Sweet Lucy's fleece sweaters
to make them
I have received many email enquiries about how to make Lucy's fleece sweaters. Here's an example:
"I was just looking at Sweet Lucy's site,
and although I don't own an American Hairless Terrier, I think they
are so adorable! I went through all of the patterns for the
different dog clothes, but what I'm really interested in are the
cute polar fleece sweaters that Lucy wears. They're simple, cute,
and look easy enough to make. I was wondering if you use a pattern,
or could you explain to me or on your site how to make those
specific sweaters? Anything would be great- they look so soft and
comfy!! Thanks so much. Kyra"
Ok, this is what I do.
Sweet Lucy is a fashionable girl. She
only wears "canine couture" (haute couture) outfits. Her clothes are
exclusively custom-fitted, made from high-quality fabrics, and sewn
using hand-executed techniques. :O)
I sew most of Lucy's
fleece sweaters by hand. Sewing by hand is very relaxing and you can
do it almost anytime and anywhere. I like to sew when I listen to
music or watch TV. You can sew these sweaters while waiting at a Dr's
office or commuting by train. Just cut the fleece pieces at home and
then take them with you. Instead of pins, use safety pins to
hold the sweater pieces together when sewing them.
I use polar fleece or micro fleece
they are very easy to sew by hand and they don't unravel.
Micro fleece is my favorite
because it's softer and thinner.
I have also used the
super soft, super furry fleece fabric to make Lucy some ultra soft
sweaters, but this fabric makes a big mess when you cut it. Tiny
pieces will be flying around you like snow. Fortunately, this unraveling will stop after you wash the
sweater, so you can leave the edges unfinished.
If you don't
live in a very cold climate, a two-legged
pattern is ideal because it has less seams to sew. Sweaters with two legs are easier to put on and
take off than four-legged ones. They also give the dog more freedom of movement.
You can buy a dog
sweater pattern or trace your dog's existing,
well-fitting outfit on a paper. Then
just cut the fleece pieces to size. No extra allowance of fabric are needed for seams if
you are sewing by
I used the
Simplicity 8928 dog clothing pattern as my starting point for
Lucy's sweater pattern. It includes a four-legged dog sweater that I
modified to a two-legged pattern.
Simplicity pattern 8928 has been discontinued, but
Simplicity 3939 (Woofy Wear by Wendy) is a set of new patterns designed by an AHT
owner. It has patterns for two-legged and four-legged dog sweaters. For
lots of dog clothing patterns, see the
sweater above is one of the earlier versions of my "Lucy pattern".
It is a bit too short in the body and doesn't cover her back as
much as I'd like to. This
sweater is made with just one body piece and it doesn't fit quite as well as
the ones I make with a separate belly
piece. See the photos at the bottom of this page.
I make the sweater body
with two side pieces because I curve the back slightly. You can
eliminate the back seam if you fold the fabric along the back seam
instead of cutting it there. This way your sweater body is made with
just one piece (unless you use a separate belly piece). Even less
sewing! See links at bottom.
I sew the seams by hand with a simple "over-the-edge" stitch. I use
mercerized cotton (not the divisible kind) thread for this. It is thicker than regular sewing
machine thread. Mercerized cotton is easy to
sew by hand and it is very strong. It also lasts wash after wash. If you use
fairly small stitches and a thread in a fabric matching color, the fluffiness
of the fleece hides the stitches very well.
The yarn I use is
called Pearl Cotton
(Coton Perle) by DMC. It is a highly mercerized,
twisted, non-divisible, lustrous 100% cotton thread on a ball. It
comes in many colors and in three thicknesses (5, 8, and 12). Pearl Cotton
yarns are used for crochet, knitting, tatting, embroidery,
cross-stitch, applique, quilt tying, lace making and other types
needlework. You can buy it in a fabric or graft store.
You don't need to finish the open edges
of the sleeves, waist, and neck because fleece doesn't unravel.
Cutting the fabric with pinking shears (zig-zag scissors) gives a more decorative edge. You can leave the collar
as it is and just fold it down. Or you could add a separate collar
piece for a more finished look.
To get the fit just
right for your dog, you will probably need to experiment a bit with your
pattern. Make the first sweater according to your original pattern. Then try
the sweater on your dog and see where you need to make
modifications. For example, do you need to make a longer or shorter
back, longer or shorter sleeve, wider or narrower sleeve, longer or
shorter under the belly, wider or narrower around the body, shorter
or longer around neck, or wider or narrower around the neck?
Then trace the
original pattern on wax paper and make the necessary
modifications. I like to use freezer paper for the final patterns because it's
durable and somewhat see-through. It is plastic coated on one side
and writable on the other.
Try this second, modified sweater on your dog and check if any
additional modifications are needed in your pattern. Once you are
satisfied with the fit, you'll have a custom fit sweater for your
own dog! With this new custom pattern you can make an endless array
of outfits for your dog. Just vary the fabric colors and prints. Add
lace, bows, or other decor for further personalization.
Have fun with it!
These two polar fleece sweaters
(left and top) have no separate
collar part. The top around neck is just rolled down
when wearing it.
All open ends are cut with pinking shears.
These sweaters (left and top) have a separate
collar band sewn in. Sleeve and body ends are cut with
pinking shears. The body is made with 3 pieces - 2 sides
and 1 belly piece. Total of 6 pieces - 2 side pieces, 2
sleeves, 1 belly piece, and 1 collar piece.
For more detail, see a larger
image of the orange sweater above or
a sweater made without the
Need to resize a pattern? For instructions,