Monday, May 18, 2015

Big cold doggies need your help!

When we Facebooked a photo a while back showing a greyhound sitting on some fabric and pattern pieces, it had possibly the most 'likes' of any Drapery post, ever. So we know there are plenty of dog-overs out there! It also started a conversation with the RSPCA Lonsdale Shelter. They need YOUR HELP!

Could you sew a coat to keep a large rescue dog warm this winter? They often receive small dog coats but larger sizes are desperately needed.

Just make a coat (or several), using the tutorial below or your own pattern, and bring them to The Drapery as soon as you can. We'll see them safely delivered to the RSPCA. (Of course, you can post or take them to the RSPCA directly if you prefer: 25 Meyer Road, Lonsdale SA 5160.)

This tutorial is for a quilted and bound coat. If you have some fabric in your stash that's warm enough as a single layer, e.g. polar fleece or felted wool, you could easily use the same shape and skip the quilting layers. If you have a large dog, you may like to measure the pattern against your pooch and make adjustments to suit; a variety of shapes would probably be helpful. Whatever pattern or fabric you use, just make sure it's:

- machine washable
- won't take too long to dry
- Medium to Extra-Large dog sized
- preferably with adjustable velcro closure.

What a great way to use up some mid-sized pieces in your fabric stash - and know they're going to be well-used and appreciated!

If you're in the shop we are very happy to trace off a quick brown-paper-copy of this simple pattern for you to take home. Otherwise, it should be pretty simple to draw one up following the images below.

*** The RSPCA is going to provide us with some measurements for Medium and Extra Large dogs to help if you would like to adjust the following pattern. This post will be updated when info available. ***


For quilted version you will need:
  • 2 pieces of fabric, at least 60 x 75cm each, prewashed, plus extra for binding
  • 1 piece of quilt batting, 60 x 75cm (we used our wool batting for warmth)
  • 13" (30cm) of wide elastic (we used our 1/5" wide) 
  • piece of velcro, about 7cm long (velcro available at The Drapery).

Please excuse mixing of metric and imperial throughout... it's a sewing thing isn't it?

Sketch out the following on a rectangle of paper. 
 Close-up photos show dimensions of front and back darts.

 Place pattern on the fold of fabric and cut one of each fabric and batting.

 Mark and sew back and front darts on each piece.
Trim excess fabric from inside darts and press seams open.

 Layer the 3 pieces to form a 'quilt sandwich' with right sides of fabrics facing outwards, and baste with pins. The darts mean it won't sit flat, so this takes a little bit of fiddling.
 Quilt with your preferred method. The darts also mean it's difficult to make straight lines all over so here I chose to make deliberately wonky lines using different coloured topstitching threads I had in my stash. If you're good at free-motion quilting, now would be a great time to go wild!

 Check both sides of the quilted coat and trim off any uneven edges.
 Cut 2" wide bias strips and join enough to go right around. Pin right-side-down, edges matching, on the underside of the coat.
 When the ends meet up, mark that spot then sew the ends together, trim and press the seam open.

 Sew the binding down at about 3/8". It will probably buckle and fold a bit as you go around the tighter curves but don't fuss too much: it's a dog coat.
 Then fold the binding around to the other side, turn the edge under, pin and topstitch down. (Trim away a bit of seam allowance if you need to, to help it wrap neatly around.)
 Nearly done!
 Take 8.5" of your elastic and place it on the binding around the centre of one side, using the mark on the pattern piece as a guide. Fold the raw end under, pin and stitch down firmly. I used a short and narrow zigzag.
 Attach the remaining 4.5" elastic in the same manner to the two front tabs to form the neck closure.
On the opposite side of the coat to where you attached the elastic, sew the furry side of your velcro, matching the position of the elastic. Sew the 'hook' side of your velcro to the end of the elastic. This piece can be shorter than the furry piece. Round off the corners of the velcro to help avoid any scratchy bits. 

And done!

 My model was not very interested in standing still. At least this design allows for good freedom of movement!

 We, and the RSPCA Lonsdale Shelter, and countless dogs, will be very grateful for every dog coat received. Thanks in advance!

- Jane & Fiona xx

PS anyone may feel free to use this pattern and tutorial to sew for an animal rescue organisation of their choice, or for their own pets, but we would appreciate links/credits where appropriate, thanks.


  1. Big cold doggies need your help! = Best charity tagline ever. So so cute!!!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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