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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

SEW THIS: Puppy Hoodies

Something happened this weekend. Something that has been threatening for many months, but has never come to fruition... until now. This weekend my husband and I were shopping. I picked up an article that struck my fancy... looked at the price tag and said, "20 bucks for this? I could make this for nothing!" That's not the remarkable part of the story, because I have done that very thing about a million times before in my lifetime. The remarkable part is I went home... and I did it. I made it. Actually, I made two. It was a very big moment for me.
Here's how the story starts: When we took the boys for a walk Saturday, their dad mentioned it was getting cooler and soon it would be too cold to walk outside. The boys were horrified at that news. Walking is their absolute most favorite thing in the whole wide world... (although, snuggling with Dad is a close second.)

Ha! I just had to include that picture.
Anyway, we went to PetSmart later to buy dog food, and marched by a rack of doggie sweaters. I am generally against dressing dogs in clothes, but I started to consider because I would love to find a way to extend their walking season... and it gets super cold in the stupid mid-west. Anyway, that thing mention above happened, and there is no way I am paying 20 bucks a piece for my two dogs to have walking sweaters. Soooo... I went home, grabbed a pair of sweatpants out of my trash bin, and went to work. The result was not only successful and functional, but also pretty darn cute... AND did not cost me a thing, as all material came out of my 'trash' pile or scrap pile. I'm not only Dog Mom, I am SUPER DOG MOM. Whoo-hoo.

Aren't they cute? I love Winnie's modeling skills here...

Here's a tutorial for the hoodie, as modeled by Winston

Puppy Hoodie

1) I started by pulling a pair of sweatpants and cutting them apart at the seams. Next I measured my Puppy: Around the neck, around the chest (behind the legs), and from base of the neck to the base of the tail.
2) Using your measurements, you will cut out this basic shape. (Yes, you need that part to cut up slightly in the back... especially if you have boy dogs, as you don't want the buggers peeing all over your sweatshirt.)
(My dog's measurements were neck 14 in, chest 20 in -- note how I allowed extra room for seam allowances, and comfort. And... larger around the neck, I didn't want it tight there.)

3) Next cut a rectangle for the hood. The neck should be 2-ish  inches shorter than the neck opening on the body (My rectangle was about 6.5x13), fold in half and round the upper corner closest to the fold.

With right sides together, sew along the top (curved) edge of the hood, clip curve. You can either fold under (hem) the front edge of the hood (opposite the fold) OR do what I did, sew on an extra 1" casing. (Sorry I don't have a good pic of this process. I cut a strip 2"x14" folded in half log ways with wrong sides together. Pinned and sewed with right side of hood to 'right' side of strip, flipped it out and ironed it flat.)
Pin bottom edge of hood to neck opening of body, right sides together, sew together.
(here's the corner/edge of my hood stitched to the neck opening of the body.)
4) Pin right sides together and sew just along the bottom 'chest' part of the body. (stop about 1.5 inches from hood, and at the bottom, where it cuts away:

The un-sewn space between the hood and chest, fold over a small hem, pin and sew down:

5) Next, add the 'sleeves'. My dogs legs measured 3.5" apart across his chest, so I knew I needed the sleeves to start there. Pick a round object approx the size of your dog's leg at the top (I used a roll of tape). Flip the hoodie inside out, lay flat (in half) and pin through both layers. Lay measure half the distance between the legs, then trace your object:

With halves pinned together (you might want to pin specifically around your armhole you have traced) cut through both layers to create your arm hole.

Measure around your round object... Mine was 7 in. Cut two rectangles 4"x7.5". Fold rectangles in half lengthwise with wrong sides together, and overcast along the long side. (I made a seam 1/4" in along the opposite side (fold) just because I thought it would look cooler, you can, you don't have to.)

Fold each in half again, matching the raw edges, pin and sew together.

Now, take the 'tube' you have made and turn the seam to the inside. Insert the sleeve into the arm hole you cut, right sides together.

Pin and sew in place. Repeat for the other sleeve...

6) Now add the pocket... I made a traditional 'hoodie' style pocket, but you could make whatever shape you want. I cut out my shape and ironed and sewed down the pocket openings:

Next I ironed down the three other sides (but not the bottom edge, because that will be part of the hem on the whole sweat shirt.) Center along back bottom of sweatshirt, pin in place and sew down.

7) I wanted to personalize mine... so I added a little felt letter at this point. Used applique technique from here, only I just did a normal stitch with my machine around the outer edge... nice and simple.

8) Turn up a 1/4" hem around the bottom edge (should be the only raw edge you have left...) Going around the curve was a little tricky for me, but the sweatshirt fabric is forgiving...

9) Almost done! One more quick detail: At the center, base if the hood, sew a large 'button hole'. (This will be to slip a leash through)

10) YAY! All done!
(Don't judge me for the messy basement in the background...)
Now find your pooch... and photoshoot!
Charlie's sweatshirt didn't have a hood... and he got a pocket with a C on it.
(I know the dogs look less than happy about this photoshoot... but they do like their sweaters, or didn't seem to mind them when we took them outside in the cool air for a walk. Here they are hacked because it was like, 1:30 and I woke them, to dress them and have a photoshoot. I am a bad mom. It's a good thing I only have dogs... and no kids.) Anyway... the sweatshirts turned out really cute, and even my mom, the REAL seamstress inspected them and said I did a passing job-- especially for having no pattern! Whoo hoo!
I hope this tutorial made sense... or at least enough to give you some ideas of what you can do on your own. I was pretty pleased that these cute new jackets came from trash bin sweatpants... Maybe I have challenged you to rethink a use for something in your trash bin... hmmm...


  1. Those rock! I wish I had your sewing skills...my corgis would look good in these!

  2. Thank you, you are very kind. :)

  3. Amazing! I don't think that I could pull that off, but you sure did a great job!