Who doesn’t love a little extra support, especially when relaxing? This bolster dog bed tutorial from Bonnie at Peppermint not only gives your dog their very own place to relax, but it also provides them with extra cushions to prop up their head with and be embraced by. And when made with a cute doggone-approved design from Spoonflower, your pup will be both snuggly and stylish.
Bonnie: Doesn’t man’s best friend deserve the very best? If you love your pooch and you know it, and you’re not afraid to show it, why not make them a deluxe doggy bed? With its beautiful bolstered sides, this project will allow your little buddy to enjoy the joys of sitting on a little couch for dogs.
Plus, the top section can be removed and placed on your couch so the two of you can enjoy the wonders of couch sitting—at the same time! This also serves the purpose of protecting your couch from any shedding, digging or other pesky behaviours your pooch might be prone to. What are we waiting for? Let’s get making!
- 2-3 yards or meters of suitably soft and snuggly material—we used Spoonflower’s Polartec®️ Fleece in Modern Abstract Black and White Cow Print (Jumbo) by Wild&Bloom
- Stuffing of choice or dog bed insert
- 2.3-4.2 yards or meters of bias tape
- Sewing machine
- 23.6”-45.3” (60 cm-115 cm) zipper—length varies on dog bed size
- Coordinating thread
Steps to Make A Bolster Dog Bed
Part 1. Make the dog bed base.
This dog bed is made entirely from rectangles and can be adjusted to any size to suit your special canine. I’ve put together some extra small, small, medium and large sizes, which you can review at this link.
Part 2. Build the bolster focusing on three sections: inner bolster, outer bolster and top bolster.
1. Cut out your many bolster pattern pieces. Try to keep them organised together.
Create the inner bolster.
2. Take your inner bolster pieces and sew them into one continuous length. Attach them with right sides facing, with the two inner bolster side pieces attached to the short-sided edges of the centre piece. (Pro tip: Having the project diagram available during construction is a great visual to keep on hand!)
3. Place your new long inner bolster strip right sides down on top of the right side of your bolster base piece. The inner bolster centre piece should be aligned with one of the long edges of the bolster base. The inner bolster side pieces should align with the width edges of the bolster base.
4. Pin everything in place so that the outer edge of your inner bolster piece is 5.1” (13 cm) from the bolster base edges. Sew in place with a 0.4” (1 cm) seam allowance so that the stitch line will be 5.5” (14 cm) from the bolster base edge. Make sure to pivot on the corners without catching the bulk of the inner bolster strip fabric, raising your needle if you need to.
Next, focus on the top bolster.
1. Place your top bolster pieces together right sides facing, with the two top bolster side pieces attached to the short 5.9” (15 cm) side edges of the top bolster centre piece.
2. Measure 5.9” (15 cm) inwards from the edge of these short sides (3.9” or 10 cm if you are making an XS-size bolster) and draw a diagonal line from this mark to the opposite corner. Repeat for the other side, making sure both inward marks are on the same long edge.
3. Stitch your top bolster pieces together along these diagonal lines. Trim seams and press open. You should end up with a shape like this.
4. Attach the inner length of this top bolster piece to the free edge of the inner bolster piece, right sides together, matching the corners. You should end up with an extra 5.9” (15 cm) of top bolster piece at the ends (3.9” or 10 cm if you are making an XS-size bolster). Position this so it turns the corner and aligns with the remaining free short edge of the inner bolster side pieces.
5. Sew in place with 0.4” (1 cm) seam allowance. Flip so the right sides of bolster pieces are facing out and you begin to see some corners forming.
6. Attach the remaining 5.9” (15 cm) edges of the top bolster piece to the bolster base, right sides together, so that it forms a straight line to the outer edge of the bolster base from the edge of the inner bolster base. Repeat on the other side.
c. Lastly, make the outer bolster.
1. Sew your outer bolster pieces together right sides facing with the two outer bolster side pieces attached to the short side edges of the outer bolster centre piece.
2. Attach the outer bolster to the top bolster, right sides together. Match corners and sew in place with a 0.4” (1 cm) seam allowance.
3. Flip so that the right sides of the bolsters are all facing out. You should now be able to see your cuboid shapes coming together. Attach the remaining edges of the outer bolster to the edge of the bolster base, both with right sides facing up. Sew in place, leaving a 3.9” (10 cm) gap on each side to use for stuffing bolsters.
Part 4. Finishing up the bolster.
Stuff the bolsters.
1. Stuff your bolsters so they are nice and plump and shapey, but not so much that they are too bloated—you want them to maintain a nice level of squish. You can use all sorts to fill the bolsters. We used a combination of scraps and old soft clothes that would have otherwise been thrown out. Not only was this a nice spot of sustainable thinking, but it also means the bed smells like the dog’s owner so he’s even keener to snuggle down.
Bind the edges.
2. Baste close your stuffing gaps. Now take your bias binding and bind all four edges of the booster base. This will enclose the raw seams of the outer bolster and create a nice neat finish. Depending on the size of your project it may be awkward or difficult to maneuver this stitching on your sewing machine. However, it’s easily done by hand by backstitching the first side of the binding in place and then whipstitching the second side!
3. You are now done! The a) bolsters and bolster base and b) the dog bed can be used separately or together as the dog bed fits nicely inside the bolsters and on top of the bolster base.
If you have a particularly wiggly pup you might attach some Velcro or fasteners to affix the removable bolster top and dog cushion to each other more securely. Otherwise, it’s time to settle down for a celebratory cuddle with your best canine!