Wednesday, 29 June 2016
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How to Make DIY Box Cushion Pet Beds...Shortcut!

Dalmatian dog and fluffy white cat relaxing on homemade pet beds

(Part 3 of 4)  Yesterday we showed you our DIY full box cushion pet bed, and this is a shortcut (cheat) semi-box cushion bed with a rear velcro closure gusset panel.  It has boxed front corners, but a plushy wrap-around top and sides.  It is great for squishy beds as the natural curve to the top accommodates the extra loft, and easy cheat for clear frontal patterns, and efficient use of fabric with limited cuts/waste. I used a separate rear gusset when making these beds, but you can use a single piece  of fabric to create the full envelope instead, if you wish (see Tips and Tricks below).

The black bed was made by upcycling a clearance sale spill-proof table cloth (just like our red bed). All totalled, including the insert (Part 4 of our mini-series, coming up tomorrow) and assorted supplies, this cushy water-resistant bed cost around NZ$35 (US$24).  The small tapestry bed was made using home decor fabric and all totaled including the insert cost around NZ$25 (US$17) with extra fabric left for making matching throw pillow covers. 

How to make a fitted dog bed cover

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), suitable fabric, Velcro, a sewing machine and basic machine sewing supplies, and (optional) fusible interfacing (or regular interfacing + fusible tape) to make handles.

How to make a fitted pet bed cover with Velcro closure
  • Cut one piece to size (plus seam allowances) that will fully wrap around your cushion, rear excluded) and meet at the sides. In a slightly smaller height (plus seam allowances), cut additional pieces to width 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.
  • Take your large cover panel, reverse to the unfinished side, fold in half  at the center (front), and sew the sides together along the seam allowances, taking care to leave the seam allowances separate and free at the ends for joining the rear panel. Slip over your foam to double-check sizing - just in case.
  • At the corners (intersection of your center fold and side seams), create a box corner seam by sewing across the intersection. I neglected to take photos of this step and it really benefits from a photo explanation, so I hunted down a nice clear how-to at Sew 4 Home that will help if this is a new technique for you. The same technique is used for any type of boxed corner, and Something Turquoise's tote bag DIY has a brilliant photo explanation of how to do it. So very sorry about that!
  • Optional: To add sturdy matching handles, see our previous post. 
  • Pin the rear closure panel to the unfinished edges of the care and sew into place. 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 recommend positioning the flap so it is opening downwards to avoid collecting extra fur. Don't despair if it's not quite perfect - it's only the back. 
  • 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
  • You can make a pet bed using ANY cushion material, technique, shape, and style you like - just scale it to your project and make it yours! We'd love to see your projects - feel free to share in the comments.
  • Tomorrow's insert post (Part 4) shows how you can make a wrap-around box cushion from a single piece of fabric without the rear gusset.  You could add overlap and use this technique to make a removable bed cover without a separate gusset; however, it can be tricky when working with beds, Velcro, flaps, and box corners. Your measurements need to be precise, as there's no room for adjustment on the gusset after the envelope has been sewn. 
  • You can also make an envelope style cushion cover with a bottom closure and box seam the four corners. It is an even easier cheater's sewing project and could work perfectly when you are tucking a bed into a crate or box. If you don't care about your box corners, just skip the seams and it's even easier!   
  • 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.

Our DIY Dog Bed and Custom Bed Covers:
As a bonus, Creativity Unmasked has shared a DIY for sewing simple envelope-style pillow cases in coordination with our bed mini-series. You can make on in minutes and use up some of your remnants/offcuts in the process.

Update: These water resistant dog bed covers were fantastic, but after several years of hard wear under paws and claws, shuffling around indoors/outdoors, and ferrying through our move, they were rather worn. See our new (and slightly improved) DIY fitted envelope-style rear closure dog bed covers for details on the new beds. 

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