Sunday, our lab/weim mix, has had a few different dog beds since we got her four years ago but they usually only last about a year for all kinds of reasons. When she was younger she'd chew holes in them and with each move the stress has led to a few doggy accidents that were hard for those dog beds to recover from. The last bed we bought was brown and ugly and huge and had zippers and layers and was supposed to be the king of dog beds but even that one had it's expiration date.
I decided her next bed would be something I made for her using what I had on hand. I used an outdoor canvas for the outer cover because it needed to be durable but also cute. This one is from either JoAnns or Hancock's from a few years ago. The inner insert is leftover fabric from a sheet set that I cut down to make Smith a fitted crib sheet. It's just regular cotton and could probably be thrown in the wash and hung to dry like you would with a pillow. The outer cover is easy to remove and doesn't look half bad sitting on our dining room floor. When you have a choice, always go for the cuter option, right? Right.
Supplies: Canvas or outdoor fabric measuring about 36" x 50" wide. Cotton fabric measuring about 36" x 50". Your size may need to be larger or smaller depending on the size of your dog. Just be sure that both cuts of fabric are equal and you'll do fine with a different set of measurements. Stuffing or pillow forms. I have also been known to use clothing or towels that we've outgrown or stained beyond repair. It's a great way to repurpose them and save money on stuffing! You'll also need a sewing machine, thread to match your fabric, scissors, straight pins, and 4' of ribbon or binding for the ties.
Step One: Fold your inner fabric in half so that the right sides are facing each other and pin the open sides together with straight pins. Stitch up your open sides but leave an opening on the short end so you can fill it with stuffing. If you stitch up about 5" on the top and bottom of the short end as shown above, it makes it easier to stitch it all shut without messing with corners in the next step.
Step Two: Turn your inner pillow right side out and push out your corners. Then fill it with stuffing until you're happy with the shape and density and pin your opening shut. Carefully stitch along the whole length of the short side about 1/4" from the edge. I had a wrestling match with my machine because I overstuffed the heck out of this pillow so my seam is a bit wonky but it'll be tucked into the pillow cover where it won't be seen. Remove your pins as you stitch or after you're done. Phew! Halfway there.
Step Three: Fold the long edge of your outer canvas fabric down about 1/4" and then another 1/4" and iron flat. This creates a nice, finished hem for your open end. Pin it down and stitch along the inner fold. You can see the selvedge edge (note the the little pinholes) on my inner fold.
Step Four: Next, fold your fabric so that right sides are facing together and stitch up the short and long open edges. DO NOT stitch your hemmed side together. You can then add ribbon ties on equal and opposite sides of your canvas. Simple place one end along the hem on the inside, pin in place, and stitch it down. I used double-fold binding that I stitched up in place of ribbon because it's what I had on hand. Resourcefulness always beats another trip to the fabric store in my book!
Tie your ribbon ends to help keep your pillow cover in place and remove as often as it needs washing. Ta-Da! Go see if your furry friend likes it.
The beauty of this kind of project is that you can make the same thing in the same size and use it as a floor pillow for toddler or big kid lounging or adjust the sizes and make it into a decorative cover pillow for your own bed.
I have a feeling I'll have to keep someone else from climbing onto her dog bed all day. Cozy spots are hard to resist!
If you're interested in learning how to sew but have always been a little intimidated by it, Katie Shelton and I have written a sewing eCourse for beginners that teaches you how to sew while you work on projects that start out easy and build with each new skill! Check out our Sew With Us eCourse page for more details and to purchase yours.