Last week, when we were out getting the mail, I stopped to talk to a neighbor... and talk... and talk... and talk. I'm really good at talking. When I looked down, Chloe was shivering so hard she could barely stand still. I felt terrible and - naturally - bought her a coat, a small running style coat that doesn't quite cover her back. It was the best of the lot. There are - IMHO - a mega amount of ridiculous, I'd be ashamed to wear them if I was a dog, way too cute, or completely ugly coats being sold at exorbitant prices AND they're all alike. No individuality what-so-ever. I'm not a look alike kind of girl and...
... neither is my dog - VBG. I traced the running coat to make a pattern and then tissue fit Chloe. She was incredibly patient as if she - the little drama queen that she is - knew this was all about her.
Compared to the running coat, she needed this one to be longer across the back and around the girth for more coverage. I cut the upper layer from a sweater I'd felted last fall, pin fit it on her, and we went for a test walk to see what happened when dogs do what dogs do. The shoulder straps were too long and the length irritated her tail - she kept trying to catch what was bugging her - so I shortened them both and then...
... placed the sweater fabric wrong sides together with denim remnants from my jeans and ran two rows of stitching around the outside edge, one at 1/8" and one at 1/4" before trimming the denim...
... up to the first line. To finish, I ran two rows of zigzag around the outside edges with the stitches further apart on the first one and closer together on the second one.
The final fitting was to mark where the velcro should be placed. Howard had just arrived home from work and I'm not sure if Chloe was looking at him to say hello or begging for help!
The front has a small opening, about half the length from the neckline to the seam above my thumb. The bottom two buttons go through two layers and the top button through only one. I can get the coat over her head without the opening so next time I'll put these three pieces together and cut them as one.
There's a 2" x 5" piece of velcro on each side with the catchy part on the back of the coat and the soft part on the belly flaps. The buttons are not functional; they're just for fun.
She wore the coat for our short - before bed - walk and seemed to enjoy it. It's warmer than her running coat. Making the Chloe coat was fun in the way that making the little girl twirl coats is. I plan to make her another one using some of my hand painted fabric with fleece on the under layer.
If you've never sewn a project just for fun, give it a try. Experiment with a pattern you love by sewing it in a different size from your own, or sew a pattern that fascinates you but you'd never wear, or sew child size, or make a doll... or a book... or a bag. There's something freeing about a project that doesn't have to fit you. You can simply have fun, do your best at every stage, and thoroughly enjoy the process.
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - a patient puppy
When I start making typos, I know I'm getting tired. I've hit the point of diminishing returns. I wrap for the day. The office is closed. How many pages have I produced? I don't care. Are they any good? I don't even think about it. All that matters is I've put in my time and hit it with all I've got. All that counts is that, for this day, for this session, I have overcome Resistance.
- Steven Pressfield - The War of Art