Saturday, January 23, 2010

Outdoor Dog Bed

My girl Panda likes to sleep outside. In the summer, she likes sleeping on the dirt and grass... but now that it's winter and rainy, she can't really sleep in the mud. So she lays on the cement, which is not very easy on her old bones. I wanted to make her a dog bed that would be soft and weather resistant. I looked around the net for instructions and found nothing, so I thought I'd post my own How To Make an Outdoor Dog Bed project. Here you go...

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to make it out of... I went to the fabric store to see what I could find. Here's what I bought:

1 yd Vinyl upholstery fabric (54" wide)
1 yd wool/polyester twill fabric (54" wide)
1 22" zipper
Heavy duty sewing machine needles

Starting with the vinyl, fold the fabric in half short-ways, to make the widest rectangle you can and measure it. Mine came out to 27" across by 36" long. Fold it right sides together so the edges match all around. On one short end, mark with a pen where your zipper will start and stop. Using 1/2" seam allowance, sew around 2 edges. On the zipper side, sew only where your zipper will not be. At the corners, reinforce the stitching by running backwards once then continuing on.

To add the zipper, line up the zipper's outer edge with the fabric edge (where we left it open) and sew 1/4" seam all the way from one end of the zipper fabric to the other. Repeat for the other side of the zipper. Rather than using my zipper foot (which let the fabric slide all over), I used my regular foot and moved the needle to the left. I did not bother with top stitching. (Use the diagrams inside the zipper package if you're not familiar with how to sew a zipper.)

Turn it right side out and the outer part of the dog bed is complete.

For the inner case, I used a heavy wool/poly twill fabric. Wool will naturally repel moisture, and the polyester will add durability. Again, fold the fabric short-ways for a wide rectangle. Cut to measure the same as the vinyl cover. Sew around 2 sides and 1/2 of the third side. Leave the last 1/2 for stuffing. Turn right side out.

To stuff my dog bed, I used two funky old bed pillows my boyfriend inexplicably wouldn't throw out. Two fit into my case perfectly. I also took some old t-shirts, cut them into pieces and added them as extra filler.

To close the inner case, fold the edges inward and top stitch from the outside. You may opt to add a zipper to the inner case as well, for ease of washing. I am hoping mine will stay relatively dry inside and I won't need to wash it.

Now fit the inner case into the vinyl case and zip up. Boom! Quick and easy, just like we like. I couldn't get Panda to lay down for the pic, she thought we were playing. But I think the size is just right. Victory!

1 comment:

hudson said...

Also consider the Sunbrella line of fabrics if the vinyl is too slippery.
They can be a bit expensive but they wear well outside in lots of weather though they would take a bit longer to dry than the vinyl.