Wednesday, August 31, 2011

EFA dollhouse dolls

As promised, here are some Edith Flack Ackley dollhouse dolls that I just finished yesterday. The man has a brown knitted sweater with plaid trousers. The lady has a pink floral skirt and a top made from a bit of trim with a ribbon belt. They both have painted shoes, the cloth shoes just looked too bulky at this tiny size.

In case you didn't know, Edith Flack Ackley published a lovely book called Dolls to Make for Fun and Profit in the 1930s and her sweet designs have been popular ever since. In the book she has patterns for dollhouse dolls which I adapted so that they are a bit smaller. So the man is 6" tall (still a bit on the tall side) and the lady is 5 1/2" tall. I also made up my own clothes so they would be more up-to-date for my sort of up-to-date dollhouse.

Generally they are made exactly the same way as all her dolls, including the sewn joints, but it's just a bit more fiddly. The two tools that made sewing these little dolls possible: fray block to keep tiny seam allowances from coming apart and hemostat scissors for turning tiny legs and arms right side out.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dollhouse bed updated

Dollhouse bed "after"
I had trouble finding a bed I liked and finally compromised on a new one from Ebay. It had a nice shape but I didn't like the reddish finish to the wood (it also clashed with everything I already had) and the mattress was a piece of yellow foam with the coverlet fabric glued to it. Ick.
 Dollhouse bed "before"
So I stripped it all down and washed off the glue (easier said than done). I painted it my new favourite colour, Martha Stewart's bone folder, a simple creamy white with a vintage look. Then I made a new mattress using some foam with a quilt batting sewn around it for extra cushioning. The best part is when you use thread to add the lovely tufting. I love the results! I even created a little free tutorial to share:
Just click on the image to see it full size and go ahead and print it out and make your own dollhouse mattress. My own EFA dollhouse doll (more on that next) and the pug have been lounging on it non-stop.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dollhouse rugs

Upstairs rug - with a new bureau waiting to be finished
I've been meaning to do this for some time, and I'm glad I finally did because it was such an easy project but with such satisfying results. These are dollhouse rugs made using little sample pieces of fabric. I found these fabric pieces at the Textile museum sale and because they were so small they cost next to nothing.
Downstairs rug
If you'd like some nice rugs like this for your dollhouse it's so easy, here's how you do it. I used small pieces of woven fabric. It works nicely with a patterned fabric with texture, it doesn't have to be miniature scale since contemporary rugs often have large scale patterns. I wish I could make a full sized rug like this!

Because they were sample pieces the edges were already serged using clear thread. This means you can barely see the stitching at all but the edges won't unravel. An alternative to this would be to just use fray block or some watered down white glue dabbed along the edge.
I unravelled the serging on the two ends and squared them up by gently pulling the weft (crosswise) threads out and then trimming the edge straight. To make the fringe, continue to pull the weft threads until there is a fringe leftover of warp threads that's the length you want. If the fabric seems secure you can leave it like this, or use some fray block to make sure it won't unravel any further.
That's it! I love my new rugs, they make the rooms look so cosy.

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