Nothing beats a cosy nesting place, except perhaps an even cosier nesting place! DIY fitted pet basket cushions and covers can make your dog or cat’s favourite nesting places comfortable, stylish, and easier to keep clean, too. Pawfect!
Nesting and Resting
Our pets have a lot of different beds, both bought and homemade. The blog has DIY posts on creating you own custom pet bedding, including how to make dog bed covers, inserts, and tips for keeping things easy and economical. These custom-sized DIY pet basket cushions were made using a box cushion dog bed cover technique, but tweaked to suit use as basket bed inserts. Tiger’s favourite basket is rectangular (easy), and Humphrey’s is round (a little trickier). The basket cushion covers also have an envelope style bottom panel. Perfect for basket use. It’s also very easy to sew and doesn’t require any zippers, Velcro, or buttons.
Choosing Materials for a DIY Pet Cushion
Supplies and Materials
To make a similar DIY pet basket cushion cover, you will need suitable fabric, coordinating thread, and basic sewing supplies including cutting supplies and a sewing machine.
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Sewing machine and general cutting / sewing supplies
- Iron and ironing board (optional)
Removable washable cases are very handy for pet beds. Depending on your pet and the type of bed, you may also want (or need) a fabric that is waterproof and/or stain-resistant. If you want a plush bed that is still protected, you can also layer a waterproof inner or topper and plush outer. These DIY pet basket cushions use a beautiful soft velvety fabric that our pets love. It’s not waterproof, but it does wear well and doesn’t hold fur like some fabrics. Plus it looks great with our home decor. Yay!
For washable fabrics, wash, dry and iron (unless heat sensitive) prior to making your cushion case to reduce the risk of shrinkage issues later. When your case is sewn, you may also want to trim and overlock (or otherwise finish) the internal raw edges before inverting to help reduce ravelling over repeat washings. This is especially helpful for ravel prone fabrics, but is also handy for general use.
Sewing a DIY Cushion for a Rectangular Pet Basket
Tiger’s new DIY pet basket cushion replaces the well-worn patchwork T-shirt cushion cover created from scraps when I made T-shirt quilts. This new cushion is plumper, containing his old cushion filling plus extra padding for a softer nesting place. Meowvellous!
It is essentially an envelope style cushion cover with boxed corners. Or, from another perspective, it’s a boxed corner bed cover with the closure flipped to the bottom and extended. How much overlap to use for the closure is personal choice. I typically create a flap that is almost the full size of the cushion plus an overlapping closure that covers between 1/2 and 3/4 of the shared side. I also used an extra-wide seam on the outer flap, for structure and style. This required an extra allowance on that edge.
Different Methods for Making a Rectangular Basket Cushion
Because Tiger’s bed has a small surface relative to the loft, I opted for a fully boxed cushion. Boxing the corners of a wraparound seemed wasteful in this case. I made it using four side pieces, one top, and two envelope flaps for the bottom panel. See our full box cushion dog bed tutorial for a details post on making a cushion covering using traditional boxing. Note the adaptation here on position of the closure flaps.
Alternatively, you can use a single piece of fabric to create a fitted case and box the corners. Do this the same was as we did for our more recent replacement wrap around boxed corner dog bed covers, just swap the position of the flaps. This easy method is my preference when making bed dog bed covers. Their beds are so big relative to the loft clipped off at the corners, the waste is relatively tiny in comparison. I used the same sewing method to make our fitted window seat cushion as well.
Want an even simpler option? You can skip the boxing altogether. Just do the basic rectangular envelope. It won’t be fitted, so not quite as pretty or perfectly fitted in the basket, but it’s a super quick way to make a throw cushion or pillow.
Personally, I love the perfect fit of Tiger’s new cushion. Plus the little bit of extra effort in sewing for a tight fit helps keep fur from gathering down the sides and underneath. Excellent. I need all the help I can get keeping this crazy fur-fulled pet-friendly house clean!
Sewing a Cushion for a Round Pet Basket
A customised round cushion and cover were also created to fill a big round basket bed. I’d been meaning to do this forever. The basket (a fab find from a local home decor shop) was bought as a pet bed. I temporarily put some folded blankets into it as padding until I made a cushion. It has shamefully taken me around a year of procrastination to finally sew a real bed for the basket. Sorry, Humphrey!
Measuring a Round Basket for a Cushion
- Measure the circumference of the basket.
- Measure the depth of the cushion insert if using foam. Alternatively, determine the planned depth of your cushion if using a soft filling.
- Calculate the required fabric size.
- Double check measurements and calculations prior to cutting and sewing.
Making a Round Cushion with Boxing
To adapt our rectangular full box gusset pet bed tutorial into a envelope-bottom circle:
- The top panel becomes a circle sized to match the basket, plus seam allowances.
- The envelope-style bottom is made of two part circles, sized to match the basket plus seam allowances. Allowances are also needed to finish the exposed edges of the envelope flaps. I used an extra-wide seam on the outer flap, for structure and style, just like Tiger’s.
- A single long strip of boxing is needed for the sides (circumference plus seam allowances). If this isn’t feasible due to material and size, strips can be joined to create the required length.
Tips for the adaptations in this post:
- To draw a circle to size when preparing to cut fabric, you can use a pin and measured string to draw a circle on your fabric. Double the check measurements in several places before cutting.
- Straight seams on curved panels can be difficult. Don’t cut yourself short on the curve. Leave extra fabric around the seam allowances on the flat edge of the part-circles when cutting for your bottom envelope panel. This allows you to fully finish the edge seam all the way to the side seams of the circle after folding the fabric over. You can trim any excess after you join the panels.
- How much envelope overlap is personal choice. I like to have ample overlap for a secure cover.
- Sew your top-to-side before you sew the bottom-to-side. If there are any minor misalignments, better they be on the less-visible bottom than on your cushion top.
Humphrey's Tricky Tapering Basket Dog Bed
Unfortunately, Humphrey’s bed was a trickier than a simple round cushion. It needed to fit into a tapered basket. Because it is quite big, I also needed to join two strips to have a piece long enough for the boxing. This actually played well with my efforts to work with the tricky taper.
The external seams on the bed are all matching extra wide double seams. I positioned my boxing strip for sewing from the joint, and sewed in both directions to a marked stopping point so that I could fold the raw edge inwards to sew in place and then closed with a matching extra wide double seam. I took advantage of the width to mask any slight mismatching from the taper. For style, the side seams were intentionally placed perpendicular to the bottom closure seam. That way, it doesn’t have a hodge podge of adjacent seams. There is also less bulk where the seams meet for a nicer finish. The verdict? Humphrey’s only complaint is that he has yet to re-assert his nesting divet into the plump new cushion so he’s a little cranky about the plushness of the bed. Life is tough indeed.
A Pawnote on Our Basket Pet Beds
Humphrey quickly asserted his divet, although he had to be quick as Tiger took a liking stealing the big basket on cold evenings. We usually keep a white fluffy sheepskin on it, and Tiger was so tiny that he was almost invisible in the big mound of fluff. King of the castle indeed. The big basket dog bed is still in use and going strong. It’s remarkable how well the grey velvet bed material has worn despite Humphrey’s nesting and fluffing. Definitely worth the extra effort to make the special custom shaped basket cushion cover. The fabric blends well with the new house, too. So well that I used it to make a window seat cushion and some extra throw pillows.
Tiger also loved his little basket bed through to the very end. It had pride of place in the sunbeam soaked window seat of our old house (usually occupied by a sunbeam soaked snoozing cat) and moved with us to be his safe space at the new house. When he passed away, it was dissembled for repurposing. Rest easy, mane man. We hope your new nesting place across the rainbow bridge is purrfect.