Since we got a whippet puppy in the winter, I've been making coats for a few months now to keep her warmand as an outlet for my creativity. In truth, because she's growing so fast, I'm getting quite proficient at it by sheer repetition. I can make one in under 30 minutes now which has come in handy for when we want a cute little outfit for our walks.If only it was so easy to make clothes for me!
One day when we were in Steveston, we met another whippet family (Al Thiessen with Kaden and Halley, and realised it was time for something warmer for our little girl after checking out their professional looking duds.
'Something with SHERPA!' I considered.
I had previously been using polar fleece lined with quilting, but I could definitely see the benefits of the soft warm sherpa, on top of looking rather chic.
First I started by free hand drawing a dog coat. Guessing what it should look like. I knew I wanted some sort of collar for the neck to keep the rain out, and it had to be skinnier near her belly to accomodate her whippet body shape.... My best friend Jenny and I are great friends, but I think my freestyled approach to cooking, dancing, baking (with disastrous results) and sewing are where we differ. She's a by the rules kinda girl (she counts her chocolate chips when she makes cookies), and I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kinda gal (yeah just throw a handful in! YA MOAR!!). We're like Ying and Yang, Cheech and Chong (I get to be Cheech).
Anyways, back to sewing. I pinned my makeshift pattern to some cloth I bought from Jysk for only $1/yard. It's good solid cotton, but completely guilt free for my mistake ridden style of sewing since it wasn't very expensive. I cut it out with scissors, then sewed the pieces together (by the chest, and the back)
Next.... getting it on the test subject :) Here's Minka wearing the frock, but none too impressed. She has no idea how cool she'll look after. I can't wait to make my kids have this same expression. :P
I felt the fit was ok but I made a few more alterations. I just basted any darts I planned in putting in later so I could see how it'd look. Once I was happy with my fit, I pinned my new pattern to the waterproof material using small pins (I can't imagine using a large pin and leaving food holes is a good idea) and cut it out.leaving a seam allowance.I folded the red material in half, so I wouldn't have to cut it out twice. If you don't do this, you need to flip the pattern to get the other side, or you'll end up with two of the same side.
I then laid this ontop of the sherpa. bad side to bad side and cut them out the same.
By this time I have two pieces of red, and two pieces of sherpa. One of each for each side of the dog.
Next it was time to pick the trim. I found some nice hot pink grosgrain at Dressew for a steal of a price, but I also had this lovely red and brown sparrow ribbon from Paper-Ya on Granville Island, that I was saving to make a leash and I thought a matching coat with leash would look pretty slick. Being a big fan of strawberries I had to try out some Shinzi Katoh ribbon too, but it was too small. I felt it needed something chunkier... I called in my design expert, Jong, and he deemed the pink as the best choice. Surprising since he's very manly, and into natural things like bonsai, I thought the birds would have been his obvious choice but my man still surprises me sometimes.
I laid the ribbon on the coat making sure they matched up. Now its minor, but I've felt this part was a bit of a mistake on my end. I did a Chevron, but I think a reverse chevron would have looked better. The outward lines made her butt look pretty chunky. Next time I plan on inverting it.
By this point I was getting impatient with documenting each step (sorry!) so I'll just have to give a quick rundown.
I sewed the ribbon onto the red fabric using a straight stitch on my Singer Featherweight. Sew the red pieces together along the back, making a special slit for a leash (this I might need to document sometime if anyone asks), Do the same on the sheepskin. Put the good sides together, and sewed from the chest to the bum, leaving a space big enough to invert the cloth. Do not sew the neck. (learned the hard way not to do this as it makes it like a donut and impossible to flip). Handsew that hole closed and the neck. Reinforce the leash hole with a bit of sewing with matching thread.