I wanted to share with you a recent weekend DIY project – a stylish new crate cover for my little boy RoyRoy. Now, I realize there are many who feel that dog crates are somehow prisons for dogs and nothing is really farther from the truth – unless of course the dog is literally imprisoned for long periods of time or as punishment. But, the fact is that dogs are den animals and they like cozy spaces. And they actually really like having their own personal spaces. It’s important that all dogs are crate trained – in that they are capable of being crated if it becomes necessary. My RoyRoy sleeps in his crate each night and runs in happily and sleeps all night long. But, for some reason, he hates being in there during the day.
This past fall, he had a bout of IVDD, a degenerative disc disease that 20-25% of dachshunds are prone to developing, usually between 4 and 7 years of age. RoyRoy turns 6 next month. Luckily, he was never paralyzed, just wobbly and in a great deal of pain. Treatment is either surgery or “conservative” bedrest. And by bedrest, they mean 24/7 crate rest with only short potty breaks. For a dog who refuses to be crated during the day, this was tricky. I ended up tethering him by a leash and harness to a regular floor bed and placed him next to me. Luckily, I can work from home and basically spent most of my time for the 8 weeks he was on crate rest at home with him. And I’m happy to report that he did make a full recovery. It could happen again, however.
Anyway, I do believe in the importance of the use of crates for security and medical recovery purposes when at all possible. And while on their own, crates are kind of ugly and uncomfortable looking, they can always be dressed up!
I’ve long planned on making a cute and cozy quilted crate cover for RoyRoy and finally got around to it. Up until now, I’ve simply draped a blanket (or two in cold weather) over the crate when he goes in and wrap it up to keep him warm.
I used double sided, pre-quilted fabric that I bought at JoAnn’s. There wasn’t a lot of choice of pattern, but I liked the one I bought well enough. I bought 3-1/2 yards, which was a guess. I’m not a fantastic pre-planner on things – I was kind of winging it and didn’t use a crate cover pattern. I ended up using 3 yards of the fabric. I also bought double bias tape to use to finish the cut edges. I bought 4 packs and didn’t have enough, so ended up rolling the edges and hemming.
I measured the top and long sides of the crate (Roy uses the smaller end door, not wide side door). I made a long wrap around these 3 surfaces (2 sides and top) and made front and back flaps, as well as bumpers for the inside. You can see on the worksheet above, I measured out each piece for size, then drew out how, if I had pattern pieces, how I would cut out the pieces to make sure I had enough fabric (top right of drawing).
I started with the bumpers – you can see the contrasting sides of the fabric. I bound the edges with the biding tape. I’ve done quilting in the past and could have made my own binding, but this was much easier!
And, the inside of the crate. The bumper were about 6″ high and wrap a around three full sides plus around the front without impeding the door access. It was a little long, so I took folded it in the back and sewed it down (as you can see in the image). No biggie. You can see my headboard in the background – it all coordinates, of course. He likes his mattress and fuzzy cover, so I didn’t bother making a matching covered mattress, though you could and it would be cute.
And the outside. I used the bias tape and made ties which I sewed to the bumper and crate cover. The fuzzy mattress holds the bottom of the bumpers in place.
And a closeup detail of the finished cover. I really wanted it to be warm, so made it so that there is little gapping between the pieces.
You can see where I ran out of the bias tape and sewed a hem instead, which looks cute with the stripes.
And a view of the finished inside and outside. I think it look pretty cozy!
Roy seems to approve of his stylish new crate cover! He’s very territorial about his “stuff”, so this project was a little disconcerting for him, but he’s slept will ever since I finished it. I do also have a blanket overtop the whole crate for the winter, since the floor is cold. In the summer when it’s warmer, I will only have the crate cover and “open up” the ends if I feel he needs air flow, but he really does like to be covered up.
In addition to using pre-quilted fabric, I was thinking one could use an inexpensive yet pretty store bought quilt – twin size would do it. I do wish this fabric I bought was a little thicker. It was easy to use, especially with the stripes, but could be a bit thicker for warmth.
Total cost was about $55.00 – which included 3-1/2 yards of double sided quilted fabric with a 40% off coupon, 4 packs of double bias tape. 3 yards of fabric (for a small crate) was all I needed, but I could have used at least 2 more packs of bias tape.
Time spent: 3 hours.
You might also like: My Favorite Things for Dogs
Cute Dog Crate Cover Recommendations.
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