Want a way to recycle and use up fabrics, batting and scraps along with some other things that would otherwise go to a landfill? I have a project for you that is fast, easy, and will clean out your sewing room in a hurry. Rural counties are always in need of donations to help with their work saving animals that need homes. The farther away from a larger town, the more they need help. In several of the rural counties in Western North Carolina, their entire budget for the year doesn’t cover the costs of caring for the animals. As a result, they are happy to have little extras for the dogs and cats. I spent two afternoons making dog beds and crate mats to take to the humane society groups needing the most help. These are ridiculously simple and will clean out all the bits and pieces you want. Start with those orphan fabrics in your stash, the ones you’ve had for years and still cannot find a project for. Sew three sides, and fill with batting scraps.
Crate sizes used by most humane groups are 12×18, 18×24, 24×30, and 36×42. Crate mats can be these sizes, or anything close will do. Smaller ones need smaller flatter crate mats, just a little something for a cat or dog to lie on while being transported. After inserting a few layers of batting, just turn the raw edge to the inside and sew the opening closed with a topstitch. Sometimes I add a little stitching in the center to keep the batting pieces from shifting. OK, so that’s two.
Then I gathered up some old t-shirts. These have some stain on them that won’t come out in the wash. I cannot wear them anymore, but the fabric is fine. Trust me the dogs won’t mind!
See that tomato stain? Nothing has taken it out over several washings with pretreating and Oxyclean. But, it won’t be seen in the final bed. I turned the t-shirts inside out, and marked a line across the shirt under the sleeves to sew on.
Sew on the line. Do not cut off the top.
Just turn right side out, and include the sleeves and neckline inside as more stuffing.
Because these are heavy knits, I can fill them with all the bits and scraps that I would usually have to throw away. If you save these in bags, you will be surprised at how much you have after just a couple of weeks – enough to fill a dog bed easily.
I keep a bag hanging off a closet door near the cutting table, and just throw bits in it as I cut, trim, and square up blocks. Bits like this, the edge of batting and fabric that I trim off a quilt after quilting. I cut away the part that is usable again, saving large pieces of fabric and batting aside, but those strips of fabric and batting that are sewn together go into the scrap bag.
I had a couple of pillows I made years ago that were stuffed with fiberfill. It is amazing how fluffy it will get if you pull out the old stuffing, and pull it apart with your fingers. It will go a long way in a dog bed, and the dogs will be very happy to have the softness and will not care that it has been in a pillow before.
OK, so nicely stuff the t-shirts, then sew the bottom closed with a topstitch.
They might be a bit ruffly around the edge, but that is OK.
Continue for all the old t-shirts you have. Easy sewing because the bottom edge isn’t a raw edge, you can just topstitch. If you have a knit stitch, you could use that if you wanted to.
And, voila! Dog beds! These were delivered last month.
Next week, I’ll show you another idea for pet beds to help our humane societies. Update – click on More Recycling and Repurposing.
So, do you have old t-shirts to turn into something useful?