DIY: Oilcloth Dog Coat

Cute coat!   Check out this great tutorial for a canine rain coat using oil cloth—the vinyl coated material used to make tablecloths, tote bags, etc.  Oil cloth is waterproof, easy to clean, and now comes great patterns.

Heather, of Heatherly Loves, used an old dog coat as a pattern to cut out pieces from some oil cloth she had left over from another project.  She used left-over knit fabric to line the coat, but knit can be fussy to sew.  I would either not line the coat or would use flannel or light fleece.  The result is a very functional, thrifty rain coat that looks really cute.  I like that the belly strap is further back, though you’ll want to be sure a male dog won’t get pee on it.  Saffron still shakes herself off even when wearing a coat and it always leaves the end of her coat flipped up.  Having the strap further back might keep this from happening.

If you need it, here is a dog coat pattern that also covers the underside of a dog.  This second pattern can be printed out and taped together.  Need to custom fit a pattern?  Check out this tutorial for customizing a pattern to your dog’s measurements.  Finally, if you have left-over oil cloth, you can make a matching, foldable travel bowl for your pup.

DIY: Cardigan Dog Coat

After a little stutter of snow yesterday, it’s actually snowing with some conviction here in our corner of the Pacific NW.  So here’s a clever project that recycles an old, wool women’s cardigan into a cute coat for a smallish dog. A large men’s sweater would work for at least a mid-sized dog.  Make sure you use a wool sweater, otherwise it won’t felt.  Don’t have an old sweater around?  Get thee to your thrift store and find one for cheap.  Be sure it’s larger than your pup, because it will shrink when you felt it.

Felted knits handle more like fabric and are more durable.  (Here are a few tutorials on felting, in case you need them: this one covers both hand & machine felting, here is a printable one on machine felting, and another on hand felting.)

The tutorial has you fitting the sweater by pinning it while it’s on your dog.  This seems like A Very Bad Idea.  I think a better idea would be to mark the sweater where you have it pinched to take up the excess material.  It might not be as precise, but you also won’t risk poking holes in your dog or yourself, which sounds much more pleasant to me.  If you’re making one for a larger dog, I’d check the length of the sleeves before you cut them off.

So check out the tutorial and don’t miss the video that also shows how to make the cardigan dog coat. It can give you a better idea of how this project works.

DIY: Easy Cooler Coat

Is it toasty where you are?  Some dogs are especially sensitive to heat and others, like my Saffron, often look for shady places on our summer walks.  Your dog doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.

Here’s a great project (from Finland, nifty!) for a DIY version of the cooler coats like the Swamp Cooler, the Keep Cool Coat, or the Cool K-9 Cooling Vest. All of them use evaporative cooling to keep your dog from over-heating, though obviously you shouldn’t rely on it to keep your dog cool in a locked car or anything like that.

Once your DIY Cooler Coat is finished, just soak it in cool water, ring it out lightly, and place it on your dog.

You’ll need:

  • an old towel (try a thrift store if you don’t have one) or terry cloth yardage, amount depends on size of dog
  • seam binder (at least 1.5″ wide)
  • velcro
  • sewing machine
  • thread

The instructions recommend leaving the collar off this pattern when making the Cooler Coat.  They also suggest fitting the velcro closure on the neck before working on the stomach closure.

Dog Walking Jacket

dogwalkingjacketLet’s Go Design has a jacket just for walking your dog called the K-Rosco. Cool idea!

It’s a 4 in 1 jacket that works for all seasons:

  1. Full jacket with removable fleece liner
  2. Water proof shell with adjustable hood that folds into collar
  3. Vest
  4. Fleece jacket

I like that it has:

  • lots of pockets, including one with a grommet hole for dispensing bags for scooping poop, so you’ll always have what ever you might need on your walk
  • a retractable key chain
  • a leash for a belt—handy if you’re one of those people who finds lost dogs
  • carabiners attached to the leash belt for hands-free walking
  • lots of reflective piping for safety
  • a back mesh pocket for a water bottle

It’s not available in Men’s sizes yet, but will be soon.

DIY: Custom Fit Dog Jacket

I found a great little tutorial on making a custom fit dog jacket over at This is mainly a tutorial on making & customizing the pattern, not actually sewing the jacket.  You’ll need some knowledge about sewing, especially if you line the jacket.  But, this is doable so don’t be intimidated.


Your jacket doesn’t have to cost much.  Look for remnants at your fabric store—a cute, durable upholstery fabric could be really cute.  You could also use fleece.   Or you could use a blanket from a thrift store.  If you find a fun wool blanket, you could felt it to make a more durable & very cute jacket.

Here are a few tutorials on felting:  this one covers both hand & machine felting, here is a printable one on machine felting, and another on hand felting.

In addition to fabric, you’ll need:

  • paper to make the pattern
  • sufficient fabric, plus fabric for lining if you plan to line it
  • fasteners like buttons, velcro, snaps
  • embellishments if you want them

The tutorial shows you how and where to measure.  Then how to transfer the measurements to paper to make the pattern.

Here are some instructions to help flesh out Step 4:

  1. fold your fabric in half & place “spine” of pattern on the fold
  2. when you cut the fabric, pad the pattern with extra fabric for seam allowances (5/8″ or 1.5cm is standard) unless you’re using fabric that won’t fray such as felt
  3. add tabs for fasteners
  4. cut out lining if needed, again padding the pattern for seam allowances as above
  5. if there will be no lining, hem the jacket
  6. if there will be a lining, place RIGHT sides together, sew leaving opening to turn the jacket, turn and finish the jacket
  7. add fasteners and any embellishments