Washable Guinea Pig Cage Liners - Sewing Tutorial
Whether you're looking for a way to save some money or make your cage cleaning chores easier, you'll love these liners. They have an absorbent layer in the middle to keep your pets dry and everything is machine washable. Even if you aren't a sewing expert, these liners are easy to make and will pay for themselves.
So first things first, you need to get your supplies. You'll probably want enough fleece to make two liners so you can use one while the other is being washed. Each liner has a top and bottom piece, so consider buying two different colors (or patterns) to be able to tell which way is up. I bought enough fleece to be able to make smaller pads to put in the corners and along the sides where they tend to make more mess. This way you can just swap out a couple small pads when needed.
Aside from the fleece, I purchased some absorbent pads that are typically used to keep mattresses dry. Although I don't think you absolutely need to include this layer, I would strongly recommend it. I found the pads in the bedding section of a department store.
Lastly, you need a sewing machine, scissors, etc.
Table 1.1: Etc.
Prepare the Fleece
Before you get started, it is best to pre-wash your fleece. New fleece has a water repellant quality, so you need to break that down to allow water to pass through. I washed the fleece a few times in warm water and it seemed to work fine. I've read that you can add vinegar to the wash to speed up the process. Either way you choose, let the fleece dry in between washes and drop a bit of water on it to see if water is absorbed.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Measure the length and width of your cage and add 1 inch to each measurement. This will be the size to cut your fleece. The extra inch gives you a half inch seam allowance when you'll be sewing the pieces together. Be careful when cutting the fleece as it is very stretchy and becomes distorted easily. I used a rotary cutter and cutting mat to cut my pieces. If you are using scissors, you can mark your lines with a quilters pen to assure you cut straight lines.
My cage measured 23.5 by 46 inches, so I cut my fleece and absorbent pads to 24.5" x 47". I used 9" x 9" squares for the changeable pads (for a final dimension of 8" x 8"). As you can see from the picture below, the absorbent pad wasn't quite long enough so I had to sew two pieces together. I've included pictures below to explain how I pieced them together.
On to the Assembly
So now you will assemble the pieces. Decide which fabric will be on top and which will be on the bottom. I chose to use my blue fabric for the bottom - I thought it would be easier to remember that way.
Start your fabric sandwich by laying your top fabric (my green) right side up. Lay your bottom fabric next, right side down. Your absorbent layer goes on last with the absorbent side facing up.
Pin your layers together and sew with a half inch seam allowance. Leave an opening so you can flip the fabric inside out.
Finishing the Pieces
Once you've flipped your liner inside out, hand sew the hole closed. Now you're going to sew through all the layers to keep everything from moving around. I chose to sew around, leaving about 2 1/2 inches between each round. It doesn't have to be extremely precise, I just marked my corners with a couple pins and free handed the rest.
Absorbent Pad Modifications
Because the absorbent pad wasn't as long as my cage, I had to cut two pieces. I cut them about an inch and a half longer than needed to allow for some overlap. I adjusted the pieces to measurement, pined the layers together and sewed up both sides of the seam.
And that's it! Place the liners in your cage and watch how your pets love the soft and comfortable bedding.
I hope you have found this tutorial helpful. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.