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Sweet Lucy's fleece sweaters

How 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 fabrics because 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.aht lucy

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 hand.

I used the old 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 Boutique section.

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!

 

aht lucy

 

pink sweater

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.

 

aht lucy

 

orange sweater

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 back seam.

Need to resize a pattern? For instructions, go here.

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