Hold The Front Door: How To Make A Cute Cottage Doorstop
This incredible little cottage in miniature is the work of none other than our lovely, and incredibly talented, Rebecca Cole! Ideal for propping open doors throughout your home, this doorstop is a great project to get stuck into, whether you’re sewing for yourself, or creating a gift for a friend. There’s plenty of scope for personalisation – select your fabrics to suit your own home decor, or attempt to recreate your very own home in miniature as an awesome conversational piece! Want to try out this intermediate level doorstop sewing project for yourself? Rebecca breaks it down into easy-to-follow instructions below, with step-by-step photography that will keep you on track throughout!
This cute cottage doorstop is perfect for propping open doors in your home. Both practical and attractive, I recommend picking colours to match your décor. Because this can be made from scraps of fabric and trims that you have laying around, left over from other projects, it is a cost effective way to get creative and indulge in a little sewing! You can copy exactly what I have done here, or add your own flare, and decorate your cottage in any way you wish!
For the Template You Will Need:
For the Doorstop You Will Need:
- Various small pieces of fabric (this project can be made from fat quarters)
- Various pieces of ribbon and trimmings of your choice
- 27cm length piece of 3cm wide ribbon or trimming for your handle
- Heavy weight interfacing (if using thin fabrics)
- Sewing machine
- Sewing scissors
- Complementary sewing thread
- Contrasting sewing thread
- Straight pins
- A small button
- Sewing needle
- Tape measure
- 3kg dry rice
Gather your materials together. Choosing patterns and colours that complement each other will give your finished cottage a beautiful look. I have used seven different fabric patterns, but you can use as many or as few as you’d like.
Step 2 – To Make the Template:
- FRONT/BACK piece: cut a square 21cm x 22cm. Mark the two 21cm edges as “side” and the two 22cm edges “top” and “bottom”.
- SIDE: Draw a 14cm square. On the top line measure 7cm in, and make a mark. This is the centre-point of the line. Measure straight up from this line 7cm, and mark this point. Draw another line parallel to the top edge of your square, 2.5cm either side of the 7cm mark you have just made, giving you a 5cm line. Join the top corners of your square to the ends of the 5cm line to form the trapezium shape for the roof.
- ROOF: Draw a rectangle 22cm x 11cm. Mark the long edges as “top” and “bottom” and the shorter edges as “side”.
- Please note that all of the measurements above include a 1cm seam allowance on all edges.
Choose which fabrics you are going to use for each of the three parts of your cottage. You will need to cut two of each shape, so double over your fabrics when placing your template pieces, as this will save time and ensure that your pieces are exactly the same size. When you have cut out your pieces, lay them out so you can see them all clearly.
If you are using thin fabrics, you will need to strengthen them with heavyweight interfacing. If you are using thicker fabrics, such as upholstery fabrics, you can skip this step and go straight to step 5. Using your templates, cut out two each of the same shapes in the interfacing. On your ironing board place your fabric pieces with the wrong side of the fabric facing up and place the shiny side of the interfacing face down onto the fabric. The shiny side is the side with the glue. Always iron interfacing with this glue side face down so that you don’t end up with any sticky glue residue on the plate of your iron. Gently press the interfacing to the fabric pieces being careful to follow the instructions that come with your interfacing. Leave them to cool before moving them and check that the two pieces have fused together. If there are spots where the glue hasn’t quite stuck, repeat the process until they have.
Now it is time to join the roof pieces to the front and back pieces of your cottage. Lay the front and back pieces in front of you, right side up. Place the roof pieces on top, face down, right sides together, lining up the “bottom” edges of the roof pieces with the “top” edges of the front and back pieces. Pin them together. Thread up your sewing machine with a complementary thread colour and sew a line of straight stitch 1cm in from the edge you have just pinned.
*TIP* Put your straight pins in at right angles to the edge you are about to stitch as this means you can sew straight over them with your machine!
Using the point of your iron, press open this seam so that it lays flat.
Lay your front and back pieces in front of you, right side up, with the roof pieces at the top. Measure 7cm up from the bottom of your front and back pieces and, using a contrasting thread colour and a sewing needle, hand stitch a line of loose tacking stitches across both pieces.
Select which fabrics you are going to use to make the door and windows for your cottage. Cut out a rectangle for the door (mine was 4.5cm x 7cm although you can make yours whatever size you wish) and six squares (mine were approximately 5cm square). Again, if you are using thin fabrics that you can see the underneath fabric pattern through, I recommend interfacing these pieces also. This is also handy as it makes the pieces a bit easier to handle. As before, if you are using thicker fabrics, or are confident to do this without interfacing, then again, skip this step.
I found this easier to do by placing all of the window and door pieces along a strip of interfacing that was slightly larger than the pieces, and cutting them out after they had been pressed. Remember to iron the interfacing shiny side down to avoid getting glue on your iron plate.
Place your doors and windows onto the front and back pieces to create a design that you are happy with. Pin them in place, putting the pins in horizontally. Take care not to pin any of your door and window pieces below your 7cm tacking stitch line. Place the door piece just slightly above this line.
Select your ribbon or trim that you are going to use to create the “panes” of the windows. Keeping the ribbon long, lay it vertically down the centre of your window piece and stitch a straight line down through the centre, stitching the ribbon, window, and front/back pieces of fabric together. Back-stitch to finish, and trim the ribbon piece flush with the edge of the window. Don’t worry too much about being really precise with this, the project is improved with some quirky edges! You can now remove the pin from this window piece. Place the long ribbon piece horizontally across the window forming a cross with the first piece of ribbon, and stitch in place as before. Trim the ribbon flush with the window edge. Repeat this process for the other five windows.
Chose your lace (or whatever trim you are using) that you are going to use to form the edges of the windows. This is where we hide all the rough edges of the fabrics and neaten up the windows. Start in one corner, positioning the lace edge flush with the edge of the window. Starting on the outer edge of the lace, and making sure to stitch outside the raw edge of the window, sew a line of straight stitch all the way to the bottom of the window edge.
When you have reached the next corner, keeping your machine needle in the fabric, lift your presser foot and pivot the whole front/back piece 90 degrees clockwise and pull the lace around to lie along this new edge, pushing the excess of lace out of the way with a needle or stitch picker. You will create a small bubble of excess lace in the corner but don’t worry, we will deal with this in the next step. Try not to catch this bubble in your stitching at this point. Repeat this process until you have stitched around all four outside edges of the window with the lace. When you are approaching the corner where you started, trim off the lace leaving approximately 5mm excess. Fold this under to neaten the edge and catch down with your stitching.
Next we need to sew the inner edge of the lace. Move your needle to sew a line of stitching along the inside edge of the lace. At the corners, mitre the lace by pushing the excess underneath the adjoining piece of lace but, again, don’t worry about being too precise with this. Stitch around all 4 edges, pivoting in the corners as before. Repeat this process on all 6 windows.
Using some ribbon (or your choice of trim), repeat this process around the three edges of the door. Don’t worry about the bottom edge at this point. I have added a second, narrower ribbon to add depth and interest, but this is completely optional.
Next, select the piece of trim you are going to use to edge the roof. Line it up along the seam edge where you stitched the roof pieces to the front and back pieces of your cottage. Stitch along the top and bottom edges to hold it securely in place.
Using a piece of the same trim, place it along the bottom edge of the door, catching in the raw ends of the door and ribbons but making sure it doesn’t go below your 7cm line of tacking stitches. Stitch in place along the top and bottom edges, turning under the ends and catching them down as you did with the lace.
Finally, hand-stitch your small button onto the door to form the handle.
Now we have finished decorating our cottage it is time to put the doorstop together. Putting right sides together, pin your front and back pieces along the top edge of the roof and the bottom edge of the walls. Stitch along these edges using a straight stitch on your machine, 1cm in from the edges. You have now created a “tube”. Press open these seams. This is easiest using a sleeve arm. However, if you don’t have a sleeve arm, a rolled up towel will work just as well.
At the four points at which your 7cm tacking stitches meet the edges of the front and back pieces, snip 1cm in along this edge. Repeat this process at the roof, 1.5cm either side of the central roof seam you have just made, creating a 3cm “flap”.
Take your 3cm wide trim and cut it to 27cm long. Turn the house round the right way so that the right sides of the fabric are on the outside, and pin each end of the trim to the 3cm “flaps” you have just created in the roof.
Turn the cottage back inside out so that the wrong side is facing out. Pin the sides of the cottage to the front, back, and roof piece, placing the pins at right angles to the edge. The snips you have made at the line of tacking thread and in the roof are the points where the body of the cottage meet a corner on the side pieces.
Stitch 1cm in all the way around the edges of both sides of the cottage. On one side, make sure you leave a gap along one diagonal edge of the roof to enable you to turn the cottage round the right way (this is called “bagging out”) and also to get the filling in later. At the corner points where you have made your snips, leave the needle in the fabric, raise the presser foot, and pivot the fabric around, as we did with the windows. Make sure you stitch inside the corners, catching both fabrics, or you will leave a small hole which will leak rice! At the corners of the side pieces, snip diagonally across, removing the corner points. This creates less bulk in the corners and means we will get sharper corners when we “bag out” our cottage.
“Bag out” your cottage so that it is the right way around, using a pin to pull out the corners if necessary. Using your iron, press all of the edges of the cottage so that final shape is sharp. Fold the front and back along the line of tacking stitches and press this also. This creates the base.
Stand the shell of your cottage onto its side so that the opening you have left is at the top nearest to you. Pour your rice into the jug and, using the funnel, pour the rice slowly into the cottage through the opening. 3kg of rice should be enough to fill ¾ of your cottage and give it a good weight.
Pin the opening together and hand-stitch it closed with small, neat stitches.
Turn your cottage the right way up, fluff it up to make sure the rice is giving it a good shape, sit back and admire your handiwork!
Do you have any fabric scraps lying around that you’d love to put to good use? Let us know in the comments if you’ll be giving this fantastic sewing project a go!