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Behind the Seams: the 1/4" square dollhouse quilt

One of the joys of making miniatures, no matter how long you've been doing it, there are always new ideas and techniques to try out.

Here's a 'behind the seams' peek of the making of the quarter inch square dollhouse quilt.

This dollhouse quilt started in my mind when I was wondering how tiny handsewn patchwork can be. I'd already cracked 1/2" square patches but could I go smaller still?

I soon established it IS possible to hand sew these tiny squares together. But is it advisable?! We shall see!

I've seen some people do patchwork at this scale on a sewing machine, but I don't have that skillset and find it far too stressful. One millimetre out on this scale and it'll ruin the whole quilt. So I stuck with what I know, and used the same English paper piecing technique I use on many of my 1:12 quilts. It's slow but it's precise, and that's what matters in miniature.

English paper piecing involves making a paper template for each patch, temporarily basting the fabric around that, and once everything is sewn together removing the papers and basting threads. I go into lots more detail about this in my kits and tutorials if you fancy learning more about making your own dollhouse quilts.

It isn't a quick method! But making miniatures is rarely about speed. This quilt accompanied me to a lot of swimming lessons and kids' parties. That's one of the joys of making miniature quilts - they're very portable projects!

Once I'd basted enough tiny squares - which I did in batches - I could rarely sew more than one or two square inches together in any one sitting. It was very tough on the fingertips. Real sized quilters use little clamps to hold their patches together as they sew, but no such luck when working on this tiny scale!

And of course I decided to make it fit a double 1:12 bed, because that tends to be the most common quilt size in dollhouses and I wanted this to be versatile.

The fiddliest part was removing all the papers without disturbing the sewing. The seams were often the same size if not larger than the actual patch - I recommend pointy tweezers for this job! With hindsight, I probably didn't need to remove the papers at all - it's not like this quilt should ever go in the washing machine - but for the sake of doing it 'properly' I did! Removing the papers also helped remove some of the rigidity that naturally comes with tiny patchwork. Gotta get that drape!

So how long did this dollhouse quilt take? I really don't know. I'd guess around 40 hours all in, but it's very much an estimate. I made this quilt over the course of a couple of months with comparitively simpler projects in between. For me the results are worth it - although I don't know if I'll ever make another one!

This dollhouse quilt is available on the LTW Miniatures webshop until it finds its forever dollhouse.

LTW Miniatures is UK based and routinely ships to the USA, Canada, Australia and beyond. If you don't see your country, please contact me and I'll see what I can do.

For more 'behind the seams' sneaky peeks, all the latest news, tutorials and the odd cheeky discount, subscribe to the LTW Miniatures e-newsletter.

Have fun mini friends!



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