By Diane Ellis
If you have a dog who prefers to sleep on top of your quilt (or doona, or comforter) rather than his own dog bed, then this simple project can help. I'll show you how to quickly and easily make your pooch his own comfy dog bed. And with summer and winter weight covers, the one bed will do him all year round!
To Make Your Pattern
The pattern is really very simple – just a square. The important thing is to make sure the bed will be large enough for your dog. We are using the same approach as is used for quilt or doona covers.
Measure your dog from nose to end of tail, and then measure his height from the ground to the tops of his ears. Take whichever is the longer measurement and add 3" (or 8cm). This is the size of your dog bed.
So, for example, my dog is 23" tall and 18" long, so I'll make a 26" square dog bed for him. (And in centimetres, that's 59cm by 46cm, so my dog bed will be 67cm square).
Fabrics & Notions
Remember when buying your fabric that you need two square pieces. So, using the example above again, I will need fabric measuring 26" by 52" (or 67cm by 1.34m).
The fabric for your dog bed will depend on the time of year. For winter, why not make the bed cover using microfibre or polar fleece type fabrics. In summer, choose a heavy weight cotton. For those in between seasons, you could use corduroy or denim. Just remember the fabric needs to be tough enough to withstand the dog turning around 3 times every night before he goes to sleep!
For the insert, you can either buy quilting, or, depending on the size of your dog, even a cot quilt folded over in half may do! Shop around to compare prices.
Once you have bought your quilting, check to see what size opening you will need in the bed cover to easily insert and remove the filling. Test it out on pillowcases, cushion covers and so on, so you can get an idea what size opening you will need. Jot this number down somewhere as we will need it later!
For the closure, you have a choice of snap fasteners (ball and socket type), buttons, Velcro or even a zipper. Choose the one you are most comfortable with, and that you think your pooch won't rip open. Velcro fasteners are relatively easy in that they can be attached using your sewing machine, and they are nowhere near as fiddly as zippers to attach. Buttons and snap fasteners require hand sewing, but again are fairly simple to do – the only trick with buttons is creating your button hole. However, these days, most sewing machines have an automatic button-hole stitch.
If using Velcro or a zipper, you will need one that is long enough to cover the gap size you calculated earlier.
Making Your Dog Bed
Depending on the type of fabric, you may want to run a quick zigzag stitch around the entire outer edge of your piece (or pieces) of fabric, especially if it is the type of fabric that is likely to "run".
Now, lay out your fabric and fold in half to form your square, with the right sides together. Don't worry if you got your fabric in two pieces, just lay one piece on top of the other, with their right sides together.
We now want to stitch together almost all of the fabric, but leave a gap large enough in the top side to be able to easily insert and remove your filling, as we calculated earlier. Before we start sewing, we need to calculate how far along the top edge we need to sew.
So, if you calculated that you need 16" for your gap (to insert and remove the filling), and your material is 26" wide, then (deducting the 1" seam allowance either side) you need to sew in 4" on each end of the top edge. I'll explain – we take the width (26") then take off the two seam allowances for the two sides (1" each – leaves us 24"), then deduct the gap required (16" – leaves us with 8") and then divide this by 2, as we need to have the gap centred along the top edge (that leaves us with 4" each side).
If Your Fabric Is In One Piece
Stitch along one side 1" (or 2½cm) away from the edge, then stop 2" (or 5cm) from the top edge, turn your material around, and stitch along the length calculated above (in my example it was 4"). Now cut off the thread, and then do the same with other side.
If Your Fabric Is In Two Pieces
If your fabric is on two pieces, it is a lot easier. Just decide which side will have your opening, then position the needle 2" in from the top edge and the length you calculated above from the bottom. Start stitching, and about 1" from the bottom, stop, turn your fabric so you are now ready to sew the side seam, continue sewing until you come to the bottom, and so on, until you get back to your top edge. Just remember that we are allowing a 2" hem allowance for the top edge, not 1".
Now just attach your preferred closure items and you're done!!
Diane Ellis is the owner of www.Sewing4Dummies.com. She also has a site dedicated to our four legged friends called Best Doggie Tips. Learn more about her on our About Us page.
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