Monday, August 6, 2012

Zero Waste -- Fabric Scraps Turned into Comfy Cat Bed

Zero waste. It sounds so good, but it's so hard to do. At least completely. A few years ago I tried but failed, thanks to the mountains of waste produced by my 3 cats. It turns out there's no good solution (yet) for that.


But this failure was the beginning of my career in upcycling. Recently, I remembered my commitment to zero waste as I looked at the trash can in my sewing room, overfilling with fabric scraps destined for the landfill. Sheesh, failing again.
fabric scraps destined for landfill
What to do with these scraps? I'm not a quilter. Maybe stuffing, but for what? Suddenly, I recalled those 3 waste-producing cats. They could use a comfy bed.

I happened to have a large piece of soft grey fleecy material (I think I'd planned to make a cat bed years ago). I sewed it into a simple rectangle, leaving an opening for the stuffing. To square the corners, I sewed across each one, making small triangles.
fleece bag
Next, I chopped the scraps into smaller bits. I tried to use every piece, but ended up trashing the extra tough ones (like elastic waistbands and thick seams). My kitties like comfort.
cut fabric straps to stuff bag
I turned the bag right side out and started stuffing. I was surprised how many scraps I needed to fill it. I counted parts of 6 shirts, several pairs of jeans, and a couple of skirts.
fleece bag stuffed with fabric scraps
I wanted to the bag to lay flat, so I didn't stuff it completely full. I sewed the hole closed and set the bag on the shelf above my sewing machine, where my cats like to perch.
finished bag
Looks pretty comfy. But it's not my opinion that counts. I waited to see what my cats would think.
kitty enjoying cat bed
Our youngest, Philo "Fang," gave the bag a try and seems to approve. (In fact, he missed his breakfast because he was enjoying his new bed, a sure sign that he likes it.)

I'm thinking now I'll save my small scraps to make more beds like this, first for my other 2 cats and then for local shelters (like Purrfect Pals, a wonderful cat shelter in the Puget Sound area). This bag is washable, but I might enhance it by putting the scraps in a muslin lining and adding a zipper to the outer fleece cover. 

Maybe a zero waste household is possible!

3 comments:

  1. I have the same idea and have already cut up a bag full of scraps for this purpose. My thought was will it clump after washing. Also thought if it wasn't stuffed tight there would be holes in the comfort. I guess I just need to make one and see.

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  2. I have a bunch of old fabric scraps, now I know what to do with them. This is such a cute idea. I'm thinking that fleece material will attract all that excess cat fur, too.

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    Replies
    1. And the resulting bag is even washable -- just don't put it in the washer with anything else!

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