Whether you want to dress up your dog for a fashion show, holiday or for a photo shoot, you don't have to purchase a readymade outfit -- you can make one instead. Depending on your sewing abilities, costumes can be elaborate or simple, consisting of one or two pieces. Whatever you choose to dress your dog up as, the costume needs to be comfortable so it won't restrict your dog's movements.
Choose durable fabrics, washable fabrics that will not irritate your dog's skin. This prevents the costume from being ruined by an accident or by your dog scratching at it. Stiff fabrics, such as twill or canvas, can be used to form wings to clip on a dog t-shirt; consider these to make angel, ladybug or bee costume wings. Fabrics with a bit of stretch to them allow your dog to move around more easily than stiff ones. These are suitable for the part of the costume that fits over your dog's body. Patterned fabrics can determine your costumes theme; one with stripes makes an excellent prison costume, consisting of a shirt and hat. A fabric with stars on it is a good choice to make a wizard costume, made up of a cape and pointed hat.
Sizing and Fasteners
Take measurements around your dog's stomach and along his length and height. Measure around his legs to ensure that your costume fits him properly. Add hook-and-loop fasteners, which you can easily adjust, to the costumes; these can also be quickly opened and removed if your dog becomes upset wearing the outfit. A ballerina outfit made up of a tutu and decorative collar can be attached to your dog with hook-and-loop fasteners. These fasteners also work well to attach a cape around your dog's neck to dress him as a superhero, or as part of a witch costume or as a well-dressed vampire. Capes are comfortable and won't restrict your dog's movements; you don't have to fasten them around the dog's neck, simply to his collar.
Types and Themes
Dress your dog as part of a "theme" costume, one that matches the spirit of a specific party or holiday, or one that can match or complement your own costume. Combination costumes to think about include dressing your dog as a fish and you as a fisherman or as a duo like Sonny and Cher. Small wigs can be used to fashion hairstyles for your dog and attached around his head with an elastic string. These work well for period costumes, such as long ’60s hair for a hippie costume or highly teased hair for an ’80s-themed costume. Add other accessories such as small fabric pompoms for a cheerleader costume, a jewel-encrusted small tiara for a princess costume or a crown for a king costume. Attach accessories with soft elastic or to the sides of a fabric costume with hook-and-loop fasteners.
Animals, Aliens and Objects
Construct a costume that is fruit-themed by dressing your dog in a brightly colored shirt to represent the fruit, such as red for an apple or yellow for a lemon. Make a hat that looks like a green fruit stem with leaves to complete the look. Dress your dog as a bug or as another animal, such as a deer or cat for a humorous touch. These costumes can also consist of a simple, animal-print or faux-fur shirt for the body of the object, and a hat or band featuring cat ears, antlers or antennae that you can place behind your dog's ears. Antennae can anchor an alien costume as well.
Get your dog used to wearing a costume that you make by placing it on him for a few minutes at a time. Avoid placing small or sharp objects, such as sequins or metal studs, on the costume that your dog can reach and might ingest or accidentally cut himself on. Make the costume weather-appropriate; use heavier fabrics, such as velvet and wool, for winter and lighter fabrics for summer such as cotton or linen. Fashion your costume with pet-safe fabric glue to avoid stitching it together. Never cover your dog's eyes, ears, nose or mouth and keep outfits simple, keeping them to one or two pieces. A hat and coat or cape on its own can make a fashionable costume, such as a leprechaun or pirate, with just fabric embellishments such as shamrocks or skulls and crossbones. Take off your dog's costume after your event; don't force your dog to wear the costume if it upsets him too much.
- PetPlace.com: Halloween Costume Ideas for You and Your Dog
- PetPlace.com: Costumes for Your Sidekick: Make Your Dog Part of Halloween
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Halloween Costume Tips for Your Furry Friends
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Professional: What Not to Wear
- Martha Stewart: Dog Crafts
- cheerleader image by Earl Robbins from Fotolia.com