I have it on good authority that any time can be a good time for a little cat nap – especially if you have a snuggly pet bed on which to snooze. Our design is not only super soft, it’s also in a fun shape with cute kitty ears and rounded kitty cheeks. Plus, there are two sides for the most discriminating of felines: one side is cool cotton, the flip side is cozy faux sherpa style fleece.
You’ll find a full pattern download to cut your kitty shape. Printing and assembling just one set is always fine; you’ll simply trim away the seam allowance after cutting the cotton and fleece panels, using the trimmed piece to cut the fusible fleece layer. However, if you’re someone who likes to keep all their patterns to use again and again, we suggest printing two sets; keep one at the full size and the second at the trimmed size.
We originally used the adorable Here Kitty Kitty fabric by Cori Dantini for FreeSpirit fabrics for the cool cotton side with a sherpa fleece in a coordinating bold tangerine solid for the cozy side. The sidewall is also from Here Kitty Kitty. All yardage shown below is generous enough to allow for some clever fussy cutting – always a favorite technique here at S4H to make a project super-pro! We also show you the steps to pattern-match the bottom seam of the sidewall.
In order to make sure your pet bed lives up to its Super Soft name, we strongly recommend using a premium polyester filler. It’s true, not all fillers are created equal. You need one that is fine and silky, as well as being resistant to clumping. We used Royal Silk Luxury Down Alternative Fiber Fill by Poly-fil. Why is this important? Because this project is meant to be machine washed and dried. Pets have accidents… it’s just one of those things you can’t avoid. And, those messes can’t always be spot-cleaned. Instead, wipe off as much as you can, perhaps apply a spray of stain remover, then pop the whole bed into the wash. It’s small enough to fit most standard home washers and dryers.
The amount of filler to use is shown below as a range. The exact amount will depend on the type of filler you buy and the firmness you choose for your pet. We started with three 12 ounce bags and used two to get our sink-in-and-snooze softness, but you could certainly use up to 36 ounces for a tighter finish.
We go into specific detail below on how best to cut, assemble, and pin the sidewall. There are also tips on clipping curves and angles to get the best definition to the kitty ears and the curve of the cheeks and chin.
The Happy Kitty Pet Bed finishes at approximately 24” x 22” and is about 4” thick. It’s designed for kitties of all sizes although it would also be good for smaller dogs. You’d just need to convince your pup that those are the sharp ears and chubby cheeks of a Corgi!
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional, but can make handling the thicker layers easier – you could also engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™ Flex system we love to use on many of our Janome studio machines. We used a standard presser foot throughout.
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ¾ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton for the cool side of the bed; we originally used Happy Cat in Orange from the Here Kitty Kitty collection by Cori Dantini for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- ½ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton for the sidewall; we originally used Bossy Boots in Black from the Here Kitty Kitty collection by Cori Dantini for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- NOTE: Amounts shown above for both quilting cottons include a bit extra to allow for fussy-cutting – especially for the sidewall.
- ¾ yard of 44”+ wide fleece for the cozy side of the bed; we originally used a faux sherpa style fleece in solid tangerine
- Apx. 24 – 36 ounces of premium polyester filler; we used Royal Silk Luxury Down Alternative Fiber Fill by Poly-fil
NOTE: As mentioned above, for the bed to live up to its “super soft” name, you really need a quality filler. The exact amount is shown as “approximate” because the final type of filler you buy and the firmness you choose for your pet will make the amount used variable. We started with three 12 ounce bags and used two.
- 1 yard of 45” + wide mid-weight fusible fleece for the cotton side of the bed and sidewall; we used Pellon Thermolam one-sided fusible fleece
- All-purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print the full pattern for the cute kitty-head-and-ears shape.
IMPORTANT: This PDF contains TEN 8½” x 11” sheets. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. The pattern is designed to print horizontally (landscape rather than portrait). There is a guide rule on each page to confirm your print out is to size.
- Cut out each of the pattern pieces along the solid lines. Using the printed arrows as a guide, line up the ten sections to create the full pattern as shown below. Butt together the pieces, do not overlap, and tape. Note that the #10 piece is just a thin sliver that completes the kitty’s chin.
- From the quilting cotton for the cool side of the bed (Happy Cat in our sample), use the assembled pattern to fussy cut ONE panel.
- From the fleece for the cozy side of the bed (tangerine faux sherpa in our sample), use the assembled pattern to fussy cut ONE panel.
- From the quilting cotton for the side wall (Bossy Boots in our sample), cut TWO WOF (width of fabric or 44”) wide x 5” high strips.
- From the fusible fleece, first trim the pattern along the dotted perimeter seam line, then use this trimmed pattern to cut ONE panel.
- Also from the fusible fleece, cut TWO 40½” x 4” strips for the sidewall.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Creating the sidewall
- Find the two 5” sidewall panels and the two fusible fleece 4” strips.
- We recommended full WOF strips in order to allow you extra length to pattern-match the seam that will be most visible at the “chin” of the kitty. Based on your fabric choice, this may or may not be required.
- If you’d like to create this type of fussy cut, find a matching motif near one end of both pieces. Find the vertical center line of this motif, then measure ½” out from that center line on both pieces – out towards the raw end. You are measuring at ½” because that is the width of the seam allowance. If you don’t have enough fabric to move a full ½”, slide further in along the strip to the next nearest matching motif.
- Draw a vertical guideline at each of your ½” marks. Slice along each drawn line. You now have ONE new cut end for each 5” strip.
- Find the 4” fusible fleece strips. Center a fusible fleece strip on each fabric strip. One end of the fleece should be ½” in from the NEW cut end and there should be ½” of fabric extending beyond the fleece along the top and bottom. Lightly press the fleece in place.
- At the opposite end, measure ½” beyond the fleece strip and slice off the excess fabric.
- You should now have TWO strips with fleece in place; each should be 41½” in length. Press again from the right side to insure the fusible fleece is fully adhered.
- Place the strips right sides together, first aligning the ends you fussy cut.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch these ends together. This means you are stitching along but not on the fusible fleece.
- Press open the seam allowance and check from the right side to admire your pretty pattern-match. You now have ONE long, flat strip that is 82” in length. Do not sew the other ends together yet. With a shaped project like this, it is easier to first pin around all the curves with a flat strip rather than a seamed tube.
NOTE: Our pet bed is designed to be super soft, but if you would prefer a bit more structure, you could add a layer of medium to heavyweight fusible interfacing. Cut the interfacing the same size as the fusible fleece, adhere it in place first and then apply the fleece over the top of the interfacing.
Fusing, marking, and attaching the sidewall to main cotton panel
- Find the main cotton panel and the matching panel of fusible fleece.
- Center the fleece on the cotton panel so there is ½” of fabric extending beyond the fleece all around.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Find your original paper pattern and use this as a guide to mark the top and bottom centering points on the cotton panel. These are large black circles. Clip into the raw edge of the cotton panel, making a small notch at both the bottom…
- … and at the top of panel.
- As mentioned above, we are pinning the side wall first as a flat panel to make it easier to fit it around the cute kitty ears. In addition, typically it is best to pin and sew a straight panel to a shaped panel with the straight, flat piece on the bottom and the shaped piece on top. However, in this case, moving around the ears is such a tight turn, it is easier to work with the shaped piece on the bottom and the straight side panel on the top.
- Before you attach the sidewall, make a small clip at either side of each kitty ear. This will allow the indents for the ears to be more defined.
- Find the 82″ fused sidewall strip.
- Start at the bottom marked notch, aligning this notch with the seam of the sidewall. The sidewall and the cotton panel are right sides together.
- If you have a pattern matched sidewall, this means you are aligning the matched seam at the bottom of the kitty’s chin.
- Bring the sidewall around from the bottom, up along either side, meeting the raw ends at the upper marked notch. Simply overlap these raw ends for now. You will seam them when done pinning. This opposite seam will sit at the top of the kitty bed and will be less visible – so the exact match is not as critical as it was along the bottom curve, however, we were pleased that our Bossy Boots kitties lined up side by side.
- Continue pinning around both sides. Don’t be afraid to use plenty of pins.
- As you work your way around, you can clip into the sidewall to allow it to ease and better fit against the cotton panel.
- Once you are happy with how the panel sits in place all the way around, un-pin the sidewall slightly at the top – between the ears. You need just enough unpinned to get under your presser foot. Bring the project to your machine, and using a ½” seam allowance, stitch this second sidewall seam, turning it into a full sidewall “tube.”
- Press open the seam allowance and lay the sidewall back into position on the cotton panel, re-pinning along this short top section.
- For the best definition to the shape of the ears, we recommend stitching around the perimeter twice. The first time around, stitch with the sidewall on top, adjusting the “ease” of the clips and removing the pins as you go. Stitch slowly and carefully, keeping a consistent seam allowance all the way around.
- When complete, flip the unit so the main cotton panel is now on top and go around once again. This second pass allows you to smooth out the curves as needed and make sure the ears are more clearly defined.
Marking and attaching the sidewall to main fleece panel
- Find the main fleece panel. Again using the original paper pattern, mark the top and bottom center points. With fleece, it’s best to use a pen to mark rather than a notch. The nap of fleece is so dense, a notch can easily disappear.
- As with the cotton panel, clip into the fleece at either side of each ear, and as you pin the sidewall to the fleece panel, clip into the raw edge of the sidewall to ease as necessary. With all clipping, you do not want the depth of your clips to be more than about ⅜”; you don’t want to clip into or beyond where the ½” seam allowance will run.
- Also as above, use plenty of pins – pins are your friends.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, carefully stitch around the perimeter. Because the fleece is much softer, it won’t show the curves and angles with the same sharp definition as the cotton, so we went around just once on the fleece side.
- Start and stop your seam along the top between the ears leaving an approximate 6” opening for turning and stuffing.
Stuffing, closing the seam, and kitty testing
- Turn the bed right side out through the opening between the ears. Use a long blunt tool to smooth out all the curves and gently poke out the points of the ears. A knitting needle, chopstick or point turner all work well.
- Find your bags of filler. Push the stuffing firmly into the ears first, then evenly through the rest of the cushion. It’s best to work with small handfuls, slightly fluffing up the filler prior to inserting. You don’t want to just jam it in like a Thanksgiving turkey! If you are new to working with filler, we have a tutorial you can review prior to starting: Pillow Stuffing Tips + Tricks.
- Sew the opening shut by hand. We recommend a slip stitch, but just about any hand stitch will work, the sherpa style fleece hides any slight bumps or wrinkles. That said, do take the time to make your stitches small and close together. You don’t want to give the filler an opening through which it could work its way out.
- Call in your kitty helper to test the finished bed with a quick bath and a cat nap.
Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever