These quick dry DIY dog blankets are made with repurposed bed sheets, layered into soft comfy throws that feel fantastic and look great around the house. Basic bound edge DIY blankets can be easily adapted to layered blankets and much more. It’s winter here, and I’ve been busy replenishing our (ripped, smelly, worn out) dog blankies with lovely new blankets that are easy care and look great around the house. As shared in the reasons why I decided to make our dogs blankets, making blankets is an easy DIY and a great way to customise the size, materials, and style of pet (or people) blankets. Plus, it’s great for practising sewing skills.
Material Selection and Design Factors
Humphrey is crazy in love with the microfleece bedsheets hubby bought this winter. So much so that he likes to try and tuck himself into our bed. Often successfully, little rascal. I’m a cotton girl myself, but do confess that they’re pretty cosy in cold weather and they dry incredibly quick. That’s very handy in our winter weather since I air dry our washing all year round.
The very thin fleecy material isn’t well suited to being a dog blanket on its own, but it does layer beautifully with other materials. I decided to pair it with a microflannel topper and microfiber binding. All synthetics (I know…) but great for washing, resistant to staining, quick dry, and less prone to holding smells over time. All helpful in with dogs, especially since our senior has light bladder leakage issues (the subject of a some very special posts coming soon). Microflannel has a lovely soft feel but is less of a fur magnet than many materials and has a deceptively heavy drape about it that makes thin layered blanket somehow feel substantially more luxurious.
The binding was made with a polyester microfiber instead of a usual cotton or poly-cotton type binding. It’s a little less robust, but has a subtle stretch, a gorgeous silky feel, and dries very quickly. My binding was homemade, but you can use ready-made binding instead, of course. Ready-made is very convenient and makes bound blankets a super quick and simple sewing project.
Upcycling Sheets into Homemade Binding Tape
Binding takes a little time and patience to make, but is otherwise easy and very economical. If you need a hand, you can read all about making binding tape in our introductory post. As shared in our previous post on making single layer fleece blankets, this binding was made with microfiber bed sheets instead of by-the-meter fabric. I bought the sheets on sale at a great price to use as raw material. The pale grey is perfect for our home, and ties all of the projects together beautifully.
Making a Layered Blanket with Bound Edges
Supplies and Materials
To make a similar blanket you will need a large microfleece and microflannel sheet of similar sizes (or other material of your choice), binding or material to make binding, suitable thread in a coordinating colour, cutting tools, and a sewing machine. The blanket can be fully hand sewn, but it would be a very long sewing project! A walking foot would be helpful, if you have one (I didn’t when making these). Everything can be measured and cut with scissors, but a rotary cutter, matt, and straight edges are handy if you have them. An iron and ironing board (with pressing cloth if needed) are also recommended, if your chosen fabrics allow. Fusible tape is also optional.
- Microfleece fabric (I used a bed sheet) or suitable alternative of your preference
- Microflannel fabric (I used a bed sheet) or suitable alternative of your preference
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight edge (either as a cutting guide or to mark a guide line)
- Square object (optional to assist with checking corners)
- Measuring tape (optional)
- Double-fold binding tape (or material for making binding)
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Sewing machine and general cutting / sewing supplies
- Iron and ironing board
The steps below, other than prepping the layers before binding, are exactly the same as binding a single layer blanket. Once you get comfortable with using binding, the process is easily applied to all sorts of sewing projects. Additional photos of prepping binding, turning corners during binding attachment, etc. are available in our single layered blanket post, if needed.
- Source materials as listed above, or preferred alternatives.
- If appropriate for your chosen fabrics, prewash or preshrink prior to use.
- If using homemade binding tape, make a sufficient length of binding for the project. See our post on making binding tape for information, if needed.
If these sheets are colourfast and pre-shrunk, pre-washing is optional. You may still like to wash away any smells and residue from manufacture, transport, retail, etc. either before sewing or before first use. Ironing is difficult with these materials, but it is helpful to ensure the material is as smooth as possible before cutting the fabric. Pre-washing and drying, hand smoothing, and/or low-temp ironing (with a pressing cloth) can help if time and materials allow.
Cutting and Assembling Materials for the Blanket Body
- Prepare sheets by trimming top header from the sheet (save for other crafts). If the hems are wide or thick, also remove the side and bottom hemmed edges.
- Cut the sheets to size (quarters in my case). Try to ensure they are of similar sizes to minimise trimming and/or waste. Ensure edges are straight and corners squared. See our post about cutting fleece for blankets for help on sizing and trimming, if needed.
- Layer the materials right-sides out, taking care to ensure that everything is smooth and aligned to avoid the risk of bunching. Pinning or clipping is recommended.
- Sew a narrow hem to join the sides. Although materials can be joined during binding, it is easier (especially with materials like this) and likely to give a neater finished project if the materials are sewn together first. The narrow hem will be hidden under the binding, so feel free to use up odd colours of thread if you wish.
Sewing slippery or stretchy materials can be tricky. If you have a walking foot, it can help. For standard sewing, you may find it helps to work incrementally, stopping to remove and re-check alignment to ensuring smooth unbunched layers as you go. I like to stop on every side for a layout and check. Easier to correct one side than have to undo the entire blanket!
Attaching Binding to the Blanket Edges
When machine sewing binding, everyone likes to do things a little differently. Most methods work similarly if your careful with your positioning and sewing. Do what works for you. It often depends on the materials, project, and person. I’ve tried several different application techniques, and confess that I prefer sewing and top-stitching the top/right side. My still developing sewing skills are tidier on the top! We have an intro to binding here on the blog and additional resources are available on our pet craft help Pinterest board.
Positioning and starting the binding:
My blanket materials here have a definite top and bottom. The smooth patterned microflannel is the top by visual default, with a soft underbelly of super snuggly microfleece.
As noted in our post on making and using binding, my preferences for ends depends on the project. I will usually sew and trim the tails (So Sew Easy has a great visual on this method). For straight binding, I sometimes cheat on the sleeve method and use a little bit of fusible web to “hem” my outer (visible) strip at the joint.
- Select a starting point on the edge of the blanket, ensuring it is far enough away from the corner not to interfere with turning the binding (at least two full unfolded widths at minimum).
- Unfold the end of the binding and position it at the starting point, right sides facing, so that one raw edge aligned with the raw edge of the prepared fleece.
- Depending on your preferred method of joining the ends of the binding when they meet, leave sufficient excess.
- Sew the binding into place along the first fold line, taking care whilst turning corners.
- To turn the corners on the first pass, I like to use the use the fold-and-press method. This will make the binding self-mitre (magic) when opened and folded over to topstitch on the other side.
- Stop sewing at least the unfolded binding’s full width from the corner.
- Remove the item from the machine.
- Fold the tape upwards 90 degrees. Ensure it is in line with the next side (perpendicular to the current side). Iron to press a crease. Unfold.
- Return the item to the machine (same position) and resume sewing.
- At the fold crease, pause sewing. With the needle down, lift the foot and rotate the item towards the corner. Lower the foot and sew along the crease line all the way to the edge.
- Remove the item from the machine.
- Refold the tape upwards 90 degrees. Ensure it is in line with the next side (perpendicular to the current side), then make another fold downwards at the edge. Iron (or pin/pinch) and carefully return the item to the machine, positioned to sew the next edge starting from the folded over edge.
Joining the ends:
- When you have fully sewn around the blanket back to the starting point, join with your preferred method as noted at the start of the DIY project.
Topstitching the binding:
- Trim threads and turn the blanket over.
- Wrap the binding over the edge, carefully topstitch (or other technique, if/as you prefer) the binding into place, taking extra care to ensure the corners are neatly folded on both sides. As I reach a corner, I like to remove my item from the machine, ensure the corner is folded as neatly as possible (checking both sides) before sewing the turn and continuing.
- Trim threads if/as needed.
- Ironing (if fabric allows – mine are ill-suited to ironing) and/or washing is optional prior to use.
The Proof is in the Snuggle
Humphrey is loving his special fleecy backed blankets. They look pretty doggone great with the rest of our house as well, which is a big win in my efforts to keep thinks looking moderately in order around the house. Dog beds and blankets everywhere! Haha! I experimented with several different methods when making these blankets and my binding is getting better all the time. Pet projects are awesome for practising and/or trying new techniques. they won’t care if you make a few mistakes or things look a less than perfect. Whether they’re snuggly on the other hand, well…
Nesting and Resting
Check out our collection of DIY pet beds and blankets for more ideas for snuggling in comfort and style. Stay tuned for more winter warmers and cosy crafts, including some very special projects created to help ensure senior dog Oli has all the comfort of his favourite nesting and resting places without needing to worry about whether he was leaking a little, both for the sake of the beds and furniture as well as his comfort. Precious old lad.