Introduction: How to Make a Dog Coat-A Coat for Shiloh
Shiloh is our family dog. We have had her for about two and a half years now. She came to us a rescue dog. She was about six months old and had been living on the street when she was rescued. She had mange, a heart condition, and was underweight. Now two and a half years later she is healthy and runs the house.
I made a cape for Shiloh at the beginning of the school year. I created a video series for my students titled “Shiloh the Superdog”. The cape was red with a big S on the back. I learned some important lessons after 3 tries working on the cape. The most important lesson I learned was the cape had to be secure around the neck and under her belly. When I started this project, I knew the coat would need to fit her securely. Shiloh is a boxer/pit mix and weighs about 60 pounds.
There are many choices you could make in finding a pattern for your dog. You can purchase commercial patterns or find patterns on the internet. I chose to draft my own pattern. Patterns for dogs, just like for people, need to fit. Since dogs come in different sizes you will need to measure your dog to follow this tutorial. I hope your dog is more cooperative than Shiloh😊
Here is my tutorial.
- Large sheets of paper
- Measuring tools
- Fabric for coat- 1 yard (I used ¾ yard for Shiloh)
- Fabric for lining- 1 yard (I used ¾ yard for Shiloh)
- Matching thread
- Sewing machine
- Velcro and Superglue
Step 1: Step 1: Make Your Pattern Draft
Length of coat: Measure your dog from behind the collar to the tail. This will be the length of your dog’s coat.
Measure the total circumference of your dog at the widest part of his torso. (Do dogs have torsos?) You will need this number to determine the width of the coat and the length of the belly band.
Next you need to determine the width of the coat. Measure from the lower side of your dog’s torso around and over the back to the other lower side of your dog’s torso. This number will be the width of the coat. Divide that number in half for your pattern. You will be placing the fabric on the fold. Your pattern will look like half of the coat.
Now for the belly band: the objective is for the coat body + the belly band to meet and overlap so you can secure the band. Subtract the coat width from the total circumference. This number plus 5 inches will be the length of the belly band. Depending on the size of your dog the width of your belly band should be 3, 4 or 5 inches. Shiloh’s belly band is 4 inches wide. Shiloh’s belly band is that 4 inches times 9 inches long. It is ok if the piece is too long. It is not ok if the piece is too short. Shiloh’s belly band could have been a few inches shorter.
The neck piece: Measure the circumference of your dog’s neck behind the collar. Then divide that number in half. Shiloh’s circumference was 7 inches divided by 2 equaling 3.5 inches. Now measure for the chest depth. This measurement is from above the collar to below where you measure for the neck circumference. Shiloh’s measurement was 9 inches. Her neck piece is 4.5x9. Again, its ok if the piece is too long. Its not ok if the piece is too short.
You now have 3 rectangles. Attach the pieces to make your pattern
Next you need to round out the pieces. I put scrap paper under the pattern to make space so I could round out the neck piece and the belly piece. I also rounded out the bottom of the coat pattern.
Cut out your pattern from a remnant or scrap fabric. Test it on your dog.
The size of your dog determines the fabric width. Fabric that is 45 inches works for Shiloh and smaller dogs. If you have a larger dog like a Great Dane, you made need 60-inch fabric.
Step 2: Step 2: Make the Coat
For me that sewing the coat was the easy part of this project!
Cut out the coat and lining. Remember to place the pattern piece on the FOLD of your fabrics.
Lay out your fabrics with the right sides together.
Align the fabrics and pin the perimeter.
Leave a six-inch opening so you can turn the coat right side out.
Stitch around the perimeter of the coat.
Be sure to leave the opening.
I used a ¼ seam allowance.
Turn the coat right side out.
Pin the opening. I top stitched the entire coat to close the
opening and add strength to the garment.
Put the coat on your dog and check for placement of the Velcro. I chose to add Superglue to the Velcro to make sure the Velcro stayed in place. I learned that lesson from Shiloh’s cape. Attach the Velcro. If the superglue does not hold then I’ll stitch around the Velcro.
Step 3: Step 3: Check and Modify If Necessary
You have completed the dog coat project! Your dog will enjoy his/her coat on the cold days of winter.
Reflection: I haven’t had too much experience drafting patterns so that part of the project was challenging. I have had lots of experience sewing so that part of the project went very quickly for me.
When I make Shiloh another coat, I’ll lengthen the coat by about six inches and move the belly band so it is centered more between her front and back legs.
Shiloh is really happy with the finished project!
Kudos to pet photographers.
Participated in the
Sew Warm Speed Challenge