This project takes under an hour to make, from start to finish, and your pet will thank you! Why wool for a pet bed? Wool is insulated, so it keeps your pet warm n' cozy when it's cold, and cooler when it's warm. Wool is naturally hypoallergenic and has antibacterial properties, so unlike other materials that absorb dirt and odors, wool resists them! These will not fall apart when you wash them, like the cheap ones in the pet stores, and because they don't hold odors, you won't need to wash them nearly as often. Another great reason... pets love wool! If you lay a wool blanket and a cotton blanket side by side, my dog will always choose the wool! Convinced, and ready for the tutorial?
I had a couple of sweaters that just wouldn't felt (shrink up), even though they said "dry clean only" and are 100% wool. It happens. Sometimes I come across "superwash" and "washable wool" sweaters too. These won't felt. Since I can't use them for felt projects, I decided to come up with a way to use them in their whole form... pet beds!
First, take 2 non-felting wool sweaters (you can use sweaters that may felt, but you will have to take care when washing your pet bed, so it doesn't shrink up on you! I have learned that if I use my "wool cycle" on my washing machine, my projects will not felt any further). Fold them into a rectangle shape, with the arms on the inside, smoothing them out as best as you can, so your bed is flat.
Now that you have your 2 sweaters arranged in a bed-ish shape, baste stitch (big stitches sewn by hand) all around, so that the sleeves don't move around and make the bed lumpy. I know... it's not pretty ;). Don't worry, you'll be making the cover next!
Now you will want to make a cover for bed. Cut a pattern out of paper that is a rectangle, slightly bigger than your bed insert, about 1/2" bigger all around.
For the cover, I used part of a felted wool blanket. If your pet bed is small enough, and your sweater is big enough, you might be able to use the front and back panels of a felted sweater instead. Now cut out your cover, using your pattern piece. If you are using a blanket, like I did, you can just cut it twice the width, and fold over the one side, so you have one less seam to make. Once your pieces (or piece) is cut out, sew all sides, except for one.
Now place your bed inside the cover. Once it is inside you can sew a quick baste stitch from the bed to the cover, in each corner, to prevent the bed from moving around inside the cover.
Now just sew up the last side! I hand sewed it, so I could tuck the edges in and make a seam. My machine wouldn't have been able to handle that many layers.
I promise it's not as wonky as it looks in this picture ;). I have no idea why it doesn't look rectangular, but it is! Maybe because the pattern wasn't symmetrical once the blanket was felted.
Now it was time to test it out on Spots! She inspected it thoroughly...
... and she approved (that blur at the top of the picture is a happy tail!)!
If you don't have any non felting wool, and want to make this project, I will send 2 non-felting sweaters for free to anyone that buys a wool blanket from my shop! Just let me know in checkout that you want the sweaters.