Cats of all sizes and smaller pups are sure to have sweet dreams in our ultra comfy pet bed. We selected two cozy coordinates: a bright green and a rich leopard print. The design incorporates four bolster pillows sewn onto a flat base with a separate tufted pillow insert.
We noodled on this one for quite awhile to come up with instructions that yielded a cool finished design that was also easy to assemble. So although any three-dimensional project is a bit more complex than a flat item, this cozy pet bed is something we know you can do!
The interior pillow finishes at 21″ x 28″. The overall exterior bolster bed finishes at approximately 27″ x 32″ — it depends a bit on how much stuffing you use. These dimensions are sized for a smaller dog or a cat, but of course you can modify things to best fit the pet(s) at your house.
We can’t do the math for the myriad of animal sizes and shapes; instead, we try to insure our cutting plans and instructions are as clear and concise as possible so you can upsize or downsize as needed. If you do decide to change the size, we suggest making a prototype out of muslin or another inexpensive fabric to test your new dimensions. This is also a great way to practice the construction steps prior launching into your final project with the real fabric.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Even Feed or Walking foot or, if possible, engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™ Flex system we use on many of our Janome studio machines
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 58″+ wide fleece for the interior pillow
- 1 yard of 58″+ wide fleece for the bolsters
- 1 yard of 58″+ mid-weight canvas, twill or similar for the bed base and the corner ties
- 1¾ yards of 45″+ muslin or mid-weight twill for the bolster lining
NOTE: We had quite a bit of beautiful twill on hand and so decided to use it for our lining. You could certainly use something less expensive.
- FOUR medium bags of quality polyester fiberfill; we started with 12oz bags to have enough for the insert and the sides
- 1 yard of 20″+ wide heavy-weight fusible interfacing; we used 20″ wide 71F Peltex® I Ultra-Firm by Pellon
- All-purpose sewing thread in colors to match fabric
- Button/Carpet thread for interior pillow tufting
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Straight pins
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Iron and ironing board
- Hand sewing needle
- Heavy duty yarn/darning needles for “tufting” the cushion
- From the fabric for the interior pillow (leopard fleece in our sample), cut TWO 22″ x 29″ rectangles.
- From the fabric for the bolsters (lime green fleece in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 15″ x 29″ rectangles
TWO 15″ x 22″ rectangles
- From the fabric for the bolster lining (khaki twill in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 15″ x 29″ rectangles
TWO 15″ x 22″ rectangles
- From the fabric for the base and ties (avocado twill in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 22″ x 29″ rectangles
EIGHT 1½” x 12″ strips
- From the fusible interfacing, cut ONE 20″ x 27″ rectangle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Pin the 22″ x 29″ fleece rectangles right sides together (remember, the fleece we used was double-sided, which is why it may not look right sides together in our photos).
- Leave an approximate 6″ opening along one side for turning and stuffing.
- If possible, attach a Walking foot or engage your machine’s build-in fabric feeding system.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around all four sides, locking your seam at either side of the 6″ opening.
- Clip the corners and turn the pillow right side out.
- Following the diagram below, on one side of the pillow, measure and mark SIX points at 7″ increments.
- Place a straight pin or safety pin at each point.
- Stuff the pillow so it is pleasantly plump.
- Pin the opening and hand stitch closed with standard needle and thread.
- Thread a heavy duty needle with the button/carpet thread.
- Sew an “X” through all the thicknesses at each of the SIX marked points. Securely knot each “tuft” and clip the thread close to the fleece so it disappears into the nap.
- Set the finished interior pillow aside.
- Find the two 22″ x 29″ base twill panels and the 20″ x 27″ heavyweight fusible interfacing.
- Center the interfacing on the wrong side of one base panel. There should be 1″ of fabric showing around all sides of the interfacing.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions fuse in place.
- Along both 22″ sides of both base panels (interfaced and non-interfaced), fold in the raw edges ½”.
NOTE: The bottom edge of our bed is designed to be flexible to allow the best fold to the bolster sides. For this reason, we sized the interfacing to keep it out of the seam. As an extra precaution, you could topstitch all around the interfaced panel at the edge of the interfacing in order to insure the interfacing doesn’t have the potential to de-bond and shift.
- Set the base panels aside.
- Find the eight tie strips.
- Press back one long raw edge ¼”.
- Press in the opposite long raw edge to meet the first edge.
- Fold in the narrow side towards the center to conceal the raw edges. Press in place. Edgestitch down the center through all folded layers to secure.
- Repeat for the remaining seven tie strips.
- We left both ends of all ties raw. One end of each will be secured in the the seam of the bolster. For the other end, we simply used a drop of seam sealant. You could also make a tiny hem. It depends on how fussy your pet might be about their ties.
- Find the two 15″ x 29″ fleece panels, the two 15″ x 22″ fleece panels and the corresponding four lining panels.
NOTE: We are using a lining with our fleece to insure a super smooth curve to our bolster sides. The lining helps keep the fleece smooth and stable and insures no lumps or bumps of stuffing will show.
- Place a lining panel on the wrong side of each fleece panel.
- Fold each panel in half right sides together (they are now 7½” x 22″ and 7½” x 29″).
- Measure 2″ down from the top fold.
- Insert a tie at this 2″ point, aligning one end of the tie so it is flush with the raw edges of the fleece/lining.
- Pin and/or hand baste the tie in place.
- Repeat to insert a tie at the opposite side of the panel at the same 2″ point.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both sides. Double stitch over the tie.
- Clip the corners and turn the panel right side out through the bottom opening.
- Pin across the bottom, leaving the last 6″ open for stuffing.
- Machine baste across the bottom, still leaving that last 6″ open.
- Repeat to create the other three bolsters. Make sure you accurately measure that 2″ point for the ties so they will all align when complete.
Stuff the bolsters and attach to the base
- When all four bolster are complete, use the 6″ opening to insert the stuffing. You want the bolsters to be soft yet sturdy, but do NOT overstuff. You need to leave at least a 1″ flat edge to effectively sew the bolster in place. Think of the bolster like a giant piece of piping. You need an “insertion tape” to sew the “piping” into the seam.
- When the stuffing is complete, machine baste the 6″ opening closed.
- Find the interfaced base panel. Place it right side up on your work surface.
- Place a long bolster at the top and bottom of the panel, aligning the machine basted edges of the bolster with the raw edge of the panel.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, machine baste the bolsters in place across the top and bottom.
- Find the un-interfaced base panel. Place it right sides together with the interfaced panel, sandwiching the bolsters between the layers.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the top and bottom through all the layers. Having a Walking foot (or using a built-in fabric feeding system) makes this so much easier, but even with such a foot in place, go slowly and carefully.
- Turn right side out through the open sides.
- Pull apart the base layers and insert one short bolster in between on each side.
- On one side, pull back the top base panel and pin the bolster to the just the bottom interfaced base panel.
- Stitch the flat edges of the bolster to the bottom base panel, following the bolster’s machine basting seam.
- Repeat to stitch the opposite side bolster in place.
NOTE: Yes, you are going to have to do a bit of maneuvering to get the project under the needle. Luckily all the elements are soft and you can squish them as needed to fit under the presser foot and against the machine to the right of the needle. As you will see below, this seam will be covered up with the top panel, so don’t fret too much about the look. Just stitch it in place as best you can.
- Press the seam allowance towards the bottom base panel, bring the folded edge of the top base panel down over the seam to conceal, and pin in place.
- Hand stitch this layer in place along both sides, using tiny stitches for strength and stability.
- Fold the bolsters up into position to form a box and tie a secure bow at each corner.
- Insert the interior pillow.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild