You don't need to be an expert at sewing to make a dog crate cover for your pet. With these simple steps, you can create your own pattern and make an attractive and practical crate cover in a couple of hours.
How to Make a Great Crate Cover
Making a crate cover is easy with a few basic supplies, and Pets expert Wendy Nan Rees says a crate cover is an important tool to make your dog feel more comfortable. "As you know, dogs are pack animals and live in a den in the wild," she says. "Creating a safe, den-like space for your pet is a wonderful way to help her quickly feel at home."
Choosing a Fabric
You'll need approximately two to four yards of fabric to make the cover. The best thing to do is measure your crate size, and then buy half a yard of extra fabric so you have some room for error. Keep the following additional tips in mind:
- Choose a washable fabric so you can keep the cover fresh and clean.
- Be sure to pre-wash all your fabric before cutting or sewing. This way any shrinkage that may occur will have already taken place, and your cover will still fit after washing.
- Consider fabric weight and the season. Corduroy or fleece are good choices for winter, and cotton is a good fabric for summer.
- Avoid stretchy or shiny fabrics, which can be difficult to work with.
- If your dog's crate is in a part of your room that has a decorating scheme, you can use a decor fabric that matches.
Other Things You'll Need
In addition to fabric, you'll need the following tools and supplies:
- One roll of brown craft paper to make a pattern
- Masking tape
- Pinking shears
- Measuring tape
- Fabric pencil or disappearing fabric marker
- Hook and loop tape, such as Velcro
- Sewing machine and thread to match the fabric
Making the Pattern for the Cover
Rees recommends that you think about how close you want the cover to come to the floor before you start making the pattern. "Usually an inch off the floor is a good place to start," she says. "This way, the crate cover will not drag on the floor or get in the way when you are cleaning."
Making a pattern is an easy process if you use a roll of craft paper and some masking tape. Here's how to do it:
- Starting at the front of the crate, tape the craft paper at the lowest level you want the crate cover to hang.
- Run the paper up the front (door side) to the top, along the top to the back and down the back of the crate to the bottom measurement you have chosen. Tape it down to hold it steady while you work.
- Make a dotted line on your pattern at the top of the door side where it meets the top of the crate and another dotted line at the back of the top where the top meets the back side. Rees says that doing this will make it easier for you to attach the sides of your pattern in the right place.
- Take another piece of craft paper and make a copy of one side of the crate. Repeat with the other side.
- Tape the side panels to each side of the main pattern body for the top of the crate (between the dotted lines). The finished pattern should look like a cross shape.
Sewing the Dog Crate Cover
Now you can use your pattern to make the cover. Here's how:
- Lay the pattern on your fabric, and pin it in place.
- Using a fabric pencil, draw a line around the pattern, half an inch from the edge. This extra half inch is your seam allowance.
- Use pinking shears to cut along the line you drew. The pinking shears will give your crate cover a finished edge that won't unravel.
- At the inside corners, make a diagonal cut that extends to the pattern piece. This will allow you to make square corners for the crate.
- Remove the pins and set the pattern aside.
- Starting at the back corners, line up the edges of the fabric with the right sides together to create the crate shape. There will be two seams at the back. Pin along each seam.
- Place the inside-out cover on top of the crate to check the fit. Adjust as needed. If it looks good, it's time to sew.
- Use the sewing machine to sew the two seams you pinned, sewing half an inch from the raw edge of the fabric.
- Turn the cover right side out and place it on the crate. The front flap will be open.
- Pin hook and loop closure on the edges of the front flap and the sides of the crate cover. Sew the closure where you pinned it. This will allow you to open and close the cover as you need to.
Variations to Try
Try these other variations for your dog's crate cover:
- No-sew - If you're not a fan of sewing, Rees says she's had great success using fabric glue or no-sew tape to make the cover.
- Lined - To make a lined cover, cut two pieces of fabric and sew each into a cover. Place the right sides together and sew almost all the way around. Turn it right side out and press.
- Breathable - Substitute mesh panels for some of the fabric in the crate cover in order to add breathability. Also, stick to breathable fabrics like cotton for better air flow.
- Personalized - If you're handy with a sewing machine, applique your dog's name on the door of the cover or attach a patch with your dog's breed. Add fun trims for even more personality.
Perfect for Home or Travel
Rees praises the versatility and usefulness of these covers. "Crate covers like these can be used at home," she says, "but they also come in handy when traveling with your pet." Either way, this is a fun and easy way to show your love for your dog.