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 Greyhound with hooded winter coat

Winter is certainly upon us, and what better time to make a new warm coat for your houndie? This classic pattern was developed by Greyhound Manor Crafts and is still a favorite.

Throughout these instructions, reference is made to the inner fabric and the outer fabric. The coats actually end up fully reversible, so this is just to make it easier to explain what's going on. You'll probably never actually reverse it if you're using a wooly fleece for one side, but it's a cool feature if you're making a spring/fall-weight coat and can't decide which color looks best on your hound.

Materials Needed:

  • 5" strip of 2" wide sew-on velcro (or 10" strip of 1" wide velcro)
  • 1 Plastic Drawstring Stopper (most fabric stores have these)
  • 2 foot piece of string or ribbon for drawstring
  • 1 yard of outer fabric
  • 1 yard of inner fabric
  • Large sheet of paper or a paper bag cut open (for pattern)

Step 1 - Measure Hound and Make Full-Size Pattern

First, measure your hound in these four places and write down the measurements.

    • Length - From where the neck bends and becomes the back to where the tail starts (usually 26" - 30")
    • Girth - Biggest distance around the chest, just behind the front legs (usually 28" - 32")
    • Width - Distance across chest as you look straight on at the hound (usually 6"-9")
    • Neck Length - Distance from where the neck bends and becomes the back over the head to the eyes.
hooded houndie coat pattern

Next, take a large sheet of paper and draw out your pattern similar to the one above, but to the size you measured on your hound. Don't worry about matching the drawing above exactly. Generally, you want the coat full around the chest and rear and thinner in the stomach region. The rounded corners on the tail end add a very nice look and make later steps easier.

To figure out the X measurement in the drawing above, divide your hound's girth by 2, then subtract 3 inches.

Now take the pattern to your hound. This is a tough job, but worth the effort. Hold the pattern in place along the hound's spine and make sure the coat falls as you would like. Make sure the butt is covered. Make sure the coat is long enough for the hound. Make sure the coat will cover the chest but not drown it. Hold the neck piece to your hound's neck. Verify that it will loosely make it around your hounds neck. Don't worry if the neck seems too long. You will be folding it over to allow for the drawstring. If you need to make changes, do it now--even if you have to do the pattern over. Once you get a perfect pattern for your hound, you'll never have to go through this again.

Step 2 - Cut Fabric

Fold the inner fabric in half. Place the long straight side of the pattern pieces for the body and the neck along the fold. You can put a few pins in at this point if you'd like, but I don't. I just hold the pattern in place while I cut. Precision is not that important here.

THIS IS IMPORTANT! Allow 1/4" - 1/2" extra around the pattern as you cut the fabric. This will be your seam allowance. If I know I'll be top-stitching (which I do with all but the bulkiest fabrics), I go with a 1/4" seam allowance. Otherwise I go with 1/2".

Next, fold the outer fabric in half. Don't use the pattern to cut the outer fabric. Instead, use the folded inner fabric pieces as the pattern. This will assure you that the two sides will match perfectly. Cut the outer fabric to match the inner fabric shape.

Finally, cut the stomach strap pieces. Cut two 5 1/2" x 7" rectangle of the inner fabric and two of the outer fabric. (If you're working with a bulky inner fabric such as woolie fleece, use the outer fabric for all 4 of these pieces. It's yucky working with velcro on fleece.)

houndie hooded coat

Step 3 - Construct Stomach Straps

Place one inner fabric and one outer fabric 5 1/2" x 7" rectangle right-sides together. Using a 1/4" seam allowance, stitch along three sides, leaving a 5 1/2" edge open, forming a pocket. Repeat this for the other two squares. Turn the pockets right side out. You can top-stitch these at this point, but I find it unnecessary.

Trim the velcro to be 1/8" shorter than the pocket on each side. Place the fuzzy side (as opposed to the hook side) of the 2" velcro on the inner fabric about 1/8" from the sewn edges and top-stitch into place. (If you are using the 1" velcro, cut two pieces and place them side by side and stitch into place.)

Read this carefully. It's where I sometimes get mixed up. Place the hook side of the 2" velcro on the OUTER fabric of the other stomach strap and top-stitch into place. (If you are using the 1" velcro, cut two pieces and place them side by side and stitch into place.)


Step 4 - Sew Body of Coat

houndie coat pattern 2

Unfold and align the inner and outer coat pieces, right sides together with the inner fabric on the bottom. Place the stomach straps in between the inner and outer coat pieces. We made these bigger than they needed to be, so they will stick out of the coat. (This allows you to make adjustments later if needed.) When placing these, you want to make sure they'll fall behind the front legs. On males, you want these as close to the front legs as possible to avoid tinkle damage. Place the straps with the inner fabric down. (Don't think about the velcro if you can avoid it, or you'll confuse yourself. Just put them with the inner fabric down. If you used the same fabric for both sides of the straps, put one with the velcro up and one with the velcro down.) Allow about an inch of each strap to extend out of the coat as shown above. If you have to make adjustments later, this will be the place, so I just allow for it from the start. Pin the straps into place.

If you're one who likes to pin stuff, pin all the way around the coat. I find that I only need to pin the stomach straps in place to get a good result.

Now sew the two pieces together. You'll leave the chest straps and neck unsewn. This will allow you to add the neck. Start sewing as indicated on the diagram. Sew around almost the entire coat, sewing over the stomach straps to trap them in place. Stop as indicated on the diagram.

Clip curves and turn right side out.

Don't skip this step. Take the coat to your hound and try it on. Make sure the stomach straps are an appropriate length to fit snuggly but not too tightly. Check the length of the coat. (You can make the coat shorter, but not longer at this point.)

Pull the chest strap across the hound's chest and mark where the seam should lie for a perfect fit. Don't worry if the chest strap is a few inches too long. You can trim it to a proper length before the final sewing.

If you need to adjust anything, turn the coat wrong side out, pull out the necessary stitches and do it now. You'll thank yourself later, believe me.

Step 5 - Sew the Neck Parts Together

houndie coat pattern

Unfold the two neck parts and place them with right sides together. Sew along the straight edge opposite the point as shown in the diagram. Open the assembly you've just sewn. Fold it in half lengthwise with right sides together. Stitch along the shorter of the long sides as shown in the diagram. Turn this assembly right side out. Remember that you'll have right sides on both the inside of the neck and the outside of the neck when the coat is finished. For now, turn the whole thing right side out.

Step 6 - Sew Neck to Body

This part is confusing and it will seem like it's not going to work. It always does, though. Really. Take the point of the neck piece with the right side of the inner fabric. Place it on the point of the body against the right side of the inner fabric. The points will point in opposite directions when you hold them together. Just line up the fabric edges to allow for the proper seam allowance. Now start sewing. In all, you will sew four edges. Make sure you're always attaching inner fabric to inner fabric and outer fabric to outer fabric. You will have to do some weird turns when you get to the points for the outer fabric. Just line up the fabric edges to allow for your seam allowance and you'll be fine.

Step 7 - Turn Right Side Out and Press

Clip near the points, then turn the coat right side out. (You're actually only turning the neck at this point. Press the seams all around the coat.

Step 8 - Make Drawstring Channel

Fold the end of the neck over toward the inside about an inch and stitch in place to form the channel for the drawstring.

Step 9 - Connect Chest Strap

houndie coat pattern

You can do part of this step with the machine, but you will also have to do some hand-stitching. You can stitch this entire section by hand if you'd like. All that is left is to connect the seams that will form the chest strap in the front of the coat. Put right sides of the outer fabric together and start stitching. You will soon hit the inner fabric, which you want to also place with right sides together. Eventually you'll get to a point where you'll have to topstitch the seam to fully close it. The final shape of the coat is shown in the diagram above.

Step 10 - Feed the Drawstring Through

Make two small slits in folded over drawstring channel. Make the slits in the inside of the neck. Use a safety pin on the end of the drawstring to feed it through the channel of the hood. Slip the plastic drawstring stopper onto the drawstring and tie knots in the end of the drawstrings. I usually let the drawstrings hang about 4 inches on each side when the hood is fully open. This is plenty if your using the drawstring stopper. If you're just going to tie the hood, you'll need to leave a longer drawstring.

OPTIONAL: Step 11 - Make Leash Slit

Some people like to put their hound's collar on the outside of the hood for walks to maximize warmth. They don't like a gaping slit for a leash letting air inside the coat. If you're one of those, you're done.

Others like to have the collar on the inside, close to the hound's neck. If you're one of those, you'll need to add an extra-long button hole to the coat so the leash can be attached while the coat is on your hound. The leash slit should be at least 2 inches long and is better if it's 3 inches long to allow for play in the leash and collar. The slit should be placed in the neck part of the coat, an inch or two from the point formed on the top of the coat where the neck meets the body.

That's it. You're done. Now take that fashionable hound for a walk. You both deserve it!

And if you need a little extra help on assembling the coat, here is another diagram that has helped some other sewers.

houndie coat pattern

Copyright 1998, Greyhound Manor Crafts, Jack & Amy Corrigan, used with permission

Additional notes from the Corrigans:

This hooded hound coat pattern was derived from a drawing in a magazine from 1910 (actually for a whippet, but I scaled it up a bit). I doubt that they had the benefit of velcro and plastic drawstring stoppers, but the design is quite flattering to the build of the greyound. When done in velvety fabric, your hound will take on a wonderful Victorian look. When done in upholstery fabric with fleece inside, it will be a real cold-buster. They stay put very well, even on fidgety dogs. They're easy to put on and take off when made with the single velcro fastener and drawstring stopper described here. Oh, yes, and, they keep your hound warm--the purpose of a coat.

We make these out of any kind of fabric we find, but have had the best luck with heavy upholstery/decorating fabric and winter wool blends for the warm coats. Consider odd sources of fabric, such as old blankets, drapes or rugs. It sounds weird, but these are typically thick heavy fabrics that wear and wash well. And they're warm. Using velvety or plush fabrics with satin inside will result in a stunning, although not very warm, look for your hound.

Time Needed:

Each coat takes me 45-60 minutes to make. I don't pin stuff and my patterns are already made, so it may take you slightly longer, especially for your first coat.

houndie coat

 Pattern also works for a raincoat when made with waterproof fabric.

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