Thursday, July 12, 2012


Making a COOLING DOG VEST is simple.
 I began by measuring my dog.  I took his measurements from his collar to his back legs.  Then I measured from just behind his left front leg to his right front leg.  I also took a measurement of the back legs this way.  Next, I placed a piece of paper on his back and sort of wrapped it around him.  (You could use wrapping paper if you have a large dog.) With a marker I drew lines where his hind legs were and the places where I wanted the vest to sit.  This makes a pretty RUFF (LOL :]) pattern for the vest.  Between your measurements and the pattern you should be able to fit your dog pretty well.  

 This is the pattern I ended up with. It wound up fitting Eddie really well.  GOOD JOB, ME!

So here is the deal...I have a very small dog.  The pockets need to  be in scale with the dog.  I picked a pair of child's cargo pants so the pockets will fit my dog.  If your dog is bigger pick bigger pants.

First, laying the pants out flat, cut out the inseam. 

Next, cut the leg straight  across as high up as you can.  This will give you plenty of material to work with.   I have made several different cooling vests this week.  I have chosen the best pictures from the ones I have made.  Please excuse the varying colors.  :]

Now, cut the lower portion of  the pant leg from the cargo pocket portion of the pant leg. I had previously measured Eddie from the front legs to the back in order to get the length of fabric I needed too cover the length of his back.  Eddie is 10 inches from front to back leg, I added 2 inches in order to have enough sewing allowance. 

Aline the cargo pockets together to form the top layer of the vest and sew right sides together.  Some of the cargo pants I used were capri length, so I also alined the bottom cuff of the pant, and with right sides together sewed the lower leg portion together.  (as seen in photo below)

My Mother taught me that the most important part about sewing is ironing.  For a long time I did not believe her and tried to do my projects without ironing.  I am smarter and wiser now (that means old) and now I iron. 

Next place both the cargo pocket and leg pieces right sides together, place the pattern of your dog being careful to get as much of the cargo pockets in the pattern as possible.  My dog is smaller and his pattern does not always fit into the allotted pocket space.  I have found this does not matter.  It seals back up when sewed.

I used a black marker to make a one inch seam allowance around the pattern.  Then, I cut out around the black line. 

The vest is suppose to have a open end where you can insert a plastic bag.  This helps keep the dog vest water proof.  The plastic bag sits between the cargo pockets and the bottom layer of the vest this way the upper layer can be wet but keep your dog dry.  I sewed a hem separately on each the pocket layer and the bottom layer. 

I then made "straps" that I added to the vest.  These help keep the vest on your dog.  I made them out of the unused fabric from the pants.  I simply cut out the sizes I needed, folded  the right sides together and sewed an elongated pocket out of the fabric.  You will need to make five of these 4 of them will be to hold the vest onto your dog underneath the legs the fifth will be to snap around his collar to keep the vest from sliding off.  

 After you have turned the "straps" right side out, to make my Mom happy you should iron them so they are really nice.  Next, place them facing inward on the right side of the bottom layer in the appropriate places.  Two for each side and one for the top. 

 Placing the cargo pocket layer on top of the "straps" and bottom layer with right sides together pin around the edges.  This will make sure that your "straps" stay in place.  Don't skip this step.  You will be sorry!  After pinning, sew the sides and the top together, leaving open the bottom portion that has already been hemmed.
Once the 3 sides have been sewn, turn the vest right side out through bottom where the edges were previously hemmed in.  Now a nice "once-over" with the iron and everything will be dandy.  

You are ready for the attachments.  I use snaps.  I do this because sometimes by this point I just want to be done. I don't want to sew button holes.  I find with a project like this snaps work perfectly.  One quick WACK with the hammer and a snap is done! Yea!!!

Slip a plastic bag into the bottom of the vest, load up the pockets with ice or ice packs. You can also wet the upper portion of the vest  with cold water and you and your beloved dog are ready for a hot day. 

Thanks for being such a good dog Eddie Bowers! You are a great little model!!!

1 comment:

  1. This makes a pretty RUFF (LOL :]) pattern for the vest. Between your ...