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 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.
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.
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
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 center back seam of the jacket is finished with an accent binding, which secures the edge of the fabric from unraveling and adds personality
The harness clip opening is hidden in the seam along the back of the jacket
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.