The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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DIY Dog Fashions on a Bare Bones Budget: Save Money Recycling Old Sweaters & Shirts to Make Cheap, Attractive Dog Winter Clothes & Raincoats

By Vicki McClure Davidson

 

Man's best friend can be quite tolerant of inclement weather, but sometimes, in those regions that have bitterly cold days and nights, it's preferred to keep your dog warm when taking him or her out for a walk or on a trip with an extra layer of insulation from a wrap, sweater, or coat.

Even in warmer regions, like my state of Arizona, a doggie shirt or sweater may be needed several months out of the year when the temps drop. When there's a light shower outside, a water-repellent raincoat will keep your dog drier, warmer, and more comfortable than he or she would be otherwise.

The cost of protective apparel for dogs is surprisingly pricey, considering the scant amount of fabric or yarn that is used in a small sweater or shirt. Bigger dogs' clothes obviously cost more. Many dog clothing items can run as high as $40 (ouch!), some even higher depending on the pet store in which it's bought, which can really ding a tight budget. However, financially strapped pet owners need not despair nor break their budgets — frugal DIY to the rescue!

Save money and recycle — you can easily and cheaply make your four-legged best friend snuggly, warm winter clothes from old sweaters, T-shirts, or sweatshirts that are languishing in your drawers or closets. If you don't have any that you're willing to part with, gently used winter wear can usually be bought for no more than a buck or two at garage sales or flea markets (especially during the summer months) or at local thrift stores. Pick fabrics that can be home laundered and are somewhat durable. Other than that, you can easily transform all sorts of used articles of human clothing into attractive and protective cover-ups for Max or Princess.

There are several websites that offer patterns or instructions for making dog clothes, and there are many styles and sizes of dog clothes and dog coat patterns from which to choose at Amazon.com. A few websites you can also check out: How-To Dog Clothes at About.com, CraftStylish, Ehow, Sew Delish, and Pawesome.

To inspire your creative DIY muse, below are photos and how-to videos of a range of canine apparel that can be easily made from recycled human clothing or materials, or were crocheted. Your dog doesn't care what the sweater or wrap looks like, so the aesthetics of the garb is solely up to you. Make sure the end product is loose enough not to bind or inhibit your dog's mobility, but not so large that it slips around.

Pet owner and photographer Earthworm wrote this on Flickr about the frugal and functional (and cute) raincoats she made for her two dogs, Myles and Rudy:

I got the cycling jacket at a thrift store for $6. It created a sauna effect when I wore it, so I decided I would make Myles a coat out of it and downloaded a pattern from the net. Myles refused to go out in the rain, so I didn't make it, but over time, both he and Rudy were willing to face a very light drizzle.

Then last Wednesday, they went out when it was raining substantially because they saw another dog out walking. But they came back wet, so I needed coats right away since forecast was for rain through the week. Then on Friday, a client donated some clothing and there was a soft fleece shirt that was perfect for the lining. I was going to use a flannel sheet, but the fleece will attract less water.

DIY dog fashions, recycled clothes

DIY Dog Fashion: Used Cycling Jacket and Fleece Shirt Used to Make Dog Raincoats | Photo credit: Earthworm, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

DIY dog fashions, recycled clothes

DIY Dog Fashion: New Raincoats for Myles and Rudy, Front and Back Views | Photo credit: Earthworm, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

DIY dog fashions, recycled clothes

DIY Dog Fashion: Side View of New Raincoats for Myles and Rudy | Photo credit: Earthworm, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

More cute canine fashion ideas, some made from scratch, others from recycled clothing and fabrics:

DIY dog fashions, recycled clothes

Soft dog wrap made from an old sweater

DIY dog fashions

A 1970s-inspired turtleneck sweater, crocheted, using retro Neapolitan colors of pink, white, and black

 

DIY dog fashions, recycled clothes and materials

Dog sweater made from woman's sweater

 

DIY dog fashions, recycled clothes and materials

A no-sew fleece dog sweater with matching dog bed blanket — information and links provided by photographer and crafter The Crafty Upcycler:

This photo captures the true Toby Toberman. He loves the camera and it shows. Such a DIVA!

This is an eco-friendly recycling craft idea. There is no sewing needed, only a pair of scissors, fleece sweat shirt, and a cute furry friend.

For a complete tutorial, go to meylah.com/NowThatsCrafty/no-sew-upcycled-dog-sweater-blanket-set-1

Provided under a creative commons share-alike license. Use freely but give attribution to "Things to Make, Charlotte Magno" and link to oknowthatscrafty.blogspot.com/

Follow me on twitter at twitter.com/NowThatsCrafty and Facebook at facebook.com/nowthatscrafty

 

The next four photos comprise a photo set that shows the "before and after" of a hooded adult human sweatshirt, recycled and transformed into a warm, doggie hoodie.

DIY dog fashions, recycled clothes

The hoodie sweatshirt before reconstruction. Dog is included in photograph to provide size comparison to zippered hooded sweatshirt | Photo credit: garann, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

DIY dog fashions, recycled clothes

Side view of finished doggie hoodie jacket using old hoodie sweatshirt | Photo credit: garann, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

DIY dog fashions, recycled clothes

Front view of finished doggie hoodie jacket using old hoodie sweatshirt | Photo credit: garann, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

DIY dog fashions, recycled clothes

Back view of finished doggie hoodie jacket using old hoodie sweatshirt | Photo credit: garann, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

DIY dog fashions, recycled clothes

Crocheted doggie turtleneck sweater, using pastel and earth tones

DIY dog fashions

Dog sweater made from recycling an old sweater vest

 

The following videos offer more ideas and tips on making dog fashions. In this first video, Angela Morris of Phoenix Thread demonstrates how to sew together used people clothing to create new dog clothing. The example used in the video is of a Green Bay Packers dog jersey.

How to Sew a Dog Shirt from Old Clothes

 

Make Dog Clothes Without a Sewing Machine

 

How to Make a Sweater for Your Dog - Easy, Stylish, No Knitting

 

If you're feeling a bit more ambitious and have crocheting skills (or are willing and able to learn), this next video provides how-to instructions on crocheting a dog sweater:

How to Crochet a Dog Sweater

 

How to Make a Dog Sweater from Recycled Baby Sweaters

 

How to Make a Dog Hoodie

 

 

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