One of the best parts about being a quilter is making quilts for others to enjoy, so why shouldn’t that extend to our furry friends? This Triangle Jitters quilted dog bed tutorial is the perfect way to share the quilty love with your pet, in a way they’re sure to appreciate.
As a family made up of more animal members than human ones, pet accessories that are both functional and attractive are a must in my house. Thanks to the modern design of the Triangle Jitters pattern, this quilted dog bed fits that bill perfectly.
The Triangle Jitters quilted dog bed is equal parts stylish and comfortable, making it the best of both worlds for you and your fur baby. Not only does it have a cozy pillow, but it has bolsters on the back and sides. And, bonus, this tutorial can be easily scaled to make a bed for a dog, or cat, of any size!
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Triangle Jitters Quilted Dog Bed Materials
This tutorial is for a 34" x 24" bed with three bolsters, which is perfect for a medium sized dog. But as I mentioned you can easily scale this project to be the perfect size for your pet.
If you plan to make your bed in different dimensions, keep in mind that your fabric requirements and cutting directions will be different from mine.
- Triangle Jitters Quilt Pattern (This tutorial uses the baby size.)
- Quilt Top Fabric - Fabric requirements are listed in the pattern. I used Robert Kaufman’s Big Sur Canvas in the shades Dark Navy, Slate Blue, Pink, and Veggie Orange. I chose canvas for its durability, but you could absolutely use regular quilting cotton.
- Bed Bottom and Bolster Side Fabric - 1 1/2 yards. I went with this adorable Sun Candy canvas from Cloud9 Fabrics.
- Bolster Tie Fabric - One 1 1/2" x WOF strip. I used the same fabric here as I did for the bottom and bolster sides.
- Piping Fabric (Optional) - Two 1 1/2" x WOF strips. I used Art Gallery Fabrics PURE solids in Nocturnal.
- Batting - One 40" x 56" piece.
- Lining Fabric - One 40" x 56" piece. I used muslin, but you can use any fabric you have in your stash. Keep in mind that this will ultimately be on the inside of your dog bed, so you won’t see it in the final product.
- Pillow Insert Fabric (Optional) - Two 34" x 24" pieces. I used muslin to create a pillow insert for my bed, but if you don’t wish to create your own you could use a premade insert, or regular pillow form, depending on the size of the bed you wish to make.
- Washable Polyfill Stuffing - I used most of a 5lb bag of stuffing for all three of my bolsters and my pillow insert. If you choose to use a premade insert for the pillow you will need quite a bit less.
- Cotton Piping Cord (Optional) - 2 1/2 yards of 3/8" cord. Adding piping to the top of your bolsters is completely optional. But I personally think piping is super easy and fun to make. And it adds a great finishing touch to your project. If you don’t feel comfortable making your own piping you can even purchase premade bias tape!
- Basic Quilting Supplies
Step 1: Assemble the Triangle Jitters Baby Size Top
First up, assemble your quilt top! The baby size of the Triangle Jitters pattern is the perfect size to create the 34" x 24" dog bed I made. But if you decide to make this project in different dimensions, take a look at the pieces we will be cutting in step 3 so you can make the correct quilt top size for your project.
I made my bed out of canvas, which is a bit thicker and more durable than your typical quilting cotton. If you choose to use canvas, I recommend pressing all of the seams in your quilt top open, rather than to the side. This will help to reduce bulk in the final construction. Using a tailor’s clapper will also help get your seams nice and flat.
Step 2: Baste and Quilt the Triangle Jitters Top
Once your Triangle Jitters quilt top is assembled, it is time to baste! Create your quilt sandwich with a 40” x 56” piece of muslin (or backing fabric of your choice), a 40” x 56” piece of batting, and your quilt top. Use either pins or basting spray to baste your quilt sandwich, and then get to quilting!
I opted to do my quilting in threads that matched my fabrics, and echoed the lines of the pattern, to emphasize the bold, modern design of the Triangle Jitters quilt.
Step 3: Cut Out Dog Bed Pieces
Next, cut out the pieces to create the bed from your newly quilted Triangle Jitters top, as well as the fabric for the bottom and sides of the bed. I have listed the pieces you will need below for the 34" x 24" bed that I made, as well as notes on how to scale them if you wish to make your quilted dog bed a different size.
From the Triangle Jitters quilt, cut:
- 1 Pillow Top: 34" x 24"
- 1 Back Bolster: 33 1/2" x 6" (If you are making your bed a different size, make sure your back bolster piece is 1/2" shorter than the longer side of your pillow top piece)
- 2 Side Bolsters: 23 1/2" x 6" (Again, you want these to be 1/2" shorter than the shorter sides of your pillow top piece)
From your bed bottom/bolster side fabric, cut:
- 2 Bottom Pieces: 21" x 24" (We will be making an envelope style closure for the bottom of the bed, so you will need two pieces of fabric that are the the same length as the shorter side of your pillow top piece on one side, and half the length of the longer side plus 4” on the other side. So in my case: 34 ÷ 2 = 17 and 17 + 4 = 21")
- 1 Back Bolster: 33 1/2" x 6"
- 2 Side Bolsters: 23 1/2" x 6"
Using a rotary cutter and ruler, cut the above pieces from the quilt and bottom fabric. At this stage I also opted to finish all of my edges with a serger. This is optional, but knowing my dogs I imagine I will be washing this bed a lot, and so I wanted to make sure it was going to hold up well in the wash.
If you don’t have a serger you can use a zigzag stitch to finish the edges of all of your pieces.
Step 4: Create Tube for Bolster Ties
Take your 1 1/2" x WOF strip and fold it right sides together (RST) lengthwise. Sew along the edge with a 1/4" seam allowance, to create a long tube.
Step 5: Turn Tube Right Side Out and Finish Ties
Attach a safety pin to the edge of one end of your tube, and begin feeding that safety pin into the side of the tube it is attached to. Slowly guide the pin, and the attached edge of the tube, all the way through the inside of the tube, until you reach the other side. Continue to pull the attached edge through the tube until your tube is right side out.
Once your tube is right side out, cut it into four 10" pieces to create the four ties you will need for your bolsters (two for the back bolster, and one for each side). Finish one end of each tie by stitching a short, narrow zig zag stitch along the edge, closing the end off.
Pro tip—if you are having trouble turning the entire WOF length tube right side out, try cutting your four tie pieces first and then turning the shorter tubes individually.
Step 6: Create Piping (Optional)
If you choose to add piping to the top edge of your bolsters like I did, start making your piping by joining your two 1 1/2" x WOF strips together, as you would join two pieces of binding, to create one long strip. Lay your cording lengthwise in the center of the wrong side of your long strip. Fold the entire strip in half, wrong sides together, encasing the cord inside.
When making the piping, be sure that you sew as close to the cord as possible. There are special sewing machine feet for creating piping, but you can use a zipper foot as well, which most machines come standard with.
Using your zipper foot, stitch just along the edge of the piping cord, enclosing it into the tube. We are aiming for our piping to have a 3/8" edge, as that is the seam allowance we will be using for the remainder of this project.
Once your entire length of piping is complete, cut it into three segments—one 33 1/2" segment, and two 23 1/2" segments—to match the long edges of your bolsters.
Step 7: Create Bolsters
Alright, now that we have all of those details completed, it is time to get into some serious construction.
Create your bolsters by layering a quilted bolster piece and the matching bolster side piece, right sides together. If you are adding piping, it should go in the middle of these two pieces with the raw edge lined up along the top, long edge of your bolster. Pin and sew the top edge of all three bolsters with a 3/8" seam allowance.
Next we will sew the side seams, and this is where you need to add the ties in. Place the ties between the front and back pieces of your bolster, with the unfinished edge in the top corner (right under the piping if you added it).
Very important note—your larger, back bolster will have two ties, but each of the sides will only have one. Make sure to place the ties for the side bolsters on opposite ends, so they are both facing the back once your quilted dog bed is constructed.
Pin and stitch along both sides of all three bolsters, with a 3/8" seam allowance. Turn bolsters right side out, using a point turner to pop the corner out if necessary.
Step 8: Finish Edges of Envelope Closure
As I mentioned earlier, the bottom of the quilted dog bed is going to be an envelope style closure, so we need to finish the edges of the two pieces that are going to create the opening for our pillow insert. Take your two 21" x 24" bottom pieces and on each fold one of the 24" sides back 1/2". Press to create a hem.
If you used a serger or zigzag stitch to finish your raw edges earlier, you can stitch this hem down right now. If you didn’t finish your edges, fold that hem over 1/2" a second time to fully encase the raw edge, and then stitch.
Step 9: Attach Back Bolster to Pillow Top
We'll attach our bolsters and envelope bottom closure at the same time. There is quite a bit of layering here, but I promise it will all work out!
Starting with the long, back side of the bed, lay the back bolster you created onto the pillow top piece, right sides together, lining up the un-sewn edge of your bolster to the edge of the pillow top piece.
Center the bolster, leaving an inch gap on either side of it. On top of both of these pieces, lay your two backing pieces, right sides facing down. The hemmed edges you finished in step 8 should be in the center, and they should overlap one another, to create the envelope closure.
Pin or clip all of this in place, and sew along the back edge, with a 3/8" seam allowance. Once you have sewn over both hemmed edges of the envelope closure, stop and backstitch. Leave a 6"-8" gap, which will later be used for stuffing the bolster, and then begin stitching again, finishing the back seam.
Step 10: Attach Side Bolsters and Sew Front Seam
The hardest part is now behind you! Now you just have to replicate that last step, but with the side bolsters.
Line one of your side bolsters up to the side of the pillow top, just as you did with the back bolster, being mindful that your ties are facing the correct direction (towards the back) and that they are tucked in so you don’t stitch over them. Again, you should have about a 1” gap on each side of your bolster.
Pin and stitch the side closed with a 3/8" seam allowance, leaving another 6"-8" gap for stuffing towards the center of your bolster. Repeat with the remaining side.
Finally, pin and stitch the entire front seam, with a 3/8" seam allowance.
Step 11: Stuff Bolsters and Stitch Closed
Using the hole you left yourself in each bolster, stuff your bolsters with Polyfill. I recommend using small clumps of Polyfill to avoid lumps. It’s tempting to just shove as much as you can in at once, because you want to see how adorable your quilted dog bed is, but trust me on this, it’s worth taking your time here.
Once your bolsters are stuffed to your liking, pin the openings together and use your machine to stitch them closed. If you’re making a larger sized bed, this can be a little tricky, and you may want to ask a friend (preferably one with hands, not paws) to help you hold the bed while you stitch.
Step 12: Create Pillow Insert (Optional)
If you have a premade pillow insert, skip to the last paragraph of this step!
If you don’t have a premade insert, you will need to make one by pinning the two 34" x 24" pieces of muslin together and stitching along all four sides, using a 3/8" seam allowance. Leave a 6" gap on one side for stuffing. I also opted to finish the raw edges of my pillow with a zigzag stitch, to prevent fraying in the wash.
Turn your pillow insert right side out through the hole you left, and stuff to your liking with Polyfill. Finally, stitch the hole closed, either with your machine or by hand.
Step 13: Impress Your Pet with Your Triangle Jitters Quilted Dog Bed!
All that you have left to do is turn your bed right side out, through the envelope closure at the bottom, and place your pillow insert inside.
Tie the bolster ties to one another, so that the bolsters stand up, and that is it, you did it! Introduce your pet to their new favorite snoozing spot, and enjoy watching them experience the love of a handmade quilt.
If you make your own Triangle Jitters quilted dog bed, be sure to show off your work using the hashtags #SuzyQuiltsPatterns and #TriangleJittersQuilt. Let’s show the world that quilts are for everyone, including our pets!