Introduction: It's Hammock Time! (Ferret Sleepsack)
Ferrets, like probably most caged animals, are hard on their bedding. They sleep a LOT in it, they scratch and dig at it, and a few even chew on their bedding. So it needs to be replaced regularly.
Thirteen years ago, I bought some handmade ferret sleep-sacks/hammocks off the internet B.E. (before Etsy). Shortly thereafter, the lady stopped making them and closed her site. I held onto those sleep-sacks for WAY too long. They were the best design I’ve ever came across. They were perfect for hanging as a hammock, or as a sleep-sack on the floor of the cage. They had colorful patterns on the outside for lounging on, and warm cozy fleece interiors for snuggling on chilly nights. I thought I would never come across the perfect ferret sleep-sack again. I finally dug out those old sleep-sacks, long ago relegated to storage because they were too shredded from years of ferret abuse and no longer fit to sleep a ferret. I stared at that design. I can totally sew that, I thought.
Actually, it is a very easy design and very forgiving in assembly. It virtually has no measuring, uses remanent pieces I have in my craft stash or whatever I find on clearance at the fabric store. I also love using whimsical fabric, bright bold colors or funky patterns that would not fit in my house decor I find work perfectly with the playful nature of the ferret.
I decided my ferret could use a couple of new ones for the new year and I raided my stash for colorful prints and coordinating fleece and whipped up five sleep-sacks up in less than two hours.
Step 1: Cut Scrap Fabric Pieces Into Rectangle 40 by 16 Inches (approximately).
Place the patterned fabric and fleece right sides together and cut straight edges. You can make these sleep-sacks any size you want, but I like to aim around a 40-inch piece by 16-inch piece (plus or minus a few inches is fine, whatever scrap size you have on hand). The long side of the rectangle needs to be around 2.5 times the short side though, in order for the design to work.
Step 2: Sew Right Sides Together (leave Small Opening), Flip Inside Out, and Stitch Opening Close.
Sew right sides of fabric together with a straight or a zig-zag stitch, leaving a small opening to flip the sleep-sack right-side out.
Pin the small opening together and hand sew or machine sew it close.
Step 3: Overlap Short Ends of Rectangle in the Middle and Insert Hanging Loops.
With the fleece facing up (don’t worry, it will end up on the inside of the pouch), fold over and overlap the two short ends of the sewn rectangle by a couple of inches in the middle of the long sides.
Now to make loops for the hammock to hang by, or for securing to the edges of the cage as a sleep-sack, find any ribbon, shoe lace, braided fabric piece, etc. (I used leftover edge binding sewn together for this hammock) and cut four pieces 4 to 5 inches long. Create four loops and insert them inside the folded corners of the sack, ends hanging out and secured with a pin.
Step 4: Sew the Long Sides Together.
Pin the two open sides of your folded over rectangle together and sew them close with a straight or zig-zag stitch, making sure you securely stitch the corners with the loops.
Step 5: Turn It Inside Out and You're Done!
Turn the bag right-side out and the ferret sleep-sack/hammock is finished. So easy and so fast! And with minimal measuring and fuss. Even if you had a hard time stitching a straight line, this design is so forgiving, nobody would be the wiser–and ferrets don’t care if you sewed it perfectly or not, as long as it is snuggly and soft.