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How to Sew an Easy Dog Coat

Updated on May 13, 2013
BlossomSB profile image

As a teacher at all levels and mother of five children, Bronwen has been interested in a variety of crafts for both children and adults.

Miffy in her Cosy Coat
Miffy in her Cosy Coat | Source

Some Dogs Need Winter Coats

My little Maltese is growing older and needs a coat as the winter draws on, which it is doing right now in the Southern Hemisphere. Most dogs have two layers of hair or fur, a soft one underneath and a tougher outer layer. The soft under-layer gathers the body heat and the outer layer aids trapping it in, thus helping to keep the dog warm. Some small dogs like Maltese have the outer layer missing. This means that they are lovely and soft, but without the outer layer of fur they can be very susceptible to the cold weather.

Especially as they grow older, dogs such as Maltese need extra help to keep warm. I have knitted my little friend some coats and she has a purchased 'raincoat' that is lined with 'lambswool' for wet day outings, but she needed extra coats for normal winter days, too.

I Chose Grey for Utilitarian Use
I Chose Grey for Utilitarian Use | Source

The Coat Pattern

I decided to keep the pattern fairly simple. I was able to find scraps of fabric left over from other projects over the years, so thought I would make three little coats following my pattern.

  1. I made a paper pattern that was about 30 cm wide and 38 cm long.
  2. I cut out a curve that went to about 6 cm deep to allow for her neck.
  3. I added an allowance for a seam all around of about 1 cm wide.

It is not difficult to adapt this simple pattern for different sized dogs. Just do it in paper first and try on the resultant pattern to ensure it is the correct size for your best doggie friend.

Sky Blue for Best. This One Looks Quite Pretty.
Sky Blue for Best. This One Looks Quite Pretty. | Source

Cutting and Stitching

I found that three layers make a good warm coat:

  • an upper layer of fabric,
  • an inner layer of filling, such as quilting material,
  • and a bottom layer of fabric.

  1. Put the two fabric layers, outer sides together, back to back.
  2. Add the quilting material and pin all three layers together.
  3. Machine around the edge leaving a gap making a firm beginning and ending to the stitching.
  4. Turn to the right side, fold in the edges of the remaining and slip-stitch together.
  5. Press with a warm iron.

The Two Velvets are Soft
The Two Velvets are Soft | Source

Finishing and Decorating

Finishing the Edges: Using ribbon or rick-rack, reinforce the edges. This makes a nice finishing touch and helps to strengthen the garment.

The Decoration: Any ribbons, more rick-rack or pieces of velvet or lace can be used for decoration along the centre of the coat. As you can see in the photographs, some of mine looked pretty. I also made one that was more fancy with tiny bells and flowers, but it did not stand up to the washing-machine. As the coats need to be washed fairly frequently, this aspect of the decoration needs to be considered. One of mine, I thought, looked rather like the top of a tissue- box! However, some people we met on our daily walk thought it was cute.

The Ties: As you can see in the top photograph of a coat, I used some black tape and stitched Velcro to the ends. I thought it would make it faster to attach, but it is stiff and rubs on the dog's tummy. For the other two I just used the slower method of stitching on black tape to tie. It is slower, but more satisfactory. It does not need to be too long or the ends get in the way, but otherwise it works well.

She may be growing older, but she's still a little girl at heart. When I hold up a coat, she shows her joy and delight by doing a little dance, sometimes just on her back legs. Then it becomes serious and she stands still until the ties are completed ready for our walk.

All Dressed Up and Ready to Go
All Dressed Up and Ready to Go | Source

© 2013 Bronwen Scott-Branagan


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    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      titi6601: Oh, that would be lovely! Hope you have fun doing that.

    • titi6601 profile image

      titi6601 4 years ago

      Great idea! I can't wait to make this for my pups.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      PegCole17: Thank you for your comments. Yes, sometimes she behaves like a real little girl - actually she's an 'it', but that doesn't seem to make any difference!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      How creative you are BlossomSB. The little hand sewn coat is a fantastic idea and looks super easy to make. I thought it was funny when you said one of them looked like a tissue box. And your little dog doing a dance when she sees it is so cute. Great idea and well explained.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Sheri Faye: I'm sorry your little dog died. We do miss our small four-legged friends when they go. Will you get another puppy one day?

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      So cute. My little dog died a few years ago, but I had store bought coats for her. I will remember this if I get another puppy. Great hub.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      always exploring: You're saying the right thing about my little Miffy. Maybe if you tried sewing again now, when you don't have the pressure of school, you might surprise yourself. Thank you for your comments.

      Mhatter99: Wow! I haven't gone that far, but it must have been really fun to see. I'll have to think about it!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. My mom made a wardrobe for her and all the dogs in her neighborhood. It was a riot to see.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      miffy is adorable in her coat. I couldn't sew a stright line, never could, took two years of home economics and gave up. I admire anyone who can sew. I have a sister Mary who sews beautifully like you. Thank you for sharing...

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      peachpurple: Cats don't seem to need extra warmth as much as some breeds of dogs do. I guess it's very warm in Malaysia and coats would not be needed there, but here it was 16 deg. C and today the top will be 15 C as we are almost into winter now.

      mary615: You know the right thing to say! I think Miffy's adorable and she has a lovely temperament, too. I'm sure your Baby will like it if you make one. Thank you for your vote, share and pin!

      Frank Atanacio: I can't imagine you making it, but then, my Dad was in WW1 and he was very good at sewing, especially in making sails for our boat or putting new pockets in his trousers as he was always carrying 'useful' things that made holes in the original pockets.

      kidscrafts: Thank you for your comments - and your remark about my little Miffy. Her breed often yaps too much, but when she was little I took her to Doggie School and learnt how to handle her and she's so good - usually!

      Annie Miller: It's not so easy to get us outside in the cold weather, either, but the incentive to exercise our four-legged friends helps. I hope Beano enjoys the warmth of his coat next winter.

    • Annie Miller profile image

      Annie Miller 4 years ago from Wichita Falls, Texas

      What a wonderful idea, Blossom. As hot as it gets here in Texas in the summer months, it gets incredibly cold in the winter and trying to get our Beano outside is a chore. He really needs a warm coat and this pattern looks easy and comfortable. Pretty sure I can get at least one made before he needs it, too!


    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great idea to protect your dog from the cold weather! It's very nice that you created several looks and colours! Your dog is very cute :-)

      Thank you for sharing!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      that dog is so cute Blossoms.. and thanks for this how to hub.. maybe.. just maybe mind you Ill try it

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Your little Miffy is adorable. I'm sure she appreciates your making her a nice warm coat for cold days. I like your idea a lot. I'll just have to make my Schnauzer, Baby, one like it.

      Voted UP and will share and Pin.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      your pup is sure lucky to have you a good pet owner. Making a dog coat for your pup looks cute and warm especially nigh time. During the day, i think the weather right now is too warm for your doggy to wear it. ANyway, thanks for sharing the step by step instruction. Maybe i could make one for my cat instead.