Our little mutts, Duff, Gertie and Barney, were in desperate need of a new dog bed. We’ve been hunting for months, but nothing ever seemed right. Honestly, they really don’t care about a new bed, but of course we do! And it also has to match our decor!
We were doing what we always do, rummaging through the local fabric store when lightening struck….we found the perfect fabric for them!
Alberto ADORES toile fabric, but I just DON’T. For those of you who don’t know what toile is, it’s a fabric that has scenes on it (usually pastoral or oriental). For example, picture an old English countryside with women in hoop skirts and parasols lounging under trees. It is usually a color such as black, red, blue or green on white. But the toile we saw that day was different. It was truly inspirational. When we saw the hunting dog scene in brown with a blue background, it was kismet! We finally found the perfect fabric for Duff, Gertie and Barney’s bed. We also found a tan chenille fabric in the remnant pile that would serve as the backing for the bed. It was sturdy, cheap (very important), and it matched the toile (extremely important.)
Now we just have to put everything together.
Here’s what we had to buy to make the bed:
- Fabric — we’re using about 1 yard of toile and 1 yard of the tan chenille for a 25″x50″ bed
- Velcro — 9-inch piece
- Pillow inserts — we bought 2 26″x26″ inserts, which gives us that puffy look we like, and they are also much cheaper than buying upholstery foam of the same size.
NOTE: We bought fabric, velcro and pillows. If you have a fabric outlet near you, all these materials can be very cheap, no more than $20 if you can stick to the remnant pile. Even without purchasing new fabric, try looking for things in your own home that you no longer use such as old blankets, curtains or clothes. It makes the bed even cheaper!
This is what we needed on hand to finish it:
- Sewing machine
- Thread (of course)
- Ruler, tape measure or yard stick
Let’s make the bed:
- Because we purchased two 26-inch square pillows for the insert, we decided that the bed should be 25×50 inches. (We made dimensions of the bed a bit shorter all around to make the bed look a little puffier. You could probably cut it back by another couple of inches on width and length. It just depends on what you like.)
- I placed the toile fabric face up on the table. Since this is toile and the pattern is large and repetitive, we need to decide the center of the bed. The toile we chose had three different scenes, so we chose the center of those three scenes to be the center of our bed.
- From the center of the fabric, I measure 25.5 inches on either side of the center and 13 inches above and below.
- Once I’ve marked the fabric, I cut it. This is a HUGE dog bed, but we have three dogs!
- Next Alberto measures the underside of the bed. We always use the top side of the pillow or bed as the template of the bottom. This ensures that both pieces match.
- Just like with the Burberry pillows, we’re wanting to create a flap in the back of this bed so that we can remove the cover and wash it. Not that the dogs are dirty, but well . . .
- In order to create the flap, Alberto makes the bottom piece longer than the top. In this case, he left about 6 inches because the fabric was thick. It’s always better to have too much fabric than not enough. You can always trim it down later.
- After he’s cut the bottom fabric, he needs to cut it into two pieces to form the flap.
- Alberto measured down 15 inches from one end, and he cut the fabric across.
Time to take our cocktail break. But I just found out that we don’t have any more Patron! . . . It’s a great bottle. I wonder if there’s something we can do with it. Hmmmm . . . Do I smell a future project?
Now back to the cocktail. I guess we’ll just have to do Maker’s Mark sours again! While I make the cocktails, Alberto continues with the project.
Back to the Project:
- Alberto is sewing a hem at one end of each of the flap pieces. He folds up a 1/4-inch piece of fabric and sews it to secure it in place. If you pin the fabric in place, it will make the sewing easier for this part.
- We generally fold the 1/4-inch over again and sew it as well. It’s not necessary, but it saves on having strings coming off of the cut edge of the fabric after the pillow or bed is finished.
- Next he cuts the Velcro into 3 equal 3-inch pieces, and then he sews the Velcro onto the two flaps. We’ve tried putting the Velcro on at this point and after we’ve sewn the pillow or bed together. Trust me!! It’s easier this way, but you have to be careful that you line everything up carefully when you are finishing the bed.
- To sew on the Velcro, Alberto starts in the middle of the flap.
- On the shorter piece of chenille, determine the middle of the fabric, and sew the “hook” side (rough side) on the back of the chenille right under the hem. (Try to be neat when sewing the Velcro on the shorter flap as the stitching will be seen in the end.)
- For the other two pieces, just measure halfway between the middle and the side of the fabric. Sew it in place the same way as the middle.
- For the bottom piece, Alberto places the soft side of the Velcro right underneath the hem as in the short piece. The only difference is that this piece of Velcro will go on the “finished” side of the chenille. (I know I mentioned this in the Burberry pillows, but put the soft side on the finished side. It just feels better in the long run.)
- Line up the two pieces of fabric to determine the placement of the soft side of the fabric on the long piece of fabric. Try to imagine the two pieces of fabric as one solid piece.
- After both sides have the Velcro, attach the two pieces together so that you make one long piece.
Putting It Together (Bit by Bit!)
So I’m back to put everything together.
- Place the toile face up on the table.
- Next place the chenille pieces, finished side down, on top of the toile, and line up the side. It’s at this point that you can determine if the chenille is too long and needs to be trimmed.
- Once you have the two sides of the bed lined up, pin them together. If you don’t, you’ll regret it. (Once again, trust me! I’ve made that mistake before.)
- It’s at this point that I trim the two pieces, toile and chenille, so that they match each other. It will help when you’re sewing the two pieces together.
- Designate the “bottom” of the bed. When I say the bottom, I mean pick the side of the fabric that won’t be seen when it’s in the place that you’re using it. It’s easier with this project because we’re not adding any cording or extra pieces. We’re just sewing “two” pieces of fabric together. However we will be placing the bed in the room with the top against the wall, so we’ll make the exception to start sewing in the middle of the top of the fabric.
- Start sewing in the middle of the side, and continue all the way around the bed. You can use a needle and a slip-stitch, but a sewing machine is much faster.
- For this bed, we reinforced the flap sides. I reinforced the flap sides by going over the side pieces where they meet several times. (This will help as you’re removing the pillows so that you can wash the bed.)
- Finally, turn the bed inside out, insert the pillows and put the dogs on the bed.
Alberto brings out the bourbon sours on time, and all is well with the world! The pups have a bed, we have a drink and now it’s time to think about next time. Why does Patron tequila come to mind?