Black and white dog sitting and wearing a plaid custom dog coat outside

PLEASE NOTE: Some folks have had an issue with this tutorial. While we revisit the pattern, please check the comments for tweaks to make.

Do you include your pets in your holiday celebrations? We do! We have ever since our only “kid” was a furry terrier mutt. Now us humans are outnumbered by animals by a six-to-one ratio (literally), and we still make sure all of our animal friends have gifts on Christmas morning!

The star of the Christmas morning show for the puppies and kitties (and honestly, the humans) are our holiday stockings! We hit up the Meijer Pets department and get all of our stocking fillers affordably and in one stop. We like to load up the stockings with new toys, treats, leashes, and collars.

Red and white stocking filled with dog treats and toys hung on a mantle and tagged with "Ivy."

Each of the animals gets one big, special present each year, too. This year, our special present to our dog Ivy is a homemade custom dog coat!

Ivy is our first ever short-haired dog, and she does not tolerate the cold Midwestern winters well. The first time I saw her shivering by our patio door, I knew it was time to make her a coat.

Black and white dog wearing a plaid custom dog coat outside

I made one coat a few months back from a pattern I found at a local sewing shop, but the sizing was all off—it never stayed on Ivy. For a coat to keep my dog warm it has to actually, you know, stay on her!

So I went back to the drawing board and worked on a pattern for a dog coat that you can customize for the size of your dog right at home. This version fits Ivy SO much better, and the best part? It is a super easy beginner sewing project that you can finish in less than an hour, start-to-finish.

Black and white boxer mix wearing a plaid custom dog coat outside

I hit up my fabric stash to find the fabric for the coat, and then I headed to my local Meijer store to get all the notions. Did you know that Meijer has an amazing craft section including tons of sewing supplies?

I was able to get all the supplies for the coat and all the goodies to stuff in Ivy’s stocking in one stop! Meijer really is one of the best ways to save time during the holidays.

Stocking fillers for a dog - toys, treats, a red and white stocking, and a custom dog coat

Alright, let me show you how to get started making this custom dog coat. First up, the materials you’ll need.

Materials

  • Pattern printable
  • Pattern paper (you can buy specific paper, but any large, blank paper will do—old wrapping paper, newsprint, kraft paper, etc.)
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or pen
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • 1 yard fleece*, for the outside
  • 1 yard sherpa/faux fur*, for the lining
  • Coordinating thread
  • Sewing machine (you can sew this by hand, too)
  • Sewing needle
  • 12” of 1-inch wide sew-on hook-and-loop fastener
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins
  • Disappearing ink pen

* This amount of fabric will work for most dogs. If you have a tiny dog, you’ll have quite a bit left over, and if you have a very large dog, you’ll need to get more. My philosophy is that it’s always better to err on the side of having too much fabric than not enough.

Materials laid out for a custom dog coat - fleece, faux fur, pattern paper, scissors, thread, pins, measuring tap, measurements sheet, and a ruler

Step 1: Make the Pattern for Your Custom Dog Coat

Dogs are all shapes and sizes, so we’re going to custom-make a pattern—it sounds complicated, but I promise it’s a breeze! It’s the best way to make sure the coat fits your dog beautifully. And I made a printable for you to make the process even simpler.

First, you need some measurements. Get out your measuring tape, and measure the spots on your dog to fill in the printable. I recommend being generous with your measuring—don’t make the measuring tape too tight. I sewed with a 3/8″ seam allowance here and didn’t add it to my pattern because I knew I measured loosely. Dogs fluctuate in weight just like humans do, so it’s nice to have a little bit of space to be able to adjust. Write all those measurements down in the spaces provided.

A measuring tape and pen sit beside a homemade pattern and measurement sheet.

 

Next, using the measurements you just took, recreate the shape at the bottom of the printable to scale on a large sheet of pattern paper, wrapping paper, newsprint, or any other large sheet of paper. This shape will look very boxy.

Rectangles mapped out on pattern paper

Then, take any of the sharp corners or edges and round them to make a smooth curve.

Pattern for a dog coat on pattern paper, with the edges of the pattern curved

Cut the pattern out, then label with the green pattern markings from the printable, as well as what it is and who it was sized for.

Pattern paper cut out into a pattern for a dog coat, labeled with "dog coat for Ivy."

Step 2: Cut Out Your Fabric

I like to use one piece of faux fur/sherpa for the lining and one piece of fleece for the outside, but you can mix this up all you want and use whatever materials work for you. Wool would be great–it stays warm even when it’s wet. You could also use an oilcloth for the outside with a fleece lining for warmth and rain-resistance. It’s up to you! I would recommend getting a washable material. Dogs get dirty!

Using the pattern piece, place the top of the pattern on the fold of the outside fabric, pin down, and then cut. Repeat with the lining fabric.

Pattern labeled "Dog Coat for Ivy" pinned to a piece of fleeceFleece and faux fur fabric cut out for a dog coat

Step 3: Assembly

Place the two pieces of fabric, right sides together, on a flat table, and pin all the way around.

Pieces of a DIY dog coat pinned together

Using a sewing machine, or carefully sewing by hand, sew all the way around the coat, except leave about 3” open on one end.

Plaid fabric with pins being fed through a sewing machine

Fleece fabric sewn to faux fur for a dog coat, with an opening left to turn the coat

Turn the coat inside out, making sure all the flaps and corners are flattened well. You might want to use an iron at this point, although honestly, I never have much luck with an iron on fleece.

Fleece and faux fur fabric pinned together for a dog coat

Fold under the unfinished edge from the hole you left open and pin. Then topstitch to close the opening, and continue to stitch all the way around the coat about 1/4” from the edge of the fabric to finish. If you are stitching by hand, you can skip the topstitch for the entire piece (it’ll take you ages), and instead use a ladder stitch to finish the open end only.

Four feathery pins holding the pieces of a dog coat together

Plaid fabric being fed through a sewing machineClose-up of a chest strap on a custom dog coat, to show the completed top stitching

Step 4: Add Hook-and-Loop Fastener

Place the first batch of hook-and-loop fastener on the chest strap by pinning the rough side of a 2” piece to the outside fabric in the middle of one of the sides of the chest strap. If you’re sewing this for a medium or large size dog—of if you just have a particularly rambunctious dog like I do—I recommend using two strips of hook-and-loop fastener on each strap. Pin the soft side of the fastener to the middle of the lining side of the other chest strap. Repeat with the belly band straps.

Velcro pinned to the chest and belly straps of a custom dog coat, ready to be sewn on

Sew hook-and-loop fastener pieces down using coordinating thread.

Hand holding the strap of a dog coat to show the velcro sewn on

If you don’t need to add a hole for a harness loop, you’re all done! Put it on your puppy and go for a walk. If you do need a harness hole, move onto step five.

Optional Step 5: Make Hole for Harness Loop

Transfer the harness loop marking to your dog coat using the measurement you took, and then using the buttonhole setting on your sewing machine, create a buttonhole large enough to fit your leash through.

And that’s it! Look how cozy and cute she looks in her brand new custom dog coat.

Black and white boxer mix sitting and wearing a plaid custom dog coat outside

I snatched it up right after these photos and packed it away in her stocking until Christmas morning, along with (most) of the other goodies I found at my Meijer store. I did sneak her a bully stick from her stash for being such a good sport while I measured and photographed her!

Black and white dog with a holiday bandana chewing a bully stick

It’s going to be a happy Christmas for this puppy. Happy holidays!

Want more DIY gifts like this one?

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  • Kettle Corn. Make some sweet and salty kettle corn for your next movie night, or package some up for a gift.

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123 Comments

  1. I made this coat for my squirmy 60 pound mutt. I followed directions for measurements but made many adjustments after several fittings. I added a belly band and cut down the back length by several inches so it doesn’t look like a skirt on him. Also, the front bands could be sewn together so the coat slips on over his head and makes it easier to put on him. I used Velcro for fasteners. He looks really cute in it and I’m looking forward to walking him in it!

  2. Hi! I’m a brand new sewer but came across this pattern and thought I’d give it a shot but before I start I’m trying to figure out how you got 14” for the part in yellow that says 1/2 of body circumstance minus coat depth plus 1.

    You say your dog’s body circumference is 26, half of 26 is 13. But then you say to minus the cost depth and that says 9, so 13 minus 9 is 4, plus 1 would be 5. So where do you get 14? If you didn’t minus the coat depth I can see half the body circumstance plus 1 would be 14. Can you please clear this up for me? I bought my materials and they were a bit pricey so I don’t want to mess up. Thanks!

    1. Hi Angel! The method on the pattern is reliable, but some of our images have been causing confusion. Thank you so much for pointing it out! We’re working to get those updated so that it will be clearer. In the meantime, please follow the pattern instructions on the printable (which you can find here: https://wholefully.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/wholefully-dog-coat.pdf) and everything will turn out great! Let us know how your dog likes it! =)

  3. Something is off about your front straps using the chest circumference. Your dog has a chest circ. of 20″. 20″/2=10″+1=11″ yet your front strap is only 8″ in the image. We can see the 1″ grid and count them. So there is no way you got that 8″ calculation from the instructions on the pattern sheet you are providing.
    Without sewing this up I can already tell that my skinny little lab is not going to require a 13″ strap on each side at the front. I am thinking we are supposed to subtract something to do with the chest length (maybe 1/2 the chest length?) from that 1/2 chest circ. I will adjust my pattern as needed but you should really pay attention to people telling you there is an issue in the comments over the years.
    Anyone having problems, see if (chest circ./2 + 1″) – (chest length/2)=x will give you a more practical strap length across the front of the chest. So for the sheet in the example it would be 20″/2 =10″ +1 = 11″ (then subtract 1/2 of the chest length of 7″) 11″- 3.5″ = 7.5″ and round that up to the 8″ actually shown. You are better off having a little extra, just not a ridiculous amount.

    1. Thanks for letting us know how this worked out for you, Stephanie! We’ve made several dog coats from this pattern for our pups without issue, but in light of other folks having problems, we’ll revisit the pattern and our instructions to see if we can make them more straightforward.

      In the meantime, we’ll add a disclaimer to the post letting folks know to check the comments for suggestions before proceeding. Again, thanks for taking the time to help us improve!

  4. I love the way you’ve set up this pattern! will come in so handy for our growing pup 🙂
    Thank you!!

    1. Thanks so much, Crystal! We’d love to hear how it turns out for you and your pup when you make it =)

  5. Thank you kindly for this pattern and instructions. My dear husband passed away 2 years ago and I still have much of his clothing packed away, now I know what to do with his jackets, and wooden jerseys, they will make lovely doggie coats, and his shirts will make lovely linings for these jackets. It will be really cute to see my little terrier wearing his Paapa’s clothes. Thanks again.

    1. That’s so sweet, Wana! Thank you for sharing that beautiful story with us. We really appreciate it!

  6. This is such a great step-by-step guide to making a dog coat! I LOVE IT! I’m not a great seamstress, but I think I may have to try this one for my dog, Henry, and his friends for the next holiday season. I’m bookmarking it.

    I’m also sharing it with my dog friends. 😊💖🐶

    1. Thanks so much, Terri! Let us know how it turns out for you—and if Henry approves!

  7. Omg this came out so good!! I bought a coat but the fit was off so I thought I’d try to make one myself. Your measuring guide was so helpful! And it really was a great beginner sewing project. No more freezing cold walks for my friend 🐕 Thank you!!

    1. Yay! You’re very welcome, Ann! Thanks so much for coming back and telling us about it. We really appreciate it =)

  8. I absolutely love it!!! So easy, even for a novice like me! Whose idea was it to get a puppy in January while living in New England?? My little girl absolutely loves her new jacket. It came together so fast.

    1. Yay! Glad she loves it, Gina—and so happy to hear it was easy-breezy for you, too! Thanks for coming back to tell us about it =)

  9. Thanks so much for a great pattern and instructions. The coat is easy to sew, and the pattern should fit any dog – highly recommended!

    It took me way more than an hour, but that’s because I was measuring an incredibly squirmy 9-week old Rotti cross and the first pattern came out Dachshund-shaped. If you have a barrel-chested breed like a Rotti, you may want to add an extra inch to the belly band.

    1. OMG I wish I read your comment before I started. I made a jacket for a 3 month old Rottie and I made it a little big to grow with her but I am for sure going to have to add a belly extender because the belly band fits now but won’t if she grows any!! <3

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