By Diane Ellis
Making a warm and waterproof coat for your dog is quite simple, and means that you and your pooch can get more exercise over winter.
Suitable Fabrics and Notions
For the fabric, you want 2 layers. An outer layer of waterproof fabric (or fabric that can be made waterproof), and a warm layer for next to their fur.
Suitable fabrics for the outer layer include Gore-Tex, nylon and waterproof canvas. For the inner layer consider lambswool, synthetic lambswool, or polar fleece. The amount of fabric you require will depend on the size of your dog (see next section to calculate the amount of fabric required).
We'll also need some Velcro to fasten the coat at the neck and stomach. Try to get some Velcro at least 2" wide (or 5cm). This coat needs 2 x 4" pieces (or 2 x 10cm pieces) of Velcro. If you have a tiny dog, 4" is probably overkill – use your discretion.
The final item we need is heavy duty cotton webbing (this folds over the inner and outer layers and is stitched in place). Again the amount required depends on the size of your dog.
How Much Fabric to Buy
We need 3 measurements from your dog. First measure the LENGTH of your dog from the base of his neck (about where the collar sits) to just past his tail (we want the coat to extend a little past the tail).
Next, measure the WIDTH by measuring from half way between your dog's knee and hip, up over the rump, to the same spot on the other side.
Now we need to measure the NECK allowance so measure from mid shoulder to mid shoulder, allowing the measuring tape to droop a little as if it were a fastener on a dog coat.
The amount of fabric you need to buy is the LENGTH plus half of the NECK measurement by the WIDTH, so if your dog's LENGTH is 22.5" and WIDTH is 23.5" and NECK is 16", you need to get inner and outer fabric that measures 30.5" by 23.5".
The amount of webbing you need is LENGTH x 2 plus WIDTH x 2 plus NECK x 4 . So for my dog above I will need 45" plus 47" plus 64", a total of 156" or 13'.
Special Note: - the extra webbing allowance NECK x 4 is for the strap which goes underneath the coat at your dog's waist. A double NECK allowance will cover most dogs, however if your dog or dog breed is particularly thick around the middle, you may need additional fabric and webbing).
To Make Your Pattern
Now draw out your pattern.
Place both pieces of fabric with right sides together, the waterproof fabric on top (facing you). First, draw a square which is your WIDTH on one side, and LENGTH plus ½ NECK on the other side. (See diagram at left). You may want to quickly pin inside this line to hold both pieces of fabric together.
Now mark off the spot where your LENGTH measurement is, exactly half way across the WIDTH (see diagram at left).
Using tailors chalk, round off each of your edges, and draw out the scoop for your dog's NECK. The width for the two top pieces which go around your dog's neck should be at least 2.5" (for the Velcro fasteners), but can be wider if you have a larger dog.
Pin and cut.
Now, using the spare piece left over from the neck scoop, draw another rectangle at least 2.5" wide (for the Velcro fasteners), but can be wider if you have a larger dog, and the NECK measurement long. This is for the fastener which goes around your dog's waist.
To Make Up
Before you start sewing, it is a good idea to check the coat on the dog. Just place one of the pieces on your dog to see whether the neck allowance is enough or too much – check the amount of overlap for fastening at the neck. Also check that the waist fastener, when attached, will fit around your dog.
Also, depending on the fabric you use, you may need to swap over your sewing machine needle for a more sturdy one, as these fabrics can be quite hard to penetrate. Test on a scrap piece of fabric first.
Now we're ready to sew. Turn the dog coat pieces around so that they are right side out. Starting on one of the sides, pin the cotton webbing around the entire outer edge of the dog coat, being sure that it is evenly spaced. Stitch in place.
Do the same with the waist closure piece. Now stitch the waist closure piece onto the dog coat at a point that is comfortable for your dog.
We now need to attach the Velcro pieces on the neck, waist closure and side. Remember that one piece needs to be stitched on the outside, and one on the inside to ensure proper closure. Pop the coat on your dog to check the best place to put your Velcro.
Stitch in place, and that's it.
Diane Ellis is the owner of www.Sewing4Dummies.com. She is also an avid dog lover, and runs another website called BestDoggieTips.com where you can get free recipes, training information and lots more free stuff for you and your dogs! Learn more about her on our About Us page.
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