Bed & comforter photos plus sewing directions

Photo A:
Dog Bed (any size square or rectangle)

 Photos B & C:  "Channels" sewn in to secure larger amounts of stuffing, keeps it from shifting after washing & drying.
Pin top & bottom pieces with right sides together, leaving a 7-8" opening on 2 opposite sides for stuffing later.

Sew outer edges & round corners, don't trim excess corner fabric. Turn bed right side out.

Sew a lazy "S" through the center (see photo) this keeps stuffing from shifting during wash.   Photo B shows alternate way to add "E" channels to secure polyfil during washing.

Sew two "U"-shaped channels 4-5" from the outer edges(big enough to get your hand thru for stuffing later), leaving 2 openings parallel to the 2 openings in the outer seam.

This lets you stuff the center of the bed. Sew the 2 inner openings shut. Then stuff the outer 4-5" wide channels with handfulls of polyfil stuffing, (using a PVC pipe or stick if necessary) all the way around the bed. Do not pack the polyfill too tightly, but outer "bolster" should be firm.

Zigzag stitch the final 2 openings closed, be sure to go PAST the opening & double stitch both ends of your stitching back & forth to be sure the opening is closed.
Make the outer channels big enough for the stuffers to get their hands in & around the corners! Don't scrimp!

Comforters for Kitties or Small Dogs ~ any size from 14"x18" to larger
Rectangle Comforters are fast & Shelters love them!
Sew two pieces wrong sides together, leave an opening to add batting, (looks like a pillowcase.) Turn rightside out, slide batting in (use as thick as your machine will sew), sew open end closed. Then sew 2-3" from outside edge (see photo) to secure batting during washing.
You can also make & stuff channels using Dog Bed instructions above, just a smaller size.

Round Beds ~ Don't stuff the bed till the very end!
These are larger beds for big cats & small dogs, take a bit longer to sew, but oh are they comfortable!
Sew two 18" circles with wrong sides together, leave an 8" opening for stuffing later.
Sew a 10"x 56" long piece together at short ends, right sides together.
Fold in half lengthwise wrong sides together. (Forms a round "tube")

Stitch closed along folded edges, leaving an 8" opening for stuffing later.

Pin long side piece with the soft bottom piece pet will lay on ON TOP. Pin in 4 opposite sides then work your way around, if any extra fabric, fold the excess over to form a pleat. Now sew round pieces to long piece, lining up both 8" openings together.
The finished seam is on top of bed tucked under the side bolster. Using a serger makes this a clean seam, no fraying & can be used on outside of bed or tucked inside on top.
Stuff side bolster and bottom of bed loosely with polyfil. Don't overstuff, cats like sides that are floppy!

Pin both 8" openings closed and zigzag stitch together.
Finished seam should be inside top of bed under side of bolster.
Trim any excess seam that's showing to discourage "nibbling".

Kennel Comforters - design information

Design Info – Kennel Comforters
Please make sure you're using a heavy-duty or jeans needle, a walking foot helps. Use thread that's good quality 100% polyester.

Round Cat & Dog Beds ~ an easy-to-sew Shelter favorite!
Round beds with a 5" bolster around the outside are great for curling up. This makes a dog or cat bed for "nesters". Using soft cotton, flannel, sherpa, or fleece makes this a very cushy bed when stuffed with polyfil.

Comforters:The comforters can be from 18" x 18", 16"x20" up to 20"x24", square or rectangle.
We also use 24" x 18" comforters for mamma cats with kittens, litters of kittens and small dogs.

Donation Wish List: needles, polyester thread, any color!

Batting and polyfil stuffing: any type of batting or stuffing.
Bed and sofa pillows have lots of polyfil stuffing.

Fabric: any durable kinds: washable cottons, flannel, sherpa, polar fleece, light denim & canvas. Certain fabrics get caught on cage frames and pet’s nails, so chenille and terry cloth.
High School students doing community service~cut or stuff beds
Friendship Groups in Quilt Guilds
Scout Troops, Key Clubs
Sewing Classes
Neighbors & friends spending time together, making beds in assembly line fashion is faster and more fun!
Contact Kennel Comforters for supplies to help you make beds.

Start a Kennel Comforters Project in your city!


Before doing anything, first contact your local shelter to make sure they want to implement the program. Many shelters do not because it means more work for them and there are other concerns about using the comforters – such as the possibility of spreading disease in the shelter. One answer is that volunteers will launder the beds when they are soiled, or if they are transferred to other animals. Show the shelter a sample of the beds you'll make to see if they fit in their washing machines & dryers.
Once the shelter agrees to the program, I measure the cages & ask the kennel staff what their parameters are (drains, cage bars, etc.) or types of beds needed.
You also have to find volunteers to make the beds. There are 3 levels of volunteers – a Sewing Team Leader who oversees the activities of the sewing team members and keeps track of their activities and numbers; a Donation Team Member who recruits volunteers and solicits donations of materials; and a Sewing Team Member who does the sewing. Of course, one person can run the whole program depending on the volume of beds needed.
Volunteers can be recruited through church groups, senior centers, community centers, girl scouts, sewing circles, etc. There are numerous sewing and quilting forums that can be contacted on-line. Post a message about the program and chances are you will get some volunteers. One article in the local paper can result in volunteers as well as conations of supplies. You can also put up notices at local pet shops, vets’ offices, fabric stores, etc. Word-of-mouth works well too – every person who works on the program seems to be excited to talk about it to family and friends. I have magnetic signs on my car & inexpensive cards to hand out with our e-mail & blog address.
As far as getting supplies – the same notices in the same places will take care of that. You can also solicit donations from upholstery shops & fabric store coupons. You don’t have to use only new fabric. Sheets, pillowcases, t-shirts, etc. can all be cut up to make the beds. Comforters are great because they are already stuffed and all you have to do is cut and hem them.
You can also request money donations from people who want to participate in the program but can’t sew. You can ask for direct contributions to the program, or you can set up something where someone can donate enough money to provide beds for a specific period of time (e.g.) and during that time, the person’s name is posted at the shelter – or donations can be made in memory of a companion animal who has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. You can also set up a mechanism where people can give "gifts of kindness." They can donate a certain amount of money for someone’s birthday for example and you send that person a card telling them a gift was made in their name and sending them a picture of an animal enjoying that gift. Of course, money donations should go through the shelter earmarked for the Kennel Comforters Project. If the shelter is a not-for-profit organization, tax receipts can be sent to the donator.

I have set up the program so that most of the beds are delivered or picked up by me for distribution to the shelters. Some people prefer that the volunteers go directly to the shelter themselves. This saves the coordinator time and trouble and has an added benefit – the people invariably get involved with the animals and help to find them homes. At a shelter in Pennsylvania, the program was so successful that for the first time, no cats or kittens were euthanized during the summer following the implementation of the program. That was due to the fact that quite a few volunteers were making frequent trips to the shelter to drop off beds. They talked to everyone about the work they were doing and helped raise awareness about the plight of homeless animals and the need to adopt.
The program seems to take on a life of its own. It easily captures everyone’s imagination because it’s an easy, concrete way to help animals in desperate need. Also, the level of commitment can vary – a volunteer can make one bed a month as time permits – or dozens, but every single one directly impacts on the quality of life of a shelter animal.
If you need more information about starting a program, please feel free to email us. Thanks for your interest, once you plant the seed, your project starts to grow!