In 30 minutes and for less than $5, an old wool sweater from the thrift store or the back of your closet can become a cozy cat bed (or dog bed, if the dog is small enough or the sweater’s especially big). Here’s how.
Lay the sweater out flat. If it’s a wool sweater, it should be felted first (see Tips). With yarn and a tapestry needle, stitch the seamed edge of the sleeve to the side of the sweater, about half way down the sleeve from where the armpit meets the side seam (shown in contrasting yarn to make the stitches more visible).
Fold the bottom edge of the sweater up and place the sleeve in front of it. You want to roll (or fold) the bottom up far enough that both sleeve cuff edges will be able to overlap slightly when placed in front of it.
Secure the sleeve to the top of the rolled up sweater edge with a whip stitch or a blanket stitch. Remember that you’re going to stuff the sleeves, so be sure to stitch only through the top layer of the sleeve.
Repeat with the other sleeve. As the cuffs overlap slightly in front, put one cuff just inside of the other and stitch down the outside cuff edge along the top layer, just enough that you’ll be able to keep the stuffing inside the tube you’ve just created with the sleeves.
Make a running stitch from one “armpit” to the other. Create an arched shape to make a rounder bed. Be sure to go through both layers of sweater fabric. You should now have a “channel” that can be stuffed with batting or old rags (or strips of old sweaters). Stuff until you get a sausage-like ring. If you want to pad the bottom, now is the time to do that as well.
Stitch the neck opening closed. Give it to your favorite kitty/puppy and consider making another to donate to your local pet shelter. It took more time to post this than to make the bed, if that tells you how quick and easy this project is!
- To felt a wool sweater, first make sure sweater is at least 80% wool. The larger the sweater, the better, for it shrinks. Wash in HOT water (top loading machines only — go ahead and throw some towels or jeans in with it for extra agitation) and lay flat to dry. Felting is not absolutely necessary, but it makes the fabric stronger and longer-lasting. If the sweater is acrylic, just skip the felting process. Wool is much warmer, though, if that’s a consideration.
Things You’ll Need
- A large old sweater, preferably 100% wool (found cheaply charity stores)
- Polyester or cotton batting or old rags for stuffing
- Tapestry needle