BlogTutorials

How to Sew an Insulated Pet Bed

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!

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.

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: 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″.

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 will subtract about 14″ 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. 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 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.

Step 1

Step 1
Line up the Insul-Bright layer with the Wrong side of the Main Fabric.

Step 2

Step 2
Pin the insulation layer to the Main Fabric from corner to corner.

Step 3

Step 3
Stitch the insulation and Main Fabric layers together, corner to corner.

Step 4

Step 4
Align the Main Fabric and Lining Fabric right sides together.

Make sure all layers are flat and all the edges are lined up.

Step 5

Step 5
Measure a 7″ by 7″ square from each corner.

Mark and cut.

These “inverted corners” are known as gussets.

Step 6

Step 6
Set the Lining Fabric aside for a moment.

Line up the edges of one gusset on the Main Fabric, right sides together.

Step 7

Step 7
Pin the gusset edges.

Step 8

Step 8
Repeat for all 4 gussets on the Main Fabric piece. Note how the bed is already starting to look like a bed!

Step 9

Step 9
Stitch each gusset with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Step 10

Step 10
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.

Step 11

Step 11
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.

Step 12

Step 12
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.

Step 13

Step 13
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.

Step 14

Step 14
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.

Step 15

Step 15
Press and pin the top edge of the bed flat.

Step 16

Step 16
Topstitch approximately 3/4″ from the edge.

Step 17

Step 17
BLAMO! We did it!

Meow!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *