It can be entertaining to dress up your pooch but, if you're at all "crafty," it can be just as enjoyable to create duds for your dog to wear. There are loads of resources to find sweater and bootie patterns, but the majority of them are simple designs that aren't that difficult to create. Once you have a usable pattern, you can replicate it in different types of materials to fill your canine's closet with couture.
Stick with a minimal number of pieces to keep your dog's clothing patterns easy to create and sew. A simple sweater can be made with one large rectangle for the main body piece and three strap-type pieces to hold the sweater together and in place. Dog booties can be created by tracing one of your dog's front paws onto your pattern material. Start just above her "wrist", trace down around her toes and back up to just above her wrist on the other side. You'll add 3/4 to 5/8 of an inch border around the tracing to make a seam allowance. This will create a piece that appears to be just half of a bootie, but by placing it on the fold of the material when you cut it out, you'll have a front and back piece that is already attached at the toe. All you'll have to do is sew up the sides.
Materials on Hand
Before you begin to draft patterns for your dog's booties and sweaters, you'll need to gather a few supplies so that you don't have to go looking for them once you're ready to get started. You'll need a measuring tape, scissors and a pencil or marker to draw your pattern. You'll also need material to make the pattern. Cardboard is useful as it will last much longer than the tissue paper that traditional clothing patterns are made from. If you want to use something that is more pliable than cardboard and that you can slip a straight pin into, cut along the seams of a paper bag and lay it out flat. The heavy-duty paper is more durable than tissue paper, but it is easier to fold and it takes pins more readily than cardboard.
When making dog clothes for your doggy you'll need to know her measurements to ensure a custom fit to her clothing. You don't really need to take measurements for booties, but for a sweater, measure around her neck, her back from the nape of her neck to the base of her tail, the circumference around her chest and the space on her chest between her front legs. Keep these measurements on hand and measure them periodically to ensure they don't change if she loses or gains weight.
Modify an Existing Pattern
If you're overwhelmed with the thought of creating a clothing pattern for your dog from scratch, start your dog pattern design career by modifying existing patterns. Children's clothing is the easiest since it is already close in scale. All you need to do is alter the back of sweaters and shirts, making them wider, and narrowing the front to accommodate your doggy's measurements. You'll need to shorten or eliminate sleeves, too. If you knit or crochet, a child's sock pattern can easily be modified to make a dog bootie. All you need to do is leave out the steps that form the heel, and be sure to make it long enough to extend up over your dog's wrist. You'll want to sew a piece of suede or other durable material to the bottom of the bootie where your dog steps to protect it from wearing.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.