And the Puppies are Happy Too

dogbed3Since today I don’t have much to show in my progress on things I’m working on, I thought I’d tell you about a fun and useful “how-to” project. This is not my original idea, but I love doing it and thought you might enjoy it too.

I’m not a scrap keeper. Some people are. Little scraps of fabric drive me batty. I do keep some small pieces of fabrics lying around just in case I need a little of this or that, but for the most part I dispose of a lot of scrap fabric. I know it seems wasteful. I felt that guilty twinge every time I tossed a little piece of fabric in the trash can.

Someone at my local quilt guild told me about a way to use those fabrics; I use the scrap as filling for dog beds. Here’s what I do:

dogbed1I take larger scraps of home dec fabric and sew them together to make bags. You can easily find scraps of heavier-weight fabrics at thrift stores or on clearance tables at the fabric store. Or if you’re lucky, someone my “gift” their scraps to you. I make the assembly process extra easy by sewing the fabrics together with a serger, which allows you to sew and cut the fabrics at the same time. Using the serger, I  haphazardly sew the scraps together until I have a large enough piece of cloth to make my pillow case sized bag. Then I sew up the sides of the bag, leaving the top open.

(You can also use old pillow cases — they, too, are cheap to get at thrift stores. I think the home dec fabrics are a little bit better for this project. They’re more sturdy and might hold up better to a dog using the bed, but I have successfully used regular pillow cases too.)

Once I have the bags made, I place them in an empty trash can like you would a plastic trash bag. I store the scrap can next to my regular trash under my cutting/sewing table. When I’m working on a project, I readily have access to both receptacles and I can easily toss my fabric scraps in the scrap can. You can also consider filling the beds with scrap batting and clean cut-up old clothes and T-shirts.

dogbed2When the fabric bag gets full, I finish the dog bed by simply taking it out of the can and sewing the opening closed. Once I’ve made several of these bags, I take them to my vet or local animal shelter where some puppy in need is grateful to use them. If the dog beds get soiled or damaged its no big loss for the vet or shelter to toss them in the garbage. They could even wash them, if they choose.

So far this year, I’ve delivered about a dozen dog beds to my vet. You should see how excited they are to receive them. The great thing is it costs me nearly nothing and I’m reusing something that I normally would toss in the trash. I’m happy, the vet/shelter is happy, and the puppies are happy too.