How to Sew Dog Beds

Sewing dog beds allows you to make the foam bed featured on this page as well as custom designs! 

It’s quite amazing what you can make when you combine a little know-how with the goal of creating unique dog beds. We’re here to supply you with techniques and ideas – all you need to add is motivation and action.

A green dog bed that was sewn

If you’re new to sewing dog beds, you can start with a simple rectangular or square design. Instructions are given below.

If you want to sew a different shape, be sure to check out our dog bed patterns.

Sewing Dog Beds:  Basics

Dog beds are generally composed of two parts:

  • Outer Cover – The fabric is your choice. Thicker vinyl is good if you want a waterproof cover. Fleece or flannel provide a nice warm surface – the cover will need to be removable to wash it*, which means putting in a zipper or sewing on strips of Velcro. Also consider using recycled upholstery materials (see our free dog bedfor an example). 
  • Stuffing – These inner materials can be a foam pad, polyfill, dog or horse hair, cedar shavings, recycled plastic bags, old rags, an old quilt or sleeping bag, or even sand (if you aren’t planning to move the dog bed much!)

Alternatively, use sections of old sheets or blankets to cover the bed that you can take off and wash. My mother used to do that for her Dachshund’s dog bed.

Planning Your Project

If you’re impulsive, like me, you may get carried away and start sewing the most beautiful dog bed in the world. 

However, about halfway through, you find out it’s a little too small for your dog or something else about it just isn’t right.

Therefore, I suggest you disregard the impulsiveness and slow down to do just a smidgen of planning first, using our guidelines below.

Things to Consider

Locations – Do you want the bed to fit into a corner or will it be moved around on an open floor? Is it going to be put on top of a couch, the rear part of an SUV, or in an RV somewhere – or all of the above at some point?

Size – Will it be for one dog or more? Does your dog(s) tend to curl up when lying down or stretch out? Either way, it will save you a lot of grief if you follow the adage, “Measure twice, cut once.”

Materials – Do you have sufficient amounts of fabric or stuffing for what you have in mind? It would be a shame to end up with a unevenly stuffed or mismatched looking item after all the work you put in.

Sewing Dog Beds:  Instructions for a Foam Bed

Start with the Basic Measurements on our Make Your Own Dog Bed page. If you have two or three dogs that like to lie together and you want to make a dog bed that fits all of them, measure them as a group.

Materials and Tools

  • High density foam, at least 4 inches (100mm) thick, cut to fit your dog(s). [A serrated knife or cloth scissors can be used to cut the foam if the store doesn’t do it for you.]
  • Vinyl or other fabric, 2 x width + 10 inches (255mm) and 2 x length + 10 inches (255mm). [The extra 10 inches allows for a pad 4 inches thick plus the seams. If you use a thicker pad, adjust accordingly.]
  • Velcro strips, the sew-on kind, long enough to match the width of your pad, plus two more pieces the height of your pad.
  • Sewing machine with heavy duty thread or needle and thread, and straight pins.
  • Cloth scissors and a black or colored marker or fabric chalk.

Cutting & Marking the Fabric

Top & Bottom Pieces

  • Mark the pieces with a dotted line according to the length and width measurements above. Make sure the edges are straight and square.
  • Label one piece Top and the other Bottom.
  • Lay the pieces on the floor or a table, the wrong side up.
  • Mark a 1/2″ (13mm) seam allowance using solid lines.
top piece of dog bed pattern
bottom piece of dog bed pattern
sides and bottom and top of dog bed
sides of dog bed to be sewn

Side Pieces

You’ll need four of these. The width of each piece should be 6″.

The length of the first two should be the same length as the bottom and top pieces.

The length of the other two pieces should be the same as the width of the bottom and top pieces.

Sewing Dog Beds: Instructions for Finishing

To sew the pieces together and follow the instructions further, go to Make a Dog Bed From A Foam Pad