30th June 2023
Our new arrival Bertie is a young Labrador puppy, as a family business we knew we needed to get him settled into being a William Morris fabric fan straight away. He was a bit of a wriggler in the car, fussing in his car bed and trying to bite his way to freedom from his seatbelt. We thought therefore that he could benefit from a bigger bed on the back seat to try to get him to settle down easier. Inspired by designs online, we decided to give it a go ourselves to make a William Morris dog bed. We had some fabric, we had some wadding and some pillows no longer used, so got to work! We’re writing down our process to help if you’d like to make your pampered pooch a bed like Berties, it’s all been trial and error so maybe you can improve on our method!
The design we used was our licensed William Morris Brother Rabbit blue fabric, it’s the most beautiful design full of rabbits and birds, which were drawn by Morris’s good friend and colleague, Philip Webb.
We began with measuring the backseat of the car, these measurements were the width of the back seats, the depth of the seat and the heigh of the seat. We won’t put the measurements of ours in as all cars are different sizes so whatever works for yours. You could also just make it the width of one seat if you still need to use the rest of the back seats. Make sure to also measure where your seatbelt holder is so that you can clip the dog harness seatbelt in for safety.
We were wanting a bed which stayed in the car all the time, so we used ties attached to the top of the bed to the headrest. We learnt a lesson here as we initially started with ribbon like ties, but when hot and bothered in the heatwave sun, Bertie tried climbing over the bed and snapped the ties, so we had to go back in with a more robust tie as a fix.
As an idea of our pattern, the fabric was cut into two pieces for the back cushion, two pieces for the base cushion, two pieces for the front bumper and four pieces for the side cushions. The bumper we put in around the edge so that he can rest his little head on it.
Starting on the back cushion, ensuring the fabric was the correct side together, sew the first side. As you get to the top, attach the ties to be able to tie the top to the head rests at both sides. Then carry on sewing along the tip and back down the third side. Turn the cover the right way and press it flat.
Measuring the cushion so it had three equal sized cushions, we sewed a seam down each. Now there are three cushions which you can fill with polyester wadding and sew closed. Next time, we would make inner pillows and zips to allow us to remove the cover for washing as muddy paw prints may occur!
Next we did the same process on the bottom cushions, cutting into the base cushion fabric by 5cm and sewing around this so the seatbelts are accessible to secure the harness to. Once again, then turning, pressing and top stitching the base cushion, stuffing with polyester wadding and stitching to close. The side pieces are actually made from two little feather cushions that we had in the loft so decided to put those to use! I made the the side of the square by first putting in the zip on the seam which faces forward so this will zip into the front bumper. So once Bertie is in on he can rest his head on the bumper while facing forward and can see where he is going.
The front is made in two pieces so the pattern is the correct way up when zipped in place.
Now to assemble the bed. Stitched the back to the base on the underside, we left a 2 cm raw edge, then sewing the sides to the back and as the sides were already hemmed this left a neat edge and so we then had the front zipped to the sides so then we just had the attach it to the base again this left a 2cm raw edge on the base of the bed. Then, turning the raw edge in by 1cm and hand sewed it with a slip stitch to finish it neatly underneath.
Since our family have seen Bertie’s bed, we have been offered some old duvets which we shall use for the stuffing next time which will be great. Because we can’t wash the bed as mentioned, next time we’d make sure it could be washable. To solve the problem, we made little rectangle cloths to sit on the bottom of the bed for after walks, including a waterproof one to protect the bed.
Bertie absolutely loves his new car bed, the problem is now that he refuses to get out of it most of the time and car rides are punctuated by his snoring! Do let us know if you make your own William Morris dog bed for the car!