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Nature Brights Kitchen: Cool & Cozy Pet Bed

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If you're hanging out in the kitchen, chances are your favorite pet is hanging with you. Shouldn't he (or she) have a matching cushion? Pet psychologists have long warned that forcing your furry friend to sleep on a ratty old bedspread can lead to deep-seated resentments ... and hair-balls. I have no idea if that's true, but I liked pretending to be a pet psychologist. Back to the Pet Bed... ours flips over: one side is a cool cotton, the other side is cozy fleece. There's an easy-to-insert zipper in one side so you can remove the cover and toss it in the wash. Its finished size is about 18" x 24", which makes it good for a smallish dog or a giant cat... like our sweet Ollie. You can expand, or reduce, the dimensions as needed to best fit your best friend.

Our Nature Brights projects were made using Patty Young's wonderful Flora & Fauna Collection by Michael Miller Fabrics. To learn more about the collection and all the tutorials available, read our article: Nature Brights Kitchen: A Bowlful of Color with a Generous Helping of Style.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • Fabric for cool side: 5/8 yard of 44-45" wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Flora & Fauna Blossoms in Lime
  • Fabric for warm side: 5/8 yard of coordinating fleece
  • For the boxed sides: ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Flora & Fauna Ta Dot in Apple
  • Fabric for piping: ⅓ yard of 44-45" wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Flora & Fauna Ta Dot in Black
  • 5/8 yard unbleached muslin
  • 5 yards of ¼" cording
  • 24" jumbo plastic zipper: we used black
    NOTE: These jumbo zippers are available in a limited number of colors; it's best to try to stick to black or white. They are usually in the ‘outerwear' section as they are often used for ski clothing. Buy larger and cut to size if need be.
  • Large bag of polyester filling or pillow form
  • All purpose thread
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

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  1. Cut ONE 25" x 19" rectangle from the cool, warm and muslin fabrics.
  2. Cut TWO 5" x 31" strips from the side fabric.
  3. Cut TWO 3" x 25" strips from the side fabric.
  4. Cut FOUR 2" x width of fabric (WOF) strips from the piping fabric. In our case that meant 2" x 44".
  5. Cut ONE 2" x 8" strip from the piping fabric. Then, cut this strip in half to make two pieces 2" x 4".
  6. Cut the 5 yard length of cording in half.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Place the muslin piece and the cool piece wrong sides together. Pin around the edges.
  2. Using a basting stitch (or a long straight stitch), sew ¼" from the edge around all four raw edges. You will now be able to treat these two pieces as one.
  3. Fold each piece (the layered cool piece and the warm piece) in half both ways to find the center of each side. Cut a small notch at the center of each side of each piece. Set aside.
    Diagram

Making and attaching piping

If you're new to piping, you can read our tutorial: How to Make and Attach Your Own Piping. We did not cut our strips on the bias because we aren't curving the piping to attach; we're working with all straight lines.

  1. Pin two 44" piping strips together end to end along the 2" sides.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the strips together to make one 2" x 87" strip.
  3. Pin one 4" piping strip to the end of the two-piece strip you just completed.
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the strips together to make one 2" x 90" strip.
  5. Place the cording along the center of the piping strip. Pin raw edges together.
  6. Using a zipper foot, sew as close to the piping as possible.
  7. If necessary, trim the seam allowance (also called the insertion) to an even ½".
  8. Repeat to make a second length of piping with the remaining two 44" strips and one 4" strip.
  9. Working on the RIGHT sides, pin one length of piping to the cool side and one to the warm side around the edges. Position piping insertion along the raw edge and leave about a 2" tail at the end
    Diagram
  10. You will need to make small cuts into the seam allowance so the piping can turn the corner smoothly.
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  11. Because this project has a lot of layers going on, we recommend taking the few extra minutes to hand-baste the piping in place. This will help to keep all the layers in place when you sew.
    NOTE: Remember, fleece is part of the knit family and it will stretch as you sew. Go slowly and carefully.
  12. Using a zipper foot and a ½" seam allowance, sew around all four sides to attach the piping to each piece. Again, now we can treat these layered fabrics as one piece!
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  13. Continue sewing your piping in place until you are back to where you started. Using that 'tail' you accounted for at the beginning, cut off any excess so you have about 1" to work with.
  14. With a seam ripper peel back the fabric to expose the cording underneath.
    Diagram
  15. Trim the end of the cording tail so it exactly meets the end of the sewn-down cording. Fold under the end of the loose fabric to create a clean edge and wrap around the ends. Overlap about ½" and stitch in place, matching your seam line.
    Diagram
    Diagram
    Diagram

The side pieces... or 'gusset' as the pros say

  1. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the two 5" x 31" side strips together end to end (along one 5" side). Press seam open, to finish with a piece 61" long. Set aside.
  2. Place the 3" side strips and the zipper right sides together. One 3" strip should be on one side and the other strip on the other side.
  3. Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew each strip in place.
    Diagram
  4. Fold the two strips right side out (to either side of the zipper teeth) and press.
  5. If needed, trim equal amounts from each side to make sure your finished width is 5" – to match the side strips sewn together in step 1.
  6. Topstitch along either side of the zipper on the right side of the fabric. Press again.
    Diagram
  7. Trim either end of the zipper piece if necessary to be sure your finished piece is exactly 25". (Your completed zippered side panel should be exactly 5" x 25".)
  8. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the zipper side section, right sides together, to the 61" side strip end to end to create an 84" ring.
  9. Fold the ring in half one way and make tiny notches in the raw edges, top and bottom, at the center points on the zipper side (the center of the opposite side will be the seam). Fold the ring in half the other way and repeat. You now have three sets of center notches and a seam to use as positioning points in your final assembly. They'll match to the notches you made on the front and back pieces at the very beginning of these instructions.
    Diagram

Final assembly of the top and bottom to the sides

    1. Place the cool fabric flat on your work surface, right side up.
    2. Then, using all those handy notches you made, match the side ‘ring' to the cool fabric piece. Start in the middle and work your way around. You are working right sides together, aligning the raw edges, matching the notches and sandwiching the piping between the layers. Clip the corners to make a sharp angle. Pin generously as you go.
      Diagram
    3. Using a zipper foot, sew around the entire edge with an approximate ½" seam allowance. You are stitching as close to the piping as possible.
    4. Open the zipper half way.
    5. Fold up the sides so it resembles the bottom of a gift box. Your piping will pop out along your seam line at the ‘bottom' edge of the box. The next step is going to function like a 'top' for the box.
    6. Place the warm fabric piece right sides together with the top raw edge of the side ring. As above, you are working right sides together, aligning the raw edges, matching the notches and sandwiching the piping between the layers. Pin generously as you go.
      Diagram
    7. Using the zipper foot, sew around the edge with an approximate ½" seam allowance, staying as close to the piping as possible.
    8. Turn right side out through the open zipper. Push out the corners. Lightly press.
      Click to Enlarge
    9. Stuff the pet bed with the polyester filling or other filler, such as foam or wood chips.
      NOTE: You can simply fill up the bed with the loose polyester filling, or you can use a pillow form, or you can do what we did: stuff the filling into a large plastic bag, then insert it - bag and all - into the cover. Animals like crunchy sounds, so the crinkling of the plastic as they move around is fun for them. As a side benefit, this makes the stuffing easier to handle when you remove the cover to launder.


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Night night, Ollie.

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Contributors
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever

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Comments (18)

Raphaele said:
Raphaele's picture

Thanks for the tutorial: I used it to make a quick bed for the dog who moves in today. I didn't put the cording and stuffed it with old pillows, it looks great!

Nicole511 said:
Nicole511's picture

Thank you! My pillow for my pups turned out amazing. Your directions were clear and easytoo follow. Thank you!

Taylor said:
Taylor's picture
I made it smaller... I also took two buttons and placed them in the middle of both sides and used some strong thread to indent the middle of the pillow a little. I'm really proud of myself, as I just took inspiration from this tutorial and sort of winged the rest of it smilies/smiley.gif
Taylor said:
Taylor's picture
I just made this smilies/smiley.gif. Well, I made it a little different... I didn't have any cord so I didn't do the piping. And
perry10706 said:
perry10706's picture
Thanks for the tutorial. We had to replace the cushions in our couch, but I held on the old ones hoping to repurpose them somehow. I've been looking for a pattern for floor pillow cushions. I know this is for a pet bed, but this is great for what I want to do.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Nicole Salcido - I will respond offline.
Nicole Salcido said:
Nicole Salcido's picture
Hi Liz,

Back in 2010 I wrote asking how to make this pet bed bigger. You responded with {To be 100% sure, I'd probably try to draw it all out, which is probably the best was for you to approach it as well. The FINISHED surface "sitting area" of ours is about 24" x 18". Make a guesstimate of how big your new pet will be when he's lounging. Maybe another foot in each direction? That would be about 36" x 30". So, you'd need a piece about 37" x 31" for the top and the bottom, which means at least a yard at 44" wide of each of those fabrics. Then I'd go for about 3/4 of a yard of your side and piping fabrics. Add your extra 12" (or however much more/less you decide) to the measurements above. Drawing it out, based on our diagrams, will help your brain "see" it all and the math will make the most sense. Hope that helps. Enjoy your Weimaraner } I just got all the materials for the finished to be 36x30 size. What measurements do I cut everything at? Will the zipper still be the same length as what's in the pattern/tutorial directions? Thanks, I'm excited to finally make it now that we have a new dog since ours past away before I could even go out and buy the supplies to make this. Thanks Nicole Email {thesalcidofamily@gmail.com}
LaurafromGermany said:
LaurafromGermany's picture
This is sooo great!
I searched for months to find some hardly agreeable dog-bed-pattern and now I find this, which is EXACTLY what I was searching for!
Thank you SO much!
Your directions are clear, the pictures great, so even a foreigner like me has no problems at all understanding it.
Really, really good job! smilies/smiley.gif
Vanessa said:
Vanessa's picture
This is a nice and clear direction maybe I will try it for my dog and I think she´ll like it!! Thank yousmilies/cool.gif
itssewnice said:
itssewnice's picture
Great project with wonderful directions.

What I really loved was the sense of humor in this...the ratty pet beds causing resentment...probably true!
Beadywoman said:
Beadywoman's picture
This is Very cute! I made a great big round dog bed to put in my sewing room so my babies could relax with me. They love it, but this one is much prettier!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Interesting recycling idea, Mona L -- thanks. You're right ... sometimes those scraps just pile up without a good use but you feel horrible throwing them out. This would be s great use. Thanks for visiting!
Mona L said:
Mona L's picture
For stuffing you could always use all your fabric scraps - you know the pieces that are too big to throw away but almost useless for anything else. Have your sewing friends save theirs also - amazing how fast you can build up a huge bag full - enough to stuff a dog bed! And the bonus side is - make a cotton bag to hold all the scraps and when you take the cover off for washing, you can also wash the inards because they are all contained in a sealed bag.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi nicolesalcido - To be 100% sure, I'd probably try to draw it all out, which is probably the best was for you to approach it as well. The FINISHED surface "sitting area" of ours is about 24" x 18". Make a guesstimate of how big your new pet will be when he's lounging. Maybe another foot in each direction? That would be about 36" x 30". So, you'd need a piece about 37" x 31" for the top and the bottom, which means at least a yard at 44" wide of each of those fabrics. Then I'd go for about 3/4 of a yard of your side and piping fabrics. Add your extra 12" (or however much more/less you decide) to the measurements above. Drawing it out, based on our diagrams, will help your brain "see" it all and the math will make the most sense. Hope that helps. Enjoy your Weimaraner smilies/cheesy.gif
nicolesalcido said:
nicolesalcido's picture
If your making this for a large dog what measurements do you need? I'm new to sewing so I wasn't sure how much extra of everything I should do. Well be getting a Weimaraner soon to add to our family and I wanted to get a head start on this project so it was all ready by the time she came into our home.

Thanks!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi there, sewyoucan .... you are SO right smilies/tongue.gif. Thanks for the catch. I've made appropriate changes above. My bad; these instructions went through MANY versions and I think I gained some inches .... and lost some brain cells ... along the way. You get the prize for being able to think, and sew, straight. I'm so glad it still turned out for you and that your kitty friends will enjoy it.smilies/grin.gif
sewyoucan said:
sewyoucan's picture
I just made this - is it just me or is the gusset too big (by about 2" - or 1/2" at each corner)? It looks great once I ripped and resewed. I think my cats will love it!

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