You already sew fun things for all your friends and family. Why not whip up a few projects for your favorite four-legged friends as well? From fun new toys to practical placemats, check out these nifty ideas for the purr-fect pet projects to sewlextra space in your sewing room—at least until you go fabric shopping again.
- Upcycled Sweater Bed
Does your cat or dog love to snuggle with your clothes? Turn an old sweater or sweatshirt into a snuggly bed for them! Stitch the neck closed, then firmly stuff the arms and body. With the bed stuffed, stitch the bottom opening closed, then wrap the arms around the body and stitch the wrist openings together to create a bolster pillow. You can tack the bolster to the main part of the bed, or leave it loose, depending on what your pet prefers.
- Catnip Toys
Cats need a lot of enrichment to keep their active minds busy (and to keep them from getting into trouble!). Catnip toys give them a chance to "hunt" without pouncing on your dining table in the middle of a meal. Use sturdy fabric like scraps of felt or denim to stand up to kitty's sharp claws, and fill each toy with a mix of fiber and dried catnip. Catnip alone tends to be messy if the fabric splits, but adding fiber helps trap the wayward bits and keeps the toy in commission a bit longer.
- Pet Placemats
Keep your floors tidy with these handy placemats. Made with water-resistant vinyl or oilcloth, they easily wipe clean and keep spills contained. Make sure to use the appropriate type of needle when working with these fabrics, and to insert a new needle before starting your project.
- Kitty Tent
Did you know cats can sleep up to 16 hours a day? Give them somewhere quiet and secluded to nap with a quick and easy tent! There are plenty of patterns available depending on your preference, ranging from upcycled t-shirts with hanger supports to fleecy caves that get their support from firm batting and stuffing.
- Bow Ties
Whether it's for a special occasion or dapper daily wear, a bow tie is a special touch to add to your pup's look. Make a removable version that pops into place using a snap or hook-and-loop strips, or stitch your bow tie directly to the collar. You can make bow ties for cats too, but for safety, make sure to use breakaway collars that keep cats from accidentally injuring themselves as they climb and explore.
- DIY Leashes
Did you know you can make your own leash? All you'll need is a length of nylon webbing, a swivel hook, and a heavy-duty needle and thread. Personalize your colors and styles--make different lengths for different pets, or even create split leashes for walking two dogs at once! Use a heat source, like a match or candle flame, to seal the end of the nylon and prevent fraying before you start to sew.
- Agility Tunnel
Have you ever seen agility dog competitions? These canine pro-athletes race over ramps, slalom through poles, and zip through tunnels, all at top speed. You can make your own agility tunnel with lightweight material. Nylon works well, as it's both light and sturdy. Use soft supports like pool noodles staked to the ground to keep the tunnel from going flat while your pup runs through.
- Dog Jacket
Your dog may have a fur coat, but depending on the weather, it isn't always the right attire for a trip outside! A waterproof jacket can help keep that wet dog smell out of your carpet and furniture, while a warm fleece coat makes winter trips outside much more pleasant for tiny pups who lose heat quickly in the cold.
- Envelope Dog Bed
Is your dog a snuggler? For pups who love to burrow, an envelope dog bed is perfect! It's got a built-in blanket that keeps all the bedding in one place. Cut two rectangles of fabric in the size your dog will need for his bed. Fleece, denim, and sturdy cottons work well for this, as do upcycled fabrics like old towels! Cut a shorter rectangle and hem one end before sandwiching it between the other two pieces. Stitch around the edge, leaving a gap to stuff the bed. The middle rectangle becomes a blanket that your dog can burrow under whenever he wants.
- Cat Hammock
This is a great project to donate to animal shelters, where cats often spend lots of time in cages without much in the way of comfort. Hammocks hung in cage corners give them a soft place to snuggle, plus a chance to move and stretch as they climb into and out of them. Even better, cats aren't the only animals that enjoy these hammocks! Ferrets and even some small dogs are also big fans.
- Crate Cover
For crate-trained dogs, their crate is their own personal sanctuary, so make sure to give them some privacy with a crate cover. Sized to suit your own needs, many of these are designed with roll-up sides so your pup can catch a breeze on toasty days or enjoy the view while traveling in his crate. Be sure that any ties or hardware aren't dangling inside the crate, however, or they may quickly be chewed off!
- Crinkle Toys
Cats love the sound of crinkling paper and plastic. You can make their day by creating toys that crinkle when pounced on! Just tuck a piece of sturdy brown paper, the kind grocery bags are made of, inside a stuffed toy. The stuffing gives the paper room to move and flex, creating that crinkling sound that cats find irresistible.