Sunday, January 3, 2016

I've Been Sitting On The Idea Of Making Apparel For The Kids

Lobo arrived at our home, as a foster, the day after his amputation surgery. He had very little fur from the neck down and was covered in deep scabs. To protect his exposed skin, he needed to wear shirts at all times. While outdoors, he needed something heavier. At the time of his arrival, he weighed 5 pounds. Now, he's up to a healthy 8.
One of the struggles we had was finding apparel that extended down the entire length of his body. There was a patch of skin on his lower back, by his tail, where the fur wasn't growing back as quickly as the rest. We had it examined and discovered it was a scar. Probably from another old, untreated injury before his rescue. It was unknown if his fur would grow back in that one area.

It eventually did. 

Finding apparel for Lobo was a huge challenge. Our biggest concern was making sure he had a coat to protect his sensitive skin from the elements. We searched everywhere. No luck. Thankfully, our beautiful and talented friend, Megan from Minnesota, read of our struggles on Facebook and whipped up a few fleece coats for him. The coats fit perfect and extended down to his tail.

Total. Lifesaver. 

We've had this struggle with all of our kids. Finding apparel that fits and is long enough. Last winter we purchased a fleece hoodie for Sophie. It fit, however, it was a few inches too short. What's the use of a hoodie if it's not going to provide adequate coverage. 

The one winter jacket we were able to find for Coco, it was the perfect length, but the coat was a little too snug. Not snug enough to buy the next size up, as that would've been much too big, but snug enough to add to our pile of clothes we'll be donating to our local animal shelters.

Our kids are all mixed breeds. None of their bodies are proportioned to fit most of the "dog apparel" out there. Out of desperation, last winter, we visited our favorite consignment shop and purchased a bunch of baby and toddler long and short sleeved shirts, one-piece pajamas and a couple of fleece hoodies. Was there a possibility I could alter them to fit better than the meager retailer selection?

It was a no-go. In order to fully alter to fit, I had to take most of the articles of clothing apart and re-sew. My little experiment ended in disappointment, but it did inspire me. 

I've been sewing since I was in elementary school. I used to make costumes for a friend of ours who was an entertainer. If I could do that, I certainly could make DIY "dog" apparel.

I sat on that idea for many months. After searching for winter apparel for our kids towards the end of last year, and coming up empty-handed, I'm fully convinced DIY is the way to go.

Right now, I'm searching for patterns and such. In the next month, after measurements are taken, and fabric is purchased, it's going to happen. 

For any of you dog parents out there who have embarked on making your own apparel for the fur-kids, I'd love it if you'd be willing to share tried-and-true patterns, tips and advice.

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