I have had some fabric for dog coats sitting in the cupboard for a year now and I never got around to sewing them because we always have the fire to keep the house warm so the dogs don't often need coats, but this year if we are camping at the new property over winter the dogs might appreciate a little extra warmth.
Miss Chime in the first dog coat I made for her
And wee Cheryl in coat with matching bed
I learnt to make dog coats when I volunteered to sew them for the RSPCA. Another volunteer dropped off at my house a roll of fabric, a giant spool of thread and a newspaper pattern. I think I made about 50 dog coats that autumn! Then I bought some fabric and made one for Chime and Cheryl about 5 years ago, Cheryl still has hers, but its had to be extended and has been handed down to Chime, who has lost her original one (Cheryl has another one that Farmer Pete had already bought her before I starting making them, it was too big and I adjusted it).
Seems a shame to wake them to try on their coats :)
Anyway, time for some nice new coats as the old ones get so dirty and don't fit too well. I made a new pattern for each dog using newspaper and cut out a double thickness of polar fleece for each coat. As Chime's was smaller and didn't use the full width of the fabric I used the excess fabric to make the tummy strap for each coat. I've put velcro on the neck this time, but you can also sew the neck together so that the coat would slip over the dog's head. The velcro on the neck is a good idea if the dog isn't used to having a coat and you want to be able to get it on them without going over their head, or if you're not totally sure about the size, I find it easier to finish off the coat nicely this way too, otherwise you have a big thick seam around the neck.
For one dog, I need about 1 m of material, but it depends on the size of the dog of course, and you could get away with a single layer of material, but then you would need to hem it, so the double layer is easier. I used about 25 cm of velcro for each coat also, but you can get away with less if you sew the neck together, and you can use ties for the tummy strap instead. I bought extra material because the shop was having a sale where the material was half price if you finished the roll, so I was able to make the dogs matching mats with a double thickness of material. I have made them beds with stuffing before too, but it always goes lumpy and is difficult to dry if you wash it, I think these mats will be easier to keep clean. Chime likes to lie on anything soft and fluffy, she lay down on the material when I was trying to cut it out, so I knew she would like a mat! Cheryl is not so sure...
cutting out the fabric
sewing the tummy strap
sewing the two layers of the coat together (leave the neck part open so if can be turned the right way out)
turned the right way out (don't forget to put the strap inside when you do the seam around the outside!)
velcro for the tummy strap
velcro for the neck
reluctant models (it was mid-afternoon - too hot for coats!)
Chime demonstrates the tummy strap
from the other side
I also made mats from the leftover material
I'm not sure why Cheryl is looking so unhappy! Maybe I'm supposed to throw the ball....