So, what to do? the answer was a dog coat. I did start with browing the internet for patterns, but honestly, I either didn't like the design or the size was all wrong and there was no instructions on the resizing other than: print the pattern at xx%. Now that is a recipe for a too short or too bulky coat in my experience. What should I do then? Well, make my own custom pattern that fits my Little darling perfectly. And through this instructable I'll show you guys out there how to do the same and make that custom coat your poochies deserves.
What you will need:
Chewing Sticks for the dog
fabric for a mockup.
fabric for the actual coat, outer layer, interlining and lining. I chose denim for the outer layer, batting for the interlining to add warmt and a faux fur for the lining, again for the warmt.
Facing for the edges, preferably bias tape.
Sewingmaching or neddle and threat.
Velcro or buttons for closing the coat.
Step 1: Measuring Your Dog
Now what you have to measure to make your custom dog coat:
a) length of coat: from collar to the root of the tail
b) breast: circumference of breast at the thickest spot, usually right behind the front legs
c) hip: circumference of the thinnest part of your dog, just in front of the back legs
d) front leg: circumference around the top of the front leg and
e) width of the front leg
f) collar to behind the front leg
g) belly: Length from behind front leg to front of back leg
h) circumference of neck at the collar
I know that it is a lot of numbers and measures to be taken, but it does give a better fit and you only need to take them once.. given that your dog is full grown, something I forgot my pup wasn't. So I might soon need to make a new coat after her new measurements.
Step 2: Drawing the Mock-up
Now we are going to take some really inexpensive fabric, ideally an old bedsheet or tablecloth, preferable linen.
fold the fabric and lie it on a flat surface. The fold is the middle back of the coat, and thus is where we will measure out from.
following the length of the fold, measure out the length a(neck to tail), making sure that you have more fabric to measure out from at the neck end so you can make the collar part, make a mark at each end.
From the neck end, following line a, measure out the length of f(neck to back of front leg) and again make a mark. From this mark at the fold, measure down half the length of b(circumference of breast) and mark the whole line down.
From the line of b and following the line of a at the fold, measure out the length og g(length of the belly) and mark. Here you measure down from the fold, drawing a line ½ the length of Measurement c(circumference of the hip). Between the end mark og b and c you can now draw a line, this is the opening at the belly.
Halfway up at the c line, you should make a mark and Draw and s form up to the tailmark at the fold, that's the cover of the dogs back leg up to the tail. Don't worry too much about it, as it can be cut in shape at the fitting.
Now we get to the neck area, which is a little bit trickier. Make a mark halfway up at the line b and at a 90 degree angle measure out the length of e(width of front leg) and mark the line. divide the line e in half an make a cirkel around it, using half the length of e as the radius. This cirkel should touch the line b and from where it touch, measure the circumference of the cirkel, marking it when the length equals half the length of d(circumference of front leg).
Are you with me so far? Great :) either way, look at the picture I've added over how the lines should be looking about now, if something doesn't look right, try again. You might even just ignore my ramblings and follow the picture, could be easier.
Now, the line d is cut short at an angle, following this angle make a line down, this is the bottom of the collar.
At the neck end of line a, measure around 1½inch down, this edge will lie around the back of your dogs neck. Then making a curve which ends up in a straight line parallel to the bottom part of the collar, measure out half the lenght of h(circumference of neck).
Now you should have something still looking like the picture drawn on your mock-up fabric. At the end of the collar and belly flaps you should add at least 2 inches of seam, so you have something to stick the needles into when you are trying it on your dog and at the same time you will have extra fabric to ease into the pattern, should it not fit the first time.
Try it on your dog, avoid any pinching and make sure the dog looks comfortable with the mock-up on. If it fits(of course it does) go on to the next step.
If it somehow don't fits, remove fabric where it's too large (eg. the opening is too low for the leg or the collar is too long) by marking the new outline while the dog wears it. Or measure the parts where it's too short and add that length to the corresponding part of the pattern and make a new mock-up with the new measurements. The perfect fit is alway trial and error, even when making patterns for humans, that's why a tailor always fits clothes on the costumer.
Step 3: Cutting the Fabric
Note: If you want to add an embroidery design or other trimmings to the outer fabric and don't want the stitching to show inside the dog coat, then add it to the outer fabric before you sandwich them.
Step 4: Quilting It All Together Now
You should choose whatever design you could like and draw it with chalk on the coat and sew after it starting at the center and working outwards, thus smooting it all out and avoid tucks.
Oh and avoid sewing over the embroidery or trimmings if you've added any ;)
Step 5: Closure
If you want to use buttons, you can wait to add them until after sewing on the facing. 2-3 buttons for the belly and 1-2 for the collar, depending on their size. Decide on the placement, as close to the edge as possible and make a mark. At these marks you sew the buttonholes and then sew on the buttons on the opposite flap. If you are new to buttons and buttonholes, then you should choose velcro or find a good instructable on it, as I have no pictures to show how it's done, sorry.
Step 6: Facings
Step 7: Done!
Additional things you can add to the customizable dog coat:
Pockets (make sure the dog doesn't realize that they're transporting their favorite treat on their side, or they'll stop going straight)
or whatever you think that could be cool, but do consider that the dog might not think so too.