Tuesday, 28 June 2016

How to Make a DIY Box Cushion (Water-Resistant) Pet Bed



(Part 2 of 4)  This red large box cushion floor bed was made by upcycling a clearance sale spill-proof table cloth, which is great for dirty dogs and Oli's occasional leaky wee LBL. Upcycling a quality fabric shower curtain or using exterior fabrics are other options, or you can just use regular sturdy fabric. All totaled, including the insert (Part 4 of our mini-series) and assorted supplies, this big water-resistant dog bed cost around NZ$35 (US$24). Bargain!


I am not an exceptional seamstress, so if I can do it, you can do it! All you need are a few basic sewing supplies and some time. You will need filling(s), fabric, velcro, basic machine sewing supplies, and (optional) fusable interfacing (or regular interfacing + fusable tape) to make handles

  • Cut two pieces to size (plus seam allowances) for the top and bottom.  In the same widths, cut a piece to height (plus seam allowances) for the front and each side.  In a slightly smaller height, cut two additional pieces for the rear velcro closure flaps. 
  • Sew to finish the exposed edges of your velcro closure flaps (the open edges through which the filling is inserted).  This will be one width-wise edge of each rear flap.
  • Sew velcro to the unfinished side of the top closure flap, near the finished edge.  The stitching will be externally visible, so use a threat that compliments the fabric, not the velcro. Sewing velcro can sometimes be a bit fiddly, so I personally prefer using the loop side on this exposed position as it is the easier sew and will have neater looking stitching on the outside.
  • Check positioning for alignment. Pin (or tape) velcro to the finished side of your other rear panel, taking care to ensure that the finished closed rear panel will be an equal height to the other sides. Sew velcro into place.
  • Optional: To make sturdy matching handles, cut fabric and interfacing 4x as wide as your desired handle width at desired length plus an allowance for folding under the raw end edges. Fuse the interfacing to the unfinished side of the fabric. Trim if/as needed. Fold lengthwise at 1/4 width from the edge to meet in the centre and iron flat. Fold in the center so that the raw edge is concealed in the middle and iron flat. Sew lengthwise on both edges to secure. Place, folded edge down, into position on your side panel, ends raw ends folded under, and sew to secure (crossed boxes work nicely).  I was making a big bed, so I made a double handle for each side (extra long handle strips sewn on in thirds) to to make grab-and-go movement extra convenient.

  • Pin on the unfinished edges and sew the front, side, rear, and side panels together to form the gusset, taking care to leave the seam allowances separate and free at the ends of your joints. Slip over your foam to double-check sizing - just in case!  Easier adjusted now than later. :)
  • Pin the gusset to the top panel on the unfinished edges and sew. Take extra care when turning your corners to make sure your seam allowance corners remain outside of the sewn edge to be nice and pointy when inverted.  I like to start from the front, just in case, especially if lining up a pattern. Stop and check at any point you wish during sewing and when finished, just in case.
  • Pin the gusset to the bottom panel on the unfinished edges and sew as above. 
  • Optional: If you are working with a ravel-prone fabric, you might like to trim and overlock (or alternative finish) the all the raw edges for ease or working and durability.
  • Inverse through the velcro opening so that the fabric is right-side out.
  • Insert cushion filling, velcro closed, and enjoy!

 Tips & Tricks
  • If you are working with a strong pattern, like mine, you may wish to take extra care when cutting an piecing the gusset so that the patterns align nicely.  This takes extra effort and may require you to use extra fabric.  Alternatively, you can use a plain fabric on the sides to negate the need for matching. Check out Part 3 for another sneaky way to simplify working with patterns.
  • I used velcro for cost and convenience.  If you would rather use a zipper, you can easily adjust the rear panel flaps to suit the size/type of your zipper and the rest of the DIY is the same.
  • If you would like to trim the top edges, add the piping to your edge seams when you pin the top to the gusset prior to sewing together.  
  • If your fabric is extra sturdy, you can skip the interfacing for the handles. Alternatively, you can use a pre-fab material, such as webbing, instead of making your own.

Part 1: The Background + Our Dog Beds
Part 2: Sewing a Box Cushion (Water Resistant) Dog Bed
Part 3: Sewing a Semi-Box Cushion Style Dog Bed...a Cheater's Shortcut!
Part 4: Making Your Own Dog Bed Insert Cushions for Easy Removal/Insert

2 comments:

  1. Great idea using a tablecloth or a shower curtain to make them easy to wipe clean for whatever not just for pee. I will watch for sales. Does it need to be a particular material or just any one? Are the beds wearing and washing well?

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    Replies
    1. You can try and sturdy fabric material (i.e. a water/spill resistant fabric, not a plastic or vinyl type of material). Sew a little test sample if you aren't sure how it might work. The sturdier, the more rugged the bed and better it's likely to hold up to wash and wear over time. I like to prep posts in advance, and the boys have been using the new beds a for around a month now and they are still holding up nicely. Hopefully they will last well. I still have enough of both the red and the black leftovers for extra cases as well. :)

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