I would love to hear some feedback and get a rating if you would! I can learn a lot from those of you who have some tricks and know more about sewing than I do!
Step 1: What You Will Need:
- Large piece of paper to draw out the pattern, or make a copy of the one I have placed on here and manipulate it to fit your dog's measurements
- Pencil for pattern making and/or marking down notes
- Enough fabric to cut a front piece, a back piece and two straps for securing the jacket.
- Thread to match your chosen fabric
- Velcro - to use as closures
- a measuring tape
- if you are like me, you might want a seam ripper handy as well.... just in case.
Step 2: Measure Your Victim (oops Measure the Model I Should Say!)
To make the jacket the most comfortable and easy to put on you will need to take four very important measurements.....
- Measure around where the collar fits. You will need to add 4 inches to this number so you have room for the hook and loop (Velcro) closures and room for any adjusting if the dog gets larger or smaller.
- Measure down the spine starting at the collar to 3 or 4 inches about the base of the tail. You can adjust this to make the jacket longer or shorter, but a few inches about the base of the tail gives the back a good amount of coverage.
- Measure the waist... ok so dog's don't have a waist, but measure around the dog at the bottom of the last rib. As with the neck measurements, add 4 inches to this number to allow for closure placement and fitting adjustment.
- Measure how far it is from the neck to at least 1 inch below the armpit. You can increase the 1 inch added to adjust for a larger dog. This will be where you want to put the body strap on, and you do not want it to be rubbing under the dogs arms.
Make sure you have written down all the measurements, as you will need to make adjustments to your pattern according to the measurements.
Step 3: Make a Pattern....
If you have a program that allows you to stretch and resize an image, you can use this pattern and just stretch it to fit the measurements you have taken.
- The neck will be the neck measurement plus the 4 inches. (and yes for a very small dog you can make this less so that you don't have a lot of overhang for the dog to chew on or get in the way)
- The width of the body will be figured as follows:
2/3 of that is used for the body and the remainder will be used to make the straps
**Examplewould be: a waist measurement of 15 inches, the body would be 10 inches. The remaining 5 will be used in the body strap measurement.
- The length of the neckline to the bottom is the measurement taken down the spine.
- The neckline is the measurement obtained around the collar area plus the 4 inches to allow for the closures.
- A mark at the measurement to clear the arm pits, this will be a reference mark only.
- The straps will be the remaining length from the body width plus 4 inches to allow for the closures. The width of the straps can be made as wide, or narrow, as you think would be comfortable. For a larger dog, wider straps, etc.
Step 4: Cut Out Your Pattern....
This jacket is reversible, so you can use two different materials or you can make them both the same. I
f you have a fine haired dog that tangles easily, you might want to use a "slick" fabric such as a nylon, sateen or similar. I have found the tangles are less with these fabrics. (Tips for sewing with slippery or slick fabrics: use LOTS of pins to hold the garment in place. You can even use stick glue to help hold the edges straight and together, just make sure that it will not stain the fabric. Standard stick glue, such as a school glue, will wash away with the first washing.)
If you live in a very cold climate you may also want to cut a piece of batting to place between the layers making it a warmer jacket.
The jacket I made for my mother's dog Buddy needed to be larger than the scrap material I had on hand. To fix this problem I simply divided the body piece into three pieces that I could match to the scraps on hand. You can do this to adjust for smaller scrap, or you can do it just to be fashionable in how you make the jacket.
Step 5: Get to Sewing....
if you have used several pieces to make the body, top-stitching the seams will help keep it flat when it is sewn together with the back piece.
Step 6: The Collar...
Fold the piece in half and sew it together so that it makes the collar. It doesn't matter that the seam is showing on the bottom as this will be sewn into the body of the jacket when it is assembled.
Step 7: Sew the Straps
Sew two of the sides (one end and up the side) so that when they are turned rights side out they form the straps.
I like to use a pair of hemostats to turn items that are narrow and difficult to pull back through the opening. My mother would always use either a safety pin or a knitting needle to help turn things right sides out.
Step 8: Now That You Have All the Pieces Ready to Put It Together, Then Put It Together...P
- Tack the collar to the body piece (this will help hold it in place when it is all sewn together).
- Press the collar edge of the peice without the collar. This will make it easier to sew it closed once it is all done and turned right side out.
- Place the body parts together right sides together.
- Pin the straps to the body at the mark taken from the measurements. The body straps will be facing in towards the inside of the jacket (like the collar is).
- Pin all the pieces securely to make it easier when sewing them together.
Step 9: Almost Done....
Cut four (4) 1 inch pieces of hook and loop (Velcro) to use as closures at the neckline and on the body straps.
Place the hooks on one side of the body piece and on one of the straps on facing upwards.
Place the loops on the opposite side of the body piece facing the opposite direction.
When the jacket is worn the neckline and the straps will be overlapping.
Step 11: Finished and Ready to Wear!
I hope you decide to give this a try so your pup can be warm and cozy in the cold weather. If you have any ideas, suggestions or if you have made one and would like to share yours, I would love to hear from you!