A fun and easy way to make a soft and machine washable bed for your best friend (I made one for my Dogs, but there isn't any reason the same principle couldn't be applied to make a bed for a very small dog or cat). Materials are all easily found, very basic sewing skills required, faster and easier if done with a sewing machine but can be done by hand!
NB: this is my first instructable, so if you think I missed anything or need to change something, please let me know!
Step 1: Source and Gather Materials!
Things you will need: most of these can be recycled, upcycled or found in and around your home, otherwise you will most likely be able to source them from a local charity store or second hand shop or the local craft store.
- Mattress protector or pillow case (old and smelly is great as it is likely to be familiar and encourage your pet to sit/sleep on it)
- Pillow or Hobby Stuffing (how much you will need depends on the size bed)
- Fabric to Cover the bed (Polar Fleece for something warm and soft for the gentle pets, or a canvas/drill for the tougher types, or an old blanket, doona/quilt cover)
- Thread, any colour you like to match your fabric, go for an upholstery thread if you can as its a bit stronger.
- Scissors, sharp enough to cut the fabric doubled over.
- Soft Sewing tape measure and or Ruler.
- Pen or Pencil or Tailors Chalk for marking.
- Sewing Pins to secure your fabric.
- Patience and a little creativity.
Step 2: Sizing!
Measure your Pet! Try and get a few rough measurements while they are asleep so you know roughly what size to make the bed so that they are comfortable. My Measurements were between 60cm and 120cm depending on whether Chess was sleeping in a ball or stretched out.
Decide what size to make the bed, I went with 90cm by 80cm as that was the rough size of my single mattress protector when folded in half. I also measured by Boyfriends dog Daisy, who is tiny and came is between 25cm and 40cm, so a pillow case will be perfect for her. (no pics for this step as I had enough trouble sneaking up to measure her).
If your sizing is bigger than the pillow case but smaller than the mattress protector measure the size you need and quickly run a zipzag stitch or if you have it over locker/surger around it to stop the little bit of stuffing escaping then cut if you didn't use an over locker/surger.
Step 3: Sew Pockets for Stuffing!
Divide your final bed size into easily manageable pockets to stuff, I went with 15cm wide as I can still get my hand comfortably inside to stuff, if you have a knitting needle or other stuffing tool you can make the pockets smaller. I also divided mine down the middle so that the stuffing would move around less if the bed was nested for added comfort.
First picture shows the measurements, the second picture shows the stitching (white on white sorry).
Step 4: Stuff and Seal!
Stuff your pet bed and sew around the edges to seal the stuffing in! Go slow and try and make each pocket even, this is where you can decide to add a little stuffing or a lot of stuffing, I opted for somewhere in between so that there is some fluff but it is still soft enough to be pushed around.
Pics show stuffed and sealed bed.
Step 5: Test!
If like me your pets like to help, test run the size and stuffing and see how they like it! Chess threw it around a bit then sat on it, and finally curled up and went to sleep, so for me that meant it was approved!
Step 6: Draw Up a Design for the Cover!
I chose to make my cover a giant pillow case but if you want to make a closure with a zip, buttons or snaps that also works, I just happen to be lazy!!!
Work out how much material you will need after measuring the size of your finished bed insert, I added 2-3cm in each direction after measuring loosely, then added a cm seam allowance when I drew it up.
Step 7: Choose a Fabric!!!
Using an old blanket or doona/quilt cover is a great way to up-cycle. I only had a quilt cover in pink/blue which I didn't think suited so I bough some Cotton Drill in Dalmatian pattern.
Step 8: Measure and Cut Your Fabric!
Measure and cut the pieces that you need for the cover. then lay them together to make sure they match! Make sure you have help when you do this so that you know you are doing it right XD
Step 9: Fold, Pin and Hem!
For this pillow case cover you will need to fold and hem the two edges that will be exposed. Fold over twice and pin so that you can hem, I top stitched mine with a small straight stitch so that the stitching forms part of the design.
Step 10: Line Up, Pin and Join!
Lay the two piece right sides together, and fold back the pillow case end. Pin around the 3 sides of the fabric that will need to be sewn together! This will leave the end open that you have created the two seams for.
Stitch around the 3 sides that were pinned. I opted for a zigzag 7 and a straight 4, so that the fabric was safely secured together but still had a straight edge when turned right side out. Remember to back stitch the beginning, end and all your corners between.
If you are using a heavy fabric you may need to clip the corners so that it sits flat once the right way around, otherwise just clip all loose threads.
Step 11: Turn and Insert!
Turn the cover right side out and stuff in the insert ! You're done!!!