Humans aren’t the only ones that get cold. Our furry friends, especially the ones with shorter fur, like my Doberman, do as well. While you can find an arsenal of dog-friendly sweaters at your local pet store, why not make your own? Your pup will love this easy DIY hoodie.
DIY Dog Sweatshirt Supplies
- 1 adult sweatshirt (I used a men’s size small)
- Measuring tape
- Needle and thread or a sewing machine
- Decorations of your choice: Puffy paint, fabric pen, glitter, patches, fabric markers
- Treats (to reward your very patient dog model)
Dog Sweatshirt Instructions
Buy a sweatshirt made for humans or repurpose one of your old ones. I used a men’s size small sweatshirt to fit my female Doberman (this is a good size for a dog around 70 pounds). You can purchase a sweatshirt with or without a hood, just make sure to buy a pullover instead of one that zips, as you will likely trim the bottom of the sweatshirt and the zipper can be uncomfortable for your dog.
Place the sweatshirt over your dog’s head and gently stick her legs through the armholes. Work the material over her legs and straighten out the fabric.
Note: Some dogs don’t like wearing clothing or having clothes placed over their heads. If your dog falls into this category, proceed slowly and use treats. Make sure she’s comfortable throughout the process.
Measure from the bottom of the sleeve up and decide how much you want to crop it. Make a mark on the sleeve where it will need to be cut. You can opt for a three quarter length or keep the fabric just above the foot, just make sure to cut away the excess fabric that drapes over your dog’s paws so that she does not trip when she tries to walk around.
Remove the sweatshirt from the dog and cut the bottom of the sleeve (I cut ten inches off of mine).
Place the sweatshirt back over the dog’s head and work the legs back through the arm sleeves. You will now be taking in the arm sleeve fabric so that it is more fitted to your pup’s legs. Bunch up the excess fabric around the dog’s leg and hold it together at the point where you want to crop it. Then, take a few paperclips and secure the excess fabric together. Make sure to not go too tight, as this will be uncomfortable for the dog.
Gently remove the sweatshirt from your dog and lay it flat on a hard surface. Using your paperclips as a guide, cut away the excess fabric around the arm sleeves. Repeat on the other side.
Place the sweatshirt back on the dog. Next, you’ll remove the excess material and cut out a window under the dog’s belly. While the dog is still wearing the sweatshirt, stand behind and stabilize her while carefully cutting away about one third of the mid section on the bottom of the sweatshirt. Hold the fabric away from the dog while cutting to create a safe distance between your dog’s fur and the scissors. Trim slowly and carefully.
Note: It’s a good idea to enlist the help of a friend to keep your dog calm and make sure she doesn’t move during this step. If your dog is fidgety, you can use a marker to trace the part of the excess fabric that you want to remove then take the sweatshirt off to cut it.
Now you need to trim off the excess fabric around the ribcage. While the dog is still wearing the sweatshirt, bunch up the fabric that you want to remove and carefully cut it off. Keep an extra 3 to 4 inches of fabric below the ribcage area so that the sweater is not too tight. It needs to be loose enough to be able to fit your dog’s entire body when taking it on and off.
Before you remove the sweatshirt, assess the length. If the sweatshirt is too long and drapes over your dog’s behind, you can crop it by cutting off the excess fabric at the bottom. Since I have a short-haired dog and she gets cold in the winter, I opted to keep it longer.
Remove the sweatshirt and stich up the arm sleeves. Then, pull the fabric together on both sides of the underbelly and stich those together. You can use a sewing machine or do it by hand, which I did.
Flip the sweatshirt over and decorate as you like. Write your dog’s name on it with a fabric marker or puffy paint, sprinkle it with glitter, or draw a bone or a paw print on it. You can also put a phrase like “Bad to the bone,” “Will work for treats,” or stylize your dog’s name as a creative canine college or sports team for an extra fun addition.