Monday, January 29, 2018

Windowseat Cushions

Working In the Dark.....

I am sure that most of you, Dear Readers, can relate to my current dilemma when it comes to dollhouse decor, that it is nearly impossible to see what you are doing in the deep dark back side of the room! Above you can see the attic of Hardwick Hall as it looks in the morning light (if dark gray mornings can be said to be light...!) and even though the dollhouse sits beside a window, not much light reaches the interior of the room. I know it is made more difficult by my choice of color... deep dark midnight blue is supposed to be deep and dark! And this is the atmosphere I am wanting... but it is darned difficult to see to measure and fit the pieces being worked on! I live in an older house, and don't have overhead lights in the room where I am building. Even when I shine a spotlight straight into the house... my own shadow gets in my way the minute I reach in to take a measurement.... *Sigh* So I am sure you will understand when the pieces I am making are not exactly precisely fitted!
But having realized that I must complete the seating area at the back of the room before I can make real progress on the parts that will be in the foreground, I was eager to begin with the seat cushion for the window seat bench, which was to be made of that lovely dark blue-green velvet!

Of course I forgot to take any pictures of the first steps.... 
here you can see it already stitched together and turned right side out.
 Because velvet is very "slippery" fabric, 
I am hand stitching the entire cushion.
And because I am planning to stitch
 the "welting" around the cushion edges, 
I was a little unsure of how much extra fabric
 to add for the seam allowances... 
so my starting measurements were rather "approximate"!

Here I have stitched the "welting" around all the edges... 
see how it shrinks the cushion a bit?

Here it is stuffed with several layers of cotton quilt batting...

Shouldn't we test it for fit on the bench...?
Can you see it in there... yes, it is night again...

Here I have added the tufting......
I wasn't sure whether that would make it wider,
 or tighten up the fabric making it narrower....?
Of course I didn't measure before and after so I will never know...!
But the truth is that the cushion was too wide
 for that narrow bench... 
no matter how much I scrunched it in there... 
it hung over the edge. 
So I decided to widen the bench seat just a little
 by adding an edge and facing trim.

I am sure you can see the seam above... 
but it will be covered by the cushion! No-one will ever know!

It helps... but it might not be quite enough....!
Perhaps we can see better by morning light...?
With some pillows borrowed for atmosphere....?
(I know... it's still too dark!)
But I really want to get started on the curtains for the alcove,
 Dear Readers, so I ignore the bench....

And start testing the fabric and trim ideas....
same velvet fabric and heavy gold braid fringe....

Can you imagine sitting in this window alcove on a dreary rainy day ....?
Just Daydreaming the day away....?

Here I am testing the beginning of the curtains....
 and in order to reach into this space 
I have disassembled the roof panels as well as the rafters
 so I can reach into the curtain rod... 
so I can slide the rings on and off.
In case you didn't know, Dear Readers,
 I like my curtains to "work" 
as in being able to slide open or closed!
I don't like the permanently glued in place option!
(With the exception of the 144th scale houses!)
So for these curtains I am trying a method I have read about but not tried.... 
of shaping the fabric by sewing wire into the hems of the curtain!
Above you can see the first panel being tested...(partly sewed)
 to see how the "pleats" will work with the wire in the hem....!
 I think it is working well!

Here you can see how I am stitching the paper covered florist wire
 into the hems of three sides of the curtain.... 
only leaving the wall side without wire
 as it will hang the most naturally by itself.
I am not double turning the hems because they would be too bulky,
 but am relying on the pinked edges to prevent fraying.

Once the hems have been sewn with the wire inside, 
I am testing the fringe.....
(I know it is too dark to see...!)

Here, I have turned on the spotlight....!

The fringe is attached.... 
you can see how the wire in the top edge
 can be bent to hold a pleat!

And testing the completed curtain.... yes, 
I deliberately made it long enough
 to drag and puddle on the floor!
I think that adds to the illusion of weight in the fabric.

And then repeat for the second curtain!

Ooohh... come closer!
I am liking this!
But all that deep dark hiding behind the curtains
 doesn't change the fact that the bench is still a bit too narrow!

I decide to widen it a tiny bit more.... 
and to decorate the front to look like carved paneling....
which will certainly distract the eye
 from spotting the too deep overhang...
(which still needs another layer of trim...)

But at least the cushion now fits the width of the bench!
(viewed from above... I know, it's dark again!)

And I have realized  it is a good thing the bench needed to be a bit wider...
 because when the built-in bookshelves are added at each side, 
the window seat will appear to be very deeply recessed!

What little of it you will be able to see...
 way back there behind the fireplace and the spiral stairs....

Perhaps that will just make it
 all the more mysterious and enticing, Dear Readers....
A Deep dark cushioned Windowseat....
A Place for working.. or Dreaming in the dark!


  1. I LOVE the velvet curtains Betsy AND your carved and cushioned window seat!
    Opulent and yet very cosy and intimate, too!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! I have been "Dreaming" of this window seat for a long time! LOL! It is fun to finally get the decor in place!

  2. These velvet curtains are so well made, I love how you accomplished the pleats in this heavy/slippery fabric, great work! I would prefer to sit in there and dreaming in the dark looking at the stars in the dark sky ;O!
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Hi Ilona! The star-gazing and moon-rise watching will be perfect in that spot! I have my nose pressed to the window panes! LOL! I had not tried that "wired" method with curtains before... I will use it again because it gives you flexibility! I can change the curtains position if I wish! :)

  3. beautiful with the light that adds depth

    1. Thank you Claude! I love the way the light shines on the velvet!

  4. Hello Betsy,
    Those curtains are amazing. I love the fabric you chose, the fringe, and they hang so beautifully and realistically. The pillow is beautiful and I am happy it was a little big because the embellishments on the front of the window seat base are beautiful. I can see myself sitting there on a rainy day reading a good book and dreaming...if it feels to dark to you, maybe you can add a shelf for a candlestick, or maybe a scone to light up the nook...however I'll bet it is a great place to look at the stars at night. Fantastic work Betsy...I love it!
    Big hug

    1. Dear Giac, I have always loved Velvet curtains... but have never had any in RL! Now I have them in my Dollhouse and I love them even more! LOL! I am always glad when little "mistakes" end up being even better than the original intention! I am really looking forward to building the bookshelves... waiting on the lumber delivery! I know there will be many "visitors" sitting in this window nook reading and star-gazing! You are welcome to visit any time! :):)

  5. Oh, wonderful! The curtains and cushion are beautiful! It makes the window seat very cozy and inviting.

    1. Hi Millicent and Friends! I am glad you are enjoying it! I am spending all my "Daydreaming" time in there! LOL! Thank you for commenting!

  6. I like the cushion. It's not perfect which makes you think it's been there long enough to get worn with little bottoms sitting on it and moving the stuffing around.

    And the window seat with the curtains is looking wonderful. I like the paneling detail.

    1. Hi Sheila! I am glad you think it looks worn and used... I love that look about things... but I am always reluctant to "age" them deliberately...! In this case the dark helps and the uneven stitching...! I can imagine sitting in this nook!!! :):)

  7. What a beautiful room that is! I would love to spend a dark and rainy day wrapped in the mood of those lovely velvet curtains, in the nook, reading a spooky book!

    1. Hi Mom! Exactly! (Although... maybe not too spooky! LOL!)

  8. The cushion looks very cozy and the fabric of the curtains is beautiful.

    1. Thank you Fabiola! I am always happy when I can use some of my beautiful favorite fabrics in the minis! This is one of them! :)

  9. Betsy, I do love it ! I'd like it in real life. A perfect nook to read, snooze and daydream :o)

    1. Hi Rosanna! Yes, exactly my opinion too! LOL! I would spend all my time there... Yes, "Daydreaming"!

  10. Te han quedado genial ,tanto las cortinas( una idea fantástica lo de poner alambre), como el cojín.:-)

    1. Thank you Contrastes-Rosa! I have read about using the wire in the hems, but had not tried it before. Now I love it! It makes it easy to shape!

  11. It looks great Betsy. And well done on the welting and buttoning! These details can make all the difference. The panelling on the window seat was a great idea and I am sure the slightly too large cushion will not be obvious once you are done.

    1. Hi Shannon! I am always so happy to find that a "mistake" has caused an improvement in the end result! LOL! I am loving the nook with the dark feeling...!

  12. Opulent and mysterious. I really like it, the whole set, curtains and cushions. And the bench, the panelling works really well, such a great idea. I can relate to your struggles, I am having my bit lately :)

    1. Hi Alexandra! Yes, it does add to the challenges... not being able to see what we are trying to do! LOL! Fortunately a lot of the roof on this attic has not been attached, so I can get to the back of the room. Yes, Opulent and mysterious is the feeling I am aiming for! Thank you for your comments!

  13. I love the opulence of the gold and velvet! Tt does indeed create a mysterious and enticing setting!
    I often wish that I could simultaneously use my phone's camera AND light - it would solve so many rigging issues! Fortunately, spring is right around the corner, and we have hope of better natural lighting conditions!

    1. Hi Jodi! Spring??? What Corner??? LOL! I LOVE your optimism! At least the days are getting noticeably longer if not warmer in this neck of the woods! I think the inventors of "flash" technology need to invent a "muted flash" for really close-up selfie and mini shots LOL!!! In general I hate "flash" lighting and try to never use it.... but a mechanism to increase the light a little bit would be a help! :):)

  14. Hi, Betsy - The attic window alcove is wonderful! The colors, of course, are luscious, and the tufted, welted cushion adds to the luxurious mood. I like your idea of widening the bench and adding the "distracting" molding detail - it all works! The sparkling gold trim on the curtains is a perfect contrast to the dark fabric, and the use of the wire to shape the curtains is very clever - I need to remember that technique for future projects. The finished window seat and curtained alcove look so cozy that I'm feeling drowsy - and you have just the spot for a rainy-day nap!

    1. Hi Marjorie! I agree... it is the Ultimate "Napping -Daydreaming" spot! :) I am there as often as possible lately! LOL! I am glad you like the wired curtains idea... I had read about it a long time ago and never tried it. I am so glad I did! It works wonderfully with this fabric. :):)

  15. Like (as I suppose) all of us I too could tell a few tales about light while taking pictures. Among the things I will never understand is the fact that pictures taken with the help of a daylight lamp show different colors as in reality. But even with the pictures you took without daylight being helpful and supportive it was possible to follow your steps and to understand what you had to struggle with... and the result is once more stunning. I admire the way you've tamed that heavy velvet fabric... it's really perfect for a reading nook in a witchy house. Adding the carved front to the bench was a great idea. The last picture gives a good hint at how well all of this will work together - quite a dramatical effect with the rolling curtains. I only wonder whether you are going to add a decoration to the curtain rod's endings... maybe a half moon or so to honor the moon maidens? Or are you going to get real witch crazy adding for example owls, dragons ore skulls? Well, they say a skull a day keeps the vampire away (at least Borthud Skullington says so... but I must admit with his kind of humour it's not always easy to decide if he's making fun of me or not *grin*) Okay, the curtain rod would also look great just the way it is... but I must confess I would really like to see you joining the real dark and witchy side of miniatures... *teehee*


    1. Dear Birgit, as you can Imagine... my intention is to "Eventually" have wonderful finials on the curtain rod! But first I have to find/make/design them! LOL! The rod is not a standard size... (made from wire coat hangers) so finding a bead with the right size opening is a challenge! And then I have to consider whether they should ever be "removable"??? LOL! *Sigh* Yes, I do get carried away.... so in the meantime, I will be working on the other details... the other window seats... the spiral stairs... the chimney... And hope I will not forget to add the finials... some year down the road when I get that far! LOL! I am glad you are enjoying my Descent into the Dark Witchy Underworld...... but I will have to assure you it will never get gruesome! "Shudder" I have no stomach for that! LOL! I am about the "Dark Starry Mysterious and Magical Witchy World... the one where you can Never be sure if you are in the Real World or the Magical one...! :):):)

  16. That is so impressive given the scale and the wire in the curtains really works well. It was an inspired idea to add the panelling to the window seat - I love it.

    1. Hi Irene! I am glad I "Needed" to add the paneling to the window seat! LOL! Now I can't imagine it without! The wires in the curtains worked really well... I will be using that method again! :):)

  17. A spectacular fireplace, it has been worth so much cutting and your Christmas card is lovely :-)

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