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How To Make Dog Clothes: DIY Outfits For Your Pooch

Key Takeaways

  • Measure the dog: Get accurate measurements of the dog’s neck, chest, waist, and length, as these measurements will be the basis for the basic pattern.
  • Choose the right fabric: Choose a fabric that is comfortable and durable for your dog. Make sure it’s also washable and easy to work with.
  • Create a pattern: Using my dog’s measurements, I create a pattern for the clothes, which will serve as a guide when cutting the fabric. There are only patterns that really helped!
  • Add closures and embellishments: Add closures such as Velcro or buttons, and embellishments such as bows or patches, to complete the outfit. Once I finished making the clothes, I try them on my dog to make sure it fits comfortably and doesn’t restrict their movement.

As a pet owner, I always want to show my furry companion how much I love and appreciate them. One way I do this is by dressing them up in cute outfits complete with a bow tie. However, buying dog clothes from pet stores can be quite expensive, and finding the right size and style can be challenging. So, I started making DIY dog clothes, which is a more affordable and creative way to personalize my own dog clothes.

In this DIY guide, I’ll share some essential tips and tricks that I’ve learned to create unique and comfortable dog clothes that are both functional and stylish. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a beginner like me, this guide will help you make adorable outfits for your furry friend that they will love to wear. Join me as I show you how to make dog clothes that are sure to turn heads and keep your pet comfortable and happy.

Baby Onesies

You wouldn’t think it, but a baby’s onesie is actually a great garment when making dog clothes. With just a little work, baby clothes makes a great bodysuit or t-shirt for a pup. I also recommend going around thrift stores to find onesies at a bargain if you don’t have any onesies available at home.

While dog sizes vary from one breed to the next, I do have some guidelines when it comes to choosing baby clothes. As a rule of thumb, newborn onesies will fit a small dog that is less than 15 pounds. Larger dogs need larger onesies of course and with a bit of searching, finding bigger sizes is always possible. Here are some step-by-step instructions when making a t-shirt for your pup from baby clothes.


  • Fabric pen
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Onesie

Step 1 – Put the baby clothes over the pup’s head and then put the dog’s arms through the onesie’s armholes in order to make sure that the onesie will fit the dog well.

Step 2 – Next, I create a t-shirt for my pup by using a fabric pen in order to draw a straight line cut on the onesie’s bottom. Then, I cut along that line to cut off the snaps. Next, hem the shirt’s edge with a sewing machine or needle and thread to make the t-shirt for the dog. Note though that the cut may vary depending on the clothes I want to make for my pooch. Fortunately, a free pattern can be had online.

Step 3 – After I determine the right-sized onesie for my dog, I then use a fabric marker to mark where the pup’s tail is located.

Step 4 – Next, take off the onesie and cut a hole in the dog’s tail.

Step 5 – Then, I fold the material over the area where I made the cut. This lets me make sure there’s a smooth edge for the circle. I then grab a sewing machine or needle and thread to hem the edge and get a cleaner look.

Step 6 – Finally, I put the onesie on the dog and then fasten the snaps together.

DIY Dog Clothes From Old Garments

Of course, onesies aren’t the only clothes I recommend using for doggy clothes. My old clothes like an old hoodie or a sweater sleeve can also be great for making one-of-a-kind clothes for dogs. With a bit of research, there are some great ideas online about reusing women’s fleece or long-sleeved t-shirts to make your own dog sweater. The great thing about these personal garments is that there’s more fabric to work on! I can be more imaginative with what designs I come up with using a recycled sock, a reusable bag, a dress’s belt, or even a bow tie.

One clothing design I really find useful is water-repellant materials. I find these can be really helpful in keeping my pooch stay dry when he’s forced to go during bad weather conditions. It’s easy to find patterns on the internet for pretty much any style of dog clothing that you want to create. An easy tip I find useful is simply converting old sweaters to DIY dog clothes.


  • Fabric chalk
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • A sweater you don’t wear anymore

Step 1 – First, measure along your pup’s back from his bottom to his neck and then to the top of his hips.

Dog wearing a shirt and scarf.

Step 2 – Then, measure along the dog’s waistline from the base of his neck to his hip in the front. Don’t forget to measure the widest portion of the dog’s belly.  

Step 3 – To create a tiny puppy sweater, measure from the sleeve’s cut inward using the initial measurements, and mark the cutting line with fabric chalk for precision. This will determine how much of the sleeve to cut off.

Step 4 – You will need to use the other set of measurements to mark the bottom of the sleeve to indicate where the leg holes need to be for your dog. If you have a larger dog, you will then need to measure up about four inches, but if you have a smaller dog, the measurement upward will only need to be two inches.

Step 5 – Next, cut a hole in the sleeve that’s about two inches wide allowing the dog’s arm to fit comfortably through the hole. I sometimes add a hood to the coat but make sure the dog’s ears are measured when creating the hood size.

Step 6 – After I cut the sleeve and created the dog sweater, I hemmed the hole to prevent the material from fraying.

Step 7 – For those with a large dog, I recommend creating more neck room by cutting across the wrist and then all the the way to cuff.

Old T-shirt

If you’re like me and don’t have a sewing machine or don’t know how to use one, repurposing old clothes is a great way to make unique clothing for your furry friend. I’ve found that converting an old t-shirt into dog clothing is an easy and cost-effective way to do this. Follow these simple steps to learn how you can turn unwanted clothes into a no-sew sweater.


  • Scissors
  • Fabric Markers
  • Old plaid shirt

Step 1 – After smoothing out the t-shirt, i fold it in half vertically.

Step 2 – Next, fold the t-shirt from the top down and make a cutaway along the fold.

Step 3 – After making the cut, all of the areas on the top of the shirt will be open by removing the collar and sleeve tops. Make sure to cut low so the dog collar isn’t covered up.

Step 4 – Fold up the bottom of the shirt at an angle towards the outside of the t-shirt and along the fold. Then, cut along the fold.

Step 5 – Once I’ve made the necessary cuts, I usually remove the bottom hem of the t-shirt to make the fabric more stretchable. This hem can also be repurposed into a cute necktie for added decoration.

Step 6 – To ensure that my dog shirts are identical, I use a pair of scissors to separate the two shirts along the folds.

Step 7 – To make sure the dog shirt, I first put it on their back, ensuring that the sleeves sit near the waist while the bottom of the shirt is around the collar. Since the shirt is designed for a person, it needs to be turned upside down to fit.

Step 8 – After I’ve ensured that the shirt fits my dog, I take it off and place it on a flat surface so that I can decorate it using fabric markers. This is where I get to have some fun and be creative by adding funny slogans or unique pictures.


How do you make a homemade dog shirt?

It’s actually pretty easy for those who have a blank t-shirt at home that you no longer use. Using the t-shirt, fabric markers, and scissors, repurpose the t-shirt and make it into a cute t-shirt for your dog following just a few simple directions. There’s no need for even a sewing machine. With just a few simple folds and cuts, owners can cut down the t-shirt and also create an adorable decoration for their dog’s neck using the leftover hem. For those who want added challenges, using a crochet pattern can also produce unique designs.

Is putting clothes on dogs cruel?

Determining whether or not it’s cruel to dress up a dog can be tricky and ultimately depends on the individual dog. If my furry friend absolutely hates wearing clothes, then it’s not fair to force them to do so. However, if they’re content with wearing a dog sweater and it helps keep them warm in winter, then there’s no harm in dressing them up.

I never force my dog to wear clothes if they don’t want to. While some enjoy the attention and are comfortable wearing clothes over their dog’s ears, others may not appreciate it. For instance, my furry friend doesn’t mind wearing a pet coat or a dog sweater against the rain because it keeps him dry, but he dislikes other types of clothing. It’s important to respect your dog’s wishes and never force them to wear anything they’re uncomfortable with.

How do I start a dog clothing business?

For those serious about starting a dog clothing business, the first step should be deciding the type of business you want to have and how large you want it to be. You need to decide on your business’s direction and whether it will serve just a local market or if you want to distribute products nationally. It’s important to consider selling right to customers on the Internet since it will open a virtual market.

Small dog wearing a hoodie.

Next, you need to design your products. Fortunately, this is something that can be done at home! Using various patterns and different fabric types and accessories – owners can sketch out their ideas before starting with the real thing. I strongly recommend avoiding things a dog may swallow like bears and buttons. Of course, those who are serious about building this business may want to invest in a commercial-quality sewing machine. Make sure to try the clothes on real dogs to see if the clothes cut or pinch into the dog’s legs so there’s appropriate modification.

Next, promote the business through local veterinarians, pet stores, and groomers that sell pet accessories. I suggest starting small and handcrafting the clothes to keep costs low.

I always keep in mind that marketing a company requires creative methods to stand out. For instance, I use both online and print articles to share information about animal care, dogs, and my products, in order to provide general knowledge and product-specific information to my target audience. By doing so, I’m able to establish my business in one of the biggest pet product industries today.

How do you make dog clothes out of human clothes?

There are numerous ways to repurpose human clothes into dog pants or shirts. One of the simplest methods is to use human clothing and cut them down to my dog’s size. For instance, I can use the sleeve of an old sweater to create a sweater for my furry friend, or an old t-shirt to make a t-shirt for them. This is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to make unique and stylish dog clothes.

An easy way to make an outfit out of human clothing is to take a baby onesie and adapt it to fit the dog. It can make a great dog sweater or even dog pants. I’ve found that outgrown onesies or those found in a nearby thrift store can be a cheap and easy option to create an adorable outfit for my dog. With a few alterations, these old baby clothes can be repurposed into a cute bow tie and comfortable clothing for my furry friend. It’s a cost-effective and sustainable way to make unique outfits for my pet while also upcycling clothes that might otherwise go to waste.

A newborn onesie will easily fit a dog 15 pounds or less while larger dogs will need a larger onesie. When creating a t-shirt for a dog out of a onesie, there’s a need to put the onesie on him and then mark it with a fabric pen.

Then, I cut out a hole for their tail and create a smooth edge along the cut line to give a clean and polished look. I make sure not to remove the snaps since they’ll still be necessary to secure the bodysuit to my dog’s body. This method is simple and effective, resulting in a custom-fitted bodysuit that my dog can wear comfortably.

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