Sunday, March 7, 2010
I've been putting both a sweater and a coat on Biscuit every morning when we walk because its been down in the teens here in the mornings and he's very low to the ground & doesn't have a lot of hair on his tummy. Last time I went to JoAnn Fabrics I found a really pretty piece of fleece. It looks like tie dye and is a great shade of blue, perfect for a boy. So I brought the fleece home with the idea that I would make Biscuit a warmer coat and eliminate the sweater/coat deal (he hates it when I dress him so at least I will only have to put one thing on now). Well of course its warmed up this week so the coat may sit in the closet all summer but that's ok. When its down around 14 degrees out and maybe he will be warmer and not mind me dressing him.
Every jacket he has is either too big or so small I can't fasten it around his belly so I took the jacket that is a little too large and I used it for a pattern. On lots of the sewing web sites the seasoned seamstresses talk about using "sewer paper". That's "sewer" as in toilets and waste water. I went to Lowes and bought the sewer paper several years ago and for around $20 you get a lifetime supply, especially lifetime if you sew as little as I do. Its very similar to Do Sew that fabric stores sell. You can trace a pattern on it, baste it and use it for your pattern. So I traced the larger jacket onto the sewer paper and then tried it on him before I cut out the fabric. Every step of the way I tried the jacket on him until I thought he would bite me if I tried it one more time. The result is a coat that will keep him warm, especially his belly and fits him with room to grow when I leave his hair longer for warmth in the winter.
I bought some sherpa at JoAnnfabric.com and lined the belt with it and I made the belt a little wider than the store-bought jackets so that more of his belly will be covered. Then I bought an embroidery design of a doggie bone at emblibrary.com and made a pocket just for the embroidery design. I quilted the top layer of fabric with cotton batting under it and then used more of the blue fleece for lining so its 3 layers. Every step of the way I tried it on him.
I love how it turned out so much that I think I'll make him some more jackets, the fabric store has all sorts of cute doggie-coat-fabrics I can use and I do think he could use a nice rain coat as well since spring is traditionally rainy. I'm thinking I'll make the raincoat next while I remember how I made this one. (probably would be a good idea to write down what I did but knowing me, I won't.
One thing I learned while sewing this fleece. I have a presser foot that is called a "zigzag" foot. It has a plastic insert between the 2 feet and eliminated the problem of fleece curling up and getting caught in the needle. It sure did make the sewing easier. Another thing I did was switch from a regular sewing machine needle to a Jeans needle. I was having a lot of trouble with the thread breaking and the Jeans needle eliminated that annoying problem.
I also remembered from my knitting/fleece days that a longer stitch works better with fleece but when I did the quilting I did use the default stitch length. Sewing fleece onto the batting and quilting it with batting was easy, it was the sewing fleece on fleece that was troublesome without the zigzag foot and jeans needle. (now if I remember these things....)