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I promised  you a little stroll with my mis-adventure in canine couture. And I’m delivering. It’s a first, I know, but there is no need for your mock fainting.

Liza Lee said in a comment, “I hope Sophie likes clothing more than Ruby.” The thing is, Sophie doesn’t have a choice. Here’s why:

A few months ago, I came home with a Polo T-shirt for the dog from a local store. I’ll admit, I bought it on a whim and it was a total fashion thing at the time. But, within days of wearing it, we began to notice that Sophie wasn’t tearing into her skin with quite the same intensity. I argued that the t-shirt made her feel safer. IZ suggested, my deft psychological analysis of the dog aside, the t-shirt probably just protected her from herself. I promptly went back to the store and dropped a bit of change on more dog couture.

Sure enough, Sophie has healed up and is actually sporting hair in places we didn’t know she could grow hair. She’s still allergic to everything on the planet, and she still scratches herself into a bloody mess if left alone–just not where the t-shirt covers her. If I could wrap her in jersey knit, I would.

The problem came a few weeks later. I began to notice that these little t-shirts weren’t holding up in the wash. What can you expect for $10 a piece? Right??? They probably never were intended to be worn quite the way my dog wears them. Since they were coming apart at the seams, I reinforced all the seams to keep them from unraveling completely. I won’t lie, there was a sense of satisfaction. I’m easily impressed by my own ingenuity.

Of course, I’d just put my finger in one hole of the wall only to encounter another. Soon enough, there were holes in the fabric everywhere, and not just in places where Sophie could scratch. Not to be out-done, I crafted up darling little appliqués of apples in vintage material to patch the holes. But soon, it became apparent that no amount of restitching and appliquéing was going to save these particular t-shirts.

And that’s when I had one of those regional TV Consumer Reports moments. You know, where some guy in a  cheap $300 suit and a bad comb-over suggests to you that dumping $3.50 a day into a latte out adds up to a chunk of change you’d be better investing in an espresso machine for your home. And where, despite his OBVIOUS lack of fashion sense, he makes a bit of fiscal sense? You hate to admit it, but he’s right and you’re throwing money away for no good reason. You get so angry, you click off the TV and swear to subscribe to cable. At least the talking heads on CNN know how to dress and don’t really make you think.

Yeah, and that’s when Wende realized she’d probably  made these very t-shirts several times over just trying to salvage them!  And it’s also when I realized that despite my dog’s scratching, these shirts should not have disintegrated after 6 washings. Sophie needed new t-shirts, but I’m in NO mood to be investing that much into shirts that will end up in the land fill in a month. So not cool.

I ended up cutting up the old shirts, crafting a crude pattern, and making up a shirt from remnant jersey I owned. When it worked, I found some inexpensive red jersey at a thrift store and set about making t-shirts en masse. But that fabric turned out to be too thin—so I cut out the cute iron-ons off these and appliquéd them to a new knit that has a touch of spandex in it. PERFECT.

As you can see, I’ve not finished the edges. I was in a hurry, my machine is going in for maintenance and I needed to be done. But, it seems pointless, really. These are dog t-shirts and not meant to last forever. They are already better constructed than the first set! When they do finally die, I think I’ll cut the cute iron-on off and appliqué them to next t-shirt.

So that’s it. I spent $3.50 on the iron-on decorations which were on deep discount at JoAnn’s. That should make 8 t-shirts assuming I never recycle them. I spent $2 on 3/4 yard of fabric that made 3 t-shirts. You do the math. I’m feeling ever so clever. The dog is offended. But I’m sorry, Sophie, I couldn’t find an iron-on that said, “Vermin Killah”.

I just wish my light-bulb moments weren’t so fashionably late.

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