11 Canine Couture Ideas
Get inspired with 11 different dog outfits as modeled by HGTV viewers' pets.
Knit Sweaters and Pet Jewelry
Cocoa Butter's mom, Dania De Bortoli, of Fairfield, Iowa, is a jewelry and textiles designer (www.designsbydania.com), who after several years of creating unique jewelry and knits for humans is afraid that her career may now be going to the dogs. Before starting on your own canine couture, Dania has these tips:
When creating your own pet knits:
- Pick yarn that is very soft and comfortable for your pet, and make sure that it is washable.
- Pick yarns that are weather appropriate, wool for winter and cotton, silk or bamboo for spring and fall.
- Always make sure that the outfit fits your pet comfortably never too tight or too loose.
- If you are a beginning knitter, stick with simple patterns for your pet.
When creating your own pet jewelry:
- Make sure that the necklace is not too tight or loose; make sure that you can fit one to two fingers between the necklace and your pet's neck.
- Never use your jewelry as a collar. It is for adornment purposes do not use it as a restraint unless you are specifically designing a pet collar.
Dixie and Pluto model their double-knit reversible sweaters in midnight blue and olive. Janette Martin of San Francisco often recycles old sweaters to create her canine creations. She says double-sewing thin knits like cashmere is a great way to create a very warm but lightweight sweater jacket for your pampered pet. Finish the look by adding felt flowers, braids, buttons and other high-end trims.
To create Jack's one-of-a-kind clothing, Patsy Kuppenbender of Canby, Ore., cuts old denim or leather jackets and embellishes them with original labels and hardware. She also personalizes clothing by embroidering Jack's name.
Julie Noles of Huntsville, Ala., loves to pamper her dogs. Zoe is a bit cold-natured, so Julie decided to create a few warm coats for her. She started with a store-bought pattern, but quickly discovered that once you master the basics, embellishing your project is the fun part. Julie's tip is to search through craft stores for small items you can add, like decorative iron-on patches and initials to add a personalized, high-end touch to your pet's clothing.
Chris Crawford of Woodbridge, Va., is a creative guy who submitted his photo of Abby in her very warm and functional jacket because in his own words, he was afraid that we would only feature, "frou-frou dog clothes for little pocket pooches." So, here is Abby in her custom-made clothing, which Chris fashioned by double-layering an old military-issue wool blanket, which he trimmed with blanket trimming. The reflective stripe across the back adds safety and is part of her old reflective collar, as are the straps under her belly. The front closes with Velcro.
Comfortable, Yet Funky, Materials
Melanie LaVache of Key West, Fla., has been an amateur seamstress for most of her life, so she thought that it would be a fun project to create a few outfits for a friend's dogs. The trial outfits turned out so well that friends told friends and one or two outfits has turned into 10 or 20. Melanie says that when looking for fresh ideas, she considers many materials that you wouldn't normally associate with pet clothing, like blue jeans, detachable feather boas and rhinestones. She says that as long as the fabric is comfortable for your pet and washable, then let your imagination run free.
Camille Woodworth of Boise, Idaho, makes custom dog coats for hard-to-fit dogs which she calls "Weenie Wraps." She began making them for her two Dachshunds because they would literally walk out of their store-bought jackets. She says that her wraps are primarily sized for small dogs, but they can be made larger to fit other slick-coated dogs like Boxers or Greyhounds.
Vintage Chic Fabrics
Yvonne Morones of Santa Rosa, Calif., has seven Chihuahuas. Her dogs are such a big part of her life that she has converted one of her closets into storage for all of the dog's clothing, pajamas, jackets, carriers, strollers and accessories. She says that her dogs have over 50 beautiful handmade items of clothing and like any doting pet parent, many of them she has made herself, such as the red Swiss dot dress modeled here by Jalapena.
The fabric that Yvonne used is actually a 1950's kitchen curtain, which she gathered to create the fullness of the skirt. She attached the skirt to a bodice made of vintage lace. Because the cheery kitchen curtains reminded Yvonne of happy times spent in her grandmother's kitchen, she finished the look by adding her grandmother's vintage pearl brooch.
Knitted Winter Wear
Michelle Torgerson of Two Harbors, Minn., says that adopting Afro Ken was the push she needed to learn how to knit. Living in Northern Minnesota, she thought that not only would he look really cute in a sweater but the harsh and blustery winter conditions required that Afro Ken have something to keep him warm. Michelle decided to learn how to knit the sweaters herself not only because she would be free to design her own patterns but also because hand-knit sweaters can be really pricy.
Anne Bulk of Bristow, Va., enjoys creating handmade items for her Greyhound, Kylie. Her preferred pet fabrics are fleece, corduroy and flannel – all soft, durable choices. To date, Anne has made jackets, muffs, rain coats and jammies for Kylie and some of her Greyhound friends.
Kay Kennedy of American Canyon, Calif., says that she adopted Sammy in January 2007 and immediately starting knitting a sweater for him. Sammy looked so stylish in his sweater that Kay decided to create matching hats and scarves for herself so she and Sammy would be the best-dressed couple on their daily walks. She says that Sammy really enjoys and looks forward to their walks. The neighbors have noticed their coordinating look and Kay has now begun knitting sweaters for Sammy's canine pals in the neighborhood.