Monday, May 2, 2011

Plan and Make a Sweatshirt for a Dog: Sewing a Shirt or Light Jacket to Keep Pets Comfortable

Some dogs really enjoy wearing sweaters or sweatshirts. Making a dog sweatshirt is an inexpensive way to help a pet be comfortable on cool days.

Some dogs do not like to wear sweaters or jackets because it makes then too hot. Dogs with thin fur - like dogs with their summer coats - and older dogs with arthritic joints - often enjoy the warmth of a sweatshirt on a cool day.

A sweatshirt is often a better choice for a dog than a sweater is because claws can get caught in the loose weave of sweaters. Sweatshirts are not as likely to snag their paws. Sweatshirts provide a smooth, tightly woven surface that provides warmth to the dog wearing the sweatshirt.

Choosing a Pattern for a Dog's Sweatshirt
Finding the right sewing pattern for a dog sweatshirt is pivotal to successfully making the sweatshirt. Begin by considering the dog's personality and also by being aware of one's own level of sewing skill. If the dog does not like to have anything touching its head it is best to avoid sewing patterns with hoods and high collars.

Experienced sewers might enjoy crafting an elaborate sweatshirt with a lot of details. Inexperienced sewing machine operators, on the other hand, would get more satisfaction from making a simple, classic style.

Finding the Right Sweatshirt Fleece
There are different types of fleece fabric. Dogs living in extremely cold climates will benefit from heavy polar fleece while dogs in more temperate climates will be more comfortable in a sweatshirt made of lighter fleece fabric. The pattern and color of the fleece should also be carefully considered when selecting fabric. A colorful or patterned fabric will make it easier for people to see the dog when it is walking outside.

Making the Dog Sweatshirt
The fleece should be preshrunk either by ironing with a steam iron or laundering the fabric and running it through the dryer. As a rule, it will not shrink, but it is easier to preshrink and be sure than it is to be sorry later. This will save the bad feeling of making something only to find it too small to use after washing.

The dog's measurements should be compared to the pattern before the cutting is started. It isn't always possible to get a pattern that is exactly the right size. If an inch or two needs to be added to the pattern - cut the pattern, place a piece of paper in the gap, slide the pattern out the inch or two that is needed, and tape the pattern to the extra paper.

Cut and sew the fleece fabric according to the pattern directions. One thing that is not always mentioned in pattern directions is - if a dog has hip dysplasia it is helpful to add elastic straps. The straps should start on each side of the dog's tail and fasten just in front of their hips. This holds the back of the sweatshirt over their hips to help keep their hip joints warm.

Planning and making a dog sweatshirt is a creative and inexpensive way to help your pet be comfortable on chilly days.

Copyright Laure Justice. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication. Originally published on

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