Attention Fosters & Rescue Groups! Need a cheap, quick, easy way to advertise that your dog is adoptable? This method uses no sewing! Using jersey t-shirt fabric means no hemming, and it stretches well to tie securely and fit many sizes of pups.
1 - old t-shirt, preferably blank
1 - set of fabric markers (I use Sharpie "Stained" markers so I can wash & reuse shirts)
1 - pair scissors
Find an old t-shirt without any print on at least one side of it. If you use a blank shirt, you can get two dog shirts out of one human shirt. If there is print on one side, you can still get one dog shirt out of the blank side of the human shirt. In a pinch you could always use the wrong side of the fabric to draw on. I used v-neck undershirts and they worked just fine, despite the V.
Sizing: a shirt made from a standard large undershirt fit my 67 lb catahoula-mix just fine. Bigger dogs may need a bigger t-shirt. Smaller dogs - you can always trim it to make it smaller if needed. :)
Note: Do you have a shirt you love that you want to keep the design and put it on your dog's back? Sorry! This particular design won't work for that...the design will end up upside down on the dog's back this way. :(
Step 1: Fold Shirt in Half
Carefully smooth shirt until as flat and centered as possible, then fold in half along the vertical axis, carefully matching the sides.
Note: in the pictures I placed a second orange t-shirt underneath the white one just to make it more visible as I complete each step. You only need one shirt to complete this project! :)
Step 2: Fold and Cut Top
Fold the shirt as shown and cut away along the fold.
If using a v-neck, use the bottom of the V as a guide for where the fold should start. If using a crew neck, you still want to fold it down at a similar angle: if you don't angle it enough, the tie that goes under the dog's belly (made from the sleeves) may be too short, and the shirt may be too long on the dog's back.
When finished cutting, the entire top of the shirt should be open. You will have removed the collar, the tops of the shoulders, and the tops of the sleeves.
Step 3: Fold and Cut Bottom
Fold the bottom up at an angle as shown and cut along the fold. Be sure to remove the entire bottom hem of the t-shirt to allow the fabric to stretch easily.
This will become the tie that goes around the dog's neck.
Step 4: Reserve Neckerchiefs From Bottom
The bottom hem of the shirt can actually be used to make 2 cute neckerchiefs for another dog. Just cut them apart along the sides to make two triangles.
If you don't want to make neckerchiefs, just discard the bottom portion along with the left over collar fabric.
Step 5: Cut Sides
Run the scissors along the folds to separate the front of the shirt from the back. You should end up with two identical dog shirts. If one side of the human shirt had unwanted text on it, you may wish to discard that portion. You can use the backside of the fabric in a pinch, but the print may be visible, and may affect how the shirt stretches when you tie it on the dog.
Step 6: Tie Shirt on Dog
Check the fit: Place the shirt centered on your dog's back with the original sleeves at the dog's waist and the original bottom of the shirt at the collar, so the original human shirt would have been upside down.
Knot around the neck and around the waist. Stretch the shirt a bit tight to assure a good fit. Smaller dogs may require extra trimming to fit well.
Hint: Squirmy dogs may be easier to dress if you knot the neck portion and place it over their head prior to putting it on them :)
Step 7: Decorate
Lay the shirt on a flat surface protected from marker bleeding. Remember that the top of the dog shirt was originally the bottom of the human shirt, and vice-versa. **Be sure the original sleeves are at the bottom before decorating!**
Decorate with a simple "adopt me!" Or get clever to encourage more interaction with the dogs by strangers!
- "You were looking for a sign? Here:" *picture of sign that says Adopt Me!*
- "OMG! Where did you get those shoes? They look DELICIOUS! (Just Kidding! Adopt me!)"
- "Toe Warmer, Level: Expert - Adopt Me!"
- "Can I follow you home? Mom told me to follow my dream! - Adopt Me!"
I would LOVE to see more cute ideas for "adopt me" shirts, alternative decorations, and pictures of your projects!!! Please tweet ideas to @MeredittyAnne :)