Last weekend we got a new addition to our family - Patches the Blue Heeler pup! Isn't he cute?!
I really wanted him to have a doggy bed, because once he is big enough (and the weather is warm enough) he will be living outside in his awesome kennel with full run of the yard. I thought a nice, comfy spot in the sun on the deck would be great. But even at The Warehouse, a decent dog bed (with a hard case and pillow) runs you up to about $100! Not really something I could justify. So off to the Recycle Centre I went and came back with the following haul!
Cane Dog Basket: $2
Blue and White check baby blanket: $2
White Sheet: $4
Duvet Inner: $4
Yesterday I set to putting it all together - making the pillow to put inside the cane bed.
There was some cardboard lining the bottom of the bed which came in handy for measuring the fabric.
I laid the baby blanket on top of a single layer of the sheet. I figured that if the cardboard template was the size of the bottom I would allow an extra 12cm for cutting, which should be enough for the seam, and still fill the bed nicely once all the padding is added. I also cut 8 strips of the baby blanket to make ties to hold the pillow in place (as Patches loves chewing and I figure he'll drag it out of the bed otherwise!)
Once cut, I then peeled back the top layer, placing two strips at a time down on top of each other to make my ties - pointing inwards. I sewed the whole thing up, doing a double row of straight stitching for strength, and then zig-zagging the edges, leaving a 20cm-ish gap to put the stuffing in. Turning it in the right way - I now had the oval shape with the ties sticking out, gap to the back.
Now my preference at this stage was to just stuff the duvet inner inside and sew it up. Done and dusted! But my wise husband came in at the point and made two suggestions/observations.
1. What if the puppy wees all over it - can you wash it?
2. Wouldn't it be better to layer the duvet up then cut it to fit rather than stuff it in?
Both were pretty good observations and that bought about the unexpected second phase of the project - the doggy pillow. This way, I can wash the cover without having to get the filling wet, and if I need to wash the pillow, it will probably dry faster if the filling is laid out nicely.
To make the pillow I laid the inside-out cover out on top of two layers of the white sheet and traced around it with a soft pencil. I then cut it up, and sewed it - leaving about a 15cm gap to put the stuffing through. I then folded it in the right way, laid it on top of the duvet (folded into four layers), and set about cutting around the case.
Once I did that, I stuffed the filling inside then smoothed it all out so it fitted nicely. I figured that seeing as my filling had structure (rather than loose filling), I had better do something to hold it in place, so I put four pin tucks (not sure if that's the correct terminology...) I then hand sewed the hole shut - and viola! One doggy pillow all ready for the case.
For the cover I decided to keep it simple and make a dome fastened opening so that I can remove the pillow when needed. And then it was all done! I put it into the bed, pulled the tabs through the cane and knotted them off, tucking the ends back through to avoid tempting sharp puppy teeth!
So the final test... does it get Patches' seal of approval?
I think so! And he's already trying to pry the pillow of there so those ties were a handy addition.
If you want to make a puppy pillow at home, you will need:
A sewing machine
Polar Fleece Fabric (I would have done both sides in the fleece, but seeing as I was using second hand items went with what I could find)
White fabric (an old sheet is perfect for the pillow case)
Some sort of stuffing - you could empty old pillows or buy it new, or use a second hand duvet inner like me
Some domes (or a zip if you prefer)
A hard bed (if you can find one, however the pillow on its own would still be fine - especially for an inside dog)
About 2-3 hours
If you are not the sewing type - then I also found a great tutorial for a no-sew doggy bed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uVOKTo7iVcU