Custom Waterproof Canine Apparel

Project Date: Jan 2016 – Present

Project Type: Private Commissions (ongoing)

Design Brief

The purpose of this project is to explore the possibility of technical wear for canine. I want to create dog jackets that are highly functional and well fitted to individual dogs. I will be actively working with interested dog owners to create dog jackets that fit their needs.

Introduction

Following the Canine Hip Disarticulation Prothesis project, I received a request from a friend for a custom jacket for her dog.

Requirements for this project:

  • Chest piece that prevents the jacket from moving left/right and helps keep the underside of the dog clean
  • Easy to put on without having to force the dog’s front legs through the sleeve holes
  • Adjustable to allow for some growth
  • High visibility (the dog is black)
  • Waterproof for rainy walks, and also when the dog goes into a body of water
  • Tear-resistant for when the dog walks into bushes and overgrowth areas

Prototype 1 – Padded Jacket with Velcro Closure

I took measurements of so many parts of her dog, Cinder. Even then, I had to estimate the ease that the garment would require to make it snug, yet comfortable. This iteration was made with nylon interior and exterior, and spacer fabric as insulation. I was able to get my client to bring her dog and we went for a walk where I am able to observe the product in action.

Problems I encountered from the 1st prototype :

  • Fur would get caught in velcro and make is difficult to remove
  • Insulation made the jacket very stiff
  • Extremely difficult to sew more than 2 layers at a time
  • Sewing velcro punctures holes at the side of the jacket, making it not waterproof

 

Prototype 2 – Lightweight Jacket with Adjustable Buckles

After learning from the 1st prototype, I removed the insulation layer and the jacket fitting was perfect (no longer stiff). I also replaced the velcro with buckles and adjustable straps. The client was very pleased with the jacket and the craftsmanship. I’ve been told that the jacket is still in perfect condition.

I have been following my client on Instagram, and recently saw this video of Cinder wearing the jacket and playing in the snow:

 

 Prototype 3: Jacket for a Smaller Dog

After getting great feedback from the jacket, my client advised that I should maybe list the rainjacket as a listing on Etsy. I did and received an order in October 2016 from a couple on the other side of the continent. This meant that I had no reference aside from measurements provided by my client.

Using the pattern block from before as reference, I had to make a brand new pattern because this is significantly smaller than Cinder. In order to make sure the fit was going to be good, I cut the pattern out on paper and taped it up around a makeshift dog (aka pile of fabric) in order to confirm the measurements before making the actual product. The final product turned out perfectly and the client sent me a photo of his dog (Scottish Terrier) in its new coat!

 

 Prototype 4: Harness Leash Slit and Snap Covering

During the awful cold snap in January 2017, I received a custom order for a pair of pitbulls that were unwilling to go for walks out in the cold. The client wanted fleece lining instead of nylon, and also a slit on the back of the jacket so she can easily connect the leash to the dogs’ body harness. I placed the slit in between the buckles on the back, and added a cover with snaps to allow it to be closed when not in use. The final products turned out perfectly and the client sent me a photo of one of her dog in the coat.

 

Future Considerations:

Pocket(s) for Storing Dog Waste Bags

Reflective Strips

Lights!

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