Introduction: Cerberus Dog Costume

My city runs a dog costume contest every year and, because of COVID, they're doing it virtually this year. I decided I wanted to participate and make costumes for both of my dogs. The first idea that popped into my head was Cerberus -- the three-headed dog in mythology that guards the gates to the Underworld.

I did it all by free hand, but I did document the process. So if you want to make one for your own dog, you'll be able to follow along.

Step 1: Supplies & Tools

Supplies:

  • Felt (that matches the color of your dog)
  • Sewing thread
  • Polyfil stuffing
  • Embroidery thread
  • Dog collar
  • This pattern
  • Optional: Fabric for scarf/cover

Tools:

  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing pins
  • Needle
  • Scissors

Step 2: Sew the Heads

The pattern I made is obviously for a longer-snouted, big-headed dog such as my boy Steve. Your dog might be different, so make tweaks accordingly.

Cut out two head pieces of the pattern (mirror images of each other) and one gusset piece. Pin the gusset to one of the head pieces, as shown in the second picture. The pattern has red arrows showing where the gusset goes. Sew it in place using your sewing machine.

Then pin the other side of the head to it and sew that as well. Your head, still inside-out, should look like the third and fourth photos.

Clip the curves just up to but not past the seam, then turn it right side out. The fifth photo shows what it looks like right side out.

Stuff the head with polyfil stuffing.

Then make another one just like it!

Step 3: Make the Eyes

I didn't make a pattern for the ears, eyes, or noses, as I just freehand cut them out. The ears are just rounded triangles (my dog has what I call Dorito ears), the noses are fat ovals, and the eyes are smaller ovals.

Embroider some starburst-like irises onto the eyes with a needle and embroidery thread. Then pin them onto the head where you want them and sew them in place by hand.

Step 4: Sew the Ears and the Nose

My dog has floppy ears, so all I had to do was tack the ears in place by hand and then flip them down.

As for the nose, I just sewed it on by hand and stuffed a little bit of polyfill before I stitched it all the way closed.

Repeat these steps for the second head!

Step 5: Close It Up

Fold the neck inside about 1/2" and sew all the way around with a needle and thread. Then pull the thread together, gathering the felt, then tie it and sew it closed.

Step 6: Sew It On

After you're finished with the two stuffed heads, hand sew them to a collar. Be sure to have the buckle and the ring up at the top so you can put it on and take it off the dog easily. Make any adjustments as needed to make the heads turn out at a slight diagonal from the real dog's head. Also, make sure the collar is fairly loose. You want your dog to be comfortable.

Step 7: Optional: Add a Scarf

I took a bit of leftover red fabric I had and wrapped it loosely around the collar, just to conceal it a bit. It's not necessary, but I like the way it looks.

Step 8: Finished!

My dog Steve surprisingly didn't mind it. He didn't try to take it off once, although I only had it on him for maybe twenty minutes. I think it's because it's fairly lightweight. I walked downtown with him and he really enjoyed the attention he was getting from strangers.

All in all, it was a fairly easy project and it only took me a couple of hours to make. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Contest