Thursday, September 5, 2013

Make it: Hanging Doll Bassinet

If you have little girls, you know how easily they become absorbed in the magical world of play. I wasn't much of a doll girl growing up, but my girls certainly are. Their animal "stuffie" collection is seriously out of control! I've had this idea of making a hanging cradle for the playroom in the back of my head for quite some time, so when JoAnn Fabric contacted me about partnering with them on a sewing project, I immediately thought of it.

The month of September is National Sewing Month (who knew?) and also happens to be the 90th anniversary of Waverly fabrics. In honor of both events, Joann's is hosting a little contest. All you have to do is make something original using Waverly fabrics, take a photo, and submit it! The winner is seriously going to clean up-you have a chance to win $1000 in Waverly fabrics and a $250 gift card to Jo-Ann stores. Head over to Jo-Ann's Facebook page to enter (deadline is September 22nd, 2013)!

Jo-Ann sent over two yards of Waverly fabric in a surprise pattern/color to use for this project. Since I consider myself a sewing novice, I enlisted my fabulous quilt-making MIL to help me make my design come to life (thank you!). The fabric was really nice and I love how this turned out!

Complete instructions for the bed can be found after the jump!

To make your bassinet, you will need to gather a few supplies:
  • 1 1/2-2 yards of 53" wide fabric (Decorator's weight)
  • 1 1/2 yards heavy weight fusible interfacing (fusible on one side)
  • 2 dowels 3/4" by 15" (may need to custom cut)
  • iron/ironing board
  • fabric cutting supplies
  • sewing machine/coordinating thread
  • cotton twine
  • small wooden rings (optional)
  • ceiling hooks for hanging

1. Cut your fusible interfacing. For this project you will need 5 pieces of interfacing...

(2) 10" x 12 1/2" (short sides of bed)
(2) 7" x 19" (long sides of bed)
(1) 12" x 19" (bottom of bed)

2. Cut your fabric. The best way to cut your fabric for this project is to cut a few large pieces first from selvage to selvage and then cut those pieces down into smaller pieces....

Cut one piece of fabric selvage to selvage that is 14 1/2" high. Once you trim off the inch of branding along the edge of the fabric you will be left with a piece that is approx. 14 1/2" x 52". Now cut that piece into four sections that measure as follows...

(4) 14 1/2" x 13" (these will be the short sides of your bed)

Cut two more large pieces of fabric selvage to selvage that are 20" high. You will be using one whole piece, and a small part of the other. Cut these long pieces into sections that measure as follows...

(2) 20" x 13" (these will be the bottom of the bed)
(4) 20" x 8" (these will be the long sides of the bed)

3. Iron fusible interfacing to fabric. This interfacing will be ironed on to the lining of every piece of the bed, leaving a 1/2" seam allowance on all sides. Heat up your iron, and match up the right pieces of interfacing with the right pieces of fabric. Here's what you should end up with...

(2) pieces of 10" x 12 1/2" interfacing matched up with (2) pieces of 14 1/2" x 13" fabric*
(2) pieces of 7" x 19" interfacing matched up with (2) pieces of 8" x 20" fabric
(1) piece of 12" x 19" interfacing matched up with (1) piece of 13" x 20" fabric

Center interfacing on the wrong side of fabric (leaving about a 1/2" all around) with the fusible side facing down and fuse to the fabric using iron (follow instructions included with your interfacing). *On the short sides of the bed, leave 4 1/2" at the top w/out interfacing to allow for the dowel flap/placement.

4. Sew fabric together. Match the fabric pieces you just ironed to their counterparts with right sides facing together (interfacing should be facing out). Pin together and sew with 1/2" seam allowance all around, leaving a 4" gap open to turn fabric right side out.

5. Turn fabric right side out, press, and sew again with a top stitch. Snip corners of fabric, and turn right side out using the gap you left when sewing. This can be a little difficult with the interfacing, but it can be done! Once you've turned all pieces, press them with an iron. Fold the open gaps in (press if needed), and sew a top stitch all around right near the edge of every piece.

6. Sew flap for dowel on both short sides of bed. Fold down the top of both short sides (14 1/2" by 13" pieces) about 2" and stitch, creating a channel for the dowel.

7. Stitch long sides of bed to bottom of bed. Line one long side of bed on top of bottom of bed and stitch all along the edge (I'm not sure if a smaller/less heavy duty machine can handle this, but you know your machine and its limitations!). Repeat with the other long side.

8. Stitch the short sides to bottom of bed. Repeat step seven with the short sides of the bed.

9. Fold up all sides and stitch each side together along the edges. This is where I felt like the design had a bit of a flaw. This step would have been a little easier if the short sides of the bed were even a 1/4" less wide for a cleaner/more flush finished edge. After the bed was complete, I ended up turning the whole thing out so all of the seams were tucked inside (the above picture was taken before I turned it out), but the choice is yours-it will work either way!

I did notice the bed bowing a little in the middle when too many dolls/heavy dolls were placed inside. This didn't bother me, but if it bothers you, you may consider adding a thin piece of wood along the bottom of the bed or possibly a nice piece of foam.

This bed can be hung in several ways-it's really up to you! I hung my bed by cutting a piece of cotton twine, attaching it to a small wooden ring with a slip knot at the center and then tying each side of the piece to either end of the dowel. I then cut a much longer piece of twine and attached it to the center of the same wooden ring with a slip knot. Those ends can be used to tie the bed to something like a tree or knotted and hung on a hook in the ceiling. Repeat same process on other side of bed with same lengths of twine.

If you try making this project, I would love to hear/see how it turns out. Don't forget to enter the contest :). Thanks Jo-Ann and Waverly!


  1. i could not love this more! my girls would be obsessed with a hanging doll basket.

  2. So cute, Randi! And those wooden rings are the perfect finishing touch.

  3. Did we abandon the monthly birthday packages? :-(

  4. This is awesome! My daughter is so into swinging right now. She even loves to swing her dolls. I never thought to make a swing that she could use just for her dolls. Her birthday is in a month and I think this would be a perfect gift. Thanks for this tutorial!