DIY Cat Tent Bed

This is my third project with my new sewing machine (the first two being throw pillows and pajama pants). I never bought Boots a bed because cats notoriously sleep wherever they want – in his case, the bed, the couch, the floor, or his favorite chair (formerly my studio chair, but it’s okay, I have two).

But it was getting cold enough for him to actually sleep next to me instead of at the foot of the bed, and I kept seeing him lying next to his toys even when he wasn’t playing with them, like he wanted something of his own. I was probably overthinking due to liking my cat too much because I spend more time with him than with other people. But even if he didn’t like it, I didn’t mind having another just-for-fun project to do.

So I browsed Pinterest for some ideas before making my own pattern. I wanted it to be covered, tent style, so I could stop leaving cardboard boxes in the living room for him to sit in. And I ordered some adorable fabric from a shop on Etsy, because making my own meant I could make it super cute. Also if I’d bought one, I probably would’ve had to look in the dog supplies, because I have a huge cat.

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I lined the whole thing with white cotton broadcloth and filled the bottom with a few layers of quilt batting for even thickness. It has a zipper that is actually up-cycled from one of those plastic bags that sheets come in. The “tent poles” are old wire hangers – I made a casing on the seams between the two layers of fabric – and I made a binding around the doorway.

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Boots was all over it during the creation process, but once I finished, he played in it for a few minutes and then seemed to lose interest. Until the next day, when he couldn’t go outside because of the rain and decided to sit in his tent bed instead. So we will see if this thing gets any use, but at least it looks better in my living room than a cardboard box.

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Here are links to the ideas that inspired me, including a very budget-friendly no-sew version, and some photos of the finished product.

Mini Tent Tutorial This one seems significantly smaller but has detailed instructions.

Pyramid Cat Tent This tutorial is explained simply by the photos.

Puppy Hut (& dog leash) A free project pattern from Bernina.

Cat T-Shirt Tent Basically free and no sewing skills required! Bonus: 26 Hacks for Cat Owners

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New Sewing Machine & Sewing Projects

A sewing machine is something that’s been on my craft wish list for a while. I keep thinking of all the projects I could do if I had one, but then other stuff adds up and it gets pushed to the bottom of the list. That’s the problem with doing multiple kinds of crafts, sometimes you have to pick & choose your supplies.

But my husband and I decided to give each other spending money for Christmas – we’re kind of bad at picking gifts for each other, except maybe fun little things – and I made sure to to leave room for the sewing machine. I even got some gift cards I used for paint, canvas, and clay stuff.

You can always get a used sewing machine on eBay or Craigslist but, little did I know, you can get a decent new one for less than a hundred dollars. They go as low as about $50 at Walmart, or as high as hundreds or thousands. There are all kinds of fancy machines out there, but I’m going to use it for pretty simple stuff. So, after talking to a friend with more experience, I settled on the Brother Basic Sewing & Mending Machine, normally $130, for $70 on Amazon (or at Target or Home Depot).

I’d kind of forgotten most of my sewing experience since using my mom’s Pfaff as a kid & teen, and later a friend’s Singer. But after buying some fabric and finding my sewing accessories, and with a little help from the manual, I practically finished my first project the same day my Brother arrived.

Of course, throw pillows are pretty easy – I didn’t even need a pattern, just measured as I went – but I did do buttons and a zipper and had no trouble switching stitches & presser feet.

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Above: setting up the machine, Boots helping me work, and the finished products.

Now I can’t wait to make curtains, and maybe a cat bed and some clothes or re-fashions. I’m happy to say that I still have pretty regular Etsy sales this month, but it’s nice to have projects to do just for fun too (at least, until I mess up my pattern because I’m impatient, or the thread tension goes wonky, or my giant cat will not move but I feel bad for being annoyed). And I love having the option of customizing my clothing & home decor, and/or saving a little money by making them myself.