Sunday, October 19, 2014

The World's Most Expensive Dog Bed

A woman I know thinks I am a fabulous seamstress because she's asked me to make some crazy things in the past that I've managed to pull off with some serious creativity.

There were cushions and pillows I made.  One set came from a valance that had ships on it and she wanted each ship to be its own pillow.  And didn't want to add any new fabric.  So I made it work.

There were the mambo sleeves that I made for 20 uniforms for the marching band.  That was probably my favorite because I really had to go out on a limb to figure out how to do that, but I made it work.

There was the the quilt that she started to make for her daughter and never finished and she claims I did a beautiful job finishing it and backing it.  I have no recollection of this at all.  I remember talking about doing it but I don't remember any of the colors or what the squares looked like or standing in my parents' cellar backing it and finishing it.

But she says I did it.

And there was a neat Red Sox quilt that I made, which I now think might have been what started the whole thing.  I didn't make it for her, but she won it in a raffle and discovered that I can sew.

I swear she sits up at night dreaming up weird things for me to make.

This time, it was a dog bed.  As we stood at the counter in the office, she told me about her 4 poodles (two standard and two smaller but not toy poodles) and the bed that her husband made for them.  Currently, they had a couple of outdoor cushions but she wanted one long cushion to match her kitchen.

Surely, I could make it, right?

We talked about the size and referenced the counter we were standing at and I left thinking it might be about 4-5 feet long and maybe 12 inches deep.


82 inches long and 25 inches wide wasn't quite what I had in mind!  It's like a mattress, not a cushion!

I thought for a long time about what kind of closure I wanted.  I thought I'd go with velcro but when I started looking at the velcro options, what I wanted didn't really exist and I didn't want to order it and wait.  I wanted to get this done so I'd stop thinking about it.

For a minute, I considered snaps.  I decided not to and I'm glad because this is indoor/outdoor fabric and when I've tried snaps on that kind of fabric before, they just ripped right through.

I knew I wouldn't find a super long zipper at Joann fabrics, but I looked at the choices to see what I could come up with.  I decided that two 30 inch parka zippers would do the trick.
I wanted to butt them head to head.  I figured that little opening wouldn't matter and I wasn't going to try to finagle a flap that would cover it since this would always be facing the wall.

The total length wouldn't be quite the length of the cushion but it would give a nice opening for putting the cover on and off.  And I thought the parka style would be nice and heavy duty.

Plus I really like how well they zip! It's so smooth!

One thing I didn't think about was how to make the bar tack at the end of the zipper.  Since it's meant for a jacket, the zipper can come right apart and I didn't want the bulkiness of the end tab.  If this was a small zipper, I would have sewn over it to make a bar tack and snipped the end, but this zipper is so thick, I had to hand sew the bar tack and then cut the end and probably ruin my scissors!

I thought I had a picture of the actual finished product of my bar tack but I guess not.  You will have to imagine.

As I cut the fabric for all of the parts, and held my breath a lot...

I realized that it frays really easily, so I serged all of it before using it.

I debated just using my serger with both needles so I would have to sew just once, but I was concerned that I might have to rip something out and ripping out serged stitches makes me swear.

Since I'm only a make believe seamstress, I really don't know what I'm doing 99% of the time, so I winged it.  When I cut this, I was only planning to add an extra inch to everything so I could use nice, thick, half inch seams.  But that seemed like it would be too small, so I was more generous in the cutting.  And then I ended up trimming it all and had only an extra .5 inch at each end.  So it would have worked the first time, but I was afraid of screwing it up and having to buy more.

And this fabric was NOT cheap, even on sale!  It's not Sunbrella, but it was still a fortune and the cushion is very dense foam and did I mention 82 x 25 inches?  I think she could have bought a car for what she paid and that was without my labor!

Once I had everything serged, I decided to tackle the zippered side first because it was causing me the most grief.  Then I finagled something to make the tabs work and it came together really nicely.

As I cut out the side strips, I  found that there was a repeating pattern to the stripes, so that meant some extra cutting to make them line up.  I was pretty pleased when I made that happen, especially for the front.

Because dogs are going to care if it looks right...

Once I was satisfied with the zipper side, I sewed all of the side pieces together and then ripped them right out.  I thought it would be better to sew each side to the large pieces and then sew the corners, rather than the task I had started to make for myself which was going to be more difficult, getting the big piece to fit in the pre-sewn rectangle.

It came together pretty much as I wanted it to.  I've done cushions before, but I'm always surprised by something, every time.  This time, it was the fact that I sewed the entire thing closed, inside out, and then had to play with the zippers to open it so I could flip it back around.

It took k-ster and me both to stuff it and work it and make it fit but after some serious grunting and knocking things off tables and walls, we got it all in and zipped.  I can't imagine her ever taking it off to wash it and then getting it back on....

Clearly they hated it....

I hadn't seen the bench ahead of time and I don't think she brought the foam into the house once she bought it, so we didn't know that the cushion is slightly deeper than the bench.  Her husband said he'll put a new piece of wood to extend it so it all fits.

And now I'm off to shorten sleeves on a jacket for her and start looking at prices for the private island I'll be able to buy once she pays me for all of this.

Linking here:


  1. I love your solutions to your cushion problems. Very creative use of those zippers. I've felt your pain of sewing with the zipper shut and having to turn things inside out. I am very best friends with my ripper. The pups do look happy with the end result and pretty much that's what counts.

  2. What a nice job you did and I'm sure your furry friends appreciate it. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  3. Hi! I came over here from the Sew Many Ways link because of your cute title. And yay! I found a great writer that seems to enjoy her world with a slightly sardonic tilt of the head. I just love your writing and will be following you on bloglovin from now on. Thanks!

    Beth. Magistra13 at yahoo dot com

  4. You did a great job. The closures of cushions is what always gets me too. This looks wonderful.
    Thanks so much for sharing with Adorned From Above's Link Party. We hope to see you at tonight's party.


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