Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Comforter Drive for Pets Alive

Whew, what a week! Apparently my book is shipping early, and people are already getting their copies. I also have some super exciting news that I think I'll get to share with you tomorrow. (Trust me; it's good.) To take the edge off, it's been good to immerse myself in the drive for Pets Alive, our favorite no-kill animal sanctuary. Last post, we talked about making kerchiefs for the adoptable doggies, and now we'll focus on another big need the shelter has: winter bedding. Pets Alive specifically asked for comforters, cut down to twin size or smaller (to fit into their washer/dryers). So today I'll show you how to take one large comforter and break it down into three smaller blankets perfect for a dog and a couple kitties. Here's how to do it.

You'll need:
  • a comforter
  • scissors
  • yard stitck
  • chalk or other marking tool
  • satin blanket binding (dividing a large comforter into three blankets required 1-1/2 packages of binding)

Start by marking out the lines for the new blankets with your chalk and yardstick. I decided on one long blanket, and two smaller ones. Cut the comforter up along your lines.

Warning: if you have pets at home, now is the time they get super involved. 

Now get out your blanket binding to finish off those raw edges. As you'll see, it's really wide and opens up on a fold. 

Turn in the ends of the binding and pin to the raw edge of your comforter so it's encasing the edge.

Pin all along one side. If you only have one side to finish, you'll cut the binding at the end and turn in the binding edges like you did at the beginning. If you have more than one side to finish, you'll need to do a mitered corner. I'm going to show you a quick and easy fake mitered corner. 

At your machine, begin stitching along the edge of the binding. It helps to use a walking foot so all the layers feed easily, but it isn't necessary. 

Stitch all along the side. When you get to the corner, stitch all the way to the edge and stop. Remove from the machine and clip your threads. 

Next, fold the binding around the corner, producing a mitered effect. 

Pin it in place.

Pin the binding to the rest of the edge as well. 

When you get to the end of the last edge you need to bind, cut the binding, leaving about an inch. 

Turn in the raw ends of the binding and pin, as you did at the very beginning. 

Go back to the mitered corner. Start stitching again on side 1 again, overlapping with your previous line of stitching for 1/2" or so. 

When you get to the corner, drop your needle all the way down, lift up your presser foot, and pivot so that you're now stitching down side 2 of the comforter. 

When you get to the very end, backstitch. Make sure to trim threads very close, as some critters are known to chomp on threads. 

That's it! Of course, you can bind all around the comforter, but this way leaves you more seam binding (to do another comforter perhaps! I plan to check out our local discount stores for more), and I don't think the pups and cats will mind at all. 

Last night, my mom sent me a picture of some adorable dog-themed fabric she found (and then proceed to cut out 22 kerchiefs!), and it inspired me to create a Flickr group for the Pets Alive Drive.

Please join the group, and show off your efforts to help! I'd love to see your fabric choices, your kerchiefs and comforters, and of course, your furry friends!

Please send all donations to:

Pets Alive
363 Derby Road
Middletown, NY 10940 

If you'd prefer to donate another way, you can send money via PayPalor check out their list of other needed items

Thanks for your enthusiasm for this project! I will continue to give updates until the end of September. 


  1. Although I haven't received it yet, your book shipped today! I can't wait!

  2. I am a 'sewing' teacher in a high school in southern NJ and we have started an afterschool sewing program. A woman had actually contacted us to begin the program when she had scraps of flannel from a non-profit organization she runs for cancer patients. My students have nade teddy bears, and lap throws for hospital patients and have also begun using the scraps for animal blankets. I woudl like to thank you for showing that fabric can be used for other purposes as much as I do love clothing:) Thank you!

  3. Just wanted to let you know how excited I am - I just received the notification from Amazon that my copy of your book has been despatched!!!! Hoorah I can not wait to see it.
    (sorry this doesnt really have anything to do with the above post) Elise

  4. squeeeee cant wait (although I think it may take a little time yet to get to NZ)
    fabulous cause you are supporting, and I love the binding instructions....

  5. Ok, not about your post really... but my book arrived today! I am in shock! And, so far, the book is fantastic, can't wait to delve into it further and try some patterns.

    Just wondering... what do you use to trace patterns?

  6. Yay Gertie! Thanks for the posts. You're so sweet and such an inspiration to all of us;)

  7. This is great, Gertie. I'll de donating $, as I'm too far to ship blankets to the US. But an excellent way to celebrate the release of your book. Very excited to receive it.

  8. I think that every dog and cat I have ever owned was a shelter pet except for one highly bred French Basset Hound. Your support for this shelter is a wonderful thing, great work and it gives everyone the opportunity to contribute to their local shelters as well.

    That said, I received your book yesterday and started reading last night. A quick look through shows just how hard you have worked to complete this book. I feel like I know a bit about you just by blog following for quite some time, but the book is a window into your world. I am sure it will be a big hit. You deserve it. I will be reviewing it on my blog in the near future. Congrats!

  9. Think I might know what your news is, after a mail from a certain company in my inbox. Congratulations, gorgeous both and love the log

  10. What a lovely post. This is something I did for a couple of shelters in my island (Malta) and they really appreciated it. Poor little shelter animals get some warmth at least - if not from human love, from a comforter....

    I am looking forward to receiving your book - one of the rare times I did not get a book from bookdepository - that ship free from the UK - it still had 10 days to go, so I bought it from as soon as I saw it was available. A big first for me!

    Gertie - this might be answered in your book, but I wonder if you might be able to answer a question I have been wondering about? Why do many vintage patterns tell you to lap say bottom of a bodice to a skirt? I can understand it when you have an angle yoke with a frilly bodice attached as in one of my 30s patterns. But it seems so much simpler most of the time to sew the bodice right sides together with a skirt -and then you don't have any stitching outside,,,, is there some arcane reason behind it? I am so curious.

  11. Very creative, It is very interesting while I'm thinking of i can draw lessons from you
    wedding dress with slit

  12. As always, thanks for the inspiration!

    I always seem to have old comforters around and even found some blanket binding in my sewing kit.

    FYI: I've made "duvet covers" for my Lily's beds (she's a muddy one!)

    Gretchen in Dobbs Ferry

  13. Got your book today! It's a lot thicker than I'd imagined it to be. Can't wait to go through it--the pictures are awesome!

  14. Small world. My sister and her two kids volunteer in that very shelter; it's near their home. They've adopted three great dogs from it. Don't you love the horses there? I do.


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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