Note the instruction manual at the ready
Our dog Becky is getting pretty old. We adopted her as a young adult stray and we don't know exactly how old she is, but we think she's probably about fourteen. She had to have some dental surgery this summer - two teeth pulled and the rest cleaned - and that seemed to take a lot out of her. She still eats, although she won't eat anything but tuna or grilled chicken; she still jumps up on the couches and bed; she still takes short walks but she's a little wobbly; she sleeps a lot. And her fur is not quite as thick as it used to be. I'd looked around at some stores and hated all of them (pink or froufrou or just plain hideous) - so I decided to make her a coat.
I definitely don't got cutting skillz
On Saturday, I picked up a flannel shirt and a chamois shirt at Goodwill. Following the instructions I found here and here, I cut out a pattern on craft paper and then cut out the pieces. Let me be clear: this took me a really long time. I don't have good fabric shears and the edges were ragged; when I laid the lining (orange chamois) on the outside piece (blue plaid flannel), they only just barely lined up. I am NOT a seamstress.
That looks like it could hold together
On Sunday, I pinned the coat body and the belly strap pieces together and prepared to sew. I have a Singer Featherweight 221 sewing machine that my mom gave me. I think it's a 1954 - I know it's an antique at this point. It is amazingly good shape and, despite the fact that I don't know at all what I'm doing, works really well. (Also amazingly, the sewing machine still has its instruction manual, without which I would be lost.) After some false starts (i.e., it helps if you put the feeder foot down on the material before attempting to sew - who knew?), I stitched the coat body and the belly straps together. I turned the pieces rights side out, topstitched the body and attached the belly straps, then put on button/rudimentary buttonholes.
Incredibly, it (sort of) fit the dog, especially after I put in a couple of pleats on the sides to snug it in. She wasn't psyched about wearing it but I think she forgot about it after we got into our little walk. The temperature was 27 F in the sun and that silly coat must have felt good. Martha Stewart doesn't have to worry about any competition from me over here, but I still felt a tiny little bit of pride that I actually accomplished what I set out to do. And I have a HUGE amount of respect for those of you out there who are good with fabric - kudos to you.