Want to learn how to make your own safe cage sets? Or just want to know more about cage set safety?
When making your own cage sets:
-Hidden seams should be used when possible
-You should backstitch at the start and end of every seam to lock them in place.
-Hanging tabs should be fleece or other safe material, and should be sewn between layers.
-Good quality anti-pill, blizzard, or polar fleece should be used. Cheap fleece throws are not recommended as they're thinner and will wear down quickly. Minky fleece is not safe.
-Stitches should be small and tight, and all excess thread should be cut off.
-Closing seam should be a small, tight machine stitch. Hand-stitching is generally not recommended.
-Good quality fleece should be used as inside layer. Knit cotton should not be used, only tightly woven cotton.
-All above guidelines apply as well.
-Edges should be pinked, then a broken(or multi-point) zig-zag stitch should be used to sew layers together, alongside the straight stitch. The zig-zag should be between the straight stitch and the edge. This helps prevent fraying, making it more safe, and makes it last longer.
-Once complete, top-stitching should be done around all seams to help reinforce them.
*Top-stitching is not required on fleece only items, but isn't unsafe. Some prefer to do this, some do not.*
-Check over the item, check the seams, pull on them to make sure they're not loose, check for and cut any loose thread(you can't always catch them all).
-The toothpick test is a good way to check if your stitching is small enough. You shouldn't be able to stick the tip of the toothpick in your stitching.
-Wash it, because any good item will hold up well in the wash. If not sewn tight enough, or properly, it may come apart in the washer.
-Every few days, and always after every wash, check the item again(more often if you have chewers). General wear and tear can cause loose threads, and gliders sometimes chew at the fabric. This is nobody's fault, but can certainly happen.
-You can tell which side is the 'right' side of fleece by pulling the stretchy side. The edge will curl towards the 'wrong' side.
-Alternating the direction of the stretch on pouches can help them last longer. For example, the solid inside layer stretching vertically, while the print outside layer stretches horizontally.
-Vines should stretch along the length. This keeps the fringe from stretching out.
-Cotton/Flannel/Denim all must be prewashed before sewing, since they will shrink. Fleece won't shrink, but it's still good to prewash as you never know what's on it.
-Any new items, cage sets or otherwise, should be washed before they are put into a cage.