When we were getting ready to adopt our two ex-racing greyhounds, I bought a flannel duvet cover at a charity shop, studied a couple of pillowcase patterns, and made these giant pillows.
So far, the hounds love them! They’re also really easy to wash.
This is my step-by-step tutorial for making a large puppy bed in a pillow shape, out of an old duvet cover and duvet. Only beginner sewing skills and supplies are required!
There are a lot of steps, but that’s just because I’ve documented every little action. Measurements are in centimetres; most sewing tapes should have inches on one side and cm on the other. No calculations required.
- King size duvet cover (cotton or flannel)
- Single size lightweight duvet
- Tape measure
- Sewing pins
- Permanent marker or sewing pencil
- Scrap paper for planning measurements
- Steam iron
- Sewing machine
Lay out your cover material in a big flat space. Measure your length and width and mark where to cut. I marked 112cm (the middle) for the length and 75cm for the width. (1 king size duvet cover = two puppy bed covers)
Cut your fabric. Remember that it’s a cover, so the fabric is in two layers, which might shift against each other when you cut. Once it’s cut, turn the two layers inside-out, so their “right” sides are smooshed together.
As you can see, my cover has a different design on each side. One of these sides will form the tucked-in pocket to keep the insert in place. That’s Side A. The other will be the top of the finished bed. That’s Side B. In my case, I decided to make the plain fabric Side A, because I wanted the damask-patterned fabric on top (Side B).
Also, since we’re cutting from a pre-made cover, two of the edges of the rectangle are already sewn together, one of the lengths and one of the widths. We’ll be working on the other edges of the rectangle, the unsewn length and width.
Measure 17cm inwards from the un-sewn width of the cut rectangle.
Open the seam along the length to the 17cm mark, so along that distance, the two fabrics are free of each other.
Cut the Side B fabric across at the 17cm mark, so that you have one side that is 17cm longer than the other. You can see how I’ve folded my Side A fabric back to expose the margin that I’m going to remove from Side B.
Lay your fabric out with the two sides separated on your stable and safe ironing surface. (Mine is a 1930s ironing board with a Mexican block print tablecloth cover. Please ignore my ugly kitchen floor!) Now we’re going to hem the opening of the cover, so this is all done on the unsewn width of your rectangle. I’m starting with Side A.
Turn your iron on to pre-heat. Make a 1cm fold in the Side A fabric and iron it flat. Might need a few pins to hold it in place while you iron.
Fold it over 1cm again and iron. Pin it in place to secure.
Move the fabric so that Side B is ready to iron on the un-sewn width of the rectangle. Fold 4cm over and iron.
Repeat the 4cm fold and iron. Pin it in place to secure.
You should now have two hems ready to be sewn. One on Side A is 1cm thick and one on Side B is 4cm thick.
Sew your hems, keeping to the inner edge of the folded part. There will be two rough edges where Side A is longer than Side B. Don’t sew those parts yet.
Take a tea break. This is going pretty well! (I’m enjoying some Lapsang Souchong.)
Bring your fabric back to the ironing board. We’re going to make the tucked-in pocket. Measure 15 cm inwards on Side A and fold it. Make sure that you’re folding so that the “wrong” sides of the fabric are together (i.e. you’ll see the smooth side of your hem facing up at you, not the folded side of the hem.)
Iron the fold in place. Unfold it gently, and you should see a crease. (What would be a “valley fold” in origami.)
Turn the fabric over so that the crease is pointing up like a ridge. (A “mountain fold” in origami.)
Lay your Side B against Side A such that the hemmed edge is running right along that ridge and the “right” sides of the fabrics are together.
Now fold the margin of Side A over the top of Side B, so that Side B’s hem is completely tucked under.
Pin the unsewn lengths of both sides together, including the part where Side B is wrapped in the margin of Side A. Pin the other rough bit where the margin folds over on the opposite length edge. It should only be as long as the margin (15cm).
Sew these pinned sections together. Once they’re sewn, fold the cover right-side-out and admire your handiwork. Side A should tuck under Side B at the opening of the cover.
Fold the single duvet insert once lengthwise and once widthwise, to make a rectangle that’s the same size as your new cover.
Stuff that cover!
Find a cosy place to put it and watch your puppy settle down for a nap. My gigantic hound Eachánn loves a soft place to curl up, and these beds are his favourite!