Make your favorite furbabies a cuddly handmade bed, complete with an optional insulating layer to keep them extra snuggly.
If you’ve used either of my square-bottom bag tutorials, the process for making this bag will be very familiar. It’s just bigger and shallower!
As usual, this tutorial is available in two formats: video and text!
Trouble with the video player?
Click here to watch the video on Youtube.
Or continue reading for the text/photo version of the tutorial.
Now let’s talk materials!
Some notes on choosing materials: I’m using fleece for my main fabric and quilting cotton for the lining.
I’d suggest using something fuzzy/fluffy/warm for the main fabric, since it not only makes the bed more comfy, but it also gives it enough bulk to hold its shape. (You can also reverse the layers so the fleece is on the inside.)
If you want to use the same fabric for the lining, go for it, though be aware that using two layers of a bulky fabric like faux fur will make sewing a bit more difficult.
The bed is basically reversible, and both the Main Fabric and Lining Fabric will be visible at all times.
Some notes on size: The finished dimensions of this bed are approximately 9″ x 15″.
I originally sized this bed for my cat Grady. He was an average-sized cat, and it fit him pretty much perfectly.
But the fellow pictured in the first photo, Ghost, is a very large cat. He can squeeze into it (and he does), but chonkier bois would probably benefit from a slightly larger bed. If you have a monster cat, try cutting your pieces at 30″ x 36″, which will yield a bed that measures approximately 21″x15″.
Have a dog and want an ever bigger bed? This bed can really be scaled to any size. The key is remembering that the gussets and seam allowances will subtract about 15″ from the width and length of the bed.
Notes on insulating the bed: Now, let’s talk a little about Insul-Bright. It’s often used for making potholders and oven mitts because of it’s ability to insulate. It looks a lot like batting, but if you look close, there’s actually a shiny silver layer under all that white fluff. It’s mylar, the same material used in shiny birthday balloons and emergency heat blankets. It basically reflects heat the same way a mirror reflects light. That’s why it makes a great oven mitt — the heat is bounced back toward the pan and away from your hand.
Used in a pet bed, the Insul-Bright will bounce the body heat from your pet back to their body, making this essentially a “self-heating” pet bed!
I get mine at Fabric.com (RIP). It’s also available on Amazon. I’d guess many of the larger craft stores (like Joann or Michael’s) also carry it, but you might want to call your local store and ask.
If you don’t have or want to use Insul-Bright, you can use an additional layer of fleece or batting to add a little more softness and warmth to the bed.
Line up the Insul-Bright layer with the Wrong side of the Main Fabric.
Pin the insulation layer to the Main Fabric from corner to corner.
Stitch the insulation and Main Fabric layers together, corner to corner.
Align the Main Fabric and Lining Fabric right sides together.
Make sure all layers are flat and all the edges are lined up.
Measure a 7″ by 7″ square from each corner.
Mark and cut.
These “inverted corners” are known as gussets.
Set the Lining Fabric aside for a moment.
Line up the edges of one gusset on the Main Fabric, right sides together.
Pin the gusset edges.
Repeat for all 4 gussets on the Main Fabric piece. Note how the bed is already starting to look like a bed!
Stitch each gusset with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Repeat the gusset pinning process on the Lining Fabric.
NOTE: my fabric is pretty much the same on both sides, so this is just a reminder that you should be pinning and sewing right sides together.
Just like we did with the Main Fabric, stitch the gussets on the Lining Fabric together with a 1/2″ seam allowance
Except for one. The bottom 3-4″ of one gusset should be left open.
Place the Lining Fabric inside the Main Fabric, right sides together.
Make sure to align the gusset seams of the two pieces.
Pin around the top edge and stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Once the two pieces are stitched together, find the gusset we only stitched halfway.
Carefully pull the Main Fabric side through the hole until the bed is turned completely Right Sides Out.
Now that the bed has been turned out, it’s time to close up that gusset hole.
Find the gappy gusset, and fold the raw edges in about 1/2″. You can press this with an iron, if you want, but I usually just press it with my fingers and pin.
Topstitch close to the edge to seal the gusset.
Press and pin the top edge of the bed flat.
Topstitch approximately 3/4″ from the edge.
BLAMO! We did it!
I love this idea. Thanks for the tutorial.
My cats will love it too.
I will be trying to make this soon!
Sure Miss your wit and tutorials on Youtube, The pet bed would have been a fun one to watch!
Thanks, Edye! I will have new videos up shortly, including the pet bed.
I have old water resistant bed pads that I think would be good to add into a pet bed. I have older pets and we have some accidents. If you have a convoluted pad that might do well as cut down and inserted between the layers
This looks like such a fun and easy tutorial!
Could I use an insulated grocery bag instead of the insul-bright to make a self-warming cat bed?
Yes, that should work in the same way as the Insul-bright!
I was thinking of using those blankets sold for emergencies or camping. I actually use these in old pillow cases, for the strays outside. 🙂
There’s a decent chance they’re cheaper than the Insulbright!
Thank you for this! I made one today for my elderly cat. I am novice and had trouble flipping it right side out at the end (needed a bigger hole). Maybe because in addition to Insul Bright I also used a thin layer of batting. But never the less I think it’s cute and hope the cat will take to it!
I often make my gaps too small for turning. Such a pain!
Very Awesome and Help full Article. It really helps me. thanks for sharing this.
Any thought on using the cut-out parts? I love the idea of this bed but hate to waste those pieces. Thx!
Depending on the size of the gussets, they might be big enough to make into trivets/potholders. If they’re too small, I bet they’d be just the right size for coasters.
So if I understand, the finished measurements of the bottom of this bed is 10″x16″, right?
OMG. Leave it to me to make a total bonehead move like not putting the finished dimensions of the bed. ?
With seam allowances accounted for, the finished dimensions of the bottom of the bed will be approximately 9″x15″.