My little granddaughter turned one year old last month. And of course, being the cutest little girl ever, I wanted to give her the perfect Christmas gift. So I made her a playhouse that goes over the table like a tablecloth. My inspiration comes from a playhouse my grandmother had for a card table when I was a little girl.
There are lots of ideas online for this type of playhouse, from simple no-sew styles made with felt or fleece, to really elaborate. There are even craft sites that sell them already made. You can go very simple–just a door and a couple windows. Or you can go a little crazy, like me and make it really fancy-schmancy. The only limit is your budget and creativity. To help you with the creativity side, I’ll show you what I made. Also, be sure to click all the links I’ve included for
even more ideas.
I already had notions, scraps and white fabric in my sewing room stash. I started by making a cross stitch picture and getting it “framed” with some brown calico scraps.
Then I started my shopping (like I almost always do) at the thrift store. I found a green table cloth (for the roof of the house and shutters) and a nice four yards of yellow fabric. Also at the thrift store: a really cool silver vinyl place mat and a lace runner that would make nice curtains for the living room.
Finally, I went to the fabric store on Black Friday (the only Black Friday shopping I do.) With great sale prices combined with 25% and 50% off coupons, I got everything else I needed. Total cost: $24.
I measured the circumference of the table and added 5/8″ for a seam allowance. If your table is square, measure the dimensions of the table and add 1.25″ to the length and width. Then I measured the table height (it was 31″) and added 2″ (5/8″ for the seam allowance and a 1.25-1.5″ hem at the bottom.) The length of this piece is determine by the circumference or length and width of the table. I subtracted 18″ for the door (somehow my measurements were off, so the door actually ended up being 24″ wide)
You can make everything with just one layer of fabric if you want–that would be the simplest and least expensive route. But I wanted details on both the outside of the house as well as creating separate “rooms” inside the house, so everything except the roof is two layers of fabric.
The door is the height of the table (plus 2″) and the width is 20″ (the size of the opening plus a 1″ overlap on each side). I also made the door two layers of fabric so it would have the same weight as the rest of the house. So, the dimension of the fabric for the door was 27.25″ (24″ door opening, plus 2″ overlap plus 1.25″ for seam allowance) by 33″ (31″ table height plus 2″ for seam allowance and hem). I also sewed two 1″ X 6″ strips onto the top edge, added velcro to the end of the strips and on the top of the “roof” (yes, I had some green velcro in my fabric stash, so it blends in nicely with the roof.) so that the door could be rolled up and velcroed into place.
Let’s see…what else? I used fusible web to iron on details of the rooms: dresser, sink, table with a vase of flowers, etc. Everything was ironed into place and then I zig-zagged around all the edges. For the dresser and sink, I also created the illusion of drawers with more zig-zag sewing. I sewed on buttons for the drawer knobs. I cut the silver place mat to make the knobs and faucet on the sink and to make the towel rack next to the sink.
The “curtain rods” are made from cord found in the upholstery section of the fabric store.
In that same section I found a cord of “jewels” that I used for the cat’s collar. The cat was a little tricky to applique. Ironing on fusible web would have ruined the fur, so instead I used double-sided tape to hold it in place while I sewed.
I also had some clear vinyl for the windows. Sewing with vinyl can be tricky. If you have to rip out any seams, you are left with needle holes, so you really only have one chance to sew it. And you don’t want a bunch of pin holes in the vinyl either, so no pinning. I used masking tape to secure the vinyl into place before sewing. Be careful when ironing around the windows. A hot iron will melt the vinyl.
So there you have it: a little yellow house with a green roof and flowers around the doorway (there are also flowers in the “back yard” on the back side.) and three rooms inside. The living room has a picture on the wall, lace curtains and a vase with flowers on the table. The bedroom has a dresser and a furry kitty with a jewel collar. The kitchen has a window with flowered curtains, a sink and a towel rack that holds a little towel.
Since this playhouse has its genesis from when I was a young girl playing at my grandmother’s house, I hope that this will not only give my granddaughter hours of fun play, but also provide a tangible link from her to her great-great-grandmother.
If you’ve made (or make) a playhouse, why don’t you share with us, so we can get more ideas on how to create a fun play space for our little ones?
Here’s a tutorial with some cute details.
Another tutorial, this one is made with felt.
This one“has so many cute details. She also sells the pattern for this.
This kind of project isn’t only for little girls. Make a castle or fort for boys. This one has a PVC frame.
Or a teepee–this one is similar to one I made for my boys when they were little.
Make a pavilion like this one. Use a hula hoop for the frame and hang it from the ceiling.