In cold climates dog owners know their best friends appreciate a warm coat when going out. Dogs with short coats and old dogs are the most likely ones to feel the cold. Dog coats are not difficult to make, and anyone with a little sewing savvy can put together a winter coat for their furry friend. In some instances sewing may not even be necessary.
Coats for Puppies and Small Dogs
A coat for a small dog can easily be fashioned from the sleeve of an old sweater. You'll need to take measurements first --from your dog's neck to the base of his tail, and the distance between his front legs. Cut a sleeve to the correct length to fit the dog's back. Angle it toward the front of the dog when you cut the rear end to allow male dogs to lift their legs without soiling the coat. Cut two holes for the front legs and try the coat on. Roll the fabric at the neck end to make it softer. No sewing is necessary.
Use a Child's T-shirt
Some dogs are just the right size to fit a child's T-shirt or sweater. Sometimes this method of making a dog's coat requires stitching along the length of the chest because a dog's front legs are closer than a child's arms. It will also need to be cut at an angle to accommodate male dogs.
A Bigger Dog's Coat Pattern
Making a bigger dog's coat takes a little more effort. Once you have a pattern that fits, you can use it over and over. After taking the measurement from neck to tail, depth of girth, and figuring out how long you want the coat to be on each side, draw a pattern on a piece of newspaper. Make a semicircle where the neck will fit in and angle the rear of the coat inward to accommodate a male dog. Cut out the pattern and hold it over the dog to make adjustments.
Sewing the Coat
You can purchase fabric or use an old sweater if it is big enough. Fleece is thin but comfortable, or you may want to use canvas if you live in a wet climate, or lined or quilted fabric for very cold areas. Fold it in half and pin the pattern to it with the top of the back along the fold. Cut it out. Line the edges with binding or webbing, or hem it to prevent the fabric from fraying. A sewing machine will make it easier but you can sew it by hand. Stitch a webbing band to go around the belly. Use Velcro to fasten the band and to join the coat in front of the chest.
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