I love Goodwill. That’s where I go when I feel like going on a shopping spree. You just never know what you’re going to find there!! And we have not only a Goodwill, but a Salvation Army store. WOOHOO!!! Party Central!!
Alright. I’m better now. Last summer, Mr. Cozy Cottage and I became very concerned with Nubi’s wonderful habit of licking himself raw and scratching like crazy. We’d handled the flea issue, he didn’t have dry skin, and we were driving ourselves nuts trying to figure out what was wrong. Then I read an article explaining how a dog acts when he’s nervous or doesn’t feel secure. Apparently, incessant licking and scratching are how they show stress too! So I plopped on a t-shirt and he instantly stopped. Chihuahuas are strange little critters, let me tell ya. I have my own opinion on why this worked, that it’s similar to the effects that ThunderShirt has. It’s like wrapping up in a warm blanket and feeling secure. I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed, I immediately head to comfort.
But I digress. We simply could not afford to outfit our dog with a designer wardrobe. And we certainly could not afford a ThunderShirt. Besides, those things looked uncomfortable for his daily siestas. So I started utilizing one of my favorite skills – sewing. I bought onesies and baby clothes, and with a little elbow grease, Nubi had a brand new wardrobe.
Just this week I went to a “Last Chance” Goodwill store. These stores are amazing. It’s mostly clothing, but you can find items for $0.75…which is where I found this huge sweater, brown sweater. The weave was tight and warm, and the fabric was so soft. I immediately thought of my pups. Their sweaters haven’t been completed yet, but I’ve made other sweaters out of the sleeves. I know that a little shelter puppy will be very grateful to have a snuggly sweater. Here’s how I did it:
The very first thing I did was lay the sweater out and figure out my plan of attack. Because this was a very large men’s sweater, I knew I could get several small dog sweaters out of it. My pups’ sweaters will be made out of the main body of the sweater as the sleeves are much to small for them. But at this point, I was making shelter sweaters, so I cut the sleeves off. Then I measured the length from the base of the cuff to how long I needed the back and belly. I based this measurement very loosely on Nubi’s sweaters, which was 11″ from the base of the cuff to the bottom for the back, and 6″ from the base of the cuff to the bottom for the belly. Make sure to include 1/2″ extra to roll under for the hem (ex., for a length of 11″, measure 11-1/2″). Make an “S” mark from the measurement at the back to your measurement at the belly. This will create the shape of your hem. Cut it out, and it should look like this:
With your sweater still folded in half, make a mark 2/3 down from the back of the sweater, and another halfway between the base of the cuff and where your hem will be. This is your center point for the arm slit. The arm slit should be about 2-1/2 – 3″ in length with the meeting of your measurements right in the middle. Do this to both sides.
This part can be as easy or as difficult as you make it. I chose to make it difficult by hand-stitching. It goes much faster on a machine, but can also stretch the fabric if you aren’t careful. Also, I find hand-stitching de-stresses me. So…fold the hem under and pin. How many pins you use and how far apart they are depends on you. Then stitch it up.
To do the arm slits, I did a basic blanket stitch, similar to making a button hole.
Once you’ve finished the arm slits, you’re done!! Wasn’t that easy??
I used to believe in failure in sewing and experimenting with crafts. But in a situation like this, there is always a remedy. I’ve messed up so many onesies and sweaters, I can’t keep count. They’re too small, too big… And that’s okay. They may not fit either of my pups, but our local shelter loves donations. They never get puppy clothes, and sometimes that just what a dog needs to feel safe. Something snuggly of their own.