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.
The finished size of our bed is about 18″ x 24″, which makes it good for a smallish dog or a giant cat… as shown above. You can expand, or reduce, the dimensions as needed to best fit your best friend.
Fleece is available it a wonderful variety of colors (be sure to ask your furry friend what his/her favorite color is), making it easy to mix and match the two main cotton prints, the binding accent, add the fleece.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ⅝ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton for the COOL side
- ⅝ yard of 44″+ coordinating fleece for the WARM side
- ½ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton fabric for the side walls
- ⅓ yard of 44″+ wide fabric for the piping
- ⅝ yard unbleached muslin for the lining of the COOL side; the quilting cotton needs a lining to add a bit more heft for durability
- 5 yards of ¼” piping cord
- 24″ jumbo plastic sport zipper: we used a 24″ Coats Sports Zipper
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 a pillow form
- All purpose thread
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Cut ONE 25″ x 19″ rectangle from the cool, warm, and muslin fabrics.
- From the fabric for the side walls, cut the following:
TWO 5″ x 31″ strips
TWO 3″ x 25″ strips
- From the fabric for the piping, cut the following:
FOUR 2″ x width of fabric (WOF) strips; in our case that meant 2″ x 44″
ONE 2″ x 8″ strip, then sub-cut this strip in half to make two 2″ x 4″ pieces
- Cut the 5 yard length of piping cord in half.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Assemble and mark the main panels
- Place the muslin piece and the cool piece wrong sides together. Pin around the edges.
- 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.
- Fold each piece (the layered cool piece and the warm piece) in half in both directions to find the center of each side. Cut a small notch at the center of each side of each piece. Set aside.
Making and attaching piping
If you’re new to piping, you can read our tutorial prior to starting: How to Make and Attach Piping for Pillows and More. We did not cut our strips on the bias because our corners are barely curved. If you wish to cut your strips on the bias, you’ll need to buy additional fabric to create the two 90″ lengths.
- Pin two 44″ piping strips together end to end along the 2″ sides.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, sew the strips together to make one 2″ x 87″ strip.
- Pin one 4″ piping strip to the end of the two-piece strip you just completed.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, sew the strips together to make one 2″ x 90″ strip.
- Place the strip wrong side up. Place the cording down the center of the strip.
- Wrap the the strip around the piping so the fabric is now right side facing out. Align the raw edges and pin together.
- Using a Zipper foot, sew as close to the piping as possible.
- If necessary, trim the seam allowance (also called the insertion) to an even ½”.
- Repeat to make a second length of piping with the remaining two 44″ strips and one 4″ strip.
- Working on the RIGHT sides, pin one length of piping to the cool side and one to the warm side around the edges. Position the piping insertion along the raw edge and leave about a 2″ tail at the end
- You will need to make small snips into the seam allowance so the piping can turn the corner smoothly.
- Because this project has a lot of layers going on, we recommend taking the few extra minutes to 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.
- Using a Zipper foot, baste around all four sides to attach the piping to each piece.
- 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.
- With a seam ripper peel back the fabric to expose the cording underneath.
- 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. Overlap about ½” and baste in place, matching your existing seam line.
The side panels
- Using a ½” seam allowance, sew the two 5″ x 31″ side strips together end to end (along one 5″ side). Press the seam open, to finish with a piece 61″ long. Set aside.
- Place the 3″ side strips and the zipper right sides together. One 3″ strip should be along one edge of the zipper tape and the other strip should be along the opposite zipper tape.
- With the Zipper foot still attached, re-set the stitch length to normal. Open the zipper about half way.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch each strip in place.As with all zipper installations, you’ll need to stop with your needle in the down position when you are approaching the zipper pull. Lift the presser foot to access the pull and zip closed. Drop the foot and continue your seam.
- Fold the two strips right side out (to either side of the zipper teeth) and press.
- 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.
- Slightly lengthen the stitch and topstitch along either side of the zipper, again moving the zipper pull out of the way as needed to maintain a straight and even seam. Press again.
- 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″.)
- Re-set the stitch length to normal.
- 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.
- 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.
Final assembly of the top and bottom to the sides
- Place the cool fabric flat on your work surface, right side up.
- 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.
- 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. It’s easiest to stitch into each corner, stop with your needle in the down position, pivot and reset for the next side, then begin stitching again to the next corner.
- Open the zipper half way.
- 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.
- 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.
- Using the zipper foot, sew around the edge with an approximate ½” seam allowance, again staying as close to the piping as possible and pivoting at the corners.
- Turn right side out through the open zipper. Push out the corners. Lightly press.
NOTE: If you are brand new to this style of construction, check out our full step-by-step tutorial: How to Insert a Rectangular Base into a Tube.
- 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.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever