Half Assed How-To: Dog Bed

3 Apr

Dog beds come and go pretty fast around these parts. I’m not sure why, maybe I just have particularly heavy/lazy dogs. But they break down pretty quickly. In fact, this is the set up the poor things were working with before I made them this bed.

Yes, that’s two dog begs stacked on top of each other, and two pillows cast off from our bed after we got some new ones. To be fair, most of the time Kobe is in the middle of the human bed, and Marty is on the couch. Also, they really love piles of pillows so this is fine. But it’s ugly, and I like cute things. So I decided to see if it was something I could do. So I stumbled across this tutorial for a pretty little box cushion dog bed example. I sort of warily examined it every couple days for a few weeks, while I decided whether or not it was something I could do.

After three different trips to JoAnn’s (side note: how many times can you drag a husband to the craft store in one month?) for reconnaissance I decided to take the plunge and give it a go. I altered uh… many things. First off, I decided to leave out the adorable cording, mostly due to laziness. To further assist my lazy, I made fabric choices that would not need to have patterns lined up. Finally, after all my studying, I decided I didn’t really need to look at the tutorial again. The reason I got a little cocky about it was because it just seemed like a pillow with a ridge around it.

My first tip would be to make sure any helpers you recruit have clearly defined roles, to avoid any confusion in the construction process.

My dogs are pretty large (as you can tell) so I need a fairly big bed. this fabric happened to be 38 inches wide, so I went with that for the long edge, and 30 for the short edge.

So, I really don’t like measuring. So after I measured the first rectangle for the top, fluffy part, I just slapped it on top of the other fabric and cut around it.

Scientific, no? It works about 75% of the time. Also, you like how I’m doing this on the floor? The only reason I have this much floor is because we moved the bed into the middle of the living room to paint. You’ll also need the pieces that will make up the front and two sides. I aimed to make these pieces six inches tall, for absolutely no reason. They ended up 5.75 inches. If I were making this cover for an actual cushion I would probably try a little harder, but my plan was to just stuff the stuffing from the old beds into this one. Precision not necessary.

Rotary cutters are super helpful when you’re doing things poorly. They help you keep a straighter line than scissors so you feel a bit more accomplished.

Here I am again with the science, checking to make sure all my edges line up so that the cushion height is even all around. Also, it’s important to make sure to take some time to work on some future projects.

Oh, poor baby. Why do I choose you for all my bow tying needs? So you may have noticed that I only made three sides and a cushion has four. You’re clever. We need to make a half-assed zipper boxing. So, I bought a zipper only 24 inches long because it was the biggest one I could find in the appropriate color. So, I cut a strip of fabric 24 inches long by 6.75 inches tall (to account for seam allowance when sewing it onto the zipper) and then cut that in half. Then, I needed to iron the seams down to be able to attach to the zipper. Except, what am I, the queen? I don’t own an iron.

I do own a flat iron though. Which worked fine. By the way, totes recommend that flat iron. Best I’ve ever had, for hair or cloth needs. So, once you iron those seams down, you sew the cloth to the zipper. This was pretty difficult. I couldn’t get the zipper under the foot, and it kept slipping off, and my seam was too far away. Halfway through I remembered there is such a thing as a “zipper foot” and wondered if I had one, but realized I wasn’t entirely sure how to change the foot.

So my seams a bit far than the zipper people recommend, I guess, but it zipped up so I declared it wildly successful. In case you were wondering as well, this is what we’re working with over here, sewing machine-wise.

If you’re thinking it looks old, that’s because it’s old. I remember my grandma buying it, I know I was pretty young. I know I thought it was awesome at the time because it had a stitch that made little ducks and another that made little tulips. Those never came in handy except to amuse me. This machine is a little quirky. Sometimes it keeps going after I’ve let off the petal. When Husband is home, I know the machine is just old and silly. When I’m all by myself at night, I think it’s my grandmother’s ghost trying to tell me to measure more often and use the pins from time to time.

So, now we’re stuck with a 24 inch zipper box to somehow turn into a 38 inch panel. So, I cut some 7.5 inch length pieces to attach.

It did not work the first time. Or the second time. I sort of don’t want to talk about it. Once you have it the right length, you sew all your sides together into a box.

Now, I love doing it the wrong way as much as the next person. But even I recommended you use pins for this part. If you don’t, shit can get a little crazy. So, pin your sides to your top.

Like so. Then, just sew around the edges! Easy! I like sewing best when it’s all straight lines. Then just do the same thing with the bottom panel. Also, I would maybe suggest to you that you unzip the zipper, at least a bit, before finishing off the seams for the bottom. Turns out zippers don’t like to unzip from behind so much. So once you’ve completed your cover, you need to stuff it with something fluffy.

No, not fluffy like a dog, Kobe. Fluffy like a pillow. I can’t tell if he’s getting impatient for the final product or just annoyed at the time I’ve been spending not petting his belly. Once you’ve stuffed it accordingly, zip it up and give it a spin.

I don’t know, maybe we need a second opinion?

Well, it functions like it should. Time will tell whether or not they actually accept it. I went into the bedroom a bit ago and Marty was laying right next to it. It was sort of insulting, but maybe he’s just confused and doesn’t know it’s his yet.

I also made a pillow, because I’m weird and also pillows are super easy to make. All you have to do is try to not be too much of a drunk monkey while you make it and any pillow can be a success.

And I adore my happy puppy print fabric, which as previous mentioned took three JoAnn’s trips to settle on. And I didn’t even pick it, Husband did. The depth of my indecisiveness knows no bounds.

So there you have it! If you’re semi-interested in making somewhere for your pet to sleep, I hope I’ve convinced you that anyone can take an afternoon and half-ass a giant pillow with moderate success.

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5 Responses to “Half Assed How-To: Dog Bed”

  1. squirrel circus April 4, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    You sew a lot like I do. I’m famous for trying to shorten curtains (like two or more panels for one window), and I can never get them the same length. I DO measure,but I tend to measure something stupid, like, from the bottom up, not taking into account that the top tabs might not be perfectly identical. It becomes a circular reference, as I shorten one panel, then another, then back through again.

    I do LOVE your puppy pattern. I hesitate to ask whether you’ve planned to wash it at all? It’s a little late, but I try to wash fabric first, so it shrinks before you cut and sew it. Heh, heh…..I’m SURE you did that…. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cally April 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

      I have planned to wash it. I did not pre-wash it. I know I’m supposed to, but I only have access to coin laundry machines, and it would have cost me THREE WHOLE DOLLARS. I figure if I wash it down the road and ruin it, well, it was pretty shoddily made to begin with, so I’ll just do another one. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • squirrel circus April 5, 2012 at 9:53 am #

        Well, for being shoddily made, it’s still darn cute. You could probably hand wash in a sink, even with dog bath stuff, and let it air dry. Three dollars is WAY too much, I agree!

  2. Jen April 7, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    wow this is so cute!

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