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    Use your scraps to make dog beds for shelters


    When I heard that our local shelter was desperate for bedding for the 300 dogs in their care, I knew it was time to put my sewing scraps to good use! I had 2 large bags of scraps and another bag of remnants just waiting for a good project. And a good project, it was!



    First a bit about the dog shelter. They have normal capacity for about 120 dogs…and since the pandemic the numbers have swelled as people have abandoned their dogs and cats for various reasons. They now have over 300 dogs and cats. Just thinking about all those animals sleeping without a bed or a family to call their own breaks my heart!


    So, with about a year’s worth of scraps I was able to sew up 8 dog beds in several different sizes, and used my larger scraps to piece together tops for the beds, like a quilt. I wish I could have made many more! But when we dropped off the beds at the shelter, they were SO appreciative of those 8 beds! It made me realize that any little bit we can do, matters.


    I’ve been thinking about those 8 dogs sleeping on their new beds and hoping they feel the love I sewed into them.



    If you’re interested in making some beds for your local shelter, it makes a great scrap buster and would also be a great project for kids. The beds sew up so quickly and don’t have to be perfect at all. I might actually make one for my dog, Owen at some point! Here’s a few sewing tips and things I learned when making ours:


    What you’ll need:

    Large Pieces of Scraps – heavier fabrics work better



    A good amount of other scraps cut into smaller (approx 3″ square or less) pieces. If you want a softer bed, you could chop up small pieces of quilt batting and mix it in with your scraps. 

    Many of my scraps were in large-ish pieces and I realized that they were going to make a chunkier, not so soft bed. So, we cut up allll the scraps using a rotary cutter to get them in small pieces. This is a linty, time consuming job but pretty important to get the beds to be somewhat evenly distributed.




    We contacted our local animal shelter first to ask if there were any specific sizes they needed, but due to the quantity of animals they said any size would help.


    I made 4 sizes, these are the dimensions: 

    Xsmall 12″ x 16″ – for cats and kittens

    Small 19” x 23” – ideal for small dogs and cats

    Medium: 23” x 30” – medium size dogs

    Large: 30” x 40” – bigger dogs

    I didn’t worry too much about keeping the sizes perfectly uniform though. If I had a bigger piece I made the bed a little bigger etc.


    Basic sewing steps:

    1. If you are using one solid fabric piece of fabric to create your bed, cut out two pieces of fabric to match the dimensions above. Then go to step 5. 
    2. If you are using smaller scraps (like we have done) create a patchwork using your larger scraps to create two larger pieces of fabric which will be your front and back.

    3. If you are doing a patchwork, sew all of your pieces right sides together until you make your larger piece of fabric.

    4. Press your seams over to one side

    5. Once you have your two pieces of fabric, sew them right sides together on 3 sides, leaving one side open for stuffing.

    6. Now turn your bed right side out, and use your scraps to fill the bed evenly with your scraps until it’s at a comfortable thickness.

    7. Fold over the raw edges that you left open for stuffing and then top stitch it closed.



    That’s all there is to it! I wished I could take pictures of a few of the dogs in the shelter but they were so busy when we went, it just wasn’t possible. so, here’s a few pictures of Owen “testing” the beds:



    What do you think? If you have any questions, leave a comment below 🙂

    Happy sewing,

    the signature of Christine


    • February 13, 2022


      I tried using pillow cases from garage sales. Works great. I then tried to wash them and they came out extremely lumpy and would not dry. Any suggestions? Did any one try washing thirsting?

      • February 15, 2022

        That’s such a great idea to use pillowcases! I cut up the scraps into pretty small pieces (2-4 inches) and I think that helps prevent the clumps.

    • January 17, 2023


      I have a lot of small pieces as well as string type pieces. Will the string pieces be okay?

      • January 23, 2023

        I think so! Just cut them small enough so they form the stuffing and you should be totally ok 🙂

    • April 12, 2023


      Is there any one kind of material that works best. Would flannel be good?

      • April 24, 2023

        I think flannel would be great! Or batting scraps. I just used any and all sewing scraps I had. The outer cover works nicely in thicker more durable fabrics but again I use what I have on hand 🙂


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