Doggie bag re-fashion: turning a surprise find into a useful item

Don’t you love re-fashioned unused or found objects? Last year, I tore apart the basement in order to paint the concrete floors. When I pulled away the large workbench, I found an old UPS messenger bag under it, left behind by the previous owner. I’d been wanting to make a doggie bag to take along on long walks with the pup, so this fit the bill. Plus, she’s starting “group adventures” this week with a local dog walking/boarding company and needs to bring a few things along. They pick her up each day along with other neighbourhood pups, transport them to private farm land outside of the city, walk them for a bit as a pack, then let them loose in a grassy area with swimming pond for some crazy fun pupster play time. Extravagant? Meh. Leni is half husky, and full of energy, she needs an outlet so that shredding our baseboards again is less of a temptation, not to mention getting a much-needed potty break each day while we’re at work. She’s going to have a blast!

Here she is, modelling the finished product:

The bag in it’s original state, after having been washed:

I wanted to make the bag something that could be worn over the shoulder, so I clipped one end of each handle, and sewed them together to make a single, long handle:

It was pretty simple. After cutting opposite ends of each strap away from the bag (pic above, left), I sewed the straps together right sides facing, opened the seam, pressed it flat, and sewed the raw ends to the strap sides using a zig zag stitch to catch any bits that might fray:

Next, I had to find a way to cover up the UPS logo. I found a scrap of black fabric in my stash, a kind of heavyweight felt that didn’t fray. I measured the UPS logo, adding 1/4 inch to the measurements to ensure it would cover everything:

Off to the fabric store I went, luckily, they had an adorable pair of doggie paw print embroidery patches. I sewed them on to the felt piece first, then stitched the felt piece to the bag by hand. After, I used a zig zag stitch around the edges:

I also made a smaller pocket for the inside of the bag, with a zipper closure, to hold my keys and such. I attached it by sewing it to the bag’s upper inside edge, under the bag’s facing and velcro closure:

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And voila! Doggie day bag! Ready for fun and play…

Here we are on the weekend, having a great time at the local dog run:13872989_10153516238606599_6295832438157812922_n

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Pet Projects: puppy pillow bed #1

In additional to foxy bandana and treat bags, more puppy projects! I’ll get around to sewing for myself soon, but for now we really needed a puppy bed for the living room, it was getting to be a pain to move her blankie from the bed in her crate and back each day. So off to the fabric store I went, and got enough fleece for 3 beds, here’s the first one finished, navy blue with an adorable print of deer and foxes napping. She loves it!

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To design the pattern pieces, I waited until Leni was stretched out on the floor, napping, and took measurements of how long her body was and how much space she took up on the floor. This became the basis for the length and width of the pillow – it’s a decent size, without being huge. You’ll need a top and bottom piece, and if you’re planning on using piping cut a strip of fabric long enough to circle the entire perimeter. Then, decide on the material for padding the bed to make it comfy. If you’re using a foam block you can simply slide it into the casing as is, but if you’re using fluffy batting you’ll probably want to make a separate pillow for the inside of the casing, so cut out 2 more pieces the same size as your top piece. However you decide the construct the bed, you want to make sure you can launder the cover whenever needed, so being able to easily remove the padding helps.

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As for construction, I started by making the exterior casing. For the bottom, turn the edges of the centre opening pieces back, and sew in place. Overlap the centre opening pieces, and sew in snaps to create a closure. Lay the bottom piece over the top piece, and trim up edges to ensure both pieces are the same size. If using piping, here’s a handy tutorial for making the piping, and one for attaching and sewing it to the pillow pieces. Follow the steps as illustrated, sandwiching the piping between front and back pieces and sewing through all layers. Unsnap your centre opening, and turn outside right.

Next, I made the interior bed pillow. Sew both pieces of fabric together, leaving an opening of about 7-8″ to use for stuffing the bed pillow. You can use quilt batting, or simply purchase a decorative microfiber-filled pillow, rip open the casing, remove and fluff the stuffing. I found a couple of decorative pillows on sale, so using the stuffing from those was much cheaper than buying batting. Once the bed pillow is stuffed, sew the opening closed, and use a needle and thread to tack down the pillow in a few spots. This will help flatten the bed pillow, making the surface a bit more stable for puppy to lay on.

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Slide the bed pillow into the outer casing, snap the opening shut, and voila! Puppy luxury awaits…

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Pet Projects: puppy treat bags

After I finished making Leni her foxy bandana, I had scraps of fabric leftover so I used it up to make little treat bags. I usually grab a handful of doggie treats for our walks, but I’m getting kinda grossed out reaching into my jacket pockets and finding bits of salmon snacks or milkbone crumbs. The bags are fairly large and wide, so that they slip in like a liner into your jacket pocket.

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The construction is very simple, and follows the basic principles of my orphaned sock bag. Slap together 2 pieces of fabric, shape and size to meet your needs. The top edge is simply folded over twice and sewn in place. I rounded the corners at the bottom end of the bag to ensure little crumbs don’t get trapped there. To wash, flip bag inside out, and I would skip any fabric softener or static cling sheets as it might leave a residue that could be picked up by the doggie treats inside.

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I didn’t bother with a drawstring, thinking it would be too cumbersome to open and close once it’s in my pocket. When the bag isn’t in use, I simply twist the top. IMG1852

Pet Projects: puppy bandana, with cozy winter foxes

3 weeks ago, we adopted a rescue puppy from the Humane Society, a 4-month old Siberian Husky / Lab mix. Sadly, it came after the passing of our beloved cat, but we’re full of joy to be able to once again share our home with another furbaby. We named her “Leni”, after Lenny Briscoe from Law and Order, but the chick’s version of the name (from the German, actually). She’s a sweetheart, and keeps us on our toes.

And with puppy, of course, came the necessary discussion about just how much I was allowed to dress her up. Having been denied the option to knit sweaters for our cat, I tested the waters with hubby. Halloween costume? check. Bandanas? check. Sweaters and booties? nope. Fine, I can live with that, this dog’s getting an array of awesome bandanas. Here’s the first one I made over the weekend…

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The pattern piece is fairly simple, if you look at the pic below on the left you get the idea. From the neckline centre to the point of the bandana is 9″, it hangs a bit low for my liking, but just adjust depending on the size of your dog. As for the width, you’ll want to make the bandana somewhat snug around the neck without being too tight, if it hangs too low most dogs will simply tear it off. Your best bet is to test the pattern and size using scrap fabric first, before cutting into nicer fabric. Raw edges were folded over twice and then sewn in place. The fixture is a strip of velcro, rather than tying a knot, to avoid the puppy choking should the bandana get caught on something.

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Cute, right? I’m thinking of dressing her as a beagle for Halloween…