No pillow series would be complete without a little something for the furry members of the family. Official test-pup, Sandy the Welsh Corgi, declared it to be the perfect place to catch 40 (to 400) winks. There's an easy-to-insert plastic zipper in one side so you can remove the cover and toss it in the wash. The finished size is about 27" x 36", which makes it good for a small to medium size dog or a couple giant cats. You can expand, or reduce, the dimensions as needed to best fit your best friend.
Our plush pet bed uses two layers of Fairfield's NU-Foam® for a soft yet stable cushion. Fairfield products are easy to find! They're available at the big box stores, national fabric stores, as well as your favorite local quilt shop.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome HD3000)
- Zipper foot
- Walking foot (optional, but handy for all the layers)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2 yards of 44-45" + wide medium to heavy-weight fabric for the top and bottom; we used a thin-wale zebra print corduroy for ours (purchased locally), Fabric.com carries a similar looking fabric in a drapery weight cotton - Tunisia in Black/White from Premier Prints
- ¾ yard of 44-45" wide medium to heavy-weight fabric for the sides; we used a wide wale black corduroy (purchased locally) - corduroy is a bit harder to find during the summertime, but Fabric.com had a good alternative
- 1¾ yards of 45"+ wide lightweight batting
- 2 yards of 2" deep x 27" wide NU-Foam®; this densified polyester product comes in pre-cuts as well as as large rolls; we used a 27" x 2" x 5 yard roll. As you'll see below in the Getting Started section, you need two pieces that are the full width (27") x 36". So you'll use every bit of the 2 yards specified. The photo below shows the pre-cut chair cushion size.
- 24" jumbo plastic zipper: we used black, available at Fabric.com
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 sport clothing. Buy larger and cut to size if need be.
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- From the fabric for the top and bobbin (zebra print in our sample), cut TWO 28" x 37" rectangles.
- From the fabric for the sides (black wide wale corduroy in our sample, cut so the wale runs vertically), cut the following:
ONE 5" x 28" strip
TWO 3" x 28" strips
TWO 5" 37" strips
- From the batting cut TWO 28" x 37" rectangles.
- Cut the NU-Foam® into TWO 27" x 36" rectangles
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the side panels (the 'gusset')
- Find the two 3" x 28" side strips. Pin the strips right sides together on one end.
- Measure and mark 3" from the raw edge. This will be the length of your mini seam.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the mini seam.
- Press the seam open.
- The remaining opening is where the 24" zipper will be inserted.
- Place the partially sewn side strips right side up on your work surface.
- Place the zipper right side down along one side, aligning the edge of the zipper tape with the raw edge of the strip. The end of the zipper should butt up against the end of the mini seam.
- Attach a Zipper foot to your machine.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew in place.
NOTE: When you are about an inch from the zipper pull, stop with your needle in the down position, raise the presser foot and gently twist the zipper so you can open the zipper just enough to move the zipper pull around and behind the presser foot. Drop the presser foot and finish the seam.
- Repeat to attach the remaining raw edge of the partially-sewn strip to the opposite side of the zipper. The partially-sewn strip lays together with one side pulled back and the right side exposed.
- 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 other side strips.
- The end of the zipper sits within a "V" at the bottom of the seam.
- Topstitch along either side of the zipper on the right side of the fabric. Press again.
- Pin all the side pieces right sides together and end to end...
- ... 28" zipper strip to 37" side strip to 28" plain strip to the other 37" strip and back to the 28" zipper strip. You should end up with a ring o' fabric.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the sides together. Press the seam allowances open and flat.
Layer the top and bottom
- Replace the Zipper foot with a Walking foot, if possible.
- Find the two 28" x 37" main fabric pieces and the two 28" x 37" batting pieces.
- Place each fabric piece wrong side together with a batting piece. Pin around the edges.
- Machine baste both pairs together around all four raw edges. You will now be able to treat each set of two pieces as one.
Final assembly of the top and bottom to the sides
- Place one fabric/batting piece right side up on your work surface.
- Then, matching the seams of the side ring with the corners of the main fabric, pin the ring right sides together with the main piece all around.
- You are working right sides together, aligning the raw edges, pinning generously as you go. Clip the corners as needed to make a sharp angle.
- Still using a Walking foot if possible, sew around the entire edge with a ½" seam allowance.
- The corners are handled similar to how you attach bias binding (we have a good tutorial if you are new to this technique). You'll sew almost to the corner, stop and backstitch.
- Keeping your needle in the down position, pivot 90˚, folding the excess fabric of the ring along the seam and into the corner as you turn. Continue down the new side. Repeat this at each corner.
- Open the zipper half way.
- Fold up the sides so they resemble the bottom of a gift box.
- The next step is going to function like a 'top' for the box.
- Place the remaining fabric/batting 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 and matching the corners with the seams of the ring. Pin generously as you go.
- Still using a Walking foot if possible, sew around the edge with a ½" seam allowance.
- Turn right side out through the open zipper. Push out the corners. Lightly press.
- Open the zipper all the way.
- Find the two 27" x 26" pieces of NU-Foam®. Insert the pieces one at a time, one layered on top of the other. It will be a snug fit, which is what you want. If the cover is too loose a fit, it's likely to tear as the pup moves around on it.
- The NU-Foam® has a rough finish so the two layers will grip one another and won't slide around. Plus, the batting on the back of each fabric piece adds additional "grippy-ness." All the layers should stay in place quite nicely.
NOTE: We did add just a tiny big of adhesive between the layers at just the edges along the zippered opening. This was simply an extra precaution and makes it easier to remove the cover from the foam for washing.
- Zip closed and call for Fido (or in our case, call for Sandy)!
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild