How to Make Dog Costumes

Many people want to learn how to make dog costumes rather than buying them. And rightly so. Not only can it be cheaper to make a costume for your dog, but it allows you to use your imagination and creativity, which can offer a satisfaction far beyond finding just the right costume to buy.

At the same time, multiple cities worldwide now have events where dog costumes are worn and contests are held. Would not it be exciting if your dog costume received the prize for being the most original or most outrageous?

Another incentive to learn how to make dog costumes is if you have a big dog. There seems to be a more limited selection available in stores than for small dogs, and often the price of costumes goes up substantially for larger ensembles.

Also, if you're into celebrating holidays to the max, it can be fun to have your dog wearing something to match the spirit of the holiday by using its colors, such as St. John's. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, Kwanzaa, Independence Day, etc. Hip dog clothes can also be created to support your favorite sports team, keep your dog up to date with the latest fashions, or provide a retro look for various time periods.

Some things to consider before you make a dog costume are:

  • The purpose of dressing up your dog
  • Your dog's tolerance for wearing things other than a collar or harness
  • Your dog's ability to handle the extra attention
  • The amount of time you have available to make a costume
  • Your budget
  • The kinds of materials you already have on hand (try to reuse items whenever possible)
  • Availability of thrift and fabric stores
  • Your expertise with making things

The more experience you have with sewing or crafting, the less time it may take to learn how to make dog costumes. However, if you've never tried to make such a costume before, you can start out with something simple and become a pro in no time. If you are not all that handy but know the look you want, consider taking an inexpensive store-bought costume and altering it to suit.

Parts of dog costumes you may want to create are: hats, ruffles around the neck, decorations for the dog's collar or harness, capes, vests, shirts, skirts, socks, or booties.

To create something that will cover your dog's collar, you can make a tube of fabric or yarn that slips over the collar, and all sorts of decorative items can be glued onto it. Or to make a ruffle, please take a long, narrow piece of brightly patterned fabric, hem the edges if necessary, and use a double row of loose running stitches near one of the long edges. Pull the threads from both ends (that's called "gathering the material") so the fabric bunches up and forms a circle. You can adjust the ruffles and length of the fabric as needed before fastening the thread.

A cape is also a good beginner's project, since it is basically a square- or rectangular-shaped piece of fabric with a gather and ties on one end that go around the dog's neck. Because you have so much material, you can really embellish a dog cape to present your ideas.

Many people take old T-shirts or football jerseys and alter them to fit their dogs. Please make sure the shirt is not so big that the dog trips over it, and not too tight that the dog has a hard time walking. If you want to make a shirt from scratch, you can use the free dog clothes pattern per the link below.

Or how about sewing a vest or making a no-sew one out of felt, then using Velcro, buttons or hooks as fasteners? Again, all kinds of things can be added to create a theme when you make a dog costume using material that covers a good part of your dog's body.

Let's not forget hats. These can provide the perfect accent or be the main part of an ensemble. They can be made out of a cardboard or plastic base with paper or fabric glued onto them.

As you can see, if you learn how to make dog costumes, you can make full use of your imagination and may even discover some hidden talents. Although parts of the process may be frustrating, if you persevere, you will have a feeling of accomplishment that no one can take away, as well as a unique costume for your furry friend.