Sunday, August 15, 2010

How to Make a Cute [Cheap] Suitcase Pet Bed

Who likes having hideous carpeted pet furniture taking up space in their otherwise adorably decorated home? Not me. And don't my little cat babies deserve something way more interesting than that? I have been seeing some adorable cat or small pet beds around the internet lately and thought I would give making one a try.  Unfortunately I only have pictures of the end product this time, but I will be descriptive :)

Here's what you'll need:
Vintage suitcase
3/4 yard of fabric (depending on your suitcase size)
Polyfill stuffing
Some sort of closures (velcro, buttons, zipper, etc)
Sewing machine and thread 
Adorable pet

Step 1. Choosing and dismantling your suitcase
Check out Goodwill or your local thrift store for a cheap suitcase that you think can work for the project and your decor. Those old blue hard suitcases would work great. I found a rather strange little brown suitcase that had a soft zipper flap on the top rather than a snap closure for $4.99 at Goodwill. My suitcase required only that I use a razorblade to carefully cut around the edge and remove the zippered fabric area to reveal a completely open suitcase. If you choose a classic hard shell vintage suitcase, you may need to use a screwdriver or pliers to unhinge it.

Step 2. Clean up the interior.
Cats are naturally very curious creatures, and will play with any stray paper liner or strings on the inside of the suitcase. I hot glued any peeling paper liner and trimmed any strings. My suitcase even has a little pocket inside for me to stash cat toys.

Step 3. Measure for the cushion.
Measure the dimensions of your suitcase so that you will know what size to make your pet bed cushion. Keep in mind that when you stuff the cushion it will be less wide and less long due to the filling.

Step 4. Choose fabric for a liner and a cushion cover.
Now we all know how much our beloved pets shed. Make life easier on yourself by making a cover for your pet bed that is easy to remove and wash. I chose a brown flannel with multicolored/ringed circles matching my decor. For the liner, I used an old pillowcase. After marking your measurements for the liner, measure the cover to be 1 inch wider and longer than the liner.

Step 5. Make the cushion.
Using polyfill, stuff your cushion just enough to fill your pet bed. My pet bed is rather deep so it required more stuffing. Using your sewing machine, sew the end of the pillowcase shut. My suitcase is a bit narrower than a standard pillowcase so I had to trim and sew down the side as well.

Step 6. Make the cushion cover.
 Sew your cushion cover on 3 sides. On the fourth side, finish the edges, but do not sew both edges together. Using which ever method of closure is most convenient for you, make it so you can easily seal or remove your cushion cover. I used 5 buttons, which I already had. You could also use snaps, zippers, or velcro.

Step 7. Finish
Place your cushion inside the cover, and place finished cushion inside suitcase and you're good to go! If you had to buy everything in this How To, you still shouldn't have had to spend more than $15! What a deal :)

You may want to add cute little feet to lift your pet bed off the ground a bit, and so check back soon for how to add them!

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