Author Topic: Liners and Fabrics  (Read 1130 times)

Offline TrendyK9

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Liners and Fabrics
« on: March 14, 2018, 06:52:17 PM »
What fabrics work best for liners? How about for hammocks? Fleece is obviously my first choice but i have a themed cage and it's hard to find fleece prints that fit the theme - i can find a few different flannel and cotton prints though. I'm going to start making hammocks with cotton/fleece, but i'm assuming flannel/cotton or flannel/flannel works too? Does anyone use anything else, other than fleece for liners?

I want to actually make liners, since my girls seem to burrow. I was folding the fleece over the UHaul pad and tucking the edges in (and using binder clips to secure) but if it's TOO secure they chew the fleece to pieces. If i tuck it, at least they just pull it up and run around under it (i'm assuming it's safe for them to be on the UHaul pad?) I'm hoping that if i make a liner that just lays on the pan they might not mess with it as much. Maybe i'll throw a fleece "blanket" on top for them to mess with.

Anyway, suggestions appreciated!

Also - how to make liners, how do you guys do it? I have a sewing machine and i was just assuming you pin the wrong sides of the fleece together with the pad on top, sew, flip it, sew the hole closed, then sew a seam around to make it look nicer....? I saw somewhere that someone just used the Uhaul pad as the second piece instead of sandwiching it... does that work? Again, if they chew the pad is that okay?

It's been a while since i've had rats, and my other girls never used fleece.

Offline purple rat

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Re: Liners and Fabrics
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2018, 07:50:32 PM »
I make my hammocks with fleece on the inside and either cotton or flannel on the outside.  I use black fleece for all my liners, that way it doesn't clash with all the hammocks and other stuff in the cage (including one cage that's painted purple :o)   I use one layer of fleece on top of one layer of U-haul pad then after I sew it and turn it, I topstitch around the outer edges which helps it lay flat. Someone on the forum suggested also topstitching long straight or diagonal lines through all the layers to deter ratties who like to shred.  I've had some success doing that, but some ratties are just determined :doh:  The U-haul pads are made of recycled denim and I'm not aware of any problems when it gets chewed. 
Happy sewing :)
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Offline Michael C

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Re: Liners and Fabrics
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2018, 09:42:54 PM »
I think polyester fleece is popular for liners for a couple reasons. Cut edges (or chewed edges) don't ravel. Loose strings can potentially cause a tangle hazard. Also, being synthetic, fleece doesn't retain moisture. Pee should pass through it, leaving the liner surface dry. Natural fibers like cotton absorb and retain moisture, keeping the pee on the surface where your rats are walking.

I think cotton or flannel would also be okay but they have different properties. Like with cotton hammocks, you'd want to keep your eye on them and clip any loose, fraying threads as they appear. You could look into DIY cloth diapers or pads to see what types of wicking and absorbent fabrics are used in that realm. I'm sure there'd be a good degree of cross-pollination of ideas that could occur.

I make reversible mats with UHaul padding sandwiched between layers of fleece. The three layers altogether can get a little thick so I don't actually sew all three layers together at the outer seam. The fleece outer layers are sewed together along the outside edge and the UHaul padding is cut just a little bit smaller. The stitched fleece gets turned inside out (or outside out?) with the padding "free floating" inside, the hole is sewed closed, and then the padding is held in place with top stitching.

When I used a Critter Nation, I didn't bother to clip the mats to the pan. Now that I use a Martin's style cage, I put grommets in the corners and zip-tie them to the levels. Clips would also work but my cage is difficult to move to reach behind.

Here's my Oliver Reynolds (RIP) munchin' away on his army-man camo fleece liner mat.

Offline BigBen

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Re: Liners and Fabrics
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2018, 07:07:36 PM »
You need to be very careful with woven fabrics--it's a safety issue.  Rats have lost toes and broken legs from getting feet trapped in loops of thread; rats have also strangled when they got their heads through a hole and couldn't get back out again.  Fleece is non-woven, so it has no loose threads to cause injuries, and it is also stretchy, so a rat can't get trapped in a hole.  This is why we recommend it.

BTW, regarding Michael's point, fleece is often treated by the manufacturer to repel liquid; be sure to wash it several times before use, so that it will pass liquid through into an absorbent layer.
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