Fabric and Needlework

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Sunbonnet for log cabin ladies: Go here: http://www.uvm.edu/~hag/godey/fashion/di.html and scroll down to the "September, 1857: Sun-Bonnet" entry. If you click on the images, you will get larger ones. The pattern gives you both full pattern pieces and half pattern pieces (for placing on folds, presumably), and that's a total of six pieces. Only use the three full pieces. You will have to use the illustration of the finished bonnet as a guide for putting it together, as there are rather cryptic instructions, really meant for making a full-size bonnet in 1857, given at the bottom. To scale the pattern page down appropriately, the image print size should be about 2" wide by 3" high. You can do this in MS Word (by importing the image and scaling it to those proportions) or any image editor (by setting the print size). I would do a paper mockup first, and then use heavy paper to reinforce the front of the bonnet when I made it (instead of the cording, unless you want to be very, very precise!). Alternately, instead of paper, use heavyweight stitch witch to bond the outer and lining fabric together for the front, as that will stiffen it enough that it will hold its shape and not ravel. The crown and cape need to be gathered slightly to fit, which can be done while you are gluing if you are using a quick-drying fabric glue. I'd actually cut the cape a bit fuller than is shown so that it can be draped a bit more prettily, but I don't know how utilitarian your ladies are! :) I really love this page for its patterns. I've used them for dolls and some for full-size costume reproductions as well

Maura Bass

Vintage Hankies: Don't forget to save some of these for bed linens. They work beautifully.


Leather-Like Material: I found white suede at the art framing store. They have a box a scraps and let me go through any time I need to. The suede will peel off the mat board and is easy to work with, similar to material. It comes in many colors, too.

You can also purchase some very thin lining from a leather shop. They will know what you mean. This will take shoe dye and can be worked with very easily, also. I covered two chairs with this and they look fantastic! Real leather

Terri Young

Gluing Felt: If you are working with felt you can glue it with rubber cement or what I did when working with felt, not in miniatures, is to soak and saturate the felt with latex (neoprene-synthetic) and squeeze out the excess and then shape the felt and let it dry. When it is dry it can be handled like wood. Sanded, painted etc.

DrBob...Delray Beach, FL.

Gluing Felt: I am assuming that the felt you want to glue is the usual craft felt, made of polyester. The only glue I have found to use successfully on it is Fabritac...available in mini stores, craft stores and WalMarts craft dept.

Alice Zinn

Buckram: I worked in a drapery company years ago and the stiffener used in the pleated top was called buckram. You can find it in the drapery section of fabric stores. It comes on a roll and you buy it by the yard. It is usually 3-4 inches wide.

Louise in MI

Hemming Punch Needle Rugs: I like Liquid Fusible Web by Aleene's. I paint it on the excess border, out about 1/4" and up onto the rug itself for nearly a 1/4" too. (this stuff looks like tacky glue, thick white, then clear when it dries) When the LFW is dried, I trim the excess fabric to a scant 1/4" and if it's an oval rug like yours, nip out V's around the curves. It's still got a bit of 'tack' to it for an hour or so, which helps when ironing it down. If I time it right, I can finger press the hem to the back, then iron it to bond it keeping my fingers at a safe distance from the iron. For a square cornered rug, I just trim across the corner so there's no overlap when the hem is turned. I've taught a number of half day classes in punch needle, that's where most of the punch needle rug kits on my web site http://weevings.com came from. I've also got Purrfect Punch needles and lots of yarn colors.

Bonni in NH

Draping Clothing: The clothing with arms were sticking out at unnatural angles. As I wanted it to look like the pieces were hanging in a real house, as opposed to a play house, I inconspicuously tacked the arms down to the sides with a bit of white sewing thread, tied in a knot. I made it so it was reversible, if I don't like it I can just snip the tack away. If you want to get frisky, you can also do as I do and iron wrinkles in (somewhere, the inventor of the iron is spinning in his grave, imagine,making wrinkles on purpose. My housecoat and little knitted sweater look rather nice now that they aren't simultaneously pointing east and west.

Kim From Canada

Costumes: I've just found a fantastic costume site! It has links to patterns for period costume which are easily adaptable to 1/12th scale, and it has some lovely illustrations. I've just spent an hour there, and I'm not done yet! It has every kind of costume, from medieval to twentieth century, so all you dollmakers, go and enjoy! http://www.costumegallery.com/

Lynne Connolly

Tablecloths: I've long been frustrated at how to get a dh tablecloth to hang properly without having to virtually glue it in place. Looking through some old linens last week I came across one of those little old round net-crochet pieces w/glass beads sewn around the edge to hold them on the lemonade pitcher or whatever to keep flies out. I put it on a dh table lamp; it draped like a dream. I've been sewing glass beads onto dh linens all week! It works on both round lamp; rectangular things; the numberand size of beads depends on the weight of the fabric. Start w/one at each corner ( or a NSEW on round things) and add beads til it's right. You can let them show--they look adorable, like ball fringe--or hide them on the underside of the hem. It takes a while, but now they're removable, washable, and have a soft natural look and not a stiff, sculpted one.


Tablecloths: I tried to be the customer from hell at the IGMA show last weekend and insist that Bonni of Weevings give me the perfectly laying cloth that she had as a sample. She stood her ground and instead of giving me her sample she showed me how to do it (something about giving someone a fishing pole instead of a fish). Wet the cloth, drape it over the table, use hair clips to clip the ends the way you'd like them to look and leave the clips on until the cloth dries. I didn't have the clips and used the small black paper binding clips instead and the cloth looks great.


Tablecloths: It's true, Carol wanted the 'draped' tablecloth from the display, and I cruelly refused to let her get off so easy. I even had one clip on hand to demonstrate how to get the dampened cloth to conform to the table, and wouldn't you know, she wanted a set of those, too! (and you know she wanted them free, besides..<g>) It's a good thing she's a much, much nicer person when she's behind a table at a show than she is on the other side, as a customer! This reminded me of a tip that got posted some time ago, but could be helpful to mention again. One of the quilt makers was adding thin wire floral wire is good) to the quilt border, either inside the sashing, or just basted under the inside edge. This enables the quilt to be realistically draped on the bed, without gluing. Gluing down any woven item just to get it to drape just gives me the willies - that's why I started weaving miniatures in the first place, too many photos of textiles in dollhouses splayed out like canvas drop cloths! I thought the bead idea was great, (I just don't see Carol sewing beads on, either, frankly) that's the secret to how they get expensive,real drapes to hang nicely, there are lead weights sewn into the bottom hems.

Bonni in NH

dh smasher: Maybe you and any other dh smashers should make yourselves a DAMMIT doll. Here's the URL for the directions: THE DAMMIT DOLL: http://huskins.com/strega/dammit.html Lots cheaper than stomping your dh kits. LOL!

Grace Shaw

Needlework Books: I went to the library today and checked out two great books-Miniature Needlepoint Carpets by Janet Granger and Miniature Embroidery for the Victorian Dolls' House by Pamela Warner. I'm not sure why the second title has embroidery or Victorian in it because there's tons of great patterns in there for cross stitch and needlepoint as well. It also has rugs, pillows, chair covers, screens....you name it.


silk gauze: I saw silk gauze in 40, 48 and 56 count and some others too. They also have something called polysil canvas which is one-half the price of the silk but with silk construction. It is 30 count They have a web site and mail order. The URL is http://stitchers-paradise.com Type in silk gauze in the search area. I'm not in any way affiliated with this business other than being a satisfied customer.

Joannie in Paradise

Gluing Felt: If you are working with felt you can glue it with rubber cement or what I did when working with felt, not in miniatures, is to soak and saturate the felt with latex (neoprene-synthetic) and squeeze out the excess and then shape the felt and let it dry. When it is dry it can be handled like wood. Sanded, painted etc.

DrBob...Delray Beach, FL

Pillow Stuffing for the long round pillows: I use the foam hair rollers. Remove the plastic piece, and wrap the fabric around the foam, tucking the ends of the fabric into the hole that's at both ends of the roller (where the plastic piece used to be). Then cover that up with a circle of fabric, lace, or whatever.


Cross Stitch: I don't claim to be near as knowledgeable about cross stitch as about needlepoint, but we did indeed carry cross stitch in my store for a few years and there are some similarities. The beads and leather that you want to add are what's known as "embellishments". Customers, students, and I used lots and lots of embellishments...buttons, beads, charms, appliqués, even sticks and stones. The best way, is to be doing the whole piece on a stretcher frame (available at needlework shops, or you can even use the wider ones from art supply store). Keep your work clean as you go, always covered or in a flat bag when you're not working on it; keep your hands clean. Thus, no need for cleaning when done, and you can add your embellishments when the stitching is done but before removal from the frame. With today's materials, you need to be careful about washing or cleaning, as many of the threads are no longer colorfast because of the FDA rules. In the olden days, we used to wash our finished pieces in Woolite and wet block them before making up the pillow or whatever; but no more. I have a tiny attachment for the vacuum cleaner (the same one you see advertised for dusting your miniatures) and I think that with an occasional cleaning with that, the needlework is going to look fine for a good long time.


1-Ply Yarn: http://www.flowerthread.com/

The above link is for Ginnie Thompson Flower Thread, which I purchased through Tanties in Montreal. It's wonderful stuff! If you go to the "Shops" link from the home page, you'll find a list of where you can purchase this...Tanties is listed for Canada. Also, Joy Parker has yarn for mini knitting and she can be reached at: joy@swallowhills.com and her web site is: http://www.swallowhilldolls.com/indexjoy.htm

Joy Parker also carries the correct size needles as does Tanties... they are wonderful to work with.

Joy in Pointe Claire

Crochet: I crocheted a small afghan with three strands of variegated rayon sewing thread and like the silk, found it difficult to work with but beautiful, soft and drapey.

Chrissy the Hyphenated from Upstate NY

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