If your dog is prone to pulling on a leash, a harness can be the best solution to this problem. While you can purchase canvas and leather harnesses, you can also make your own cloth dog harness. A vest-style cloth dog harness is comfortable for your dog and can be custom sized to fit an unusually sized dog. These cloth harnesses are especially helpful if standard webbing or leather harnesses are irritating to your dog.
For the best fit when making a dog harness, you should draft your own pattern. Measure your dog around the neck, where a collar would rest; around the widest part of the ribs; and along the spine to the desired length. Note each of these measurements. Add 4 inches to the girth measurement to allow for overlap. Sketch out a half template of the desired length by half the width. Add a curve at the collar area, with enough length added for Velcro fastener tabs. You can create a vest harness that is the length of the underside or curve the top of the vest to create a cloth dog harness that has a bit more style and warmth. Double check your measurements before you move on with your dog harness. Cut out your template.
Choose fabrics suited to your dog's size and your climate. You can make your dog harness out of simple cotton fabrics or heavy woolens. Cut pieces of your lining and outer fabrics large enough to accommodate your dog vest template when placed on the fold. Iron interfacing onto the wrong side of the outer fabric. Then fold the outer and lining fabrics in half, right sides together. Next, pin the template into place on the fold and cut through both fabrics, allowing a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Sew the lining and outer fabrics right sides together, leaving a 2-to-3-inch opening for turning. Turn right-side out and topstitch the opening closed. Create a stitched and interfaced strip of fabric or use a woven ribbon to secure a D-ring to attach a leash. Sew the band of fabric or ribbon along the spine of the dog harness. Stop sewing and thread the D-ring onto the ribbon just behind the opening for the dog's front legs. Finish sewing the ribbon into place. Attach Velcro to the collar fastener tabs and those on the underside of the dog harness using a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.
With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.