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2018 is forecast to head out the door with a lot of rain. so Tom is ringing in 2019 with a new coat. It’s been raining a lot here these past couple of months. While I don’t much care about the dogs getting wet when we are heading back home after a walk or other outdoor outing, where I have plenty of towels, hence none of my dogs having had a rain coat prior to the tail end of 2018, now that my schedule has Tom and I out of the house regularly traveling to various locations where we both have to be presentable for hours before once again braving the elements to head home, it’s become more of an issue. Plus thinking about the sheer amount of salt, sand and slush ick he’ll be lying in on the train and subway floor all winter, ewe gross. Hence my plan for a DIY rain coat for Tom.
Tom has an odd body size and I’ve learned over the years premade dog coats don’t fit him well or at all. They either expect him to have a much thicker neck, or shorter back, or more barrel like rib cage. Instead he has none of those proportions. But Tom’s body shape and size does lend itself well to with fairly simple modifications fitting into human jackets. Usually a men’s large or women’s x-large. So off to the thrift store we went in search of a water proof coat to repurpose.
Used Men’s waterproof lightweight jacket with zippers and snaps procured for a reasonable $10 price tag and we were off to the races. Or more my basement with sewing machine and fabric scissors.
After putting the coat on Tom various ways, it seemed to fit him most comfortably with more freedom of movement with the zipper running down his back, so that was the starting point. Glad we got one with a rain flap that snaps closed to cover the zipper!
Next in the very exact science of the way I make dog clothes, I made some cautious cuts while the coat was still on my very patient dog. See, another benefit to training a stand stay cue!
First up the back of the coat (ie the part now on his under belly) so that he’d have the ability to use the facilities when he needed ideally without my having to remove the coat or him peeing on it.
Next cutting off bits of fabric to adjust the fit of the chest.
And figuring out where I was going to cut to remove the hood while also using remaining length to make a nice cuff collar to keep rain off his neck.
Cuts made and floor covered in shreds of black fabric, it was off to the sewing machine.
Sew a bit, put coat back on dog to ensure I did it where I was supposed to. Remove coat again, sew a bit more. And so on, until all that was left was the cutting and sewing of the sleeves. The trickiest bit of all. Not so long they cause a trip hazard, not so short they leave more than necessary of his legs exposed to the elements. Out of the 2hrs or so I spent all told on this thing, the legs took about 40% of the time since I did end up having to redo them. Twice. Glad I had the forethought to sew before I cut, since redoing them was then a matter of just ripping seams and not sewing material back on.
The final piece de resistance: iron on reflective stripes. It comes in a roll at the local fabric store for a mere couple of bucks. Such useful stuff!
A few final checks to ensure 1. Tom can indeed toilet comfortably and without dirtying the coat, 2. He can walk, trot, run and do stairs up and down with ease (one such test proved the sleeves still needed more work! Adjustment made and next stair test passed with ease), and 3. his guide harness fits over it and he’s comfortable and happy guiding with the coat on. Final critical test occurred when it rained just a few days after making the coat. Final test passed after a 3 mile walk in the rain, mud and slush resulted in a mostly dry dog (his head, lower legs and tail were wet of course).
Total cost of a Tom size waterproof rain coat: $12 plus my time (and that of my spouse who carefully searched racks at the thrift store to find the perfect coat for this project, because he’s a dear who enjoys bargain hunting).
Not bad, not bad at all. And Tom does look rather spiffy if I do say so myself. oh and added bonus, it was pointed out to me after the jacket was completed, the brand name of this coat? Guide Series. How awesome is that? Lol