I had an exciting delivery earlier this week – a new sewing machine! It arrived on Tuesday but I only had chance to open the box today and still haven’t tried it out. My first sewing machine wore out after fifteen years of hard labour and I’ve had my second one for fifteen too, although there’s nothing wrong with it – I just fancied treating myself to an upgrade.
I didn’t want a computerized one with all the bells and whistles or hundreds of embroidery stitches that I know I’ll never use, so ended up choosing the Janome 525s which seemed perfect for the way I work. I have since found out that it is the very same machine as used by The Great British Sewing Bee and the Kirstie Allsopp programmes, so hopefully I made a good choice.
Apologies for the rubbish photos all through this post, but hubby took my little camera to work so I used the iPhone and they weren’t worth putting through Photoshop so…..Talking of Kirstie, I watched one of her recent “Fill Your House For Free” programmes where she upcycled an old suitcase to make a dog bed. Now I know it’s nothing new, but I had acquired an old leather suitcase with this very project in mind as the puppy had all but destroyed her bed. So, instead of trying out my new toy, I made something that didn’t involve any sewing whatsoever.
Which makes this a great project for those of you who can’t/don’t like sewing.
Tutorial: How To Make A Dog Bed From An Old Suitcase
Acquire a strong, suitably sized suitcase – I managed to find a brilliant leather one on eBay.
Now you can leave the lid on, but you will have to fix it in the upright position permanently so as not to give your dog a nasty headache.
I decided not to take this risk, and removed it by cutting through the leather straps and unpicking the stitching that held it together.
At this point you could insert a piece of chipboard to the inside of the base for added strength depending on the size of your dog but, as mine is for two tiny Yorkies, it wasn’t necessary.
I had every intention of attaching beautiful bun feet to the base and waxing them a gorgeous shade of tan to compliment the vintage patina of the leather. But at twenty quid for four including postage, I thought that rather defeated the object.
A quick visit to the woodpile turned up a perfectly adequate length of 2 x 3 which, with a little imagination, would do just fine.
I marked the timber at 7cm intervals (just under 3 inches in old money) and sawed four square-ish stumps for the feet. (What can I say? Hubby was at work and I was far too impatient to wait for him to come home and do it properly!)
Sand the rough edges away to get rid of any splinters and also to provide a smooth surface for the paint.Mark the centre of each block of wood with a pencil and, if you don’t have self-driving screws, make a pilot hole with a drill or bradawl.Mark where you want your feet to go on the outside of the base and turn your screw until it pierces the leather.Remove and screw from the inside, through the hole you have just made and into the centre mark of the foot.
I found this to be the simplest method of transferring the markings and getting the holes in the right place!
My husband would probably have done it differently but as I said, I’m impatient…If your wood is untreated as mine was, paint one coat of a suitable primer to seal.
I had some tester pots lurking in my understairs cupboard (as you do) which I knew would come in handy one day, and picked Parma Grey as a lovely modern contrast to the old leather. Two coats of paint seemed to be plenty.When dry, turn up the right way.
I had a feather pillow surplus to requirements which fits perfectly, but you could have a piece of foam cut to size if you prefer.
Whatever you choose to use as padding needs to be be waterproof really, so I used a waterproof pillowcase to protect it.
The existing dog blanket was wrapped around for comfort and….
“Ta dah!”Both dogs hopped in immediately and settled down to sleep so I guess it’s a hit!By using stuff I had lying around the house already, I didn’t spend any money at all on the project so it was true upcycling.
The initial cost of the suitcase was twenty pounds and, although there are cheaper ones to be found, I wanted a sturdy leather one with strong stitching and a good base. I think twenty pounds for a unique, (luxury?) dog basket is a bargain quite frankly, and I’m really pleased with it!
What do you think? Have you been inspired by anything you’ve seen on TV?
August 7, 2014 at 10:06 pm
Yeah we have the same sewing machine …great choice, how cute does the dog bed look 🙂
August 8, 2014 at 4:41 pm
Good to know you’d recommend it, thanks!
August 7, 2014 at 10:06 pm
Brilliant! And they look so comfy 🙂
August 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm
Thanks Caren, they seem to love it:)
January 10, 2015 at 11:02 pm
OMG I love this!! It’s got to be the best dog bed ever!! Your little dog looks so comfy, bless!
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January 10, 2015 at 11:05 pm
HA I totally missed the bit saying there are two dogs on there… I only saw one!! Which is crazy because now I look at it there are clearly two. Haha… it’s even more cute with two cuddled up on it!
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