Canine chic

Canine chic

On the streets of Paris, where fashion rules, both residents and their dogs dress in designer winter wear. As morning steam rises off the buildings and trees here in the frosty Rouge Valley, we might just be inspired to spin a bit of that Paris chic with some Oregon style to whip up our own designer creations for our pets.

Here is an inventive, easy design that is fun to make and will keep your pup warm.

My short-haired dog, Annie, seems comfortable in her topper, which I created by recycling a child's polar-fleece jacket. Local thrift stores have a great selection of kids' jackets just perfect for this project.

Getting started

All it takes is a polar-fleece jacket, scissors, a tape measure and a needle and thread (or sewing machine).

You will need a small, medium or large jacket to start with, depending on the size of your dog.

Choose a hoodless design with a stand-up collar.

Here are the measurements you will need from your pet before you hit the thrift store:

a-b. Back length = neck to tail

c. Around the belly

d. Neck to back legs = under belly

e. Neck width

f. collar to top of leg (in front)

The jacket measurements you'll need start with:

A-B: The length from the collar (back neck) to the tail. This ensures you have a jacket long enough to cover your pooch's back. If your dog is very round you may want to check the C measurement; you don't want this to be tight "… the jacket you make should be comfortably larger than your dog (2 to 4 inches is a good gauge). I used a child's jacket for my 18-pound dog.

A zipper closure is best, so make sure it works easily before you start. The pockets provide great storage for bags, too.

Steps to make your dog jacket:

1. Cut off the sleeves

2. Make a slit at the bottom edge to the D mark of center back on the jacket.

3. Make three darts as shown, to bring the lower edge in to fit. Remember, when you zip the jacket, it should be larger around the middle than your dog by 2 to 3 inches.

4. Fold up each side of the bottom edge at the slit, forming a triangle out to the sides.

5. To make front leg holes: To get in the general area of the holes, first mark a center line and another line across the distance down from the collar (f.) Lay the jacket flat on the floor and stand your dog on it to mark the actual placement for the holes. You may need some help here "… and some treats for distraction.

6. Cut V-shaped opening for front legs. Flaps can be loose or tacked down on the inside.

7. A loop or two can be added on the outside at the neck edge for connecting the leash for small dogs, or a slit will let the metal ring come through to attach to the leash.

Now it is time to bundle up and head out in comfort and style.

Diane Ericson's studio is in the Ashland Art Center. See her work at www.dianeericson.com.

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