Living in Wisconsin, the winters can get pretty cold (as can the early springs and late falls). Being only 20 pounds, Tasha gets pretty cold. I mean, I do too, I think everyone does, but this post is about her. In order for her to actually get outside to use the bathroom in the winter, we have to put a coat on her. Last year we got two, a fleece one and a puffer one from Amazon.

The issue we soon found out was if we took her to the dog park in the spring or fall, they got muddy and dirty fast. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the gunk that would get into the velcro on her stomach. Maybe people with less small and athletic dogs have fewer of these issues, but with the dog I have, I was going insane trying to wash the jackets all the time. However, I was not willing to spend $20 or more to have the extra jackets. Especially when I would love to have one for every day of the week. So, I decided to make my own. I am very glad I did because they cost me less than $5 a piece.

The first step is to measure your dog. I took three measurements: her neck to the base of her tail, her girth, and her neck circumference. Her girth was taken at her widest part.

To make your pattern, grab a large sheet of paper, or if you have it, pattern paper. I didn’t have either so I just taped together six pieces of printer paper. For your reference, here are Tasha’s measurements:

Neck to Tail: 14″
Girth: 20″
Neck Circumference: 12.5″

Now it’s time to do some math!!! For the neck circumference, add 1″ for seam allowance. For the neck to tail, add 1″ for seam allowance. For your long belly strap measurement, take your girth and divide it by 2. For the Back width, use the same number as your long belly strap. Your short belly strap will be 2″. For the neck collar, take the neck circumference and subtract 1″. So, for Tasha, I needed:

Back Length: 15″
Back Width: 10″
Neck Collar: 11.5″
Long Belly Strap: 10″
Short Belly Strap: 2″
Neck Circumference Straps: 13.5″

Starting in the top left corner of your paper, make a mark. Measure across the top of your paper your neck circumference straps measurement, making sure to make a mark for the center. From this center mark, measure directly down your page and put a mark for the back length measurement. Now you should have 4 marks on your page in a T shape. I made the neck straps three inches thick to make about 2 inch straps when I was done. So, I drew a vertical line three inches long down from both of my neck strap markings. Next, I went 6″ down from the top mark and made a little hatch mark, this is just a place holder. From that marker, I took the back width measurement and divided it by two. In my case that makes 5″. I put a mark 5″ away from my place holder on either side. These are where my belly straps start. On the left side I went another 2″ over and made a mark, on the left side I went the length of my long belly strap and made a mark. I made both straps 3″ thick including seam allowance. Right now you should have a piece of paper with markings that look similar to this:

Now it is time to connect some lines. Connect the top of the neck straps with a straight line. Connect the top of your belly straps to your main body markings. Connect the bottom of the neck straps to the main body markings using a curved line. Use the two main body markings and the end of the back marking in a fat “U” shape. Connect the top and bottom of the belly straps to the U using horizontal lines. Find an empty spot on you page and draw a rectangle that has the width of your neck collar measurement and is 3″ tall. Your pattern is now done and should look like this:

Please excuse the fact that my pattern is sideways.

Next step, cut out your pattern! Please remember to keep your belly straps connected to the rest of the jacket. When your pattern is cut out, you should have two pieces. Use the pattern to cut out your fabric. You need two pieces of fleece fabric and it is easiest if you line them up and cut them out at the same time. I got my fleece on a great sale at Joann Fabrics. July is a wonderful time to get fleece and other winter fabrics.

Now, you pin your fleece pieces together. I am new to sewing so I always do pin overkill. Next sew all the sides of the main piece together with a straight stitch except the top and the end of the short belly strap. In the picture the areas not sewn are indicated with pins! As I said, I am very new to sewing so my lines aren’t very straight. Please don’t judge me, I’m learning!

For the neck collar, sew the two short sides and one of the long sides. Then, turn the neck collar right side out.

Neck Collar turned right side out…here is my other fabric.

The next step is a little tricky so pay attention! You now should put the neck collar centered inside your top edge of your main piece so that the fleece patterns match (ie, paws to paws) and the raw edge is just outside of your main piece (so that you can make sure it can sew all the pieces together) I tried to take a picture of this. Please contact me if you are at all confused.

Paws to paws and plaid to plaid.

Pin the four pieces together and sew. My machine wasn’t the happiest with this amount of fabric so it slowed down significantly. You may want to adjust the pressure on your machine’s pressure foot. I made it through, but it was quite slow going.

Next, use the end of the short belly strap where you didn’t sew to turn the entire jacket right side out. Hand stitch the hole closed.

Ta Da!!

The only thing left is to add the closures!!

For the closures, cut a piece of 1″ polypropylene webbing about 2″ long and use a lighter to melt the ends. Put the female end of a plastic buckle through the piece and attach with pins to the short belly strap.


Sew the strap on using a “box x” stitch. You can find a good tutorial here.

For the long strap, attach about 10″ of polypro webbing about 5″ from the end using a “box x” stitch. Attach only one layer this time. Feed the tail of the webbing through the male side of the buckle and then finish off the other end by folding the end over and sewing over the nub multiple times (backwards and forwards).



Repeat sewing on the polypropylene webbing and the buckles for the neck straps. Remember, that you need less of a tail this time for the male end.

Here’s the finished product:



Please let me know if you have any questions! Tasha loves the new jacket and I wish I could have gotten better pictures of her in it, but she kept walking towards me whenever I tried to take a picture. She does love that it has enough room in the shoulders that she can lie down in it, which she can’t in her store bought ones. I will post a better picture if I can get one.


Post part of the Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party #21.


About Danielle Beranek

Life can get away from you when being young, married, and still fairly fresh out of college. Taking on a pet, student loans, going back to school, and soon a new house is enough to leave ones head spinning. For me, life is crazy, but only on the outside.
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3 Responses to DIY Dog Jackets

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  2. Pingback: Tuesday Tails: Pamper Your Pup for Less | Crazy on the Outside

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