Friday, February 19, 2010

How to Make a Dog a Sweater: A (Nearly) Pictureless Tutorial:

re-published, with permission :), from my old blog (originally posted 2.18.08) because let's face it, my dog is cute in a sweater, we're all sick of winter (but it's still here and dogs are cold)...

1. Find a dog in need of a sweater. Any old mutt will do, but dogs with owners are usually more appreciative of your effort, although, homeless dogs probably get colder...Your own dog is a great choice too--he already has permission to wear the masterpiece (some people don't want their dogs wearing sweaters--whyevernot, i have no idea.

2. Find an old sweater. Goodwill is good for this, as are bags of clothes being given away by friends. Make sure you like the colors AND that the colors match your dog's hairtone and eyes. Oh, and make sure the people sweater is large enough and of a somewhat durable material. Knit/crochet is best.

3. Unless your dog is really small, cut the sleeves off the sweater and discard (or save for future, undetermined projects--clutter gives you something to do on a rainy day).

4. cut the sweater along one side seam or both, to give yourself a large, flat piece of sweater. Use the back to make the dog sweater unless you like the pattern on the front better. Or use the front--I really dont' care.

5. Use a tape measure to measure around your dog in three places--the neck, the widest part of the chest, and the narrow part below the ribs but in front of the back legs. Measure from his collar to however far back on his back you want the sweater to go--to the tail is TOO FAR!! Cut the sweater piece to this length + a little for hemming, unless you're able to finagle it so you can use the finished edges of the sweater as your collar/hem. Existing ribbing used strategically looks fabulous and professional! Hem top and/or bottom if necessary.

6. Fold the large sweater-back in half, good sides together, and pin the edges together roughly at the three points measured on your dog. For example: if your dog's neck is 16", chest is 19", and narrow part is 17", you should have three pins in a bell-curve-esque pattern on the sweater (at 8", 9 1/2", and 8 1/2". Sew this on a sewing machine, loosely following the shape of your dog that you see in front of you. Make him sit still; this will help. If your dog is agreeable, slide the completed "tube" onto him far enough to see if you got it right--or hold it up next to him if he's not thrilled about being confined in a yet armless sweater. Resew shape of tube as necessary after measuring on/next to dog. Oh, and the seam should go down the tummy of the pup, not the back.

7. Measure the distance between your dogs front legs. This needs to be pretty accurate. Measure the distance from his collar (or however high you made the neck of the sweater go on him) to his "shoulder." Ditto the need for accuracy here. Measure the distance b/w your dog's legs ON the sweater, placing the seam in the very middle. Pin spot on sweater. Next, measure down from the collar to this spot, the # of inches from your dog's collar to his shoulder. If this looks right, cut a smallish hole (smaller than your dog's leg). Repeat on opposite side. Try sweater back on the dog. Make him cooperate at this point.

8. Stretch and pull the arm holes until they fit comfortably around your dog's shoulders. Remove sweater.

9. Hem or whip-stitch around leg/arm holes. You can finish with binding or some other fabric trim--but i just used yarn and whipped it all the way around each armhole. Repeat on neckhole if you did not finish with a hem in step 1.(jump to step 11 if you have a girl dog)

10. Cut a rectangle from the bottom back edge of the sweater. Make it smaller than necessary as hemming it will open it up larger. This is so your dog does not pee on his sweater. This is one of the most important steps. Measure "down there" on your dog, if necessary. Hem loose edges in same manner as legholes.

11. Put the sweater on your dog and walk him around the neighborhood. Everyone will be jealous, even the cats.Please comment if you have any questions; these directions are vague, I know. Or don't, because you probably have no intention of making a sweater for your dog, let alone letting him wear it. Oh wait--that was before you saw this picture!:

(note: I hadn't yet whip-stitched around the arm/leg holes yet, see how they're starting to pull too large? I used a shade of yarn slightly darker than the sweater--it turned out absolutely wonderfully!!)

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