Monday, October 15, 2012

The Card-Table Cottage Collection: la Boulangerie

This is the first of a collaboration with Lella Boutique patterns--and of course, those who know me well, know that Lella Boutique was conceived by Vanessa Goertzen--my daughter. Her beautiful patterns will be featured on my web site:, but you can check out her blog, too! It is and is AWESOME!!!! The best news is that we are working on new projects together!

So, here's the first of our collection! It is called "La Boulangerie" which is translated from French into "The Bakery." This little cottage fits over an ordinary card table. The back is left open, so your favorite little baker will be able to get in and out easily. The inside will have a pocket caddy, stitched just behind the front door, to stash little kitchen utensils or dollies, or whatever she wants to put in her house. If you put a little quilt and pillow inside, she (or he) can also take a nap in her own house!

This is the third side of the house--the one you won't see on the pattern cover--and it is our 'flower garden.'

Don't worry! We are working on some boys' versions, and think you'll like what we come up with! So, all you have to do is buy the pattern, and follow our tutorial! It is easier than you think, but will take a little time to put together!

To make this delightful little cottage, you first need to measure your card table. Our table top is 33 1/2" square and 27 3/4" high. You will need to allow for 1/2" seam allowances, and a 1 1/2" bottom hem, so you need to add that when you calculate your panel measurements.

Cut out your top, three sides, and back panel, per pattern instructions. The first thing you need to do is to zig zag the edges, because they can fray while you are embellishing the sides!

The trick to successful fusing is to use a product that will hold in place, and I have found that Steam-a-Seam 2 is very good! It has paper on both sides of the fusible web, and is slightly sticky, so it will adhere to the fabric while you are cutting--but I am getting ahead of myself! When you are working with Steam-a-Seam, you will trace the shapes of windows, etc. right onto the paper, then remove the paper on the other side and place the Steam-a-Seam on the wrong side of the fabric. If the Steam-a-Seam doesn't stick properly, use your iron to heat up the fabric (never iron the paper to the fabric--it will become permanent), and place the web side directly onto the wrong side. Cut out the shapes, remove the paper from the traced side, and place the pieces onto the side of the house. When you have all the pieces where you want them, iron them in place. Check the instructions on the Steam-a-Seam if you have any questions!

NOTE: Make sure you don't fuse the designs into the seam allowance (1/2" from the top of each side). If you do, you will find that your sewing machine needle will gum up a little, and may mess up your stitching quality, plus having to either clean the needle or replace it!

When you fuse the windows in place, check to see if they have a valance in the window (see Flower Garden side). You will need to place the valance under the window panes when you place it on the fabric.

You can use the 'pie' fabric or another print for the tablecloth--but I liked using it to bring more of the 'bakery' element to that side. When you put the pies in the window, you will need to apply a piece of Steam-a-Seam to some fabric to be used for the 1/4" strips in the window and to trim the door. You will need about 130" of the fabric, so you can cut a 6" x 18" piece of Steam-a-Seam, cut about nine 1/4" strips with your rotary cutter to use. You will need to put a row in the window, about 1" above the bottom frame. This will go under the window sashes, and act as an inside window shelf for the pies. Fuse the pies into the bottom of the window, cutting some of them in half to go on both sides of the window sash.

When you have all the embellishments fused in place, you can cut out the windows, so the children will be able to look outside. Cut carefully, so you don't cut through the window sashes (if you do, you can always fuse a patch over that area.

I won't lie--cutting out these tiny letters are TRICKY! However, if you have a sophisticated sewing machine (I'm a Bernina girl--so really, I could have hopped on the 580 and embroidered this before I cut it out and fused it in place! Something to think about!) However, tracing and cutting it out is certainly possible, if you have some good, sharp scissors with a good pointed end!

To create a caddy for toys, you will start with a long rectangle and pockets (from contrasting fabric--the funkier the better)!

You will cut trim for the top of each pocket, then pin the strip to the top of the pocket, with the right side of the trim on the wrong side of the pocket:

Press the seam allowance toward the trim, then press under 1/4" of the trim edge.

Fold the trim over to cover the seam, and stitch close to the folded edge.

Place one of the large pockets on the bottom, matching raw edges. Baste across.

Now, press under 1/4" along the bottom edge of the three remaining pockets, pin the next pocket 1/2" from the top edge of the bottom pocket, and stitch in place! Repeat for the remaining two pockets, but make sure you put the smallest pocket at the top end!

When all the pockets are stitched in place, you will need to divide the pockets into thirds and stitch from top to bottom. 

Place the caddy and lining right sides together and stitch sides and bottom, leaving top open.

Clip the corners, turn right side out, and press! 

Zig zag across the top, through both layers.

Pin finished caddy to the wrong side of the front panel, just behind the door, and baste together at the top. 

Now, to assemble this! Place the top and one of the sides right sides together, and stitch together, starting and ending 1/2" from each corner. The seam allowance is 1/2", and press it toward the side of the cottage. Repeat for the other side!

Stitch the front (with caddy basted in place) and back pieces to the top in the same way! Notice that I used a print for the back panel. Afterwards, I thought, "Now why didn't I use that for the top, too?" So I changed the fabric requirements to you can have a cute roof on your house! 

You may wonder why I used such a little piece for the back. That's because I knew that it would be easier for kids to come in and out of their little cottage without having to deal with a door. The short panel helps keep the cottage on your card table, so it won't slip off easily! 

Now, all you have to do is stitch the sides together and hem the bottom edge! Place right sides together, and stitch each corner--press the seam open!

Finally, put on the card table and fold up bottom edge to hem.  Remove from the table, press up the hem edge (mine was about 1 1/2"), cut strips of Steam-a-Seam just a little less than 1 1/2" to fit inside the hem, and press in place. You can use your machine to stitch the hem, but it will gum up your needle a little bit! 

Here's another version, with different fabrics, for you to enjoy!

The boy's version will be forthcoming!


  1. That is adorable and wonderful idea for a play area.
    My kids are all grown up, but I am expecting my first grandchild, next year.


  2. This is fantastic! I wish that either my children were younger or I had grandchildren!