Thursday, November 20, 2014

DIY Car Hammock for a Dog

Since we have a road trip planned for December, I knew I needed to make something to protect the back seat of our new car from Paisley. Leather seats and dog nails do not exactly mix well. I wanted to make something comfortable for Paisley but that would also be durable for the long run.

My basic design was that I wanted it be like a hammock in the back seat that had straps that would loop around the four headrests. I had originally planned on having all four straps be adjustable, but then I got to the store and it was too expensive so I made one side adjustable and one side anchored.

My Supplies Included:
2 Yards of fleece fabric- Mine was 60 inches wide
2 Yard of heavy duty fabric-I picked black heavy curtain material fabric that was also 60 inches wide
2 Large Parachute Buckles- To make one side to the straps adjustable
120 inches of webbing for the straps-I probably could have got away with less but I went with it.

I started out by measuring the car. The picture below shows the measurements. The back seat was 50" wide with the headrests being set in 7" from the edge of the seat and they were 9" wide. So I planned out my strips to be wide enough to fit around the headrest. The "X" marks the spot where the straps would be attached. I then measured down the seat-from the base of the headrest to bottom part of the seat. From there I just did some guess work on how much material I would need to make it a hammock shape. I ended up with 64" needed for across the seat. These are just what work for my Hyundai Elantra and the basic idea could be modified for a different sized car.
From there I added 2 inches on each side to make room for the seam so my fabric needed to cut to measure 52" by 66".  After I cut my fabric, I placed the two fabrics wrong sides together and sewed a straight line all the way around my rectangle, but left an opening on one side so that I could turn the whole project inside out-which really makes it right sides out since we put wrong sides together to start. This helps to hide the seam for a cleaner look.
Once I had all my fabric facing the right way, I decided to add a little stuffing. I had bought a bunch of pillows for Richard's Halloween costume that we ended up not using so I re-purposed them for this. I knew Paisley would enjoy a nice squishy bed since she is a spoiled little puppy. This is where things got a little odd. I realized that adding all the stuffing at once would mean that it could move around inside the bed as it pleased. So I wanted to add lines of stitching to keep the stuffing in little pockets. Well, with all the stuffing inside, the hammock would not fit in the sewing machine. So I improvised. I decided that splitting the rectangle into thirds was best. I would start sewing a line a third of the way down the blanket, then add the stuffing, then seal off that section by completing the sewing line. Then I repeated that process for the middle and the far end. Then I sewed the edge of the hammock that I had left open to turn it inside out. That left me with one giant rectangle completely stuffed and nice and soft. Paisley discovered her giant bed at this point and would not stop laying on it after that.
You can see the two lines I sewed in this picture. One my her front right foot that goes all the way across and the other by her back right foot. 
Then I added the straps. I had measured the car and decided that on the side that did not have the parachute clip, I would need about 17 inches of strapping so I cut 20 inches so that the extra was where I could attach the strap to the hammock. Going by my measurements in the diagram above, I anchored them 7 inches from the edge leaving a 9" gap for the headrest. For the side with the clips. I did the same thing, except I had two pieces to my strap that could then be clipped together.

Then I was done and I could take it to the car to see if it fit! It was perfect and I was able to tighten the parachute clips so that it was nice and snug and was not going anywhere. Paisley was able to test it and and so far she loves it. This little princess will be extra comfortable on our trip back to Minnesota for Christmas!
The total cost of this project was about $40, but that could vary depending on your fabric. I spent about $30 on fabric and about $12 on the buckles and straps. So not the cheapest project, but definitely worth the money to protect the seat.

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  1. Hi i think you should do more and put it on sale. I'd love to buy one. :)

    1. I agree! As I know zero about sewing with or without machine...

  2. i think you explained a step incorrectly, about sewing the fabrics together. You said "I could turn the whole project inside out-which really makes it right sides out since we put wrong sides together to start", but if you start with wrong sides together and flip it, it'll end up being wrong sides out... I'm sure you actually did this step correctly, (sewing it with the right sides together), as you seem to have gotten the correct result, but the explanation mightve gotten mixed up..

  3. i have been making these for 15 years. i can tell you with CERTITUDE that the ONLY fabric that will hold up is heavy duty canvas. all this other stuff is cutsie pie baloney. dogs scratch right through it. as a matter of fact the heaviest duty canvas only lasts awhile. depending on the size dog and the breed. also you can make a pouch to fit OVER the rear headrests helping protect them. i use hooks made from coathanger to hook it to the headrest uprights.

    1. UPDATE! the canvas didnt last 6 mos. i tried a heavy vinyl tarp which has lasted over a year with no visible wear. plus its slick surface cleans well.

  4. Thanks for providing these directions. How did your December trip go for your fur baby?
    I have a question regarding the 2 things:
    Did you stuff all three sections or just the middle?
    Did you sew the straps into the seams?

    Thanks again!

  5. Nice post. Your blog has really inspired me, I’m so happy to read this.

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