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 Tutorialgarment. 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…




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Written by Jody Miller-Young
What does stylish mean to you? I’m passionate about animals, fashion, travel, home decor and rescue, and that's what you'll find here. After a recent move to Fort Lauderdale from NYC, we're loving our new life in the sunshine. Welcome to my world! Grab your favorite beverage, curl up and stay awhile.