Making the Tailored Dog Jacket


Tailored Dog Jacket pieces with sewing tools | oxforddogma.com

Making the Tailored Dog Jacket is truly a labor of love. Which is fitting, because I'm on a mission to help more pets feel loved.

After the designing phase (a previous blog post in case you missed it) of the jacket comes the making phase. This is where I get to obsess over every cut, stitch, thread, and press.

The materials

The making process really begins with choosing good sport jacket options at the thrift store. I look for 100% wool or cotton, minimal wear and tear, and patterns that look classic and timeless (not tacky or trendy). The natural fibers help make the pieces feel good to use, making the finished jackets soft and flexible. After washing to clean them up and remove odors -- and to make sure the integrity of the fabric holds up -- the jackets are hung to dry. Then I deconstruct them to reclaim the wool pieces and prepare them for cutting to my pattern.

Deconstructed sport jacket | oxforddogma.com

After taking apart a men's sport jacket (which is a surprisingly complex and lengthly endeavor) I gained a whole new appreciation for garment creation -- if it takes that long to deconstruct it, how much time does it take to construct it?!

I carefully lay out the pattern pieces on the wool fabric to align the direction of the woven pattern the way I want it. For the accents and lining fabrics, I select a cotton fabric (100% cotton is my top choice) and cut those pieces out as well.

cut out pieces for the Tailored Dog Jacket | oxforddogma.com

The Tailored Dog Jacket is made up of 13 pieces, plus the buttons.

Putting it all together

After everything is cut, it's time to prepare the pieces for construction. This prep stage serves a few purposes:

  • some of the fabric edges need to be finished to prevent unraveling from the inside
  • the center back seam is finished with a technique that both seals in the raw edge of the reclaimed fabric and adds personality to the jacket
  • hidden inside the back seam is a hole for a harness, if you have the style that hooks at the shoulders
  • the individual pieces need to be put together to prepare for assembly

finished raw edges on Tailored Dog Jacket | oxforddogma.com

Because sport jacket fabric tends to be loosely-woven and can fray, I finish the raw edges of the fabric on the inside to prevent the jacket from coming apart through washing and wearing

the Tailored Dog Jacket back seam finished with accent binding | oxforddogma.com

The center back seam of the jacket is finished with an accent binding, which secures the edge of the fabric from unraveling and adds personality

harness clip opening in Tailored Dog Jacket | oxforddogma.com

The harness clip opening is hidden in the seam along the back of the jacket

Tailored Dog Jacket sewing process | oxforddogma.com

At each step of the way, the jacket is pressed for a crisp, professional structure and the pieces are checked for accuracy and quality.

Once the pieces are prepped, construction can begin. The jacket is fully lined, so at this stage I sew the lining to the exterior. Attaching the collar band takes a few steps:

  • first one edge is sewn on by machine
  • then it's turned to the inside and finished by hand stitching it to the lining

I like to complete the collar this way because it makes an almost-invisible seam and looks so clean and sharp.

hand-stitching the collar band on the Tailored Dog Jacket | oxforddogma.com

Hand-stitching the collar band down on the inside of the jacket (this is my favorite part of the jacket -- such a nice way to finish that edge)
Hand-sewing the buttons onto the Tailored Dog Jacket | oxforddogma.com

Hand-sewing the buttons onto the jacket

Finally, the jacket is finished by positioning the buttons carefully for a smooth even fit, and and hand-sewn with shanks (this basically means little stacks of thread that hold the button away from the jacket by a small amount, allowing for better wear with the buttonhole).

Even though -- or perhaps because -- these jackets are an enormous amount of work, every time I sew on the final button it's such a satisfying feeling.

Getting the jackets ready for you to buy

The last step is to wash, air dry, and press them. I like to run them through the washing machine (in the muslin pouch I provide with each purchase) in cold water on the gentle cycle to ensure that they go through OK and nothing unusual happens. As sad as that would be, I'd much rather it happen here than the first time a customer washes it.

After they're finished comes the posting-for-sale stage! See the Tailored Dog Jackets available in the shop.

Oxford Dogma on Instagram
To see updates on the things I'm working on (and cute pet pictures), follow me on Instagram @oxforddogma.


Oxford Dogma featured on

Pet Portraits by Oxford Dogma featured on DogMilk.com Pet-loving designer turns her hiatus into new business Oxford Dogma featured on 12 News Arizona Midday program Oxford Dogma featured as a Spotlight Vendor on the Jackalope Art and Craft Fair Blog

More love for more pets

Sign up to get product news, workshop updates, and special offers delivered to your inbox. You'll also receive the free Pet Sitter Checklist to help you feel like a good pet parent when you have to leave your fur kid with someone while traveling.


Your purchase supports rescue organizations.