This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read disclosure for more information.
The first time I truly started salivating over an embroidery machine with a bigger hoop was when I saw the Anita Goodesign Dollhouse Quilt Pattern.
As a mom of two young daughters, I wanted to create this quilt so much! (Before they outgrew dolls.)
After yearning over unrealized dreams for almost a year, I finally replaced my trust 5×7 embroidery machine with my Brother Luminaire XP2. That way, I could make the 10 5/8″ x 16″ blocks for this Dollhouse Quilt.
I’m so proud of my finished Anita Goodesign Dollhouse Quilt that I want to share pictures and give some tips so you can avoid some silly mistakes I made along the way!
First, The Finished Doll House Quilt!
Before going further, here’s the Anita Goodesign’s Doll House Quilt embroidery design I used.
It also appeared in their February 2020 All Access Book (what I bought because it was cheaper and came with other designs, too!) [I’m in no way affiliated with them, for the record.]
That being said, ta-da! Below is my beautiful dollhouse embroidered quilt!
I chose to do a 3-story quilt and included the rooms in my current house in the doll quilt.
Now, below is a picture dump of some of my favorite dollhouse rooms!
My sewing room!
The formal living room with a piano:
My daughters’ bedroom with my husband and me as dolls.
The master bedroom, photographed a little crooked by my dear husband:
One of the entranceways:
How cute is this? I LOVE how my doll quilt turned out; everything is so miniature but detailed!
I did some trial and error, and here’s what I liked and disliked from a supply standpoint.
First, I used 80/20 cotton/polyester batting. I was worried the off-white color would be an issue with the white walls, but thankfully, it was not. I’m not too fond of 100% polyester batting, and I’ve always found it harder to embroider on.
For the room blocks, I used fusible interfacing on the backs of the wall, tile, and wood floor fabrics. Without the fusible, my wall fabric didn’t respond as well to dense stitching, so fusible it was for that and the floors.
Low stitch count blocks didn’t need anything on the backs of the base fabrics. I tried fusible on the back of the blue cloud fabric, and I did not like the appearance it gave the cloud blocks after embroidering. So, all those blocks are just fabric with a little Best Press to stiffen them before embroidering on.
Next, I used Heatnbond Lite on the back of most applique fabric. This kept applique edges from fraying and gave the fabric more strength to withstand dense satin stitch borders.
The walls, wood floors, sky, and grass were all quilting cotton, and the tile floor in the bathroom was gray satin.
I also used off-white broadcloth for the separating walls. The muslin I had at home had too many distracting darker specs, and I didn’t love that.
I used broadcloth I had because I couldn’t find the perfect quilting cotton in this very specific off-white.
The broadcloth stretched and puckered, and I recommend choosing a thicker, more tightly woven cotton fabric for the inner walls. However, after I realized the inadequacy of the fabric, I was too far in to have any desire to replace it.
The best thing about this dollhouse quilt is I used fabrics from around the house for applique!
For instance, the girls’ room bed was made with an old shirt from my daughters.
I also used my husband’s old scrubs and several old work shirts for various other details.
One of the rugs was from an old robe, and one of the grass patches was from a shirt from my younger daughter. (It was a rayon shirt that thankfully held up to the embroidery process!)
This house tells a story, and I love it!
The binding and backing were the same as the roof fabric, which was from a 108″ wide quilting cotton piece from Hobby Lobby.
I attached the backing to the front of the quilt with clear Sulky monofilament thread using the MuVit dual feed foot on my Luminaire.
I hated every moment of this process and procrastinated until the bitter end of my time crunch for my quilt show entry.
I made the quilt label with my embroidery machine on off-white twill (I regret this choice because it was ugly, but the color was good, and the material was sturdy) and hand-stitched it on.
Lastly, I was so exhausted from rushing the finishing touches that I bought a premade quilt sleeve (I love Quilter’s Hangup) and hand-stitched that on for the finishing touch. I despise hand stitching with the burning passion of a thousand suns—even more than trying to sew with invisible thread.
Making the Template First + Planning
Planning may have taken longer than the actual stitching because I wanted everything to be perfect—a major fault of mine.
I spent hours analyzing the templates, printing them out, and organizing rooms for the best aesthetic feel. (And even once I planned it, the final thing was different as I finished stitching it.)
I spent even longer shopping for the perfect fabrics and matching threads.
It’s hard to visualize what all the rooms will look like with your color scheme for each room, so I recommend not planning backing, borders, or binding until you’ve put together the entire quilt. Either that or pick your border and bindings first and then match all interior fabrics to it. (Not as fun, in my opinion!)
Purchasing Yardages for the Dollhouse Quilt
I followed the guidelines in the book for yardages and overbought flooring and underbought sky. I forgot that I needed to allow for a 1/4″ seam allowance on all sides for all blocks that weren’t interior rooms. Oops!
I recommend purchasing extra yardage for mistakes. (Thankfully, I only had to restitch one sky block because of an error. That’s the only block I had to scrap, phew!)
Finding the Perfect Thread Colors
I pulled from my dime Exquisite threads, Brother Pacesetter threads, and leftover Brothread, Simthread, and other spools I had around. I also used Kingstar metallic threads here and there.
I have more than 300ish? unique thread colors, and it took hours to pick the perfect shades. I wanted to look at them in artificial and natural light and make sure I made the best match possible. Perfectionist, see?
The Time It Took to Create the Doll House Quilt
I spent each evening working on one of the room blocks. Active stitching time was several hours (3+) for the large rooms, and when you add in all the time for applique placement and trimming, the time added up!
The sky blocks and a few others were fast to embroider, and I could stitch several in an evening.
I procrastinated on the backing part for what felt like forever because I hate this part. I was able to do the backing and binding in 2 nights and add the label and quilt hanger in another evening.
Overall, this project was completed in less than two months, from planning to purchasing materials to the final product.
Tips Based on Mistakes I Made and More
I did several things I wished I hadn’t and then didn’t do several things I wish I had.
So, here are some tips based on my mistakes and regrets!
1. If you want to change thread colors in your stitch out from what’s suggested, add stops in an embroidery software before stitching.
For instance, several parts of designs will stitch all at once in one color. If you want those to be different colors, you either need to add stops in the software or prepare to watch your machine and manually stop it at the perfect time.
The former is my preference!
2. Trim batting immediately and closely for all blocks. That way, the batting isn’t present in the border of the block (and thus seam) when you sew the blocks together.
Also, ensure you don’t get overzealous with trimming the sky, grass, and roof blocks. My first, it slipped my mind that the base fabric needed to have a seam allowance also.
This is because there aren’t borders around these blocks like on the doll house room blocks.
3. Avoid using cotton fabric in the center that will unravel when making the dolls. My first doll had cotton as the center, which is still unraveling. I opted for the following three people not to use anything in the center, and I much preferred that.
4. For the free-standing applique portions, try using two layers of heavy-duty water-soluble stabilizer instead of tear-away stabilizer. Even using Sulky Stiffy firm tear-away stabilizer, my free-standing parts would punch out and didn’t stitch well.
5. A clapper and steam help make some of the super bulky seams lie flatter. I’m convinced there’s no way to make the back of this quilt look pretty, though, with the seam bumps and noticeable stitching lines. Oh well, everyone will be too impressed by the front to look at the back, right?!
6. A walking foot (I used the MuVit on my Luminaire) helped a lot when using invisible thread to tack the quilt top to the backing along the seams. I had to adjust presser foot pressure and top tension to get less puckering on the back.
When quilting the Doll House Quilt’s top and back, adhere the pieces well before stitching. I used a combination of curved safety pins, temporary spray adhesive, and even a temporary fabric glue stick to get things to stay still while tacking the front to the backing.
7. I know this shouldn’t need to be said, but if you used vinyl on any part of your design, don’t iron it.
I did accidentally when not paying attention and adding borders, and well, I had to take that burned vinyl off the bathroom mirror. Thankfully, you can’t tell it was ever there!
Final Dollhouse Quilt Notes
I have so much to say about this Anita Goodesign doll house quilt embroidery design, but I’ll leave you with just the above for now. Two months of my life went into creating this beauty, and it was worth every minute now that I’m looking at the final project.
Let me know if you’ve also stitched this embroidered quilt or if you have any questions about how I constructed mine!