How to Make a Recycled Dog Sweater

comments (33) January 12th, 2012     

Pin It

CalPatch cal patch, contributor
Love it! 420 users recommend
This old vest may not have been flattering on a human, but it looks adorable on Gertie!
This ill-proportioned vest is about to get a second wind.
Here are the pieces youll cut to make the dog sweater.
This old vest may not have been flattering on a human, but it looks adorable on Gertie!

This old vest may not have been flattering on a human, but it looks adorable on Gertie!

Photo: Cal Patch
1 | 2 | 3 | 4   All

Refashioning old or thrifted sweaters into dog sweaters is easy and fun. You'll be amazed at how even the ugliest sweater can take on a whole new look as canine couture! Case in point: this vest. I picked it up at the thrift store because the details in the knit are adorable, but this style would flatter no human! My little Gertie, on the other hand, will look smashing in it.


This ill-proportioned vest is about to get a second wind.


1. Start by measuring the pooch you intend to make it for. You'll need the following:

(A) neck circumference + 1 inch
(B) chest circumference (right behind the front legs) + 1 inch
(C) length from collar to tail + 1/2 inch
(D) underside length from collar to (just short of) the business end + 1 inch
(E) distance from collar down to front leg
(F) front leg circumference x 1/2

2. Now we can cut out our pieces. Utilizing the bottom rib, if your sweater has it, or the finished bottom edge, as the neckline, cut a rectangle that measures (A) wide (along the rib) by (C) long. Find the difference between (B) and (A) and add 1 inch to it. In my case, (B) – (A) was 3 inches, so adding 1 inch gave me 4 inches. From another piece of the sweater, cut a triangle this wide by (D) long. This will be the underside piece. Finally, cut off the neck or cuff rib of the original, to be used to finish the back edge. This is optional; it can also be hemmed or even left raw if the sweater is felted.


Here are the pieces you'll cut to make the dog sweater.


3. Stitching time! Pin the triangle piece to the main body piece, with right sides together, so that the point of the triangle is lined up with the beginning of the neck rib. If you don't have neck rib, pin it an inch or so down from the neck edge. The back edges won't match up because the underside of the sweater needs to be shorter than the top (especially for male dogs). Place one pin at (E) and another at (F), measured from (E). These will indicate the leg opening.


Pin the triangle to the body piece, placing pins at each end of the leg openings.

Now sew the seam with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Use a stretch stitch or small zigzag (I used 2mm by 2mm). Begin at the point of the triangle, backstitch, then proceed to the beginning of the leg opening and backstitch again. Skip past the leg opening and repeat for the other half of the seam. Then pin the triangle to the other side of the sweater and sew in the same manner. This time you will begin sewing all the way up at the top of the neck edge.


Pin and sew the other side.

This is how it will look when both seams are sewn.


4. Next, we'll finish the leg opening edges. From the wrong side of the sweater, use a wide zigzag to stitch one side of the seam allowance down to the body, catching the raw edge in the zigzag. Continue right past the leg opening, and you will hem it in the process. This reinforces the seam and keeps the edges from fraying. Do this for the remaining three seam allowances.


Anchor each side of the seam allowance down to the body with a wide zigzag stitch.

5. Lastly, finish the back edge. Trim the corners so they are rounded and blend in with the underside edge.


The back edge before trimming...

...and after rounding the corners.

Now you can either hem the edge or sew on some ribbing. I used some extra rib trim I cut from my sweater. Gertie's torso, like many dogs, gets much smaller at the waist, so the rib helps gather in the back to fit better. I cut my rib about three-quarters the length of the back edge, but you might cut it the same length if your dog is shaped differently.


Cut the back rib a little shorter if you want it to pull in the "waist."

Seam the short ends of the rib, and pin it to the edge of the sweater, right sides facing, stretching the rib to fit. Sew a 1/4-inch stretchable seam.


The back rib is pinned to the body.

The finished sweater. It will look so much better on a dog than it ever did on a person!


That's all there is to it!

 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4   All
Did you make this?
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery
 


 
posted in: sweater, pets, pet, dog

Comments (33)

EchoLin writes: Lovely, the dog is too lucky to dress this.
Posted: 3:03 am on April 16th
megabyte67 writes: I can't wait to try this! I just got a new doggie from the pound, and she needs a sweater. The other 2 have them, but I have so many old sweaters that I was going to donate, and I probably will a lot of them, but, I want all my doggies to be fashionable this winter.

I think we could probably move further in this with the crafty people to add on all sorts of things to this great design! Who needs to spend hundreds on cute little clothes for our furbabies? Not me! Or maybe we could offer a service or actually make them to sell.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Posted: 3:43 pm on January 7th
WisestofCrones writes: absoLUTEly PRECious. . .our two dacshunds will see if I've sewn them to their safisFACTion VERRRRRY soon!!
Posted: 5:34 pm on November 20th
soapchik writes: I love the fact I can restyle my old sweaters into a dog sweater. I have a rescued greyhound "Sugar", that has never seen snow. I'm heading for the closet NOW! Thanks for an awsome tutorial.
Posted: 3:41 pm on September 19th
rainwolfe writes: I can never find dog styles that fit my cat properly, so I've been wanting to figure out how to make clothes for her. She's a skinny little thing so she's always cold...
This is fantastic! Thanks!
Posted: 4:13 pm on February 22nd
BarnMomJen writes: Oh my!!! How adorable! My doxiedoodle LOVES her clothes and it's hard to find any that cover her tummy. I'm going to go find a sweater and give Gracie a new ensemble! Maybe even make legwarmers to match!
Posted: 6:56 pm on February 11th
granitatogo writes: Adorable! We have a sexy little dog who would look really classy in this nice sweater. The boy dogs will go crazy for her.
Posted: 2:10 am on January 29th
BastingGirl writes: I made one out of a brown Woolrich thrift store sweater for one of my doxies. He now looks very distinguished and probably needs a pipe. Can't wait to try it out with a funky sweater.

My mistakes were due to user error, not the instructions. I messed up on measurement E because I was watching TV at the same time. Need to measure from collar under neck to top of leg. I also read "business end" in measurement D to mean under the tail (again, not concentrating) so the coat turned out WAY too long.

Great tutorial and a fun project.
Posted: 2:50 pm on January 18th
Habby writes: I only have a small dog. I don't think he is big enough to recycle into a sweater.....
Posted: 1:06 pm on January 15th
Scheri writes: I will definitely give this a try
Posted: 2:25 pm on January 14th
soapguru writes: Dang, nabbit! That is totally adorable! My pup will look sooo fancy in just a few hours from now. Thanks
Posted: 10:13 am on January 14th
missy_niki writes: I have been wondering what to do with all the sweaters and sweatshirts I have around and now I do. Thanks for the suggestions
Posted: 10:42 pm on December 20th
dawntrederfarm writes: Great tutorial. I'm going thrift shopping right now!
Posted: 7:37 am on September 18th
dawntrederfarm writes: Great tutorial. My little Jack puppy will be grateful!
Posted: 7:30 am on September 18th
carein writes: I just love the sweater, our family has 2 chiwawa's (sp. i know) to dress this winter. great idea. Martinini & romeo will love them too. thanks
Posted: 9:57 am on November 24th
CalPatch writes: hi SweetPrincess, as long as your sweater is wool (or another animal-hair fiber) and you run it through the washer and (if not felted enough from the washer) the dryer, it should be fine when you cut it. if it still seems like it may unravel, do a row or two of zig-zag over the raw edges (after sewing the seams), or bind them with bias tape. hope that helps!
Posted: 3:58 pm on February 21st
SweetPrincess writes: I am interested in making this coat and i've found my sweater, but it's chunky knit, so my concern is if I cut it, it will unravel. Suggestions?
Posted: 5:51 pm on February 20th
dragonladyevelyn writes: I have a rather large dog she is part long haired red chow and part akita. She is 11 yrs old and such the Diva! I made her a Elisabethan collar crocheted for Christmas and I embellished it with big sparkly gems! She loves it! I just slip it over her head..She does have a skin problem and has lost some of her gorgeous long red hair so I have a couple vests I've been hanging on to because they are really cute..But I won't wear them! Thanks for this! I'm going to print it out so I'll have it..thanks again...evelyn
oh btw..her mixed breed I just call her a Chaquita...you know..like the banana? LOL..
Posted: 3:02 pm on February 18th
renees3 writes: i'm really bad at sewing, but I just finished my dogs sweater and it looks great! I love it! I plan on making more!!
Posted: 1:51 pm on February 17th
BellaBluegrass writes: Love it! I made my cat one last night: http://bellabluegrass.blogspot.com/
Posted: 2:19 pm on February 14th
sewing_green writes: Gertie is so cute in her sweater, that I had to make one for my pomeranian, Peaches! I used 2 felted wool sweaters because I didn't have enough ribbing from just one sweater. It turned out to be a nice contrast color. She looks very cute in it!
Posted: 12:57 am on February 10th
MeredithP writes: Gertie and her vest is so cute! Just short of wanting to get a tiny dog for my three cats. But seriously, that's a great vest.
Posted: 6:52 pm on February 9th
imjustso writes: Oh! Oh oh oh!!! I want your dog!!! *ahem* Very lovely project, as well.
Posted: 8:27 am on February 9th
Wynnettie writes: Hi,
I had no idea you could recycle dogs! :}
Posted: 10:48 pm on February 7th
ifthebirdsknew writes: OH gertie....you just look so darn gorgeous and wonderful...if only the chihuahua in my life loved me?! maybe if I made her a sweater as lovely as that she might turn her affections towards me? I will try, I will try.
Posted: 8:36 pm on February 7th
Mynkychelle writes: We have a tiny teacup chiuauah (think less than 6 inches from rear to nose!) and he stays cold this time of year and we couldn't find anything small enough to fit him! This i perfect! Thanks so much!!
Posted: 7:36 pm on February 7th
toady51 writes: Awesome. Have you seen the prices on retail dog sweaters? This will be on my project list, just as soon as I can figure out which sweaters from the 80's I'm willing to part with! (Maybe I'll just use my husband's)! Thanks.
Posted: 4:47 pm on February 7th
Dibble writes: Love the recycle sweater! I have done this with sweatshirts and T-shirts but had not made the leap to sweaters.--dd
Posted: 12:33 pm on February 7th
swimmom23325 writes: My kitty is an old lady and she's been wearing sweaters all winter...this looks cute she'll love it...no one tell her it's for a dog!
Posted: 6:22 am on February 7th
Girbska writes: Wow, i like it so much!!!
Posted: 10:36 am on February 5th
JenniferStern writes: Your tutorial makes me want to run out and get a little dog to dress up!
Posted: 6:08 pm on February 4th
kaytet writes: oh gertie looks so flipping cute in that sweater!
great tutorial too!
Posted: 3:21 pm on February 4th
VictoriaNorth writes: Definitely adorable. I don't think my cat would appreciate a sweater, but I am tempted.
Posted: 5:42 pm on February 3rd
You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.