Handmade Dog Clothingby Elle Di Jensen
You probably enjoy dressing your dog in clothing more than he actually likes wearing it. Of course, if the temperature is chilly he might appreciate a cozy sweater or an insulated coat to keep him warm during walkies. If you have a knack for sewing, you can create an entire wardrobe for your pooch, and even design and sew up matching outfits for you and your best friend.
From Basic to Intricate
From basic vests to frilly dresses with ruffles and embellishments, dogs have as much variety in clothing as humans do. Your level of skill in sewing will dictate how intricate you make Tiger's clothes, but the more clothing you make for him, the more advanced you'll become. You'll find patterns for vests, T-shirts, sweatshirts jackets and raincoats in different degrees of skill for dog parents of varying abilities.
Hand-Knit Dog Sweaters
Knitted items are fairly easy for a knitting dog parent to make. They're usually smaller than children's garments, even if your dog is on the large side, so they take less time to make than the typical knitting project. You'll find a variety of patterns whether you're searching the Internet or browsing the local yarn shop. Between hoodies, long-sleeved sweaters and simple patterns with just holes for Tiger's arms, you might have a hard time deciding which one to make first. Beginning knitters can turn out attractive, professional-looking dog sweaters using a round loom. Because these looms produce a knitted tube, you won't have any piecing together to do once you're done.
If you don't enjoy sewing from scratch, you can make almost-handmade dog clothes by repurposing other items. Socks make cute sweaters for tiny dogs such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies. All you have to do is cut the toes off and clip in some arm holes. Baby and child-sized clothes fit dogs, too, but you'll want to remove buttons and other small items that Tiger could chew off and accidentally swallow. Even your old sweatshirt can live a second life as a shirt for a larger dog. You'll need to cut the length of the sleeves down or remove them entirely, and take in the side seams, too, for a more custom fit.
You might have more fun dressing up your dog during Halloween than costuming your kids. He'll probably be more tolerant and grateful, too. You can hand-make Tiger his own costume, sewing a shirt or jacket and accessorizing it with items to complete his pirate, jailbird or cowboy look. You could also sew up a shirt out of yellow and black striped material and fasten on some lightweight cardboard wings to turn your dog into a bee. Add a pair of antennae attached to a headband. Or turn your little punkin into a little pumpkin by sewing a generously padded orange vest and topping him off with an orange beanie that has a green stem sewn to the top.
Make a Living at It
You might enjoy sewing for Tiger so much that you could end up making a living in canine couture. According to the American Pet Products Association, pet parents in the U.S. spent over $53 billion on their beloved furry babies in 2012. Help yourself to a slice of that retail pie by sewing up some of Tiger's favorite patterns and selling them online, at flea markets or craft fairs. You might even try your hand at designing a few items so you can charge more for "exclusive creations."
- How to Start a Self-Publishing Internet Business: From Your Kitchen Table; Sal Melendez
- DogChannel.com: Designer’s Dog Fashions Are Big Hit with Celebrities
- CatChannel.com: National Dress Up Your Pet Day
- Dog Trick Or Cat Treat: Pets Dress Up for Halloween; Archie Klondike
- Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores: Easy-to-Loom Dog Sweater
- American Pet Products Association: U.S. Pet Industry Spending Figures and Future Outlook
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images