Cat Basket and Washable Pet Bed

Create a one-of-a-kind cat basket and a washable pet bed using simple sewing techniques like hemming and pillow making.


By: Jennifer Crutcher

Jennifer Crutcher, of Dallas, demonstrates how to make a do-it-yourself cat bed from a store-bought basket and fabric of your choice.

Materials Needed:

  • purchased basket
  • pins
  • snaps or Velcro
  • FrayChek
  • needle and thread
  • sewing machine
  • scissors and straight razor
  • 2" thick piece of memory foam (or other type of cushion)
  • approximately 2 yards of fabric
  • 2 yards of strong satin or grosgrain ribbon
  • 1/4 yard of contrasting fabric (for pillow)
  • polyfill (for pillow)


1. Measure the width and depth of the basket. Cut the memory foam to fit snugly into the basket's bottom using a straight razor.



2. Three basic fabric panels are needed for the liner of the bed: A long one that runs the length of the bed, and two side panels that will hang over the width of the bed. Measure the length of your bed starting at the bottom of the basket: go up the side, down the other side, across the bottom, up the opposite side and then down the opposite side. This is the length of material needed for the longest panel. For the width of your longest panel, measure the width of the basket and add 2" to account for a hem. Cut your long panel according to the measurements.

3. For the two side panels, measure from the bottom to the top of the basket, then double that number. Cut your side panels according to the measurements.

4. Sew about a 1/2" hem on both side panels. Hem three sides; the side left unhemmed will attach to the long panel. Tip: When hemming the side panels decide how long you want them to hang over the side of the basket. This will correspond in a later step to the hem of the longer panel.

5. Pin the hemmed side panels, printed sides facing, to the long panel. Tip: Situate the panels in the basket so you know exactly where they need to be placed.

6. Sew a 1/2" hem along your long panel, attaching the two side panels in the process.

7. Put the liner back into the basket and make any adjustments. The shortest sides of the long panel should be unhemmed at this point. Make sure all four panels that hang over the basket are of equal length, then hem the remaining sides. Fit the liner into the basket.

8. Measure the length and width of your foam and add 1 1/2" for hemming. Cut the rest of your material to this measurement, which will be used to create an "envelope" for the foam. Tip: If your pet is prone to accidents, consider sewing a piece of oilcloth or soft fabric shower liner to the inside of your foam cover.



9. Sew three sides of the cover, leaving one open. Fit your foam into the cover to make sure it's snug. Then, like you're gift-wrapping a package, tuck the sides of the open end in and bring the two longer flaps together neatly. Use stick-on Velcro to keep the fabric together and to create a removable cover for washing. Tip: Reinforce the Velcro by sewing over it with the machine.

10. Cut eight pieces of ribbon, all the same length. The length chosen depends on your preference for knots or bows. Pin the pieces of ribbon on the underside of each hanging corner of the fabric. Make sure the ribbon is long enough to tie to the ribbon across from it.

11. Sew the ribbons securely by hand. Tip: Invisible thread makes for a clean design, but any thread may be used.



12. Cut the loose ends of the ribbons at a diagonal and dot the ends with FrayChek. Let dry.

13. Sew the pillow for the bed by sewing three sides together, then stuffing with polyfill. Hand stitch the open end closed. Tip: Get creative here, using a contrasting fabric. Consider attaching ribbons or buttons to the pillow, depending on whether your pet would chew them or not.



14. Assemble the pet bed by adding the foam cushion and pillow.

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