Ever since I got Bro, I’ve been itching to sew up some custom beds for the pups. This venture was not so much to save money (because I ended up spending plenty of that), but to avoid the god-awful ugly ones they sell at pet stores.
You see, in our house, dogs are not allowed on the furniture. No couch, no chairs, no lap sitting. They’re also not allowed to roam free and pace around when they’re inside (save that for the backyard, doggies). So since they were both puppies, they’ve had beds to lay on at all times inside the house. And now that they’re older and not as prone to destruction, I wanted to make some beds that weren’t a constant eyesore in the living room.
I started out by selecting some fun prints from Spoonflower, this blue-on-blue number for Seamus, and a grey and yellow arrow print for Schooner. I could have saved money with something from the local fabric store, but I was dazzled by the array of awesome prints on Spoonflower. Word to the wise: it takes a while for their fabrics to ship, I’m assuming because each length of fabric is printed to order. Both of these are the standard Kona cotton. I’ll be interested to see how they hold up with dog-wear, because it’s not super thick.
For the bottoms of the beds, I got 2.5 yards of navy blue duck cloth from JoAnn’s, and because I like a challenge, I also decided to do some piping around the seams. Although I’d seen tutorials to make bias tape, I opted to buy some of this quilt binding from JoAnn’s, which seemed like it would do the trick.
My first step was to make the band of piping that would go around the edge. So I unfolded the bias tape and ran a length of thick cord down the center seam. I pinned down the entire length to keep the cord in place, and sewed down the length of it.
Now, it took me until bed #2 to realize that my sewing machine actually did come with a zipper foot, which allows the needle to get much closer to the cord, making a much tighter “pipe”. Since I used the regular walking foot for the grey/yellow bed, the piping is kinda saggy because the tube of fabric around the cord is too loose.
This is the zipper foot. The regular walking foot has another metal presser on the left side of the needle.
So this was a little hard to get the hang of, but next I basically just sewed a straight stitch around the pinned edge, staying as close to the piping as possible.
Then once it’s attached, you pin the back side fabric to the front/piping piece (wrong sides out, right sides facing each other on the inside). Note that I opted to do a 2-piece back, so that the two panels overlap by about 5 inches so you can stuff the beds and don’t need to fiddle with zippers and buttons and shit.
[Alas, I forgot to take pics of this step.]
Then you sew around the edge once again, this time binding together the top fabric, piping edges, and the bottom fabric. With the thick duck cloth, it got a little rugged there in a few spots, so beware of broken needles and such.
At this point, even though you really want to be done and do a dog photo shoot, you gotta do one more thing. Just to be sure all the seams are strong, it’s a good idea to reinforce them (all the way around) with a zig zag stitch (or a serger if you’re fancy).
Then you flip them inside out (or outside out?) and stuff it with whatever you please. For the big blue bed, I used an old dog bed PLUS a new dog bed insert from Target (it was Boots and Barkley brand, about $12, I can’t find it online, in stores only I guess). And for Schooner’s smaller bed, I used a 22″ square of 2″ thick foam wrapped with some extra quilt batting for good measure (both from JoAnn).
You can tell that the blue bed is much more plush and pillow-like, and the yellow one is more like a soft foam pad.
Sharing is caring, so they tried out both of them…
When it came down to it, after a little research, I basically winged the pattern. But I got the original dog bed inspiration from Manhattan Nest. And to work in the piping, I followed instructions for making a throw pillow with piping. I looked at a few different tutorials, but this one seemed most straightforward for a non-perfectionist sewing something for dogs to drool on.