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Ten Steps to DIY a Cloud Bed (For Your Pooch)

I got a sewing machine! And for my virgin project on the new machine? Why, something for the pets, of course!

Now, you all are going to think I’m crazy, because this project is a new doggie bed for Jack. (He’s batting, what? 1 new bed a year? If only we were all so lucky!) After he ate the corner off his last bed during a bout of nervous excitement, his no-sew bed had seen better days. But this new bed, this new bed is shaped like a cloud! Only the best for our boy (and man, has he got us trained). Wanting something a little more unique than the regular square shaped beds of yore, we thought it would be sweet to see him nestled in a cloud, all cozy-like. Aw.

Originally, I had wanted to make a cloud shaped pillow just to have, but realizing that Jack’s bed would be next on the sewing agenda, I merged the two to make one monstrous cloud. And please, keep in mind that I am no sewing expert (and to be honest, I’d been downright terrified of all those strings and needles until I cut the crap and just took a class), but I did have a lot of fun making the puppy cloud. The bulk of how I did so is all about the zipper, all of which I learned in said class. So let’s do it!

Supplies needed for 36″ cloud
2 yards medium-heavy weight fabric
matching thread
6+ yards of fleece for stuffing
24″ zipper in contrasting color

Tools used
kraft paper (to make the template)
sewing machine w/ zipper foot
seam ripper
scotch tape
measuring tape
iron and ironing board

For those wondering, I used this fabric and zipper from The grey material is super sturdy (but I would say it’s a lot lighter than the photo indicates), and I pre-washed it before starting on the project. The red zipper was just for fun – who doesn’t love a peek of color, right?

ONE. After doodling a few practice round of cloud shapes on a notepad, I sketched my giant cloud shape on a roll of kraft paper, being mindful of the size I had in mind (approximately 38″ on the straight edge and 34″ on the highest peak, leaving room for my seam allowances). I absolutely recommend using a template, so you can play with shapes before cutting into your fabric. Once you have your template, lay it on your fabric, then cut out your shape. I did something which I can only assume must be a huge no-no in the sewing world – I layered my fabrics and cut them both at once. (Eek, I know.) Because it’s not a symmetrical pattern, I did, however, lay them together so that the right sides were facing each other (the same way I’d layer them while sewing).

TWO. With the right sides of the fabric layered together, center the zipper along the straight edge and mark with a pencil where the zipper starts and stops. Pin along that edge, then sew your seam with a 3/4″ allowance, basting in-between the pencil marks that indicate the zipper. Backstitch at the start and stop of the zipper to make it more secure – soon enough, you’ll be using the seam ripper to take out those basted stitches (but not yet!).

THREE. Once that side is stitched, open your fabric so that the right sides are facing down, then pin your zipper in place over the seam – between those marks you’ve just made. Below, I used our empty coffee table to do this prep work:

FOUR. After you’ve pinned the zipper in place (making sure that your zipper lines up with the seam), bring the sides back together, and use a zipper foot to sew the first edge of your zipper to the seam. Remove the pins as you sew towards them, then repeat this on the opposite side.

FIVE. With your zipper now in place and your fabric open, pin through all layers of the fabric where your zipper starts and stop. Turn your fabric over, so that the right side is facing you, then put a long piece of scotch tape from pin start to end.

SIX. Remove the pins, and – still using your zipper foot – use this tape as a guide to then stitch a long and skinny rectangle around your (hidden, for now) zipper. When turning the corner with your sewing machine, make sure your needle is in the fabric, then lift the sewing foot, turn, and put the foot back down. Then continue your stitch as normal to get one continuous rectangle. (These are all very technical terms, don’t you know?)

SEVEN. With the rectangle stitched, use the seam ripper to free yourself from the basted stitches in the middle of the rectangle. You’ll find your hidden zipper in all it’s glory, now, unzip it!

EIGHT. Now that the zipper is done (and unzipped – you don’t want to stitch it in with no way to open it again!), lay the fabric back together so that the right sides are touching, and pin around your cloud shape. Then, swap back to the regular foot and carefully sew it up!

NINE. To get the curves looking nice and… um, curvy, you’ll need to cut V-shaped slits into the cloud seam allowances. Now, mind you, I didn’t know this until I flipped the cloud right side out, saw my puckered curves and panicked, so I used this tutorial as a guide – including her recommendation to press the seams afterwards. Doing so made all the difference.

TEN. After you’ve trimmed and pressed your curves (look at you go!), turn it right side out, then stuff it! I picked up 4 yards of clearance fleece from to plush up Jack’s cloud, but I really should have sprung for 6+ for our big pup. Of course the best part of stuffing the bed with cushy fabric, towels and old tees is the whole bed can be taken apart and washed properly. (We ended up using the 4 yards of fleece + several old towels – the same ones from his former bed.)

In the end, the cloud bed came in at 36″ along the straight edge and 32″ at the highest peak. Jack got a nice scrub-a-dub, then settled right in.

Are we certifiably crazy yet? Pet photos, paintings, pillows and (countless!) beds? Aye. And to all you sewing ninjas, please feel free to chime in and throw a few pointers my way. I’ve got the sewing bug – and I’ve still got a lot to learn! – but I’m ridiculously excited about it.

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  • Hannah K4.17.13 - 7:06 AM

    We don’t go through beds too quickly – but seeing how expensive they are (and not that cute!), I’m dying to try a dog bed. The cloud is so cute – what a fantastic idea. So cozy.

    And yes, you are pet crazy — but that’s what we love about you!ReplyCancel

  • jessie aucoin4.17.13 - 8:38 AM

    Congrats on your first sewing tutorial! One of what I’m sure will be many more to come. Jack seems to like it too, which is all the thank you I suspect you need :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.17.13 - 9:02 AM

      Hannah, haha! We love your honesty. Bring on the crazy! Pets, pets, pets!

      Jessie, yes, a big thank you from Jack. One cloud lump for his back end, and the opposite cloud lump for his head. He’s finding it very comfy, he says!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Our Humble Abode4.17.13 - 10:00 AM

    That is so cute! And Jack sure looks happy to have a new, soft as a cloud bed. Congrats on conquering your sewing fears, zippers and all!ReplyCancel

  • Marlene @ Jade and Fern4.17.13 - 12:00 PM

    Love it! Nothing wrong with being certifiably crazy when it comes to pets. In fact, I slightly distrust people who aren’t crazy about their critter friends!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams4.17.13 - 12:14 PM

    I think I need one for myself. I have always wanted to sleep on a cloud. Plus my dog is black, and this would be covered in black fur and dirt off the floor in nanoseconds in my home!ReplyCancel

  • This is such a cute project! I never would have guessed that you’re a novice. (Of course, that’s coming from a fellow sewing novice. I think I made a pillow back in middle school home ec.)

    Thankfully Mojo doesn’t go through beds at such a high rate, which is good because we’re seriously considering this as her next one: (We bought the human-sized version and are in L O V E!!!) Spending that much on a dog bed might make us the crazy ones…ReplyCancel

  • Kim4.17.13 - 12:35 PM

    Amanda, thank you! And now I find sewing quite addicting…

    Marlene: Agreed.

    Jessica, we think these would be so cute for us humans, too! Especially propped on the bed, right?

    Heather, now THAT is a great doggie bed. Therapeutic for our fuzzy friends! Three cheers for crazy!ReplyCancel

  • carrie @DreamGreenDIY4.17.13 - 1:21 PM

    I realize that this is beside the point (LOVE the pillow and tutorial!), but – He. Is. So. Photogenic!!! Love it =)ReplyCancel

  • Kim4.17.13 - 2:00 PM

    Carrie, thanks! He’s our handsome little dude.ReplyCancel

  • Emma4.17.13 - 7:22 PM

    Sewing like a Boss Kim! So proud of you :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim4.17.13 - 8:08 PM

    Emma, hahaha! Aw, you just made my day!ReplyCancel

  • Julia @cuckoo4design4.17.13 - 8:08 PM

    He is so stinking cute. Love how he looks up at the camera.
    And of course the pillow is awesome too ;)ReplyCancel

  • Margaret4.19.13 - 12:03 PM

    Loving the cloud!! I need to make one for Sydney. Nice and fluffy the way she likes it :) Jack is just way too adorable for words. I mean those ears, that button lip, those eyes, that pink belly peeking through on the last picture and of course the rump picture too…I die! Who doesn’t love a good doggie rump?! Hee!! Great job Kim!ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.19.13 - 1:19 PM

      Margaret, thanks! Oh, we LOVE a good doggie rump. And his button lip – they’re ridiculous, and I must admit, I kiss them quite frequently (ew, but whatever!). Jackie says thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Janet4.19.13 - 9:09 PM

    I want to hear if that bed makes it 6 months. My dog chews on zippers, I have been afraid to give him a bed with a zipper in it.ReplyCancel

  • Kim4.20.13 - 9:43 AM

    Janet, oh no! Well we hope that doesn’t happen… Jack has never had a thing with zippers in the past (and they’re all over our home!), but with our history of dog beds, I’m sure you’ll hear about it if he decides to destroy it. :)

    So far, so good though!

    PS: And with the zipper being on the bottom, his bed gets extra life because we can flip it on either side. Win-win!ReplyCancel

  • kirsten4.23.13 - 10:56 AM

    KIM! A cloud pillow for pups?! I mean, soooo cute! Loving that red zipper too. Sidenote: my friend Heather is head over heels in love with her portrait of her dog, Trevor. You did a BEAUTIFUL job. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Kim4.23.13 - 2:40 PM

    Kirsten, thank you! And thank you for thinking of us for that special gift :)ReplyCancel

  • Trude4.23.13 - 4:02 PM

    If by crazy you mean crazy cute, then yes. :) I love it! Dante is big on beds with sides because Italian Greyhounds tend to curl up like cats, but if that weren’t the case I’d be all over this!ReplyCancel

  • carrie @ brick city love5.1.13 - 11:47 AM

    That is too cute!!

    PS – cutting multiple layers at once is a huge DO in the sewing world. Why make more work for yourself? And putting right sides together was exactly the way to do it. Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Kim5.1.13 - 11:51 AM

    Carrie, wahoo! So glad I did something right when it comes to sewing!ReplyCancel

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