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Sewing a Big Dog Bed for Patches

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Paparazi!  Look out!!!

This past week has brought big changes to our household. We have taken in a dog who has not been treated well for most of his life. He’s been on a chain in the back yard with very little shelter for all of his life. It is not really known how old he is: the primary owner passed away 3 years ago and the boy who was left with his care said that the family got the dog when he was 8.5 years old and now he’s 21. So Patches is somewhere between 11 to 13 years old. Patches’ old family is selling their house and moving on, didn’t want to take him along with them, and so he’s come to live with us.

I call Patches a “rescue” because there is no evidence of prior veterinarian care and because his living conditions were so poor. His water bucket was full of algae in the summer and frozen over in the winter. His chain forced him to sleep in mud and his own wastes. He’s a mixed breed but he is definitely of hound dog blood. He looks similar to an American Foxhound. Hounds are pack animals: they must have company. How did this guy survive chained outside and ignored for most of his life? I don’t know but these days he goes to work with my husband and never leaves his side. He is very sweet and gentle and a pleasure to have around, especially now that he’s had a good bath!

Here’s the contribution from The Stitchery: his very first dog bed! It’s 41″ long and 36″ wide on the outside dimensions. Big.

It is completely made from stash fabrics and notions that I just couldn’t throw out during the big clean out at The Stitchery a few weeks ago. I’ll show you how it was made further on down this article.

And those funny looking rope things in the bed are his first toys in a very long, long time, if he has ever had any toys.

Bed before Dog

You can see more of Patches getting used to having a bed and other dog photos at the Flikr set Bed for Patches!

Now on to the making of the bed.

I have a 4 yard piece of 60″ wide pleather that I bought years ago in New York City’s garment district. The salesman almost gave it to me. It was “off gassing” and stunk badly. I discovered that it no longer stinks when I decided to use it for the bottom of the bed. I folded it in half, guessed at the proper length and cut.

I could have a bottom for the bed that would be wipe-able on the bottom and on the inside!


I used the directions for the oval shape of the bed from this tutorial: Sew a Pet Bed by Debbie Colgrove

Since the rounded ends of the oval must be 29″ wide maximum I used a tape measure to mark out 14.5″ from the center point of a sheet of pattern paper folded in quarters and trued up the circle with the trusty Fairgate Vary Form Curved Ruler


Using Debbie Colgrove’s instructions I cut the circle in half and laid the halves at each end of the pleather, filing in the middle with enough pattern paper to make the whole oval pattern.

oval pattern

Next I needed the covering for the bed and the stash that I just couldn’t give up provided me with 5 yards of an upholstery style denim, too rough for work shirts, but perfect for this project.

I then cut the pillow fabric larger by 3″ so it could be stuffed with some kind of filler

pillow pattern

and 2 strips of fabric 1.5 yards long and 20″ wide to cover the bolster that would form the sides of the bed. Folding the bolster cover in half I stitched it to the pleather base, leaving the ends open so I could thread the bolster into it.

That is once I figured out how I was going to build the bolster! Again, the stash came to the rescue: I once thought I would make coats and blankets from Malden Mills Polartek 200 fleece so I had plenty in the cupboard. I folded a length of red in quarters and tacked the folds in place. Then I took another length of light purple Polartek 200 folded in half and stretched it around the red inner core. I laced up the purple with upholstery thread


lots of bolster

and cut it the proper length for the bolster

sizing up the bolster

and pushed the fleece bolster through the side covers. Here I’m making sure that the cover won’t be too tight around the bolster.


Next I sewed up the pillow using the 5 thread capacity of my serger. I hardly ever get to use this stitch on my garments so that was “fun”

5 thread stitch other side of 5 thread stitch

and slit the center bottom to insert a very long zipper purchased from Pendleton Woolen Mill in Washougal, Washington, years ago in a zipper grab bag (another lovely use of seemingly useless stash)

long zipper

I simply made a cut the length of the zipper, ironed the seam allowances back and top stitched in the zip


Next I stuffed the pillow with more lengths of fleece, not even bothering to cut them into strips and anything, just stuffed them in and called it a Dog Bed.

Patch gives the bed a try…

Patch Tries The Bed

and we can see it is too stuffed and rounded for him to be comfy and settle in so I unzipped the pillow and removed one of the lengths of fleece.

Sleeping now…


Sewing Hugs All


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

18 responses »

  1. Aww, that’s so nice of you to adopt Patches. Isn’t it horrible the way some people treat their dogs? Really unbelievable

  2. There is a special place in hell for people that mistreat animals. You, however, are a very kind soul to give Patches the love and care he deserves. He looks positively snug as a bug in his new bed!

  3. We want one!!!!!
    If only the Pilot would agree to it: now I have a new argument! Stash reduction!!!!

  4. Usually a lurker but bless you for giving a home to an older dog and one that was obviously not well loved or taken care of. I agree with Shannon, there should be a place in hell for people that mistreat animals!

  5. What wonderful people you are to adopt this obviously very loving dog! Having all the materials at hand came in handy for giving him a great place to sleep.

  6. This got me teary-eyed. Thank you for taking
    in this poor dog – the world needs more people
    like you and thank you for the tutorial!

  7. Kudos to you for adopting Patches. He looks like a very sweet boy, whose golden years will be well taken care of.

    Love the dog bed, and the bolster. I’ve made several for our dogs – greyhounds. Their beds were even larger, even though the dogs fold up small when laying down.

  8. Wow, what a beautiful dog. I hope he will be with you for many years to come. Thank you for giving Patches a lovely home, please spoil him thoroughly. This Post brought tears.

  9. I will never understand why people have to abuse animals. You are truly wonderful people to take him in. Patches I’m sure will live a happy life from now on. What a great ending 🙂

  10. OMG – this is so great. I can deal with a lot of stuff, but inhumanity to dogs ain’t one of ’em. You are so kind to do this for this dear animal. The bed looks good too!!!

  11. Great story with a happy ending. I’m so glad Patches has a good home and a comfy bed!

  12. Patches might have had a miserable life before, but now it looks like he is in high cotton! Thanks for loving such a sweet animal.

  13. Pingback: Sewing Projects to Pamper Your Pet

  14. Lucky Patch! And lucky you! We became the fortunate family of a rescue dog about 5 years ago. He is now a much-loved family member. He would love the bolstered bed. He tucks himself into nooks in my sewing room to sleep and ignores his nice bed (without a bolster) that I made for him.

  15. Great pattern but I especially love that you were able to give this dog a home – wonderful story.

  16. I was so touched by your kindness for a dog that deserved the BEST and now he has it!!
    A wonderful new family and a bed custom made for him with love!
    All the best to you and thank you so much for sharing the pattern and Patches story with us.

    • Hi Kim: Unfortunately, Patch came to us with a tumor on his belly, probably from being forced to lie in the sun all day. Cancer overtook his whole body even tho we did surgery and chemo. He passed away in my bedroom, waiting for his idol, my husband, to come home from a sales trip, within the year. The saddest part was that he died without his man friend at his side. That was all he wanted in life. Hounds are often a one person dog. But he sure had a good time before he left us!

  17. At least he was happy and loved, warm and dry in his last days.


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