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Sunday, 28 December 2014
Make your own American Doll Bed with Storage and Bedding ~ all you need is scrap fabric and a plastic tote with a lid! 
My daughter threw me for a loop this year by deciding her big Christmas wish was an American Girl doll.  Once I picked myself up from the shock (see why here...), I did what any self-respecting creative mom would do and hit Pinterest looking for some related diy gift ideas.

Oh my.
There is a whole WORLD out there I never knew existed... the AG world.
As a non-doll playing mom of a heretofore non-doll playing daughter I  stood on the edge looking in... and then I jumped!

Using a variety of tutorials, images and my beloved fabric stash, I got busy preparing a place for Samantha ('The Chosen One') to enter our lives. 
{{I think getting a puppy is easier!}}
Rowan helpfully started an American Girl Wish List board on Pinterest for me.
When I found an image of a storage bed made with a lidded plastic tote, but without instructions for the creation of this brilliant bit of multi-purpose crafting, I started digging to find ways to bring it together!

• a lidded tote long and wide enough to hold the doll (I chose one 21 x 18") and preferably with a lid that pushes on, rather than latches (for best fit/ use of sheet)
• fabric to create fitted sheet, pillows, dust ruffle and quilt (you will have to do the math to suit your container, but I'll show you how I did it) 
sewing machine, unless you love to hand sew (really?)
scissors, pins, notions, cutting board, cutter, ruler
1/4" wide elastic (amount tbd)
stuffing for pillows
quilt batting (I used a piece of flannel)
bias tape or binding 
ricrac and other trim, as desired
hot glue gun, optional

••• ••• ••• ••• ••• •••
DO THE MATH ~ it is unavoidable, sorry! 
To get started on this you will need your tote and your math skills.

Dust Ruffle~ Determine where the ruffle will fit on your tote.
Due to its shape, I had to hot glue the finished ruffle onto my tote.
Find the measurement for the ruffle from top to base of tote. (ie. 4")
Add 1/2" for hem + 1/2" for elastic casing. (ie 5")
This will be the width of your fabric for the ruffle.

Next, measure *around* the tote at the point where the casing will sit.(ie. 40")
For a full ruffle, double or triple this circumference.  (80-120")
Figure out the amount of fabric you will need (based on 45" or 60" wide)~ (ie out of a 45" wide fabric, you could cut 3 pieces at 45 x 5" to make the pieces for your ruffle. Requiring just under 1/2 yard)
Pillows~ determine number and size of pillows.
Cut two pieces for each, at the desired size + 1/4" on each side (seam allowance).
Fitted Sheet~ see tutorial link below for the calculations.
Quilt~ choose any doll quilt pattern you love, or make your own.
I made a 'Ticker Tape' quilt of my own design (will try and blog ASAP), calculating the size based on my container lid size plus 4" on the length and width. Of course, you could cut and use fun fabrics like minky, flannel etc.
You should now know how much fabric you need!

••• ••• ••• ••• ••• •••
I'm not about to re-invent the wheel, so let me share with you a few of the links that were helpful in creating this bed/ bedding/ storage ensemble:

Pillows:  Craftaholics Anonymous; Bee in My Bonnet Co.; Ribbonwood Cottage

Quilt:  Sew Mama Sew offers a nice, simple Ticker Tape tutorial.

Fitted Sheet: Pick Up Some Creativity Blog
(includes directions for making a covered mattress as well)
Dust Ruffle:
Cut your fabric as calculated above.
Sew the pieces together by the short ends, all except the final seam which would close the circle.
Press the bottom edge (the length) over 1/4" and then another 1/4" for a tidy hem.
Stitch with 1/4" seam allowance.
Press the top edge (length) over 1/2" and stitch with 3/" seam allowance to create a casing for the elastic.

Sew the unfinished short ends together to complete the loop, leaving an opening at this seam (top) for the elastic to be threaded through and out again.
Cut your elastic to a length that fits neatly (not overly tight) around the container.
Thread the elastic through the casing, check fit and sew ends securely together.

Finish the seam where you left the openings.
Optional: Hot glue the finished ruffle in place, leaving space for the fitted sheet to come on and off comfortably.

{{The quilt and pillows were made with fabrics drawn largely from Sarah Jane Studio's 'Wee Wander' collection.}}

Now all that is left is to fill up all that storage space with fun items for your (erm, your *daughter's*) American Girl friend.  I included some more scrap fabrics for Rowan to make her own clothing for Samantha, as well as the clothing patterns for her dolly (available for FREE at AG Playthings HERE).

Add a book, a few knitted clothing items made from stashed yarn and we had a pretty, affordable trousseau for giving on Christmas morning! ♥♥
{Kit's Christmas Cape Knitting Pattern Here (free)}
{Dress Pattern 'Camillia' Purchased Here ~ I found this pattern poorly written with inconsistent use of terms, no glossary and bottom up knitting that fit poorly at gauge~ definitely have a doll in hand to ensure a better fit}
Enjoy! If you do make a bed, share your results!
What other great AG tutorials or ideas do you have to share? ♥♥


Unknown said...

What a beautiful surprise for Christmas morning! I would love to know where you found the knitted dress and cape patterns. :)

Unknown said...

Yes! I'll add the patterns to the post (for the knits)!

Paula said...

Great idea! Ella got bedding for her AG for Christmas. Now we're on the look-out for the right sized box. Have you found Maplelea dolls? They are the Canadian version of AG. Much more reasonable prices and flat rate shipping. Nice quality too. Prices are so good that Ella usually saves her own money to buy things.

Maria said...

Very cute thank you for sharing

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