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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Soft Furnishings

I've finally finished all the floors and (probably!) all the lighting and fireplaces thanks to the York Show purchases.  The family room in the basement and children's rooms have radiators; all the other rooms have fireplaces with fires which light up when the lights are on - the poor people don't get any fires in the daytime then!!!

I still have bits and pieces of furniture to get so there is still quite a lot of teeny things living on floors that don't have a place to go yet. 

Now on to the fun stuff - dressing the house.  Just eight months since I bought it and the construction and fitting out has finally finished - a bit like real life I suppose.  To be fair six of the eight months I have been in the States and my arms aren't that long. So, as with everything with me, my planned long-term hobby has turned into an obsession and a therefore I am in a galloping rush to get it finished.  Hey ho!

In the last two days (spare time here and there) I have just made three sets of bedding. 

It started with finding a site called Burchell Miniatures  which offers several downloadable books of quilt patterns for about three pounds each book. She also does sets of books for rugs  and for wallpaper and fabric.  There is a free book in each section - truly no strings attached - this is where I started so I have tried the freebies.

You then need to buy fabric for printing on your computer; again she recommends a site which has turned out to have the best fabric/paper price I can find on the web.  What I really want is a shop I can get it from so I don't have to pay the post and packing. 

Printing the fabric is as simple as clicking on the page you want to print, putting in the paper-backed fabric (I chose cotton lawn) and pressing print.  The site also does a free quilt making instruction book which is very detailed so you can't go wrong if you follow all her steps.  This is what I did for the first pink set I made.

As instructed I used a very thin batting (miniature quilt batting from a hobby shop) and chenille covered wires (pipe cleaners to us oldies) inserted through binding in the back of the quilt to shape the quilt to the bed.  When I'd finished I found the wires didn't do that great a job at holding the quilt neatly in place and the batting isn't thick enough to give a puffy finish to the quilted area.

When I made the second set (master bedroom bed) I put the batting through the whole quilt (not just the the patterned area as suggested) and then put a second layer over the patterned area.  This turned out very well.  I left out the wires.  I have sewn most of the parts of both sets of bedding but have 'cheated' with glue for the lace trims and bits of finishing off.  I have also used spots of glue to hold the bedding in place on the bed - nothing so hefty that it can't all come apart if/when I want it to.  I think it is no more cheating to do that than it is to use tacky wax for holding tiny objects in place in your house and for hanging stuff on the walls etc.  

Another discovery is a great stuffing for pillows and cushions - tiny micro-beads.  Anyone who remembers bean bags - the seats, not the things you lobbed round in the school gym - will remember polystyrene beads.  There is a really teeny version in all those neck pillows and soft toys you see around.  I bought a cushion filled with them from Target for a couple of dollars and gutted it.  That was a joy to see!!!  I admit they are bordering on uncontrollable when you are using them but they make the pillows lovely and soft and it also makes them sit nicely as you can plump them and move them around.  

The white set I made doesn't have them and the pillows are filled with batting so it looks a bit concrete.  By the time I got to the master bedroom set I'd figured out how to make actual pillows with glued edges (using a syringe-type glue dispenser for a very thin line) which go inside the pillow cases I made.  I filled them quite easily using a small teaspoon.

My next challenge is a duvet and pillow set for the boys bunk bed.  As one of the bunks is a 'spare bed for mates' I think I might make the top or bottom bunk into a 'sitting' place and only make up one of the beds. The spare duvet and pillow will go in the linen cupboard!!!

After that I'll be on to blinds and curtains throughout the house - only ten windows to do.  That might slow me down a little.

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