Doll’s Bed in a Suitcase Sew Along Part 2 – Making the Mattress

Making The Mattress To Fit a Vintage Suitcase


You will need:
Main fabric – we used a lovely brushed cotton stripe
Bias binding
Self Cover Buttons 19mm x 6
Long doll needle
Thick thread

around the base of your suitcase.  Then, using this template, cut 2
pieces of fabric this size.   Then cut two strips at that are
approximately 2cm shorter than the height of your suitcase.  I endied up using
approximately 60cm of 110cm wide fabric.

Join your two strips together along the short side, to create one long strip, but cut two 20cm pieces off the end of this.
one of these pieces, create a handle.  I did this by pressing in the
ends, then folding the piece in thirds to create a piece that was
approximately 15cm x 5cm.  I sewed several lines along the length of
this piece, and all around the edge, and then stitched each end to a
central-ish point of the long strip.

sure that the handle falls in the centre of one of the long sides of
the main pieces, and then, wrong sides facing, I started to sew the top
of the mattress to the side.  I did this wrong sides facing because I
wanted to bind the edges, but if you don’t want to bind, do right sides
facing and turn through at the end.

stitching the top to the side, I then bound the edge using a lovely
satin bias binding.  Satin binding is such an old fashioned bed type
thing, don’t you think?  It’s always on mattresses, or around blankets.
 I wanted this mattress to have a bit of a vintage style appeal – purely
for my aesthetics, but that’s as good a reason as any, when you think
about it.

I then repeated these steps to join the bottom to the side, and then bound it.
you get to the join, fold each edge in, and overlap slightly before
sewing into place.  Make sure the top and bottom line up nicely, so when
it comes to it you have a nice easy to stitch finish.  This hole will
be your stuffing hole.
all made and bound, it’s time to stuff.  I used 2 whole bags, and the
leftovers of my duvet and pillow set.  That was probably about 700g of
stuffing.  Stuff firmly, making sure your spread is even and not lumpy.
Once you’re stuffed, slip stitch the side opening closed.
 I feel like I should say a word of warning about the buttons, in that
they are small parts and this is designed predominantly as a small
person’s play thing.  Make sure, if you use buttons, to use thick thread
and sew them tight.  Make sure they’re not likely to be pulled off.  If
you’re too worried about doing these, just don’t use buttons.  You can
still create the effect but with little crosses of thread, rather than
the buttons.

Anyway, back to the making.  Cover your buttons with the remaining 20cm piece of fabric you cut earlier.
If you’ve never made covered buttons before, here’s how:

a circle of fabric approximately 1cm wider on all sides than your
button.  Turn your button upside down on the fabric, then using your
fingers, push the fabric around to the teeth of the button back so it’s
gripped into place nicely.  I like to alternate the sides I’ve pushed
from and rotate the button as I go, so I get a nice even finish.  Once
your fabric is all gripped nicely into place, push the back on your
button.  Make sure you can hear it click into place.  If you don’t hear
or feel the click, it’s not pushed in properly.
you’ve covered your buttons, take out your doll needle.  (It’s amazing
how something that can look so much like an instrument of torture can
have such an innocuous name as a ‘doll’ needle.)  Thread your thick
thread doubled on your needle.  Then finding the middle of the mattress,
anchor your thread in the spot firmly.  Then push the needle through
the mattress to the centre of the other side.  Come back to the first
side, making sure to find the centre point, and repeat back and forth a
few times, cinching in the mattress as you go.  Once you’ve got it
cinched in nice and firmly, thread the button on your needle, looping
over a couple of times for security, and then thread back through to the
other side.  Thread your button on the other side, looping double
again, and then secure as firmly as possible.  Tie off, and lose the
threads somewhere in the body of your mattress.

Next find the spot between this centre button and the left hand edge and repeat.  Then repeat for the right hand edge.
 That’s one mattress done.  I made a pretty fat mattress, and at this
point I looked at it in the suitcase and thought to myself that it would
make a really awesome bed for a cat or a little dog.  So unbelievably,
there are other uses for this mattress.  Would you believe it?
The next installment will be on the 16th January, and we’ll start making the bed!

Doll’s Bed in a Suitcase Sew Along Part 1 – Covering The Suitcase

 Covering a Vintage Suitcase with Fabric!
I’m going to start this with a bit of a disclaimer.  Suitcases come in all shapes and sizes, and they have all sorts of different fittings, handles, hinges.   They’re made from various different materials, and no two will ever be the same – even if they look totally similar!  So here’s a few tips and techniques to get you started, in the hope that you’ll be able to figure out the rest yourself.  Of course, if you come up against any problems, let me know and I can see if I can explain a little further, but for now, here’s how:
You will need two contrasting fabrics – one outer, and one lining.  I used around 75cm of each fabric for my size case.  To help see what you need, I’d measure the top, and the height.  You’ll need two tops and two strips of height for both the lining and the main fabric, and that should do it.
Glue – we used Cartonnage Glue (an awesome glue that is quite similar to Mod Podge)
A craft knife; scissors that you don’t mind messing up (no dressmaking shears here, please).

 Cut the your outer fabric to the same size as your suitcase, with 2cm extra all around.  Then cover the base of your suitcase with the glue, spreading it thick and evenly.  Lay the fabric over the glue, centrally, and smooth it so there are no creases or bubbles.

Cut snips at approximately 2cm intervals around the edge.
 Cover with glue around the edge 2-3cm up, and stick up the flaps you’ve cut.  The slits cut should help you go neatly around the corners.  Be prepared to get a little messy – think back to primary school and covering your hands with PVA type messy, and you’re on the right track.
It should start to look something like this.
 Measure the side of your suitcase, then add about 4cm to the width.  Cut a strip of outer fabric to this size.  You’ll need one or two strips to go around the edges, depending on the size of your suitcase.
 Spread glue over the side of your suitcase.  Lay the fabric face down, lining up 1-2cm in from the base edge of the case.  Then spread a bit of extra glue on the 1-2cm fabric that is touching the case.
 Fold the fabric up, and smooth down on the side of the case.  The last step gives you a nice neat folded edge. 
 Carry on in this method around the edge of the case, until you get to the hardware at the front.
 Carry on gluing as normal, sticking your fabric over the top of your locks etc. 
 With your knife, cut a cross over the metal parts to allow you to get to them later.  Then leave for the time being.  Cut extra space around your handle and any other hardware.
 Cut slits and the excess fabric over the top edge just as you did for the base.  Then repeat this entire process for the top of the case.  Then put aside to dry.
 Once your glue is all dry, return to the hardware, and using your craft knife, trim all around the edges as neatly as possible.  You may find that the fabric is stuck slightly to the metal, but give it a tug and it should all come free.  The fabric will have hardened so you can get a nice clean cut with your knife.
 Spread some extra glue all around the cut edges of your hardware.  It’ll dry clear and seal any raw edges so they won’t come undone over time.
Cover the handle the best way you can manage.  If the handle doesn’t need covering, don’t bother, as it can be one of the trickier bits.
Cover any hinge on both the inside and the outside before starting covering the inside.  Once this is done, start covering the inside using the same techniques you used on the outside.
Cover the sides first, folding a neat edge along the top, and overlapping the bottom.
I actually made a bit of a mess of the bottom of this one – but luckily managed to save it with the use of some handy apron tape…  It is worth pointing out that you need to keep the area around the rim of the main case and the lid as finely covered as possible, as if the fabrics are too thick, you’ll have trouble closing it.   With this case, I actually over did it.  With a few taps of a hammer to slightly soften and curve the rim on the base I got it back in to fit – but it is tight.  I’m hoping it will loosen up with use.  On the last one I made, a slight sanding helped.
Don’t worry about leaving too much glue on your outside – it’ll dry clear and you shouldn’t see it.  Put it to one side to dry while getting on with the contents of your case.

The next installment will be on the 9th January, when we’ll make a mattress to perfectly fit your case!

Doll’s Bed in a Suitcase Sew Along Coming Soon!

This blog post has been a long time coming.  I first posted pictures of this project a few years back (here) and always planned to do a tutorial, but what with one thing and another, never quite got round to it.  You know how it goes.
original project was made for my goddaughter, and around that time
another friend requested one for her then unborn child.  I agreed, but
there was no rush, I thought, because the baby wasn’t even born yet. 
And then I forgot, as I so often do with these things.  Roll on two
years, and said child is long since born and perhaps at exactly the
right age to play with this, and it again cropped up in conversation, so
I thought it might be about time I did the things I promised, and give
you guys a tutorial, and give Frida Betty her doll’s bed-in-a-suitcase.

This suitcase is covered, has a perfectly fitting mattress, along with a fitted sheet.  It has a duvet, duvet cover, pillows, pillow cases, quilt, and blanket.  Perfect for all a doll’s needs.

It’s a huge project, so I thought we’d do it as a sew-along.  To get started, you’ll need a couple of things – the first one being one small vintage suitcase. 

it’s going to be pretty hard to tell you exact measurements because
it’s a vintage suitcase.  And we all know they come in completely mixed
sizes and shapes.  Find a small one, in as good a condition as you can
manage, as the better the condition the easier the job.  Mine was
approximately 35cm x 55cm.  The last suitcase I made, was possibly
slightly smaller, and easier to work with as it had a plastic handle. 
This had awkward slightly rusting hardware, which was a lot trickier to
maneuver around.
despite the fact that your suitcase will no doubt be a completely
different style and shape, here’s some really detailed instructions so
you can hopefully pick up a few tips! 

is my suitcase – as you can see, it’s a little beat up and dirty.
 Stitching is coming undone, and there’s a little bit of rust.  But
it’ll do for the job.  You can see in the top picture that the handle was plastic and that was a lot easier to cover.

You’ll need about 75cm each of main fabric and lining fabric (more if your suitcase is bigger, less if smaller).
You’ll need glue, either mod-podge, or this awesome stuff is perfect.

But alternatively, if you want to skip this step altogether, find a case like this and follow this great tutorial on the Beautiful Mess blog here.

image courtesy of A Beautiful Mess blog.

We’ll go through how to cover the suitcase in the first proper installment which we’ll do on the 2nd January 2016, and we’ll do every Saturday until we’re done!

Christmas Stocking Tutorial!

Hello! Sarah here, I recently joined the lovely team here at The
Eternal Maker and I’m so excited to share with you my first blog post! 

with Christmas just around the corner and feeling fully inspired by our
lovely range of christmas fabrics I decided to make my nephew a
stocking, and I’m pretty chuffed with the results! I wouldn’t say I’m a
particularly advanced sewist and I managed to make it in just a few
hours – so fear not, there is still time to cram in those last few
christmas projects before the big day arrives!
So here it is, my tutorial to make a fully lined and padded christmas stocking with fur trim and  hanging loop!
What you’ll need to make your stocking:
Pattern/tracing paper
Outer fabric (we used this) (approx 1/2m, but depends on the size you want to make)
Lining fabric (approx 1/2m, but depends on the size you want to make)
Wadding (approx 1/2m, but depends on the size you want to make)
Furry fabric for trim – 1/4m
1. Draw out the shape of your stocking onto tracing paper – I used an old stocking to trace around, then add about 1cm around the edge for your seam allowance. Use this as a template for the lining but make it about 5mm smaller to allow for the wadding. Then measure the width of the top of the stocking, double it and add a few cm for the trim width, work out how high you want the trim to be then add about 4cm for the seams. 
2. Using your templates, cut 2 from your main fabric and lining fabric (use your inner template to cut 2 from your wadding) and cut one trim from your furry fabric. You’ll also need to cut out a piece from your lining fabric to make your hanging loop, mine was about 8cm x 20cm (it can be any size but make sure the height is 4x the size you’d like it to be when finished.)
3. Take your two outer pieces and pin right sides together. Take your lining pieces and pin right sides together with the wadding either side (so wadding/lining/lining/wadding)
 4. Sew together remembering to leave a good 4-5inch gap at the bottom of the lining/wadding piece
5. Next take your rectangular loop piece and fold the long sides into the middle, press, then fold again.
6. Sew along both the long edges of your loop piece…
…So it looks like this!
7. Next take your fur trim piece and with the fur facing down fold up the bottom edge by about 1inch. Pin and sew along the folded edge.
 8. Fold your fur, right sides together and pin along the short edge, it’s a good idea to “try it on” the main stocking piece to make sure it fits before sewing, then trim any bulky seams.
9. Pop your trim onto the outside of your main fabric and line up the two back seams
 10. This is the bit that never makes any sense to me but it works! So with your fur trim on the outside of the main stocking piece, pin your loop fabric to the outside facing down and stuff the whole thing into the lining piece, so your main stocking fabric is right sides facing out and lining is right sides facing in. Then sew around the top through all layers.

 11. Now for the fun bit! Pull your main stocking piece through the gap you left in the bottom of the lining and sew the gap closed (don’t worry if it isn’t very neat as it’ll be on the inside – no one will know!) then push the lining inside the stocking, and you’re all done!

Oh Autumn!

This week is a funny one. The weather just doesn’t know what to do with itself. Last weekend was beautifully sunny, on Monday and Tuesday we had torrential rain and today? Well today it’s a bit nippy, rather overcast and there’s that lovely crisp chill that lets you know that autumn has arrived.

Here in the UK, autumn for crafters means The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. It’s a vast Aladdin’s Cave of fabrics, yarns, buttons, beads, workshops and wonderfully inspiring textile exhibitions.

Of course, we have a stand there, and after working hard to pack up what seemed like half our shop, there is a veritable feast of fabric for you to discover, just waiting on Stand L15.
We’ve taken modern, designer, and organic fabrics, Japanese import fabrics, kits, patterns and lots more, so if you’re planning a visit, please do stop by and say hello. We always like to meet our customers!
Meanwhile… those of us back at the shop are really rather envious! Still, we have lots of fabulous fabrics, yarns and notions to enjoy at this end, and doesn’t that nip in the air just make you want to make things?
A couple of our current favourites are by Lewis and Irene fabrics.


Woody Diamond Brown – Big Bear Little Bear is a lovely, delicate geometric and is a great contrast to the William Morris-esque Flower Garden – Teal – Home Sweet Home (below), also by Lewis and Irene. We’re quite fancying a new winter bag with Flower Garden as the main and Woody Diamond as the lining. Olive green handles, perhaps?
In the yarn department, now that there’s a nip in the air, we’re all planning and starting our autumn and winter knits. One of the front runners for many of us is Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky. It’s a snuggly, soft, bouncy, superwash merino wool. It knits up really quickly and has splendid stitch definition.
It comes in a wide colour palette of fourteen colours including some lovely autumnal shades.
Ingrid recently knitted up a new cable hat pattern using Rialto Chunky and it came out beautifully. Well enough in fact, that if you fancy learning to knit your own she is running a day workshop for the Ever Decreasing Cable Hat on Saturday 24th October.

Don’t forget, all of our fabrics, yarns and notions are still available to order from our online shop while we are at the show, so don’t let that stop you if you’ve seen something that you fancy!

We hope to see you at the show (Stand L15) if you’re there!


Stitch Rope Beach Bag

So the other day I took a bunch of blue fabrics, some aurifloss and some tulip sashiko needles home.

pretty, huh?

I didn’t have a clue what it was going to be, it was just a case of being inspired by the fabrics, finally getting around to having a play with the tulip needles and the aurifloss together (match made in heaven, just so you know).  I spent the evening stitching up a patchwork panel and then thought, what now?

In work the next day we brainstormed some ideas – I had it pretty much in my head that a make up pouch of some description would be the final outcome, but I wasn’t sold.  Then someone mentioned a beach bag, someone mentioned rope handles, we fiddled around to do something a little different with the handles, and then – the Stitch Rope Beach Bag was born.  It’s a bit of a mouthful, yes. 
I’m not gonna lie: there’s a lot going on in this bag.  There’s patchwork, there’s quilting, there’s rope.  There’s more rope.  But overall?  I think I quite like it.  

Here’s what you need to make one all of your very own:
40cm of main panel fabric (this can be made up of scraps, or for a simpler look, just one fabric)
10cm co-ordinating gusset fabric
50cm lining fabric
50cm wadding
10cm + scraps handle fabrics
5m x 10mm piping cord or rope
If you want, some variegated Aurifloss is a pretty good addition!

1.  From your main fabric, your lining fabric, and your wadding, cut 2 pieces measuring 40cm x 32cm.  If you want a pieced main panel, sew your scraps directly onto your wadding.  I’m not going to tell you how to do that bit, just use your imagination and creativity.  If you’ve decided to do some quilting, now is the time to do that.

just a simple large quilting stitch should do the trick
see how pretty that Aurifloss looks?

2.  Pin your main panel and gusset pieces to your wadding pieces, wrong sides facing.

3.  Now find your centre points of the bottom of each main panel, and the gusset strip, and pin together.  Then sew with a 5mm seam allowance.  Your piece should look like this now (complete with patchwork, if you’ve done this).

4.  Put this to one side, we’re going to concentrate on the strips that hold the handles in place.  These strips need to be 9cm x 30cm.  You can make these out of one fabric, or you can piece them, as long as you end up with 4 strips of this size.

5.  Press under each side of each strip 5mm.  Sew each short side down.  Find the middle of each strip, and mark a line along it’s length.

6.  Measure in 6cm from the side of one panel, and pin one strip here.  Sew a couple of millimeters in from the outer edge.  Sew this line not just once, but twice.  This needs to be super secure because it’s these strips that are going to hold all the weight you’re going to put in your bag (if you are anything like me, then it’s a lot).

7.  Take your rope, and make your ends a little loose and thready.  Smoosh them up a bit.  Then stitch across them several times back and forth, to secure your rope into one big loop.  Then take a bit of tape, and wrap it around the stitched section, making back into a round.

The rope goes on the outside of the bag – encased by the tubes on the side, and open to the bottom:

8.  Tuck your rope under your handle tube that you’ve sewn down, and push towards the stitches.  Then stitch along the centre line you drew earlier, fully encasing the rope.

9.  Continue stitching the handle tubes and rope into place on the bag in the order shown in the diagram below. 

Stitch the flaps down, and feed the rope through, until you have something that looks like this.  Disclaimer: the rope will totally get in your way, and will get all twisted up, and you’ll trip over it and strangle yourself whilst it’s going on.  Don’t worry, this is okay (unless you hurt yourself, in which case, it’s not okay, and I’m sorry).   Once you’re all in, fiddle about with your ropes until they are even on each side.

10.  Once your handles are all attached, pin the gusset edges that are flapping out to your main body, and sew all together to make a bag shape.

11.  Cut a 10cm gusset strip from your lining fabric.  Repeat steps 3 and 10 with your lining fabric, to create a bag shape.  Leave a 4″ gap along one edge  With the lining bag inside out, place the main bag (right way out) inside the lining bag, so the right sides are facing.  Pin along the top edge, matching all the seams of the lining and the main bag together.  Keep the handles tucked in between the two layers.  Sew along this top edge, and then pull out through the hole in the lining.  Stitch this hole closed.  Top stitch around the top edge of your bag.

12.  With the remaining scraps, make two 5″ squares (patchwork or plain).  Press in each edge, and then wrap around the ropes on each side where your hands will hold the bag.  Stitch into place.  You could use some of that lovely Aurifloss again whilst you do so.

That’s it!