This winter I solved the dilemma: I shaved the hair off his back and belly and part of his legs, then used his own hair to make a coat for him. His hair was needle-felted into a tailored wool coat that he can wear outdoors and be toasty warm, then take off when he comes back inside. Problem solved!
How to felt a dog hair coat.
You will need:
Water and soap
A piece of wool or craft felting fabric
Hook and loop fastening tape
Needle and thread
A felting brush
A felting needle (preferably a multi-needle gadget)
Step 1: Get Some Hair of the Dog
However, getting your dogs hair can be tricky. Dog's don't naturally take to being groomed. My main tips for DIY dog grooming are:
- Wash your dog with soap or shampoo before grooming and dry him completely.
- Let your dog get used to the grooming shears over a couple days. Show him the shears, turn them on, and give him a treat. Repeat this until he allows you "access" to his fur.
- Always shave in the direction of hair growth
- Hold your dog with one arm if necessary while shaving with the other
Put the hair in a bag and save for later.
Step 2: Measure and Cut the Undercoat
Cut two holes for the dog's front legs about four fingers apart (on a medium sized dog). Make the holes bigger than the dog's legs to allow room for movement.
Put the coat on the dog and pin the top together, overlapping an inch. Trim the rear half of the dog coat beginning at the belly. Be sure to clear all plumbing equipment. Leave a nice rear flap to keep the dog's rump toasty.
Step 3: Tailor the Dog Coat
Stitch the darts with a needle and heavy-duty thread.
Cut a couple pieces of hook and loop tape and stitch them to the two sides of the top of the coat using a needle and thread. DO NOT use adhesive hook and loop tape. No needle will get through the gummy glue.
(I wanted to use sugru and magnets as fasteners like these dish towels, but I'm still waiting for my packet of sugru to arrive).
Step 4: Needle Felting Dog Hair
Needle felting is very easy. All you need is a felting needle (or a gadget that comes with five needles) and a felting brush (or a thick piece of foam).
Place the brush or foam under the fabric that is going to be felted into, spread the dog hair on top of the fabric (spreading the fibers in different directions), and punch, punch, punch with the felting needles.
Until the whole coat is felted.
The hair is woven into the wool fabric, creating a perfect dog hair coat. Needle felting leaves the underside of the fabric with an extra layer of fuzz. That's a good thing in this case because it will keep your dog extra warm in the cold outdoors.