DIY Dog Bed for Senior Dogs

I have a 10-1/2-year-old Collie who is just the sweetest thing in the world, and compared to others of her breed, her health is remarkable for her age.  She still runs around the yard and barks and plays like a puppy at times, so much so that sometimes I forget how old she is.  A couple of years ago, she started having a little bit of joint stiffness during colder weather, but it’s really started to kick in this year.  It’s not even hit the 30s here yet, and she’s really showing how sore she is.

So what’s a girl to do?  I purchased her a bed about six months ago that seemed all perfectly fluffy at the store, and when it had been laid on for about 3 days, it completely de-poufed.  As in, she was sinking so far that she was basically laying on the floor with the stuffing all around her.

She needed a really good supportive bed for her joints, but they can be so expensive – for a dog her size, easily upwards of $150, and it still might not turn out to last all that well.

After spotting some great sales at my local JoAnn’s, I loaded up my coupons and headed out to get the supplies I would need to make my own.  In all, I spent just under $62 (they were having some awesome sales!).  Not bad considering the alternative.

Materials

  • 2 yards 54″-wide outdoor fabric, or other heavy-duty fabric of your choice (I chose outdoor fabric in the hopes that it will repel any accidents that may happen.  My tiny schnauzer has a habit of, ahem, regurgitating on beds that are not her own.  Not cool.)
  • 2 yards 3″ thick foam padding (the green stuff – they will cut this to size at the fabric counter for you)
  • Heavy-duty thread
  • Appropriate sewing machine needle for heavy-duty fabrics
  • 64 ounces polyester fiberfill

Step 1)  Decide the size you would like the bed to be:  I had a cover from a previous bed that I wanted to go over the new one, so I chose to use the measurements of that cover:

  • Width = 33″
  • Length = 42″
  • Height = 3-3/4″

If you are using your own cover for starting measurements, always go with the smallest measurement if there are any variations in length or width (i.e., some parts of the cover measured 33″ wide, some measured 33.5″ wide).

Step 2)  Cut pieces:  Add an inch to each measurement for seam allowances.  If you are following my measurements, fold your fabric in half and cut the following pieces, using the diagram below to show you where to make your cuts on your fabric – make sure your folded edge is in the right spot – do not cut folded edge:

a) 2 pieces for top and bottom – 34″ x 43″ (width x length)
b) 2 side pieces – 43″ x 4-3/4″ (length x height)
c) 2 end pieces – 34″ x 4-3/4″ (width x height)

Step 3)  Start sewing:

  1. Important Note:  Use a 1/2″ seam allowance at all times.
  2. Take one piece “a” and one piece “b“.  Place right sides facing and stitch a hem along one long side.  Repeat with second “b” piece on opposite side of same “a” piece.  Press seams open.  (Note:  You may wish to pin the fabric in place before stitching.  Personally, pins just get in my way, so I skip them a lot of the time.  However, if you are a new or novice sewer, I would recommend using them.)
  3. Using same piece “a” as in previous step, take one piece “c” and place right sides facing on one unsewn edge between hems for pieces “b” from previous step.  It may be a little too long.  That’s okay – just overlap each hem by an equal amount, but start and end stitching at hems – don’t go past.  It should look like this: Repeat with second “c” piece on opposite end.  Press seams.
  4. Add backing:  Place one long side of backing piece to long side of second piece “b“, right sides together; stitch.  Repeat, matching the opposite side of backing piece to second “b” piece.  After this, you should essentially have a giant tube.  It will look kind of like a giant pillow case with openings on both ends.  Repeat again with ONE shorter end, starting and stopping at the seams as on the top piece, leaving the corners of the casing pieces unstitched – we’ll come back to those later.  Here’s a hint:  If you hold the casing piece on top while you stitch, it will be much easier.  (Be careful not to catch any unwanted fabric in your stitches!)  Leave the other end unsewn until the bed has been stuffed.
  5. Stitch corners:  Starting on one corner of the closed end, match up the edges of the unsewn corner and stitch.  You may want to stitch again for reinforcement.  To do this, just put another row of stitches 1/4″ outside your seam (toward the cut edge of the fabric).  This is extra reassurance for you, just in case Poochie puts on a few pounds this winter.  In fact, you can do this to all your seams if you so desire – it’s up to you.  Repeat with the other corner on finished end.  Just a heads up: This is where my bobbin ran out (and I started with a full one), so you may want to check yours.
  6. We’re going to leave the other two corners and the opening unsewn for the time being to prepare the stuffing.

Step 4)  Stuffing:  Measure the width and length of the finished cover:

  • width = 33″
  • length = 42″

Now, subtract an inch from each number (trust me – it will be much easier to stuff if you do this), and, using a serrated knife, cut a piece of the foam the length of the bed – beware fingers and surfaces!:

  • width = 32″
  • length = 41″

Now, measure the width of the cut piece.  I needed my foam to be 32″ wide, but my foam was only 24″ wide.  To use the foam best, I cut two 6″ pieces of foam and cut them to reach a combined length that matched that of the bigger piece.  So, for the project, I used 60″ total of 24″‘-wide, 3″-thick foam.  I had purchased 2.5 yards, so I actually have enough left to make another smaller bed that would measure 31″ x 24″.

Step 6)  Stuff the bed:  Put the foam in first, unstitched hem on the bottom of the bed.  Now, if you only want a foam bed, skip to finishing the cover.  My baby, however, likes a really thick, fluffy bed (she’s not high maintenance AT ALL), so I’m going to put some fiberfill in the top.  Only fill it about 3/4 of the way.

Step 7)  Finishing:  Start hand sewing up your seam, however you prefer.  I don’t have the patience to make my stitches blind, so I just stitch a cute (albeit somewhat childlike) topstitch, making sure the seam is strong.  I have a cover that’s going over this, so honestly, I wasn’t really worried about appearance, but feel free to stitch the end shut however you want.

Voila! You’re done!  You wanna know the best part of the whole project?  Putting your feet up together when it’s done.

.-Shannon

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Shop Launch Sale Starts Today!

I have been busy as a little bee around here.  Sew sew sew, paint paint paint, knit knit knit.  Or maybe I’m as busy as a Christmas elf.  Getting ready for all those gift shipments.  I thrive off the busyness.  It’s fun and exciting!

As several of you no doubt know by now, I recently re-launched my Etsy shop.  I sell handmade home decor and wearables – aprons, vintage-inspired signs, pillow covers, coasters, knit hats, you name it.

For the month of October, everything in my shop is 20% off for all buyers with Etsy coupon code LAUNCH.  Simply log on to Etsy and place one (or more!) of my items in your cart.  At checkout, enter the coupon code to receive the discount.

Feel free to share the coupon code – the more, the merrier!  It’s never too early to get a jump on all that holiday shopping, and I’ll be adding new items all month long!

So stop by and say hi.  As always, thanks for reading!

-Shannon

Happy Stripe Pillow

Hello all!  Today I thought I’d share with you a pattern for a cheerful quilted pillow cover with an envelope back.  It’s a great project to while away an afternoon and a fantastic way to use up any 1 to 1-1/2″ strips you have lying around from past projects.  You can also currently purchase the featured pillow cover in my Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/peachesandgingham).

Happy Stripe Pillow

One of my babies had to put her two cents in and I couldn’t resist sharing a pic of her sweet little face. Okay – here we go!

Happy Stripe Pillow

Finished size:  Approximately 16″ x 16″

Use 1/4″ seam allowance throughout, unless otherwise noted.

Materials:

  • 1 to 1-1/2″ wide strips cotton fabric in assorted colors and patterns, approximately 10.5″ long (you may double the length to make enough for two pillows at one time).  I used 12 different strips from two of Moda’s summer collections, each around 22″ long.
  • Approximately 1/2 yard solid white cotton fabric (I used scraps I had lying around, but I imagine 1/2 yard would give you plenty to work with, if you needed to purchase any.)
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors and/or rotary cutter, guide, & cutting mat
  • Pins (I prefer safety pins, but use whatever feels comfortable to you.)
  • Approximately 18″ x 18″ piece batting, whatever fiber and density you like (I used 100% polyester with a traditional loft, which measures about 3/16 of an inch, purchased at my local craft store.)
  • 16 – 18″ pillow form (found inexpensively at most craft/home supply stores)

Project Guide:

  1. For the front, you’ll need to cut the following from the solid white fabric: (1) 2 top strips measuring 4″ x 18″, and (2) 2 side strips measuring 4-1/4″ x 11″.  Go ahead and do that now.
  2. Arrange your fabric strips in the order you like.  I wanted a sort of gradual rainbow effect, so mine are sorted by color and tint.
  3. Place two of your 1-1/2″ strips right sides together and stitch along one long side; press to the darker color.  Repeat with each strip until all are joined.  If you used long strips in order to make two center sections for two separate pillows, use your rotary cutter or scissors to cut the piece in half now, somewhere close to the 10-1/2″ mark.  Using your rotary cutter or scissors, square up the corners and even out the edges along the rough outside of the newly created center block.
  4. Place one of your 4-1/4″ x 11″ white fabric strips together with the center block, right sides facing, and stitch together along the 11″ side;  press to the darker color.  Repeat with the second strip on the opposite end of the block.  Using your rotary cutter or scissors, square up anything that is uneven.
  5. Place one of your 4″ x 18″ white fabric strips together with the center block, right sides facing, and stitch together along the 18″ side; press to the darker color.  Repeat with the second strip on the opposite end of the block.  Again, using your rotary cutter or scissors, square up anything that is uneven.  You’re getting there – the top piecing is finished!
  6. Place your top piece right side up on top of the piece of batting.  Pin in place so it doesn’t move around too much while you’re quilting the top.  Move to your machine and quilt as desired.  I simply stitched horizontal lines on mine to emphasize the stripes – and for level of ease! – but it would be beautiful stitched with a more free-form design as well.  If you desire to stitch horizontal lines as I did, here’s what I did:  (1) Use a ruler to line up the edges between each strip of fabric in the center block (i.e., the ditch), and make small marks at the ends of your fabric so you know where to start and where to leave off quilting.  No worries – the marks will be hidden in the hem after you’re all done!  (2)  Simply start at each mark and guide the fabric toward each ditch, and stitch along the ditch for each piece.  The lines along the top and bottom are a little trickier – you just have to eyeball it, or else mark your fabric.  I didn’t worry too much about making mine look even – I think a little variation gives it character.
  7. Once you’ve finished quilting the top, you’re ready to make the back pieces.  For the back pieces, take the final measurements of your finished top piece.  The width measurement for the back piece will be the same as the width of the top piece.  For the height of the back piece, add 3 inches to the measurement of the height of the top piece and round up to the nearest inch (for example, 19.5 would round up to 20″).  Cut one piece of solid white fabric with these measurements, halve the height measurement of the back piece, and make your cut there (you basically just cut the back piece in half).  So, using the above numbers, each back piece would measure the width of your front by 10″ height (mine measured 17.5″ x 10″).
  8. On one long end of each back piece, fold a hem of 1/4″ and press into place.  Fold over again and press to create an enclosed hem.  Stitch into place.  Repeat with second piece; press both.
  9. Trim the batting on your top piece to the size of the top.  Pin the two back pieces to the top piece, right sides facing and with the envelope seamed parts overlapping in the middle.  Stitch all the way around with a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Make sure to back stitch a few times over the envelope opening on each side to reinforce it.  I usually back stitch at the corners too, just to have a little extra backup.
  10. Trim your corners if needed to help them lay right – but be careful not to cut your stitches!  Remove the pins and turn the cover back to its right side showing.  Press the outside, insert your pillow and voila!  You’re done!  Now wasn’t that fun?  Thanks for sewing with me!

Shannon