This one’s for my fellow pet lovers! If you have a furry friend in your household, then you probably also travel with your pet. Those pet travel carriers are typically made from hard plastic and aren’t focused on comfort. Enter this improv quilted pet travel carrier mat I made for Pips (my cat!).
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What is a pet travel carrier mat?
I don’t know if this is an actual thing, but way back when I started sewing, I had the idea to make a liner for Pips’ travel carrier. It essentially covers the entire base of his carrier.
The original one was made from a used towel and a cute print. The best part was adding Velcro tabs to help it stay in place and keep it from shifting. I’m happy to report that worked like a charm!
When does it get used?
The liner stays in his carrier cage all the time. When we travel with Pips up to the lake or take him to a vet appointment, it’s already tucked in there along with a few toys ready for travel.
Once the travel is done, I pull the liner out and toss it in the washing machine 😊
Issues with the original design
The original design didn’t include a large enough seam allowance when I stitched it together which resulted in the top fabric tearing after several washes. It took a while, but it eventually tore, and I made a mental note to up the seam allowance for the next batch I made.
Why I made one?
You might be thinking “Um, Shannon, cats are used to sleeping on the floor, a travel carrier isn’t a far change from that.” And you’d be absolutely right! However, Pips’ comfort wasn’t my only goal in stitching up a travel carrier mat, the main goal was to have a towel on hand should he have an accident while travelling.
The towel makes quick work of cleaning up any vomit, pee, or poo (the latter two have thankfully never happened). Once you arrive at your destination, it’s super easy to take the liner out and pop it in the wash.
Evolution of the design
I made a bunch more based on that initial design in 2015, but this latest one is actually version 2.0 as I’ve made some upgrades to the original design, I made back in 2014.
The upgrades are really a suggestion from my hubs who wanted more comfort and cushion for Pips 😉
So, instead of just one layer of towel, I went with a layer of batting and two layers of toweling. This updated version is way thicker, so much so, it was a challenge getting the bulk under my presser foot!
I also opted to piece the top instead of using a solid piece of fabric. Pips loves quilts. He’s my resident QC (quality control) checker for a reason! Every quilt that gets made is tested by Pips at some point during the construction. I find him claiming every single quilt that we have in the house, so I couldn’t resist making him a patchwork top.
The original design was a little short, so I also upped the size of the mat itself. The newer version does a better job of covering the entire floor of the pet travel carrier. I also added extra velcro tabs – 8 in all (instead of the original 6) to really keep it from moving around.
And, finally, I opted for a bound finish. You know my love for striped binding!
Well, improv is what I call my ‘freedom sessions’ and it’s what I normally turn to when I need my own quilting therapy. Pips had to go in for a few tests and, when he got home, it had really unsettled him. It took days for him to sleep (super concerning) and then when he finally did his system was completely off. Lots of upset tummy issues and sleeping more than normal. This always has me on high alert when he’s not feeling well.
After noticing him sniffing his travel carrier and turning away, it dawned on me that the smells from his stay at the vet were probably all over the cage. Even though I’d washed his carrier liner, I figured a new improved version was in order.
Bonus, it helped calm my nerves by channeling my energy into something productive.
Materials used in this project
What’s great about these pet travel carrier mats is that they don’t require a ton of materials and notions to whip up. Here’s everything I used to make this latest version:
- Fabrics – you might recognize these textiles from the Jade Quilted Coat I made for my BFF. The scraps from that project had been sitting on my cutting table for weeks tempting me to make something fun with them. Since Pips loves linen and improv I figured it was Kismet. I even used the same leftover bias binding 😉
- Thread for piecing
- Thread for quilting
- Velcro tabs
- Marking tool
- Sewing machine
- Walking foot
- Cutting mat
- Rotary cutter with these blades
- Ironing board
Don’t you just love a project that doesn’t require a whole whack of tools and notions to see it come to life?!
I’m super happy with how this latest version turned out. It’s super thick and plush and gives me instant joy seeing the improv patchwork. I wouldn’t go any thicker as it would make getting it under my presser foot for quilting a real challenge.
Hopefully, I’ve inspired you to consider your pet’s comfort while travelling!
Have you made something similar for your pet? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
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