Up-cycling a wool blanket into a monogrammed dog bed

My mom taught my older sister and I to use a sewing machine when we were very small; I think I was 6 years old. Her own mother, my Nana, refused to teach her when she was a kid, because she didn’t want the hassle. While a great person, Nana was pretty short on patience and not particularly fond of children. So, my mother picked up her own sewing machine knowledge from a friend’s mother, and forever talks about how it changed her life: She began sewing most of her own clothing, which was an even bigger deal in those days, before the arrival of mass-produced cheap imports from offshore manufacturers. Because of this experience, my mom made sure that my older sister and I were well-versed in the basics of sewing.

Which isn’t to say that I’m a fantastic seamstress/tailor, by any means. I get by, and am pretty competent at making most simple things. One day I’d like to design my own clothes, but for now I simply love playing with fabric.

I’ve been thinking of my mom, not only because I’ve been sewing a lot, but because today is her 70th birthday. Happy birthday, Mom… Though you don’t read this blog (thank gawd), I hope you get the warm fuzzy feelings I’m sending your way by writing about the skills you’ve passed on to me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love making new things from cheap or free cloth. Most of my fabrics are from thrift stores, and as I stated in my last post, Mo’s new dog bed is made from a wool blanket that was found in the gutter on the street outside my house.

In making the bed, I decided to make the top from a double layer of fabric, so that any mud tracked onto it would be less likely to soak through to the stuffing. Also, this way I could do a neat monogram with his initial, and it would look nice and quilted.

The size of the bed was dictated by how much of the blanket was free of holes. I got the zipper for $1 from a discount bin at F@bricland; it’s 76 cm long, which is just 20 cm shorter than one of the long sides. I did a really bad job of sewing in the zipper, because I couldn’t remember the proper technique and was too lazy to look it up, so it’s more exposed than I’d like it to be.

My original idea for the innards was to use the stuffing from the two big pillows that Mo has been napping and playing on since he was a pup. Once the shell of the dog bed was complete, I realized that the two pillows actually squish perfectly inside of it, without taking them apart. It’ll make for easier cleaning, so I’m rolling with it.

Mo likes the bed very much. Now the only problem is that the cat does as well, and has already been staking a claim on it for her afternoon nap. Dear Deities of Street Trash, please send me another free wool blanket so that I can make Ballou her own special monogrammed bed.

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