Making the Tailored Dog Jacket is truly a labor of love. Which is fitting, because I’m on a mission to help more pets feel loved.
After the designing phase (a previous blog post in case you missed it) of the jacket comes the making phase. This is where I get to obsess over every cut, stitch, thread, and press.
The making process really begins with choosing good sport jacket options at the thrift store. I look for 100% wool or cotton, minimal wear and tear, and patterns that look classic and timeless (not tacky or trendy). The natural fibers help make the pieces feel good to use, making the finished jackets soft and flexible. After washing to clean them up and remove odors — and to make sure the integrity of the fabric holds up — the jackets are hung to dry. Then I deconstruct them to reclaim the wool pieces and prepare them for cutting to my pattern.
I carefully lay out the pattern pieces on the wool fabric to align the direction of the woven pattern the way I want it. For the accents and lining fabrics, I select a cotton fabric (100% cotton is my top choice) and cut those pieces out as well.
Putting it all together
After everything is cut, it’s time to prepare the pieces for construction. This prep stage serves a few purposes:
- some of the fabric edges need to be finished to prevent unraveling from the inside
- the center back seam is finished with a technique that both seals in the raw edge of the reclaimed fabric and adds personality to the jacket
- hidden inside the back seam is a hole for a harness, if you have the style that hooks at the shoulders
- the individual pieces need to be put together to prepare for assembly
At each step of the way, the jacket is pressed for a crisp, professional structure and the pieces are checked for accuracy and quality.
Once the pieces are prepped, construction can begin. The jacket is fully lined, so at this stage I sew the lining to the exterior. Attaching the collar band takes a few steps:
- first one edge is sewn on by machine
- then it’s turned to the inside and finished by hand stitching it to the lining
I like to complete the collar this way because it makes an almost-invisible seam and looks so clean and sharp.
Finally, the jacket is finished by positioning the buttons carefully for a smooth even fit, and and hand-sewn with shanks (this basically means little stacks of thread that hold the button away from the jacket by a small amount, allowing for better wear with the buttonhole).
Even though — or perhaps because — these jackets are an enormous amount of work, every time I sew on the final button it’s such a satisfying feeling.
Getting the jackets ready for you to buy
The last step is to wash, air dry, and press them. I like to run them through the washing machine (in the muslin pouch I provide with each purchase) in cold water on the gentle cycle to ensure that they go through OK and nothing unusual happens. As sad as that would be, I’d much rather it happen here than the first time a customer washes it.
After they’re finished comes the posting-for-sale stage! If you’d like to see the Tailored Dog Jackets visit my Etsy shop.