Upcycle Old Sweaters Into a Pet-Friendly Bed

upcycled sweater pet bed

Dogs and cats spend nearly as much time asleep as they do awake. So let your creature get comfortable by creating a place of slumber from your salvaged sweaters. You can keep your DIY pet bed simple by using sweaters in similar colors. Or mix it up and create a rainbow palette from your retired wardrobe. Whatever color combination you choose, your old sweaters will have hit the snooze button on getting scrapped.

upcycled sweater dog bed close-up

Tomatillo the Pomeranian loves this warm and comfy pet bed that’s just the right size.

upcycled sweater pet bed

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Step 1

 Open Galleryold sweaters

Start With Old Sweaters

Choose your sweaters and zippered shirt. You’ll want sweaters that have a small to medium weave, so stuffing doesn’t come out of the holes. Determine which sweater you’d like for the bottom of the bed.

Step 2

 Open Galleryillustration of pet bed sweaters

Measure and Cut the Sweaters

Cut both the sweater to be used on the bed bottom and the shirt into 18” x 15” rectangles. When you’re cutting the shirt, be sure to retain the zipper and zipper pull. If you’d like to sew a stripe in the middle of the bed bottom, do this now.

Step 3

 Open Galleryillustration of pet bed

Create the bottom cushion by placing the right sides of the sweater and shirt pieces together and pinning the edge. Leave the zipper open by a few inches, so you have a place to turn the cushion. Stitch around the outside edge, using a ½” seam allowance. Then flip to the right side.

Step 4

 Open Galleryillustration of pet bed sweaters

Cut the sleeves off of your sweaters. Cut along the seam and open them up flat. Trim the open sleeves so that they are 11” wide.

Step 5

 Open Galleryillustration of pet bed

Lay Out Edge Pieces

Lay out your sweater bed edge (this will become the tube) by lining up sweater sleeve pieces in a long row. You can cut the sleeve pieces to different sizes. You’ll be creating one long piece that is 11” wide x 63” long. Each piece should overlap by ½” for seam allowance. 

Step 6

 Open Galleryillustration of pet bed sweaters

Add a Zipper

To make the stuffing in the bed edge removable, you’ll need to set in a zipper. (You can skip this step if you don’t want the stuffing to be removable.) Start by placing the zipper on a flat surface. Then fold back the sweater edge by ½” on the wrong side. Place the folded edge on top of the zipper and pin in place. Stitch along this pinned edge, about 1/8” from the zipper teeth. Repeat for the other side.  

Step 7

 Open Galleryillustration of pet bed

Continue Creating the Edge

Continue to piece the sweater sleeve pieces together along the 11” edge. Do this by placing right sides together and sewing along the edge, using a ½” seam allowance. Continue until your piece is 63” long. If your piece is longer than 63”, you can always trim it down to size.

Step 8

 Open Galleryillustration of pet bed

Continue Creating the Edge

Fold this piece in half lengthwise with the wrong side facing out. Sew up the open edge. Turn your piece so that the right side is now facing out.

Step 9

 Open Galleryillustration of pet bed

Complete the Tube

To finish the tube, align the two open ends at the seam. Sew along this edge as far as you are able, about halfway around the edge.

Step 10

 Open Galleryillustration of pet bed

Attach the Tube and Bottom

With the bottom cushion of your bed facing up, lay your tube around the bed as you like it and pin in place. Make sure that the zipper along the zippered piece is accessible. Hand stitch or machine stitch around the edge. This material is a bit thick for many home sewing machines, so test a small area first.

Step 11

 Open Galleryillustration of pet bed

Add Stuffing

Add your stuffing into the bottom cushion and the tube through the zippered areas in both. For the edging, you’ll need to really push the stuffing into the farthest end of the bed first, continuing to stuff until the entire bed is full.

Step 12

 Open Galleryillustration of pet bed

Finish the Pet Bed

Pinch one of the bed corners together and whip stitch in place. Repeat for the other 3 corners. Now that your pet bed is complete, you can let your favorite creature get comfortable while you sit back and take your own catnap.

Materials

Tools

  • Fabric scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Needle and thread
  • Sewing machine
About Tiffany Threadgould 

13Posts

I am a design junkie who gives scrap materials a second life and the head of design at TerraCycle, a company that collects and creates products from waste. My ...

More About Tiffany Threadgould

3 Responses

  1. Tera says:

    Made a pet bed out of thrift store cashmere sweaters for a friend. Now her dog wants 2 more for her other favorite sleeping spots. Perfect gift for the pet that has everything. Cats LOVE cashmere

  2. Dianne says:

    I think this is a great idea. I will have to enlarge the pattern as I have a Great Dane but it is totally something I could do. Thanks so much!

    • Kelly Trimble says:

      Hey Dianne, I hope your Great Dane loves it! Do you use Instagram? If so, share a pic with us on #maderemade. We'd love to see how you adapted Tiffany's project and "remade" it as your own.

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