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?
9 thoughts on “Help for the Humane Society”
Those look easy enough. Must go check the shirts.
Recycling is priority one in our family and the old shirts might do better turned into beds than being tossed into a rag box. 🙂 It’s a kind and caring thing to do.
Is there no end to your creativity? I stay impressed! You do so many wonderful things.
From one animal lover to another, thank you so much for thinking of our furry friends! I too make beds for rescues/shelters, started many years ago with my youngest son. When he passed last year I decided to step it up, make even more and I embroider his name on them so he can still be involved in it:) I’ve used scrap fabric, old comforters that I cover in newer fabric, I’ve crocheted beds, I even use old sweaters! Hubby laughs every year when I do my “Black Friday” shopping as Kohls always has a fantastic sale on their fleece throws (how can you pass up a throw for $3), he knows I’ll come home with at least 30 and turn them into beds:) Thanks again for being such a caring person! You are the best!!!
Good Afternoon Carole! This is a fabulous idea to do for pet beds. I had been saving all of my fabric scraps to make beds for animals with, but we had a horrible flea infestation this summer and I did not feel safe keeping them. It was so sad to throw away all of the stash, but there was no way I was going to risk taking flea eggs and letting them loose on a dog or cat that already needed a home and love not more problems. But, we are all flea free once again and the scrap fabrics are starting to fill up once again. Thank you for sharing and have a fabulous creative day!
Aha! Somebody gave me an old, holey blanket years ago “for dog beds”, but I stuck it in a corner for a day when I had time to figure out where I could get usable inches. . .. Duh! Never thought of just cutting it into stuffing bits! Even forgot where I’d put it ’til my sister-in-law came to visit & was cold. The next morning she thanked my husband for the blanket he’d unearthed, saying nothing about it being pretty holey. When I realized what he’d given her, I could only imagine she thought “Hmm. I thought my brother was doing pretty well @ his work!” Now I seem to be a bit overrun with pillow cases for some reason, think I’ll take those blanket strips & throw them into a few old faded pillow cases for an easy, useful pet bed for our Humane Society. Thanks for the idea!
Wonderful idea for our furry friends in the shelters. Oh yes, I think I can find a t-shirt or 2 around here…..tomato stains? I always wear a red one when I eat spaghetti…..so I’m not really sure if I have them or not. But I can tell you I have every other stain known to man, especially Italian salad dressing right between the boobs! Why is that? So I recently made a necklace like beaded holder (with clips) worn in reverse to hold a fabric napkin, something I saw when visiting a retirement home, and it works well (at home) when wearing a light colored top to protect. Thanks for your great tips! m
Great idea. Thanks. I like the T-Shirt bed.
These are great ideas! I knew there was a reason I never throw old pillows, etc. away…I just didn’t know what the reason was until now – plus, they are so easy they give that virtuous feeling of getting something done quickly that is truly useful – double good!
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