This jacket is perfect if your dog is demanding to go for a walk in the pouring rain and you really don't want your house to smell like wet dog for the rest of the day. It doesn't take more than 20 minutes to make and it costs next to nothing since you probably already have all the materials! Don't be intimidated by the amount of steps! Everything is very simple, I just wanted to really break it down so that each step was understandable.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
You will need:
- 1 Trash Bag
- A Tape Measure
- A Writing Utensil
- A Plate
- Your furry Friend
Step 2: Measurements
Before you begin making the pattern, you will have to measure your furry friend. They may or may not be amused. My dog, Toby, was a little wiggly but I still managed to get pretty good measurements. The colors referred to in these steps are in reference to the arrows in the picture above.
- Neck: Measure around your pup's neck, just below the collar (RED) (Toby is about 14 in.)
- Back: Measure from just below the collar to just before the tail (ORANGE) (Toby is about 15 in.)
- Tummy: Measure all the way around the tummy (PURPLE) (Toby is about 20 in.)
- Chest: Measure just below the collar to just before the chest curves to the underside of your pup (this is usually about 1-4 inches depending on the size of your dog) (GREEN) (Toby is about 3 in.)
Step 3: Make Your Pattern - Neck Hole
Now that you have taken all the measurements, you can let your pup go for the time being. Take out your newspaper and make sure it is folded in half with the crease on the right. Take your measurement for the neck and divide it by 2. I added a few inches to that number to make sure the pattern would go all the way around Toby's neck (for Toby this was about 8-9 in). Don't worry too much about the exact measurement here because you can always add to your pattern later if it doesn't quite fit! Make a quarter oval from the top of the newspaper to the right of the newspaper. This line should be the measurement you calculated (Toby 8-9 in).
Step 4: Make Your Pattern - Back
Use the measurement you have taken for your pup's back and apply it to your pattern right below the neck line on the crease (as pictured). Draw a line across the newspaper at the mark of your pup's measurement (Toby was 15 in.).
Step 5: Make Your Pattern - Chest
Use your measurement from your pup's chest and apply it to the top of the line of the neck measurement (Toby was about 3 in). Draw a line all the way down on that measurement mark until it meets the line you drew in the previous step.
Step 6: Soften the Edges
This is an optional step, but I think it makes the jacket a little more stylish and less angular. Also, it eliminates extra material that might get caught in the wind and cause the jacket to not function as well.
Take the plate and turn it upside down. Place it on the pattern and have one side of the plate touch both of the lines you have made at the bottom of the pattern. Trace around the plate, but only in between the two lines where the plate touches (as pictured). I put X's in the angular corner to remind myself that that section is no longer part of the pattern.
Step 7: Make Your Pattern - Tummy Strap
For this part, I used a different piece of newspaper because it is not attached to the main pattern. Use the measurement you took from around your pup's tummy and divide it by 2 (Toby would be 10 in). Cut a rectangle out that is about 2-3 inches in width and your calculated measurement (Toby 10 in) in height. Cut out this rectangle.
Step 8: Cut Out Your Pattern
This is pretty straight forward. After you cut out your pattern, unfold it and see the jacket shape take form (I was surprised to find a hot guy wearing sunglasses! SCORE!)
Step 9: Attach Your Patterns Together and Make Alterations
At this point, you are going to have to call your pup back so you can figure out where exactly to attach the tummy strap. I just eyeballed it and attached it a few inches behind Toby's front legs.
Things to keep in mind when trying the pattern on your pup:
- The pattern shouldn't go too far over their tail. If it does, trim it up a bit
- Make sure the two pieces of the main pattern that go around the neck overlap somewhat in the front. These will be attached together later on (see 3rd image above). If it does not go all the way around the neck, cut out a few more inches of newspaper and add it to one side.
- Similarly, make sure the tummy strap overlaps with the main pattern by a few inches, as these will also be attached together to keep the jacket in place. (see 4th image above).
Needless to say, Toby was not too amused that I was trying some weird paper cape on him.
Step 10: Place on Garbage Bag
Ok, here comes the fun part. At first when I did this step, I realized that I couldn't mark the plastic bag because it was black and, well, I didn't have anything metallic to write with. But I figured I could just tape the pattern to the plastic and that would work just as well.
Don't mind that my garbage bag has already been cut into. This is the second jacket I'm making.
Step 11: Cut Out Your Jacket
Carefully cut your jacket out of the plastic bag. There will be two layers of plastic (as you are cutting through both sides of the garbage bag). I chose to connect the to sides together around the edges with staples to give the jacket a little more weight. But that is really up to you. Got two dogs? Don't attach the two pieces of plastic together and VOILA! you have 2 jackets!
Step 12: Try It on Your Doggy
Once you have cut out your jacket, call your furry friend back and try it on him/her. At first I taped the two chest straps together, but I found staples did a better job. I stapled them together while the jacket was on Toby. If you choose to do this, please make sure you don't accidentally staple any of their hair into the jacket. No doggy likes having their hair pulled out by staples. Also when you attach these two sides of the jacket, make sure the neck hole is big enough to pull over your pup's head.
That is all you have to do if you are not immediately going to use the jacket. HOWEVER, if your dog is pleading for a walk in the pouring rain (like Toby was when I first made this jacket), then all you have to do is take the tummy strap, wrap it semi-tightly around the tummy, and tape it to the other side (pictured and circled in red above). DO NOT STAPLE THIS PART as you will have to detach it again in order to take it off.
Step 13: All Done!
That's it! Hope this saves you some time and money, and lets your pup stay a little dryer on those rainy days!