Dog clothes can give your pup a style and flare that will set them apart when you're out for a walk or visiting the local dog park. There are products on the market to match any dog's style, but it can be expensive to dress your pet in a new wardrobe. I learned how to make dog clothes, and in this article I will share a few of my favorite DIY projects.
While dog clothes do give pets a new look, the truth is that they can also have very real health applications. Dog sweaters and jackets keep pets warm when the weather is cold. Not only can dog boots keep Fido warm, they also protect your dog's feet from hot asphalt and rough terrain.
When you're learning how to make dog clothes, many pet owners make one huge mistake – they focus on the looks alone. Remember that you're making clothes for your pet, not yourself. You may want your pooch to look adorable, but you have to keep his comfort level and the clothes' functionality in mind too.
Clothing or footwear for dogs that is too tight can cause chaffing and decrease his range of motion. If dog clothing or footwear is too loose, it can be a hazard that may cause tripping, choking or other injuries. Follow my guide on how to measure a dog for clothing to ensure you're making clothing that will fit appropriately.
How To Make Dog Clothes
You can use an old sweatshirt or fleece pullover to make a DIY dog sweater. If you don't have one, or don't have one that fits your dog, pick one up at a secondhand store for just a few dollars.
Consider your dog's size when selecting a sweatshirt to use. You're going to be using the sleeve as the dog sweater, so you don't want to use a small-size fleece pullover when making a sweater for a 50-pound dog.
First, you'll want to cut the sleeve off of the sweatshirt. I cut it as close to the armpit as I can. If you have a very small dog, you may not need to make it as long. The cuff of the sleeve will be the collar of the dog sweater. Slide the cuff over your dog's neck and estimate where you'll need to make slices for the arm holes.
If the cuff is too small to fit around Fido's neck, cut down the sleeve until it is the correct size. If you have to cut the cuff, you can fold the end of the sleeve over to make a more attractive collar. Put a couple of stitches in it or secure it with hot glue to hold it in place.
You'll also want to cut the underside of the back end of the sweater in a ‘U' shape. This will keep the sweater away from your dog's genitals and prevent him from getting urine on the sweater when going to the bathroom.
After making the slices for the arm holes, put the sweater on your dog. Adjust the size of the holes if they are too tight. The sweater will restrict your dog's range of motion if the holes are too tight.
This is a really simple sweater, so if you'd like to dress it up a little you could always add buttons, bows, ribbon, etc… You could use glitter glue or fabric paints to add a design or write pup's name on his sweater.
Bow ties add a unique pop of style to your dog's wardrobe. You can make a DIY bow tie with a couple of scraps of fabric and a hot glue gun. I like this design because it's easy to alter the size of the bow, and you can make one large or small enough to fit any dog collar. You probably have some fabric scraps lying around. If not, you can cut up old clothing, towels or blankets to make this bow tie.
When cutting your pieces of fabric, remember that the finished bow tie will be about 1/2 as long and 1/2 as tall as the original piece of fabric. For example, the large piece of fabric that I cut in my video guide is about 10″L x 3″H. My finished bow tie is only about 5″L x 1.5″H.
You'll also need to cut a smaller piece of fabric that is the same length as the larger piece, but only 1/3 as wide. So, the smaller piece of fabric that I cut in my video guide is about 10″L x 1″WH.
Set the smaller piece of fabric aside for now. Find the center (width wise) of the larger piece of fabric. Put a line of hot glue down the center, and bring each of the ends into the center. When the glue has dried, flip it over and place a large dot of glue in the center of the other side.
As I demonstrate in my video guide above, you'll need to pinch the top and bottom of the cloth into the center. This will scrunch the center together to begin forming the bow. Now, you'll need to turn it to the back side, and put a dot of glue on either side. Fold each side in to the glue, and this will finish forming the bow.
Check the bow over to see if there are any areas that need a little bit more glue. Once you finish touching up the bow, it's time to move on to the small strip of fabric that will become the center of the bow tie.
You'll need to place a strip of hot glue down the long side of the smaller piece of fabric. Fold the long edge into the center of the strip. The next step is to do the same thing to the other long edge of the small piece of fabric.
This small strip is going to be the center of the bow tie. You'll need to place a small dot of glue in the middle of the back of the bow tie. Stick one end of the long strip here, and then wrap the rest of the strip around the center of the bow. When it's wrapped around, secure it with another dot of glue.
At this point you're probably wondering what to do with the ‘tail' or excess that is left over. This is going to be what secures the bow tie to your dog's collar. You'll need to attach a small piece of Velcro to the end of the strip of fabric and to the center of the bow. This is also demonstrated in my video guide.
Simply wrap the strip of fabric around your dog's collar and secure the Velcro. If the strip is too long, the bow tie will be loose on the collar. You can trim the strap to the appropriate length to make it tight.
More DIY Dog Clothes
As you can tell, I'm not a seamstress by any means. If you have sewing skills, you can try some of these easy ideas that I found on YouTube:
There are tons of DIY dog clothing instructions on the internet. The thing I like best about learning how to make dog clothes is that you can be as creative as you want. Just keep your dog's comfort in mind when you're selecting clothing options for your pet.