.

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