My experience has been that good often comes out of bad. This post began with a melted dog bed . . .
This is my favorite bed for our dogs. We bought it in a specialty shop and it wasn’t cheap, but then we are pushovers when it comes to our dogs. This bed has a zipper closure so the cover can be taken off to launder, a MUST as far as I’m concerned . . . but it’s also a must for the cushion itself to be able to be cleaned . . .
. . . because old doggie smell is doggone unpleasant!
Anyhoo, this particular dog bed cover wasn’t waterproof and the dog bed insert wasn’t washable or dry cleanable. I tried washing it as carefully as I could anyway and the thin cheesecloth-like cover holding the stuffing inside disintegrated into Swiss cheesecloth!
Right about that time Pillow Cubes contacted me (after seeing my Pottery Barn knockoff Jingle Pillow) and offered to send me a dog bed insert if I would write a review of their product. Since my dogs were still trying to lie on their empty dog bed cover on the hardwood floor . . . 🙁 I KNOW . . . I was happy to try out their product!
I’ll be telling you more about their pillow inserts later but for now, let’s get on with my French Grain Sack Dog Bed tutorial, because really who couldn’t use another cute cover for their dog bed? Like I said . . . pushovers.
Disclaimer: I am not a seamstress or a pattern maker, so please don’t expect expert sewing instructions here. The main thing I want to show you in this post is how to create the French Grain Sack look on fabric. You can use this application to make a tablecloth, curtains, a pillow, or a dog bed. If you do want to make a dog bed cover and you’ve had some sewing experience you’ll probably do just fine with my feeble instructions. If not, you can still use the French grain sack design but you might want to find a “real” pattern.
My dog bed insert from Pillow Cubes measures 30″x 40″ from seam to seam. I decided to make a box shaped dog bed, like my other one, so I cut two 31-1/4″ x 41-1/4″ rectangles (this allows for a 5/8″ seam allowance on each side). My fabric was a pre-laundered painter’s drop cloth (a bonus, as this makes it naturally resistant to leakage).
Next, with my large sheet of drop cloth I was able to cut one strip long enough to go around three sides of the bed (110-1/4″ long by 7-1/4″ wide). The shorter side (a 31-1/4″ x 7-1/4″ strip) will have the tie closures.
Note: If your fabric isn’t large enough to cut a strip this long you can piece together the sides of your bed. I’d recommend doing it at each of the four corners for a nicer look. Remember to allow for a 5/8″ seam at each corner.
For the three ties, I cut six long strips, approximately 18″ long by 1-3/4″wide. The length of your ties is really a personal preference and based on whether you want to tie bows or (k)not(s)! I used vintage ticking material that came from my mother-in-law’s old sewing supplies. SO glad I hung on to it!
Here is a picture of all my fabric pieces cut and ready to begin.
Before sewing I painted deep blue stripes on the top of the dog bed cover to give the bed the look of a vintage French Grain Sack. I used a multi-surface acrylic paint that was labeled as a permanent paint.
I began by laying down painter’s tape and sealing the edges well so the paint wouldn’t bleed under the tape. This really doesn’t seem to be an issue with drop cloth fabric though.
Using an inexpensive sponge brush, I dipped it in the paint, dabbed it on a paper towel to remove the excess and worked it into the fabric in a daubing motion. I kept working in it until the paint was pretty dark, but a more washed out look can also look nice if that’s your preference.
After the center stripe was dry I added more tape for the side stripes and painted those as well. One reason for taping, painting, and taping some more was so I wouldn’t get confused as to where I was supposed to paint and mess things up! Wisdom comes with experience . . . and age!
After the paint was dry I removed the tape and VOILA!!!
The last thing I did to make this look more like an authentic French Grain Sack was to sew a tight zig zag stitch on either side of the center stripe. I think this really finishes it off well.
The next step was to make the ties. Here are a few pictures of how I folded the raw edge of one end under (the other end you won’t have to worry about),
folded both long edges in to meet,
then folded them together again and sewed them closed.
At this point, I added the ties to end of the pillow. Rather than try to explain this process I thought you’d appreciate seamstress Margo Price’s great video tutorial for adding tie closures to pillows. That can be found right HERE.
Good instruction right? I really couldn’t have figured this out without her!
After adding the ties I pinned the pillow sides to the pillow top and stitched the parts together (though it would seem logical to do so, I didn’t sew my corner seams together first because I wasn’t sure my measurements would be perfectly accurate). Next I pinned the bottom of the pillow cover to the side strips and sewed those in place.
Finally, I sewed the corners closed. I did end up having a little extra fabric which I simply trimmed away. Your corners will look like this when turned right side out.
NOTE: I double stitched all my seams for extra strength, sewing a 5/8″ seam first followed by another seam about 1/8″ away from the first.
You can see here how when everything is sewed together one flap slightly overlaps the other.
Here is my new dog bed all stuffed and tied! Can you see how great Margo’s instructions turned out?
Before I show you the finishing touches on my French Grain Sack Dog Bed let me tell you a little about the company Pillow Cubes. The inserts made my Pillow Cubes are 100% American made, by hand with commercial sewing machines, and double stitched for strength. Their pillow inserts come in various sizes with your choice of filling material, down feather, synthetic down, polyester, even Eco-friendly recycled fiber filler.
As you can see from this picture the pillow inserts from Pillow Cubes are full,
and the quality is obvious! I’ve purchased many pillow forms in my time and I can honestly tell you that these are superior to anything I’ve ever used.
This makes me quite happy to partner with Pillow Cubes in writing about their great products. These pillow inserts are dry cleanable and with proper care will last a lifetime.
Back to my pillow cover and the finishing touches. Because I have female dogs, and because crowns are a Frenchy kind of thing, I traced a crown on my pillow top using a white fabric pen. I already had a pattern to use but The Graphics Fairy has free crown printables that could easily be traced onto cardboard, then onto your fabric.
I used white acrylic, permanent paint to fill in the crown.
I’m kind of excited about the cuteness factor of my new dog bed cover and I love the plump and cushy look of the Pillow Cubes insert.
I really feel that this French Grain Sack Dog Bed fits well with the other touches I’ve added to my French Country Kitchen,
but I think the dogs may be even happier than I am.
One last NOTE: We live in the land of red clay here in South Carolina. Even though drop cloth fabric resists leak-through I used Scotch Guard to protect against stains on the surface of the bed. I’ve already seen some red clay paw marks on this bed but once they dried they simply disappeared! To me, that makes a fabric protectant well worth using.
I wonder, do you think I’m becoming an “Old Dog Lady”? Do any of you have pets whom you love to spoil? Ah well, love me, love my dog!
In my next post, I’ll be back with another tutorial for creating authentic looking Rustic French Signage. I do hope you’ll join me.
Thanks for visiting and blessings to you,