Do you have a scrap problem? Are your scraps busting out all over and taking over
Enter SCRAPZILLA - the giant Scrap Eating Monster! He will totally destroy all your scraps, gobbling up every. last. one! It's your call how you use him. I made him originally as a dog bed, but after I finished and seconds before a dog claimed it, I walked over it to test the comfort level and it would make an awesome rug! I'm going to make some smaller ones for the cats too.
Here's how you put him together...
Step 1: Find fabric
Muslin is fantastic fabric to use, but any tightweave non-stretch non-textured finish will work. 100% cotton or muslin is usually the cheapest in this group, but whatever you have on hand will do. Poplin, twill, whatever. Just make sure there's no texture to hook claws and that it has a close weave. You don't want those scraps falling out anywhere! I'm using good old fashioned Walmart cheap muslin. This stuff is awesome! You get yards of the stuff delivered to your door and it works for so many things. It's worth the $27 for the bolt! Comment if you want me to post the link to the one I buy
Step 2: Not Scary Maths
Work out the length and width you want. Multiply the length by 1.3. Cut fabric to size.
Hmmm... perhaps this should have been step one? You'll need to know the size to find the fabric, right? Oh well, feel free to choose your step order.
I was lucky, my width worked out so that I could use one piece of fabric folded over. If you want something utterly enormous, you may have to cut two panels and then sew one long side together. I decided I wanted 45" long by 22" wide. How did I decide this? My dog from nose to tail is 42" long. Give her a couple extra inches for comfort. The width is just based on a garden cushion, which was 25" wide, but my fabric was 45" wide, so she got 22" because I folded it in half. I'm lazy that way!
Step 3 Draw Lines
Now, fold the fabric in half (or sew 2 panels together) so that you have it laid out with the length in front of you and begin drawing lines across the width. The first line will be about 1/2" to 3/4" in from the edge. I just eyeballed the edge of the selvedge. Then you can either carefully measure the length of the fabric and work out your exact spacing, or just position your ruler so that the bottom is about 1/2" from the edge and draw a line on both sides. Voila! 2 lines already! Then I put the ruler against the top line and drew the next line above, moving up like that until I reached the other side. Yes, I'm lazy that way too.
When I got to the top, the gap was less than the width of the ruler, so I merely eyeballed the inside of the selvedge and drew the line there. Later on in the bird's-eye view, you can see that the channels at both ends are not as wide as the rest of the bed, nor the same size as each other. If you're OCD, please feel free to work out exact spacing. I'm definitely too lazy to do that. #ihazalife
Step 4: Pin
Ignoring the stink eye from Quality Control as you move her out of the way, stick in a few random pins along each line to keep the fabric from shifting. You really don't need many. Try not to stick a pin in Quality Control either, it's a pain to clean blood out of a project half done. And she'll probably remove your eyeball.
Step 5: Sew
Roll the entire thing into itself like a giant burrito, position the folded end (or the sewn end) under the needle and sew all the way to the bottom of the line. Drop your needle, pivot the fabric, and sew all the way back to your starting point, trying to get a line as close to the first one as you can. Some of my lines merged, but that doesn't matter. All you're wanting to do is have very strong seams. Cut your thread, and repeat on the next line.
I tied off the threads and snipped them before moving onto the next line, you could snip yours all at the end, whatever works for you. #findyourownbrandoflazy
I also serged my completed seams. You can finish yours any way you like. It occurred to me that this would look great with bound edges, but I plan to make a cover. That will be Part 2 of this tutorial.
You'll notice my first two seams are in black thread. This was a combination reason. I had a small amount of black thread already in the machine and, when it ran out, switched to a matching color. The reason I didn't switch up front is so that you could see what I was doing. However, as you'll see later, the threads totally disappear and, if you're planning to make a cover, nobody will see them anyway. So, again, it depends on how OCD you are what color thread you put in your machine. This is a scrap-busting project. Use that thread you hate!
Step 6: Stuff
Grab those scraps and start to stuff them down inside the channels. If your scrap pieces are too big, cut 'em down! I had a pair of pinking shears on hand and just chomped through with no real size or shape consideration, but as there are a lot of scraps here of various fabrics and the muslin is heavy duty, it doesn't really matter if you use pinking shears. If it frays, it's all going to stay in the same place!
You may need to UNstuff some of your channels, if you've made them very narrow. I merrily stuffed my first channel all the way and then had to pull it out. As these are tiny scraps, using a knitting needle didn't get them all the way down and I had to scrunch the fabric to get the scraps down to the bottom. So then I stuffed all the channels at the bottom, then stuffed them all up some more, then stuffed them all up halfway, and worked my way to the ends like that. If your channels are about 5" wide and you have small hands, you might be able to just push the stuff to the ends. Otherwise, stuff with caution! I had to scrunch like this...
When you're done stuffing, it will look like this. I don't have a magic finger snap trick to do, so here's a side-by-side before and after. The eagle eyed among you will notice that the finished product is smaller than the starting size. Clever you. Whilst I'm aware that stuffing a channel will decrease the length of the item, I didn't think about it up front, so my fabulous, made to measure dog bed is now too short for the poor pup. In order to save you from reproachful puppy eyes, I incorporated the difference into my Step 2: Not Scary Math, so while you will still have a size difference, YOUR dog bed will be perfect for your pooch!
You can also see here the different widths of the ends. Not hugely noticeable, so, meh! It's going to be covered up with a Cozy Washable Cover soon, anyway, so nobody but you, me, and about 45 million other interwebz users will even know.
Step 7: Close It Up
Have you ever had the idea that it might be fun to wrangle a dozen intertwined, half inflated tractor tire tubes? No? Hmmm... well, if you did ever think you'd like to try it, you can cross it off your bucket list after this. You have to pick up this giant sausage roll scrum and wrestle those open ends under your sewing machine. Then you have to hold that 'ornery sucker in place while you stuff the escaping scraps back into their tubes and keep it steady under the needle. The fabric will buckle and roll away from you, the bed will do everything it can to pull your machine off the table and into your lap/on the floor/out the window, and the scraps will continuously make frantic bids for freedom.
Assuming you survive this for the first round, turn the thing over and sew back down again, so that your seams are secure. Then finish your seam the same was as you did your others.
It is possible that the wise among you will sit down with a needle and thread and do a neat closed seam and perhaps a rolled edge by hand. When I make my next one, it shall be both the correct size and hand finished. For now, please excuse the blue cloud wafting over this photo from all the very unladylike swearing that escaped my lips! (And hurrah for my Janome that survives all my crazy ideas and chugs away stalwartly on everything!)
Couple final notes:
This really is a scrap guzzler. I couldn't believe how many scraps it took to fill. Which was awesome, kinda. But I wanted TWO dog beds. I'm going to have to sew like mad to make scraps for the other.
Also, trust me, you want the channels going sideways, crosswise along the width, not lengthwise. Long straight seams are a pain to sew without the fabric shifting (quilting experience for the win!) and the finished item will be very unwieldy. This style with shorter ribs is much easier to heft around. And the final item is heavy, at least at this size! Keep that in mind.
Lastly, this is entirely washable. If you can fit something this big and heavy in your washer and dryer, it can totally be washed like any garment. (If you can't, the laundromat has commercial sized machines that can!) However, I'm planning to make a Cozy Washable Cover that is easier to strip off, wash and replace... because I'm lazy that way. 😉
Et voila! Scrapzilla has chomped all your scraps and is ready to cushion your toes, butt, dog, cat, or whatever you feel might like it. Made small enough, they'd probably do great as cushions for stadium seats, or back garden chairs. I have two dogs and two cats that have first dibs, but when I have my next round of scraps, I am thinking I'm going to make a couple of bedside rugs!
Watch out for Part 2: The Cozy Washable Cover Tutorial!
If you make one, please link and share photos! I'd love to see what you do!