Bark and Swagger

Design Your Own Dog Clothes: Your DIY Resource

Crocus Bubbles Handknit Sweater from Chien Coature

Fall is upon us and whether you live where it gets cold or in the tropics, it’s nice to have
something special for your fabulous fido to wear to ring in the new season. While there are many wonderful examples of dog fashion to choose from, some of us may be living on a tight budget or want to explore our own creativity, or both! We say, “Bravo!”

No need to go further than Bark and Swagger to find the tools you need to design your own beautiful dog clothes and do it well. You ready? Let’s get to it!

Decide on your Design

Here are some questions to answer to determine where to start in choosing a design:

  • Climate – where do you live and how cold or warm does it get in the fall/winter?
  • Need – does your pup need a new coat, sweater, t-shirt, dress?
  • Special occasion – is there an occasion coming up for which you’d like to design something special?

Let’s Get Started

First, you’ll need to measure your dog. The three  measurements necessary when making a dog garment are:

  • the length of your dog, from the base of it’s neck to the base of it’s tail
  • the girth, the total circumference of your dog 1″ behind it’s front legs
  • the circumference of it’s neck

Here’s a good diagram to illustrate this:–sizing.html

Choosing Your Fabric


Plaid Mohair Classic from Couture by Sophie

Consider the following when choosing your fabric. If you’re designing a dog coat for warmth, choosing a wool,  PVC (a man-made vinyl type material that doesn’t breathe but locks in warmth, and could work for a puffer coat), or a quilted canvas is a good idea. Warm and soft linings will make lighter fabrics like canvas toastier for your dog. Take into account if you want to be able to wash the coat in the machine or if you’re amenable to dry cleaning or hand washing. Some wools will require dry cleaning or hand washing, which is an added expense or mean additional time, especially if your rover likes to play hard and get dirty.

Dog sweaters are versatile and a great transition garment for fall. While it might be more challenging and time consuming to knit your dog a sweater, we have options! There are great knit fabrics by the yard where you can hand sew the pattern pieces together OR you can use an old or vintage sweater and recycle it into an adorable dog garment. Check out some links I’ve provided below.

This old vest may not have been flattering on a human, but it looks adorable on Gertie!
This old vest may not have been flattering on a human, but it looks adorable on Gertie! Here’s a link:
Photo: Cal Patch
If you live in a temperate climate, you can choose a great cotton or poly/cotton, or a light corduroy or a finer, more luxurious fabric. The sky’s the limit!


For T-shirts, choose a fabric that breathes and has a bit of lycra stretch to it. I like a 95% cotton/5% lycra blend. It looks great, holds it’s shape and wears well. Here’s a link to a good tutorial:

Dog Wearing Sunglasses, T-Shirt & Jeans

Keep in mind when you go shopping for the fabric, that a yard of fabric is 36″ long. Depending on the width of that individual fabric (many fabrics are 55 or 60″ wide; some cottons are 44″ wide), will determine how much fabric to buy for your sized dog and the type of garment you’re making.

Finding a Pattern and Creating your Garment

Once you’ve chosen your fabric, you’ll need to find a pattern you like to make your Fleece Dog Sweater Pattern Tutorial garment. Here are a few links I like showing nice, basic dog clothing patterns and How To’s in making a dog coat, sweater or t-shirt. You can always embellish with stones, studs, applique´s once you have the basic coat structure made. Remember, please feel free to Ask Jody and Sophie if you have any questions not answered here. Here’s a link to the adorable neon pink and yellow sweater in the picture:

Here are a couple of other links to making coats:

 In Summary

Want that one-of-a-kind coat or T without breaking the bank? Design you own dog clothes! There’s no better feeling than seeing your dog wearing a great garment you’ve made yourself. I’ve been there. :-) So get your creative juices flowing, follow the links to tutorials above and have fun! Happy sewing!

Until next time…





  1. Gordi

    November 6, 2013 at 5:05 am

    So you went from the stars to the dogs!! Lol. I addopted two cats when they were 10 months old, because my daughter, who was working athe shelter said most people want babies, be it cats or dogs, and that older animals were harder to adopt. I am glad I listened to her. When you adopt older ones, you already know what their personality is like.

    • Jody

      November 6, 2013 at 5:39 am

      Yep, pretty much! Love working with the pups! That’s nice, Gordi. I’m putting out there for people to adopt seniors for the reason you said and more. Hope you like the site. Pass it along if you do.

  2. Adam

    October 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Very cool! My dogs would love a warm coat each with winter coming up. Loving the unique designs in the pictures too. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jody

      October 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      Hi Adam! Thanks for visiting Bark and Swagger. Glad you like the site. If you’re in the UK, your dogs would probably need a warm coat this winter! :-) Hope you find something you’d like and happy to help if you want some advice.

  3. Evan Nickel

    September 30, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Knowing all these cool ways to dress up a dog really makes me wish I had one! I feel that every dog deserves to look this awesome.

    • Jody

      September 30, 2013 at 11:10 pm

      I agree! Thanks for visiting Bark and Swagger. Appreciate the feedback. :-)

  4. Jill

    September 30, 2013 at 2:03 am

    I really need to get my yorkie a sweater for the winter! Thank you for the information that I needed.

    • Jody

      September 30, 2013 at 2:08 am

      You’re welcome, Jill! Appreciate you checking out the site!

  5. Teresa

    September 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    That is the cutest purple outfit ever! How would I design a rain jacket for my pet? We live in Seattle so it rains a lot!

    • admin

      September 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      Hi Theresa! Thanks for reaching out. Are you talking about the Chien Coature sweater or the mohair plaid wool coat worn by Sophie? Either or, if you want to design your own rain coat for your pet, here’s a link with a tutorial. Let us know if you have any other questions. Happy to help. And send us a pic of the finished product on your dog! Would love to see and post it!
      Happy sewing!

  6. Jody

    October 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Glad you like the site. Can you explain more re powering the content? We have a little bit of a language translation challenge. :-) so happy you will keep returning to Bark and Swagger! Thanks!

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