Saturday, February 21, 2015

Make some Cat Beds

For the past month, I've worked on making some round cat beds for the crew.  Finished 4 so far.  The cats are enjoying all 4 of them.  Three of the beds were made to handle two cats sleeping together and the 4th is a single cat bed.  My cats love these as winter beds.  During the summer, they could care less about them and prefer low sided card board boxes to sleep or nap in or just stretch out across the bed or couches. AND they are REVERSIBLE!  Just flip it inside out.

Fabric used:  1 1/2 yards of 100% cotton flannel;  I pre-washed it.  Since flannel  tends to shrink about 4 inches/yard in a dryer, you will probably need 1 and 5/8 yards or you can use 60" wide polar fleece and need only a yard to make one.  Or you can use another type of furry fabric to make them.  I prefer the flannel to keep static electricity at bay as cats seem to generate lots of static during the drier winter months and they don't like static anymore than you or I.

NOTE:  If using a directional fabric, decide how you want the pattern to appear on the tubes.  That will make a difference in cutting the length of the tube; whether you cut the width of the fabric or cut the tube length from the length of the fabric.  Just be sure when you cut the circles out that you won't interfere with where you are going to cut the length(s) for the tubes.

The pattern is pretty simple to make.  I scribe a circle between 7.5 inches up to 9.5 inches in radius onto the fabric.
   7.5" radius equates to a 15 inch wide circle making a 14 inch wide bed.  This is good for single cats of small to medium build.  Large cats will also use it when they want to be really cozy.
   8.5" radius equates to a 17 inch circle making a 16 inch wide bed.  Good for medium to large cats.
   9.5" radius equates to a 19 inch circle making a nice size for two medium to  large cats or 1 extra large cat.  My cats also use it by themselves and enjoy it.

By the way, these cat beds are machine washable and dryable.

For these beds I used flannel and made two circles (#1 & #2), same size.  These form the base of the bed with some filler in-between the layers.   Then, using a soft tape measure, measured the circumference of one of the circles and used that measurement to cut a rectangle from more of the fabric.  Cuts were made 15 inch wide,   the width of the fabric as it usually takes at least 1 width plus a few more inches to go all the way around.  The rectangle usually ends up between 47 inches to 60" in length by 15" wide depending on circumference of circle.  With flannel that means I cut a 2nd width of fabric and cut off what I need from the 2nd piece to make the length required for the circumference.

Note: If you want to make a two fabric cat bed, just cut the width of each fabric at 8 inches, then seam together to form the 15" tube before going on to the next steps.

Then the rectangle is sewn together at the ends forming a fat tube (called the sides of the bed).  I press the seams open and sew the seam selvages down the length of each selvage, about an 1/8" from their edges with a straight stitch.  You'll see why later.

Detailing:  You can save yourself a little bit of hand sewing time if you form the openings for the stuffing while you are sewing up one of the seams.

 I then fold the tube in half, length wise, wrong sides together so the tube now has a width of  7.5 inches instead of 15".  The raw edges of the sides are sewn together at about the one quarter inch line, all the way around.

Then a double or triple row of stitching is made half way up the side, all the way around the tube, about
1/4 inch wide total.  This forms the divider between the two side tubes and makes it sturdy enough for stuffing the tubes that were just formed. (don't stuff yet).

Next step is to prepare the base.  I use a fairly thin polyester batting (Christmas "snow" batting) that comes in a sheet form and cut the batting the same size as the base circles. (you might need to piece in a section if the batting is not wide enough for the diameter of the circle.)  You may use other batting if you want.
 One could add more layers  of this thin batting to make it thicker if wanted but not really necessary.  One could also use polar fleece to make this bed and batting would not be needed in the base.

Secure the batting to circle #1 by laying it on the wrong side of the base circle, and sewing it 1/4 inch around the edge of the circle.  You could also quilt this layer to secure the batting even more to this layer.  Do NOT add the circle #2 yet, as that is the last step before stuffing starts.

Now, pin the tube to the outside edges of right side of  circle #1.  Sew all the way around about a 1/4 to 3/8ths inch in from the edge of the circle being careful not to catch in the sides of the tube as you're moving the pieces around.

Carefully fold in the sides of the bed towards the center of the circle so
you can see all the edges of the circle.

Then take Circle #2 and lay it right side down on top of folded-in sides, hiding the sides of the bed. Pin around leaving a 4 to 5" opening for turning.

 Sew around the outside of the circle with 2 rows of stitching for sturdiness LEAVING an opening of about 4 to 5 inches so you can pull the sides and circle #1  through the opening.  Voila!  You are almost ready for stuffing the tubes.  Now you can sew the opening closed.

Stuffing the Tubes:  

You will need:
1.  either a sharp pair of scissors with a pointed end or a seam ripper.
2.  a bag of stuffing.  I used polyester stuffing so it's easy to wash and dry.
3.  a dowel or stick of some sort about an 1 inch (2.5cm) in diameter and about a foot long for tamping the stuffing into each tube.  I used the large tube from "Fasturn" ( )as it was handiest for me and worked well as a tamping rod.

At one of the vertical seams of the sides, the seams you have sewn the seam allowance down on, carefully pick out the seam where the two edges meet, for about an inch and a half.  Enough so that you can insert stuffing and get your tamping rod into.

 Just add stuffing a little bit at a time, tamping as you go, filling to the center first and working your way out to the "entrance".    Do that for both tubes that were formed in the sides. Stuff your tubes to the stiffness that you want.  This does take quiet a bit of stuffing.

Sew the 2 openings back up with some hand sewing, and the bed is done, ready to use.

copyright notice 2015:  You may make and sell these beds but not the directions.

My future plans:  Will be tweaking these directions with more photos when I have the time.  If you have trouble with a part, let me know, then I know I need to make clarifications or simpler directions.
 I do plan to make one with 3 rows of tubing in the future, just to give the cats a higher walled bed.  I will need to add another 7 inches to the width of the side fabric.  My spouse also suggested making one with a top on it  of some sort.


  1. great advice, I will truly try to make one of these for my daughter this month....better get up and start searching for
    fabric. Thanks, Dot

  2. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. Cat Beds

  3. Great post, Look for some great Cat collars