If you’ve ever read my blog you’ll know that much of what I make is influenced by my daughter, Flicky, and today’s project is no exception! I asked Flicky to pick something from the Sew Can She archives that I could adapt for my guest post and she chose the Fleece Dog Bed by Erin of Dog Under My Desk for our very own ‘Tatty’ dog to snuggle on.
Following Erin’s instructions, which are clear and very simple, it’s really easy to change the size of the bed to suit your own needs. I wanted the dog bed to fit inside Tatty’s play pen so I made it smaller, only 24″ diameter, I also used 100% cotton quilting fabric rather than fleece and jazzed it up a bit by using pieced fabrics.
To create the piecing I cut two 24″ squares from Amy Butler’s Alchemy ‘Fountain’ fabrics in Rosebud and Flora and folded each square into quarters …
… and then in half to form a triangle – I ironed the fabric at this stage so the fold lines would be very obvious when it’s opened out as a circle later.
From the centre point of the folded fabric I measured out 12″ and repeated this in several places until I could join the marks in a smooth arc drawn on the fabric (I think you can just about see the pale blue water erasable arc line from the ruler edge to the opposite corner top of the fabric). Keeping the fabric folded I cut along the arc line from edge to edge.
Once the fabric is unfolded it’s a circle and you can see all those fold lines on it. Next I cut along each of the fold lines to create the triangular sections to piece the dog bed top and bottom circles.
Here’s the cut sections – and then I did the same with the second piece of fabric.
Having laid the fabrics out in an alternating colourway I then sewed the triangles together using a 1/4″ seam as above – I’d recommend that you do a double row of stitching to make the seams more durable – my dog’s a digger, she just has to get to the stuffing in anything and one row of stitching isn’t going to hold her back for long!
I made the circles up as two half circles and then sewed them together down the centre seam – the points joined more easily this way than by just working around the full circle.
I repeated with the remaining pieces to make up the top and bottom circles of the dog bed.
I didn’t want the bed to be as high as the 9″ in Erin’s pattern so I cut out 6″ x 3″ sections of the alternating fabrics and sewed them together into a long strip and then I appliqued my dog’s name (Tatty and Thatcher) on the side of the bed.
Here I’ve attached the side panel to the top of the bed.
Erin was right, 2 pillows $7.00 from Target was the correct amount of stuffing and the bed’s absolutely the perfect finished size for Tatty’s play pen.
What I learnt:
Thinking that the bed would sag outwards once made (as in Erin’s photos of her bed made with fleece) I wanted the letters to still be fully visible so I cut them quite small – 1.5″ tall. This didn’t turn out to be the case – using 100% quilting cotton instead of fleece and reducing the height of the bed from 9″ to 6″ kept the sides of the bed pretty firm and upright – so I could have made the letters much taller.
The solid fabrics that I used to applique Tatty’s name on the bed might have been the perfect colours to work alongside the Amy Butler prints in a quilt but they just weren’t contrasting enough to be visible against such a busy print when used as applique. Even appliquing the letters with white thread didn’t make them obvious enough. Using one stronger solid colour or white fabric would have worked much better.
And the final verdict from Tatty – she absolutely loves her new bed and has been seen dragging it around the apartment with her – even out on to our 23rd floor balcony!
Much to Tatty’s disgust my daughter, Flicky, has also been seen sitting on the bed – using it as a large floor cushion – she says it’s the comfiest thing she’s ever sat on. So that got me thinking that there’s lots of other uses for this pattern, not just as a dog bed but how about as a back cushion when reading in bed or go large and make floor cushions for a child’s playroom, TV room or den? Just modify the fabric and size to change the look.
Tatty gives the bed her seal of approval – what do you think of it?
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Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield is an author and publisher who is passionate about the world of sewing and quilting. You can find her work in books, sewing patterns, magazines, and articles all over the web. She founded and publishes her ideas on the popular sewing website SewCanShe.com.