Sweaters for a Chihuahua
Almost exactly one year ago, I went with Abdul to Tucson for the Gem and Mineral Show. He drove a big Penske truck that was loaded with beads and displays for the show (my role was entertainment and sandwich provider). We stopped for gas in the desert in New Mexico, out in the middle of nowhere. This is kind of what we saw all around us:
A little black chihuahua was running desperately to every car that pulled up for gas, obviously looking for someone. “Grab that dog!” yelled Abdul. I got some cheese from the truck and coaxed the little dog towards me and then picked him up. He had no tags, no collar and had mud all over one side. We took him into the gas station shop and asked if they knew who he belonged to. “Oh, people dump dogs here all the time. He’s been running around outside for about three days now.” ???!!!! Why anyone would dump a dog in the desert is beyond me.
But, now that I know Tor, who of course, went on with us, I know him as an escape artist. I have a chain link fence around my yard and he is up and over it in no time. So, I had a new pet.
I knew nothing about chihuahuas and even though Arizona weather in January is much warmer than Kentucky’s, Tor got cold easily. One of the vendors explained that chihuahuas have a body temperature that is 3 degrees warmer than other dogs so they chill easily. We had nothing for him so we made the green wrap you see above as a temporary fix. The same vendor gave him a little sweater which he wore for the rest of the show:
Tor fit in perfectly here at home and is my devoted little buddy. He loves Laila and helps keep her young. As Fall approached, I realized that he was going to need some clothes. He was starting to shiver even in the house. I looked for some patterns online but didn’t really like what I saw, so I tried making a pattern out of that sweater that he was given. I just used it to figure out the length and where the arm openings would go. Since I don’t knit, it would have to be made of fabric and I had a bin with fleece that worked perfectly.
I made a pattern out of one piece of paper:
The back is wider and longer than the front, so that he doesn’t pee on it. Cut a piece of fabric out to experiment, laying it on the dog from the neck to where the tail begins and then cutting it along the side with a flat sleeve. This pattern is for half of the sweater, so you would cut it on the fold.
The front needs to be shorter and narrower, but the neck and sleeve are the same. You will just have to experiment by measuring across the chest to see how wide it needs to be. Just fold the paper to where it looks right and cut out a sample from fabric, pin it to the dog and see if it works. You should be able to adjust this to any size dog. Folded pattern:
I’ve made about six of these now and a couple of them are pretty tight at where the bottom of the front meets the back and it’s a bit of a struggle to get Tor’s arms into the sleeves, even though the fleece is stretchy. For a larger dog, it might be better to have a closure at one side, Velcro or buttons would work.
Tor’s first snow
He didn’t like it. He touched it and ran back inside. But, then he saw Laila jumping around in it and soon he was tearing after her…
I stitched the pieces together by hand and finished the edges with a blanket stitch. It took me about three hours per piece, so no way will I be making these to sell… Of course it would be much faster by machine, but I like the handmade look. They have been washed and washed already and are holding up well.
There he goes, tearing after Laila…
Notice that I use a padded halter for Tor. It was inexpensive, around $10 and works well to keep the sweaters on and as I have to keep him on a lead when he is unsupervised outside, it’s perfect.
This is one of my favorite photos of Tor and Laila. I made a bed for him on top of a rattan table out on the porch and now Laila likes to sit on it as well. She will probably destroy it, but, oh, well… Tor is wearing a Martha Stewart vest that I bought at PetSmart. This can go over his sweaters on really cold days.
How about you? Have you made anything for a pet? If you have a link that we can look at, leave it in the comments. Do you have any suggestions on making patterns for dog clothes?
Love your pets!