For this project I decided on a really quick and simple make using fabric that I’ve been considering for sometime.  I’ve wanted to try out soft shell fabric for a while and chose an easy item to make.  Our pup needed a new raincoat that isn’t too thick now the weather is getting warmer.  Commercial coats can be very expensive and generally aren’t custom made, the couple that she's had in the past haven’t really fitted that well & were too short in the length.

This grey, anthracite soft shell fabric has a water resistant outer with a soft fleece reverse.  However, it is not completely waterproof but will give some protection in the rain.  I chose a grey colour for our black dog for practical reasons plus the husband isn’t keen to take the dog out in a pink coat.

I was going to self-draft a pattern using the old coats but came across McCalls M6455 which was the exact design I was going make so I saved myself the job of creating the template.

The pattern has 4 different sizes and the easiest way to judge the size you require is to measure the dog from the neck (at the position of the collar) to the base of the tail to get the length.  I also compared it to one of the old coats to be sure.  The neck measurement is also useful to judge if the length of the straps is right for your dog.

The coat has 3 pattern pieces, with one being placed on the fold.  I pinned the pattern pieces within the seam allowance in case it marked the fabric, but it was fine.  The fabric does not fray, nor curl, and it is very easy to work with, although care needs to be taken if sewing more than two thicknesses of fabric.

As per the instructions, I used bias binding to finish the edges and chose a rustic floral binding.  I didn’t want to use this on the edge of the chest strap and finished these edges by folding over once and forming a narrow hem. This could be done all round if preferred but care would be needed on the curves to prevent corners forming.

When ordering Velcro, if it isn’t a pack, check whether both hook and loop pieces are included as these may be sold separately. 

This Velcro is self-adhesive, but I also stitched it in place as it didn’t stick too well to the fleece side.  Unfortunately, when stitching the velcro onto the fleece it showed missed stitches on the right side, presumably due to the contact of the machine foot over the Velcro.  I had used a coordinating thread so it isn’t too obvious unless looking closely.

Shell fabric is perfect for a dog coat as it is pliable, but heavy enough, to lay across the back nicely, nor is it too stiff.  The soft fleece inner will add a little bit of warmth but also comfort for our energetic 10 month old.  The Velcro sections are a good length and in the past we have found that coats come undone when she runs if the fastenings are shorter.

Ironically, we are having glorious sunshine at the moment, so we’ll have to wait a while to test the coat out in the rain.  The only way we could get her to stand still long enough for a photo was to stand her on the table!

The pattern will be useful if she grows any more as there are two bigger sizes available.

Thank you to Minerva for the kit and to everyone for reading.