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COZY COATS FOR THE LITTLE ONE
Design Brief: keep Rennie dry on rainy walks and warm on snowy adventures
Solution: a comfy high-vis raincoat for daily use and a sherpa jacket secure enough for romping in the woods
We brought home Rennie at 8 weeks old at the beginning of September 2020. Living in the Pacific Northwest, we knew rainy season was right around the corner and wanted a solution to keep our little puppy warm and dry on his daily walks. Selfishly, we also wanted to reduce the wet dog smell as much as possible.
Research – I began by scoping out raincoats for dogs online to gather a general sense of materials used, important features, and common pattern shapes. I also listed use case scenarios accompanied by lists of wants + needs. I decided to opt for a fleece lined waterproof fabric to reduce the unnecessary material of a second layer. I chose velcro for the closures to allow for easy transitions, and added reflective stripes for safety on dark walks.
Pattern Making – While I had sewn garments for myself, this was my first exploration into puppy-wear. I began by cutting up paper grocery bags and taping them into a puppy-sized rectangle. With plenty of treats in hand, I wrapped the paper around Rennie while he was standing, and proceeded to sketch out the potential pattern with a marker. After cutting out the shape, I re-wrapped Rennie and made little adjustments, in some places taping on extensions of paper and cutting out new parts to adjust the overall silhouette. This was very much a trial and error process, but after enough fit tests, I landed on a shape I was happy with.
Sewing – This stage was generally straight forward, but as always involved thinking through order of operations. While the fabric was not in danger of fraying, I chose to give the coat a rolled edge for structure, except around the belly strap so it could sit more comfortably against Rennie's body.
Testing – I went in to this project knowing that he would out grow this coat in a number of months, so I definitely made sure to use it as a learning experience for the future. After having put this coat to use, I was tempted to experiment with revised patterns and alternative closures.
Paper Bag Pattern
Rainy Day Action
This jacket was inspired by our annual trip to Mt. Hood to cut down a Christmas tree. This was going be the first time Rennie would be in low temperatures and we wanted to make sure he stayed warm since his dense grownup fur was still growing in.
Pattern Making – Learning from the raincoat, this process took a similar approach. At this point he had grown quite a bit already and in addition to up-sizing the pattern, his proportions also changed a bit. This time I decided to make a head hole just large enough that it could be slipped on and off. The belly band is also adjustable to account for some growth.
Sewing – The interior is an upholstery grade fabric that I chose for its durability and stain-resistant qualities, while the outer layer is a cute sherpa fleece. Again, the trickiest part was determining the order of operations especially this time accounting for the liner.
Testing – This coat not only received ample use (and compliments!), but Rennie also loved to wear it and would come running to put it on whenever I puled it out.
Revised Paper Bag Pattern
Final Sherpa Jacket
Passed the Potty Test
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