Lifestyle Sewing

Dog Bed Reupholstery

September 7, 2015

Roxy, our 110-lb Great Dane, has a large dog bed in the living room that she uses often. It’s 48″ around and holds two round pillows at a height of approximately 5″. The bed was kindly gifted to us by one of Dan’s clients after his dog passed away, but I never cared for the color or style of the fabric. The bed cover was easy to clean, thanks to a long, hidden zipper.

Dan suggested re-covering it at the perfect moment – I needed a creative project for the long weekend and I have been missing sewing. So I went down to my favorite fabric store, Michael Levine, in the Fashion District of downtown Los Angeles. It’s walking distance, but I had another errand to run afterwards that required a car so I drove. How great is it that I have an entire “district” of fabric, sewing, notions, and more within walking distance?!

The sale area in the back had tons of home dec fabric to choose from – all $6/yard. I wanted a certain thickness to give the bed structure and I choose fabric for the bottom that had a non-slip texture. The bed is usually on the Flor tiles in the living room, but the rest of our apartment is concrete flooring, so non-slip + 11 year old Dane seemed like a good idea. I needed just over a yard for the bottom, and about 1.75 yards for the top and side. The kind cutter told me that he’d price the top fabric at $3/yard. And, for the Labor Day weekend, the store was paying sales tax so I left with all my fabric for $13.50!

Before I went to the fabric store, I carefully ripped the seams out of the old bed and measured top and bottom (48″) and left the side panel as one long strip. It was composed of 4 panels, including the zippered panel which was two horizontal, overlapping panels. I removed the zipper to re-use as well. Roxy broke my heart a few times by laying on the circular pieces on the floor.

Last night, I used the top circle as my template and added 5/8″ seam allowance, and then used the new circle as a template for the bottom fabric. The panels were easy rectangles and I just marked up the fabric with a fabric pen. I didn’t have the width on my fabric for the longest panel (64″), so I cut two 32″ panels with necessary seam allowance.

Cue annoyance. I left the zipper on the ground by the dog bed (now just two big pillows) and the two zipper heads fell off. I tried, with zero success, to get them back on the track and then stomped around the apartment sighing loudly for a few minutes. Dan suggested buttons, which I could have done – I have a buttonhole foot – but not enough matching buttons. I dug around my sewing armoire for a few minutes and found a length of white velcro, so velcro it was!

The construction was quick – I probably only spent an hour from pinning the first set of panels to completing the whole piece. I sewed the velcro sides into place and then tacked down that panel, then sewed all of the panels together to form a circle. I pinned the top circle to the side panels and…somewhere along the lines, there was a screw-up, of course. My circles were bigger than the panels by about 3 inches. I have NO idea how this happened, since I didn’t even have to use math on this project. I’m guessing that the top of the old dog bed had stretched out over time to a greater degree than the sides. Anyhoo, I started pinning at a panel seam so I just pulled and flattened the overage on the top to make a nice pleat. If I were smart, I would have unpinned to the opposing seam and done the same thing for symmetry, but it was 11:30pm and I wanted to finish. Of course, the same issue existed on the bottom. Again, my brain was tired. A cleverer person would have made both the pleats match up – top and bottom – but I swear, this didn’t even occur to me. No big deal; it’s literally impossible to see both pleats at the same time anyway so it really makes no difference. Except that I did curse myself for about 5 minutes over it.

Moving on, quick press of the seams after sewing the top circle, and again after sewing the bottom one. I pressed all seams from the outside as well, stuck the pillows back in, and threw the bed on our bed to show my husband.

All in all, a really easy and inexpensive fix to a super ugly eyesore that was visible from the front door of our apartment. This morning, Roxy spent about 15 minutes avoiding it and generally giving it the stink-eye. She gave in, stood on it to de-poof it, and is now snoozing happily.

See all pictures in the gallery above by clicking the left and right arrow.

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