Screen Pet Gate - May 2017

In my July "catching up" post on Sewing Finishes, I included this Screen Pet Gate made in May 2017. This post contains the in-progress photos and steps I followed to construct the screen.

This project was inspired by a tutorial for a DIY fabric baby gate I found while scrolling through Pinterest. I thought the concept would work well as a temporary, removable pet gate for our deck, but I didn't follow the tutorial because it was intended for indoor use. Since my "gate" was meant for outdoor use, I came up with my own instructions.

For years we used a metal exercise pen and left it up all year round to keep the dogs from running down the ramp ahead of us or so that they could sit outside and sun themselves unsupervised for a few minutes. Eventually the metal pen rusted out and we disposed of it. 

I had pet screening from Home Depot left over from making my DIY Screen Curtain back in 2012. Besides using up my stash, it's weather resistant and easy to see through, so the added benefit is that Keli and Penny could sit at the top of the ramp and still look out over the yard to watch the squirrels and bunnies. The screen remnant was 36 inches wide x 32 inches high, just the right size. 

The edges of the screen are wrapped with black marine vinyl that I bought as a remnant at JoAnn Fabrics. I wanted a 2 inch border of vinyl, so cut 4 strips about 4 inches wide, then trimmed 2 pieces to 32 inches long and 2 pieces to 36 inches long. 

Starting with the left and right sides of the screen, I used large Wonder Clips (instead of pins or tape) to hold the folded vinyl in place.

With the Teflon foot on my sewing machine, regular sewing thread and a long stitch length, I sewed along the cut edge of the vinyl. I believe I also used a size 100 needle (either a Sharp or Topstitch).

After sewing the vinyl to the screen, I top-stitched along the folded edge for added strength and I thought it looked more "finished".

Here is one side with the stitching complete; the process was repeated for the opposite side.

After the sides were done, I repeated the process again for top and bottom, overlapping the vinyl at the corners

I stitched slowly at the corners where the vinyl overlapped with 4 layers.

Here is a finished corner:

My original plan was to install large grommets on the sides of the screen and use bungee cords with hooks to attach the screen to our deck railings. After some deliberation, I wasn't sure my grommets would be sturdy enough and I doubted they were weather proof. Plus I would have had to buy the bungee cords; since I was sewing from my stash, I decided to use black Velcro strips instead.

For the final sewing step, I added 3 sets of Velcro bundling strap strips to each side, making sure they were long enough so that the ends overlap by several inches. The bundling strap sticks to itself; one side is the "hook" and the other side is the "loop".

The Velcro was stitched securely to the screen using a box shape.

We used this screen pet gate throughout 2017 and part of 2018; we haven't really needed it for Penny since Keli's been gone, so it's been in storage the past 2 years.

Recap of supplies and notions used in this project:
  • Pet Screening, cut to size (purchased at Home Depot)
  • Marine Vinyl remnant, about 1/2 yard, cut to size needed (purchased at JoAnn Fabrics)
  • Velcro One-Wrap Roll, Cut-to-Length Bundling Strap
  • Sewing Machine with Teflon foot
  • All-purpose black sewing thread
  • Clover Wonder Clips, large
Since all the materials were already in my stash as leftovers from other projects or remnants, this project cost only my time, which was about half a day.


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