My dog, Kutja, really loves going for walks. He demands to go for at least 2 a day.
But lately these walks are a bit more challenging with our cold and damp winter.
He comes back so wet and cold that we have to dry him with the hair dryer. Even though we try find drier times of the day to take him out, he enjoys running through the soaking wet grass and bushes.
I decided to make him a little raincoat by up-cycling an old kitesurfing kite I was recently gifted.
The brown colour in the kite works really well for a winter jacket and pairing it with a starry fabric off-cut for binding would make it extra cute.
There is so much fabric available in the kite that I have a few projects in mind. The different colours and prints means that each project could look totally unrelated to the other!
What will be needed:
- • Sewing machine
- • A Dog Coat Pattern
- • *0.4m-1m Water resistant fabric for outer
- • *0.4m-1m Polar fleece or similar warm fabric for lining
- • *0.5-1m hook and loop velcro tape without adhesive
- • *2m – 4m of 2.5cm wide bias binding (see video below to make your own)
- • 1 Thread to match bias binding
*Quantities ultimately depend on the size of your dog and your pattern’s recommendation.
As the coat is going to be exposed to moisture (damp air or rain) a water resistant or even better, water proof fabric is best.
For the outer fabric of the coat I used a kitesurfing kite. A similar fabric you could buy at a store would be ripstop nylon.
Other sources for up-cycling could be an umbrella, a children’s kite, a sail or even old raincoats/pants.
For the inside of the coat you should use a soft and warm fabric, something that would be comfortable against your skin.
Polar fleece is a good choice as it keeps in warmth, resists moisture and dries quickly.
You can further up-cycle by using old fleece tops.
Remember to keep the fabric choices lightweight.
Feel free to use your preferred pattern.
Just remember that the fabric for a rain coat does not have any stretch.
Use a pattern that is designed for woven/non-stretch fabrics.
If you’re feeling brave, you could even draft a custom pattern.
How to measure
These are the 3 main measurements needed for dog clothing patterns:
Just like us, dogs come in many different shapes and sizes.
You may want to grade between sizes or lengthen/widen along the pattern’s suggested lines.
I chose the size of my pattern based on Kutja’s Neck Girth as it fell in the larger size range.
I then graded between 2 sizes, the one according to his Neck and the other size according to his Chest.
I also lengthened along the suggested line to make the pattern fit his Back length.
Make a mock-up
I highly recommend making a mock-up of the coat to fit on your dog.
Please be careful with the pins around your dog though. If your furry friend is particularly playful (thinks you’re playing a game when fitting the coat), I would recommend using safety pins to ensure they don’t prick themselves.
These are some areas to take note of when fitting the mock-up:
Check that the part of the Under Body that covers their chest isn’t too wide that it causes discomfort or chaffing of their front legs.
You could make this area narrower to prevent such a situation.
Check that the part of the Under Body that goes from the chest and around under the front legs doesn’t cause discomfort or chaffing in their ‘armpits’.
To remedy this situation, you could reshape the area and make the armholes bigger.
Take note that the lower part of the Under Body isn’t too low that they will dirty it when relieving themselves (more an issue with the boys).
Also check that it isn’t too low that it will cause discomfort or chaffing of their back legs.
You can reshape this part of the Under Body or shorten it. Just take note that you may need to move the Velcro placement on the Upper Body.
As we are working with somewhat unusual fabric, bias binding is a great way to finish the seams.
The possibly scratchy/sharp raw edges are encased in soft fabric and you don’t have to worry about awkwardly turning the garment inside out or snipping around corners.
Using premade bias binding is the quickest and easiest option.
However it can often be tricky to find a good colour match.
Here’s a way to make your own bias binding with minimal fabric required.
There are many ways to sew bias binding. Some techniques look more professional than others but also require more patience and time.
I’m going to share one of the quickest techniques for attaching bias binding.
You’ll only need to sew the binding once.
(A bias binding attachment would make this technique super quick and easy.)
1. Fold your folded bias binding in half lengthwise and press along the length of the binding.
This will create a double fold bias tape.
2. Choose a starting point that isn’t so noticeable and is on a straight edge.
Feed the edge of your dog coat between the fold of the bias binding, creating a sandwich.
Pin the beginning of the binding in place.
3. Move the needle 2 or 3 notches to the left.
4. Line up the inside edge of the foot with the inner edge of the binding.
5. Gently pull the binding as you sew, making sure that it continues to evenly encase the edge of the coat.
6. Take extra care when sewing around a curve.
You may find it helpful to put the needle down, lift the foot and turn the fabric a bit, then put the foot down again and continuing to sew.
Repeat as necessary.
You can also take the time to pin the binding around the curves.
7. Pause when you approach the beginning again.
Work out how much binding is needed to reach the beginning and add about 2cm extra.
8. Fold the end 1.5cm towards the inside of the binding.
Pin the rest of the binding in place and finish sewing.
9. You may want to zigzag stitch over the overlap.
- If using Velcro, please be careful of the placement.
You don’t want the scratchy part of the Velcro to touch and agitate your pet’s fur/skin.
- You may need to quilt the fabric to prevent the lining from sagging.
I simply stitched a few lines across the back of the coat.
Not only was this functional, but it added a decorative touch and reiterated the stitching of the original item the kite.
- When stitching ripstop type fabric together, a zigzag stitch is best as it distributes the tension better.
A straight stitch is more likely to pull tight and create tears in the fabric.
A 3-step zigzag is the strongest.
A straight stitch can be used for the binding as the ripstop fabric is sandwiched between a few layers of other fabrics.