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From Europe....


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Here is a friendly 'Hello' to everyone in this community.


My name is Renate and I have been introduced to miniatures via the Dollhouse route. I started restoring vintage dollhouse furniture from a friend who inherited a whole box from her Grandmother and didn't know how repair/restore them.


I like working with my hands and consider myself a Jack of many trades, however, in regards to miniatures. I only deal with furniture/ About a year ago, I decided to build the first prototypes of miniature settees/couches and disliked that new and unused look and have focused my attention to soft furnishings and how to achieve a more realistic look when it comes to folds and upholstery. I guess I want my pieces to look like my sofa, and I also want to be able to tell where someone sits.


I definitely consider myself a beginner and I am still in the process to build up a nice inventory of tools, machines and materials. I am very lucky to have close friends in rather interesting professions, so I have access to an expert in gilding and antique frame restorations, a professional furniture maker and upholsterer (who does not understand the need for a lumpy seat cushion) and a few more who I shamelessly interrogate about techniques and subject matter as needed. As I side-effect of these 'meetings' I will most likely never be able to sell anything for profit, as my dear friends cost me more in beer than any piece could ever realize in money. 


You might notice that English is not my native language, so if I say something wrong, please point it out - I'd rather know about mistakes I make than acquire bad habits.


Currently, my job forces me travel a lot (what hardship  :D), so right now I have the majority of my life stored at my sister's house and when I find the time to work it is rather limited. As of today, I'm still figuring out how to make the perfect used seat cushions in miniature, in real-life I have mastered that skill quite well - my couch can attest to that.




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Hi! I like the idea of a sofa that looks like someone has been sitting on it.  Years ago, I saw a gorgeous one at a show

that had that look - cushions slightly curved in the seating areas, pillows needing to be 'plumped'. And it was in the most gorgeous

velvets, even the pillows. It was way out of my price range and I've never forgotten it.


I'd bet you could carve the seat cushions with a Dremel to indent them, then cover them with fine batting or felt and then

the fabric.

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Sue, I have experimented some and honestly - sand had so far the most realistic effect, however, I'm not really sure how feasible the idea of using a sand layer is.


I'm waiting for an order of different batting to arrive and I'm still looking for a velvet that is soft enough to show the indentations. I am currently testing several materials with salt and vinegar solutions to see if the colors hold up and if they do indeed soften a bit. Finding fabric that is 'just right' does actually take up most of the time. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Renate, used clothing is a wonderful resource for your sofa... an old silk velvet dress that has been 'crushed' by being worn, creates that wonderful look of realism in mini.  Leather is easily confiscated from old clothing at resale shops, used clothing sales in church basements.  I'm a big fan of no hole tiny 2-4 mm glass beads for pillows.  The key is to leave space in the filling of the pillow, so you push them down.  I have used sand too, but it can escape.  When using sand, I sew it into a separate cushion, and then stuff this cushion into my other cushion.  I hope this make sense for you.  Your English seems fine to me. 


I have a curved back life size sofa that I purchased to have re-upholstered... it has down cushions.  I'm tempted to try and stuff some mini cushions with down feathers, with the right amount of down stuffing or combination of stuffing, I think it is a possibility.  Your upholster friend who doesn't understand the need for lumpy cushions had me smiling tonite!


It is easier to find worn fabric from garments then to recreate age and/or the distressed look with new textiles.  Effective draping can be achieved by sewing your manipulated fabric into place.  I pretend to use these techniques when I pretend I can costume a doll.  I spend half of my creative time pretending that I know what I'm doing, and sometimes it even works!


Good Luck and welcome to the forum!





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Hi Renate and welcome to the forum!


I sympathize with all that Tamra has said above. Look for fabrics in second hand stores to find that worm and washed down cloth,  thin enough to represent fabric in miniature. Silk ties with tiny patterns or thin leather gloves are perfect too! I also have used sand to fill cushions. Bird cage sand to be precise cos it's very fine. I left some space within the cushion so it can be 'molded' as you place the (seat) pillow. The added benefit is the weight which really helps to make it look realistic. 


Good luck finding the right sort of velvet!

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