Wild Gourd Farm

Organic Gardening in St. Louis City

Frugal Friday: Pillows and/or Dog Beds

With basic sewing skills and a little time, you can make most home furnishings and decorations yourself. Pillows are especially easy to make if you have a sewing machine. I make large pillows with removable, washable slip covers to use as dog beds around the house.

dog bed

Here’s how to make your own dog bed (or any other pillow with a slip cover).


It’s best to use sturdy fabric; I usually take an old bed sheet and double it over. For the pillow in these pictures I used two layers of a red sheet and two layers of some stretchy black material (I don’t suggest using stretchy fabrics). I measured and cut both fabrics to 35″ by 55″. You will also need a way to fasten the pillow case around the pillow- I usually use zippers for the dog beds as they’re the most durable. You can use Velcro, snaps, or buttons if you’d like.

If you’re using a zipper- on the side where the zipper is to be installed, hand sew the two fabrics together with the right sides facing in, about 1/2″ from the edges. These stitches will eventually be removed so I just use long hand stitches.


Flip the fabric so you are seeing the wrong side of each, then iron down the seam you created with the stitches.

zipper area

Place your zipper face-down over the seam and pin it in place.  Then sew your zipper, using a zipper presser foot if you have it. I sew down both sides of the zipper and also box in the top and bottom.

zipper in place

Once the zipper is sewed, you can remove the original basting stitches on the right-sides to reveal the zipper.

zipper in place

With the zipper installed, the rest of the pillow case is easy. Keep the zipper open a bit so you can pull the fabric through at the end. With the fabrics right-side to right-side, sew the remaining three sides of the pillow. I usually double-stitch it for extra durability. Turn the pillow case right-side-in by pulling the wrong sides through the zipper hole.

For the inner pillow itself, take two pieces of fabric about the same size as the pillow case, sew with the right sides facing in, leaving a gap in one of the seams to pull the pillow through. Then stuff and sew the gap up. I usually hand sew the opening so I can re-open it easily to re-stuff in the future. For the dog beds I re-use old stuffing from former pillows; I’ve also been able to score new bags of fiber fill for cheap on Craigslist.


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