Thursday, May 26, 2011

Making a recycled dog sweater from thrift store finds

Here's a nice tutorial I found a while ago for making a dog sweater out of an old thrift store sweater.
I know that summer is upon us, so this might not seem appropriate; but when I had a chihuahua, he always was cold and wore sweaters or shirts year round.  So, for those little babies, I have decided to go ahead and post this now.  I found this tutorial on and if you make this please tell them about it.  I may try this out for Satchmo come fall, but he really hates sweaters!

Refashioning old or thrifted sweaters into dog sweaters is easy and fun. You'll be amazed at how even the ugliest sweater can take on a whole new look as canine couture! Case in point: this vest. I picked it up at the thrift store because the details in the knit are adorable, but this style would flatter no human! My little Gertie, on the other hand, will look smashing in it.

1. Start by measuring the pooch you intend to make it for. You'll need the following:

(A) neck circumference + 1 inch
(B) chest circumference (right behind the front legs) + 1 inch
(C) length from collar to tail + 1/2 inch
(D) underside length from collar to (just short of) the business end + 1 inch
(E) distance from collar down to front leg
(F) front leg circumference x 1/2

2. Now we can cut out our pieces. Utilizing the bottom rib, if your sweater has it, or the finished bottom edge, as the neckline, cut a rectangle that measures (A) wide (along the rib) by (C) long. Find the difference between (B) and (A) and add 1 inch to it. In my case, (B) – (A) was 3 inches, so adding 1 inch gave me 4 inches. From another piece of the sweater, cut a triangle this wide by (D) long. This will be the underside piece. Finally, cut off the neck or cuff rib of the original, to be used to finish the back edge. This is optional; it can also be hemmed or even left raw if the sweater is felted.

3. Stitching time! Pin the triangle piece to the main body piece, with right sides together, so that the point of the triangle is lined up with the beginning of the neck rib. If you don't have neck rib, pin it an inch or so down from the neck edge. The back edges won't match up because the underside of the sweater needs to be shorter than the top (especially for male dogs). Place one pin at (E) and another at (F), measured from (E). These will indicate the leg opening.

Now sew the seam with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Use a stretch stitch or small zigzag (I used 2mm by 2mm). Begin at the point of the triangle, backstitch, then proceed to the beginning of the leg opening and backstitch again. Skip past the leg opening and repeat for the other half of the seam. Then pin the triangle to the other side of the sweater and sew in the same manner. This time you will begin sewing all the way up at the top of the neck edge.

4. Next, we'll finish the leg opening edges. From the wrong side of the sweater, use a wide zigzag to stitch one side of the seam allowance down to the body, catching the raw edge in the zigzag. Continue right past the leg opening, and you will hem it in the process. This reinforces the seam and keeps the edges from fraying. Do this for the remaining three seam allowances.

5. Lastly, finish the back edge. Trim the corners so they are rounded and blend in with the underside edge.

Now you can either hem the edge or sew on some ribbing. I used some extra rib trim I cut from my sweater. Gertie's torso, like many dogs, gets much smaller at the waist, so the rib helps gather in the back to fit better. I cut my rib about three-quarters the length of the back edge, but you might cut it the same length if your dog is shaped differently.

 Seam the short ends of the rib, and pin it to the edge of the sweater, right sides facing, stretching the rib to fit. Sew a 1/4-inch stretchable seam.

That's all there is to it!  
Isn't that a wonderful tutorial?  I really think she did a great job making each step easy.

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