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Last spring my granddaughter “A” informed me that she loved American Girl dolls and that her other dolls needed a bed. A quick conference with the mister ensued and we came up with a plan. We weren’t ready to spring for an American Girl doll just yet but we thought that her other babies did deserve a proper place to sleep.

So the search began. I scoured the internet (what did I do before the ‘net?) for inspiration pieces. Now, the mister works and thinks along the same lines as me. Take a pattern or idea, make changes and embellishments along the way and the final product becomes an original, one -of-a-kind creation. We needed basic dimensions for the bed so that if Santa felt inclined to put an American Girl doll in “A’s” stocking come Christmastime, the doll would be able to fit into this bed.

The mister came up with a nice plan for a natural finish oak bed with a high headboard and a low footboard. It took him several days to pick out the wood and make the basic cuts. Then he dry fit all of the pieces to check to see if any adjustments needed to be made. Everything looked great…actually better than I envisioned and so he proceeded to glue up all of the parts. After a bit of sanding and fine finishing we put on a couple of coats of polyurethane and stood back and admired this darling little bed.

But what a about a mattress?

These poor baby dolls can’t just lay in this hard oak frame of a bed! Mister and I found a nice piece of foam that was about 2 inches thick and we cut it to the size that we needed. But what little girl wants dolls on ugly green foam? Ugh!

Back to the web I go. Time to be brave and suck it up. I am going to have to sew something. I say the word sew with jaws clenched and teeth grinding. I detest, no, I abhor sewing. Hate, hate, hate! But I need to pull on the big girl panties and do this thing for my sweet granddaughter. I find a pattern for a fitted doll sheet. I fashion a cover for the foam and then place the fitted sheet on top. I amazed myself. Nobody died and the thing actually looked cute. Not perfect by any means, but it was cute.

So then mister….in his infinite wisdom….says “Nice but now it needs a quilt and some pillows.” Just.Kill.Me.Now.

How hard can this be?

I did actually have sewing skills and knew most of the basics. But my sewing machine and I had a tenuous relationship at best. Birds nests on the back of everything, eating the material, skipped and messy stitches and that was from the first day I brought it home nearly 25 years ago. But I was determined to make this work so off I went to the craft store to buy some fabric. I found some pre-cut squares of tropical themed material and some shell buttons and lace. I had a plan!


But execution? Hell, I was ready to be executed! Feeling quite proud of myself upon the finishing of this little quilt, I then started on the pillows. Or I tried to start on the pillows. Only my bobbin wouldn’t fill. That rat bastard of a machine decided at the worst possible moment that it didn’t want to engage any gears….nothing! I was so frustrated but what to do? I had to finish. Off I trudged to that big-box marketer to purchase a new machine.

Oh Brother!

I came home with a Brother Project Runway 8080 machine and got ready to spar with a new opponent. But, WAIT A MINUTE! It didn’t fight me, it didn’t argue, it didn’t even complain. It just sewed. Nicely. Easily. Lovely little stitches. It wasn’t all me after all.


I finished the sweet little pillows and stepped back and admired my skills (that were rusty and needed work) but I proved to myself that I could do this. Mister was impressed with our finished project and eager to send it on to the tiny recipient. As we boxed up her birthday gift, without hesitation he asked “When are you going to make us a quilt?”


Back when we started this project, taking photos for a blog was the furthest thing from my mind. So please bear with the cell phone photos. They are the only ones I have.

UPDATE: I have since sewn quite a few quilts and home dec projects in the last year or so. If you would like to take a look at some of my other quilts, now is your chance! You can take a look herehere here or here. Just for fun, here is my latest creation.


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16 Responses

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your first quilt story – it was fun and funny, and the doll quilt and pillows turned out great. Thanks for the fun!

  2. Pingback: Learning How to Quilt: Announcing Our 'First Quilt' Winner! - Quilting Daily - Blogs - Quilting Daily

  3. Here’s the next project for you and the mister: a doll bunkbed for all the other dollies! I lusted for that as a little girl myself, but never got one. Our own little girl didn’t play with dolls (more interested in building sundials and chain mail out of paper clips—no wonder she’s a newly graduated engineer!) so the only one to enjoy the doll bed built by my grandfather is our fox terrier.
    Linda Carlson & Bella the fox terrier recently posted…Linda Carlson’s Books and ProgramsMy Profile

    • Linda and Bella I am thrilled you stopped by! Funny you should mention the bunkbed because the mister and I did discuss just such a thing. It may happen yet, you never can tell. Now I want to talk about Bella…your Foxie needs to read another post on my blog about my dear WFT’s. We terrier folks are a special lot!

  4. Judy thank you for visiting.
    Since the time of this post, I passed that little Brother 8080 on to my mom. While she doesn’t do much sewing these days, she is enjoying the ease of operation that she didn’t get from her old machine either. Not to mention that it was a real chore for her to lift that heavy thing up the stairs and onto a table. I replaced the 8080 with another Brother, a 1500S, which is a fabulous machine but it only does a straight stitch. My mister wanted to buy me a machine that would do a few more things and I ended up with an Elna Excellence 760. She is lovely and I highly recommend her!
    b recently posted…Busy B….That’s Me!My Profile

  5. Hi Melissa! Glad you stopped by and thank you for the kind words….you made my day 🙂
    My granddaughter did finally get an AG doll. The mister and I had one made for her Christmas gift and she was thrilled. No, they aren’t cheap but they are good quality and quite durable. I have since made quite a few quilts; doll, lap and bed size, and given them all away! I also tackled making some doll clothes for both of my granddaughter’s AG dolls. They loved getting new “wardrobe” items that none of the other girls in the neighborhood have. (Go grandma!)
    BTW, that mister of mine is one talented guy!
    b recently posted…Busy B….That’s Me!My Profile

  6. I know this is an older post of yours, but I had to comment. First, that bed and accessories are adorable. You and the mister did a fabulous job! I really love your style of telling a story and you made me chuckle out loud several times while reading it. The mister is very brave for asking you about making a people sized quilt. :o)

    Did your granddaughter ever get her American Girl doll. I actually had the opportunity to visit the store in NYC and wow. Pricey! But they are so cute, if I had more money at the time I probably would have bought one for myself. LOL! My inner child had to suffer that day.

  7. Adorable. Your granddaughter will love it! (and happy to hear you now have a sewing machine who is a worthy helper in what is, I am sure, the first of many projects).

  8. Meg thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Yes, initially I was upset that my machine “gave up the ghost” at the eleventh hour but in retrospect that dude did me a HUGE favor. Sometimes when bad things happen, it really is for the best. Happy sewing!
    b recently posted…Busy B….That’s Me!My Profile

  9. Half way through I was going to suggest
    A new machine. I must have had your
    Machine’s cousin but I got a new one a few
    Christmas’s ago and she is a whole
    different animal! The bed and quilt and teeny
    Tiny pillows are precious. What a lucky
    grand daughter!

  10. Each day I receive an inspiring “Quilting Daily” email from Interweave, the publishers of Quilting Arts magazine (and several other fine publications). Currently they are conducting a contest regarding “My First Quilt” stories.
    I offered up this blog posting.
    Were I to win, I would be beyond excited! But I do have a short list of what I would like to receive as my prize.
    Gelli Printing Plate (I have been drooling over this for weeks)
    Shiva Iridescent primary colors, set of 6
    NK Studio Grunge Stamps
    Jacquie Gering’s book “Modern Quilt”
    and last but not least…A year’s subscription to Quilting Arts magazine.
    Fingers crossed!!

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