As Promised

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.

10 Responses to “As Promised”

  • Cap:

    I wish I had some of your light-bulb moments. That’s such a fantastic idea. Do they sell blank iron-ons? You could write “Vermin Killah” on it for her 😀

    I don’t know if they sell blanks… but that’s a fun idea. 😀 I actually have left-over letter iron-ons, I should see if I have enough. 😀 ~W

  • IZ:

    I would love to see a bubble-wrap jacket… LOL… that would definitely protect the wee beasty from herself…

    These are fantastic though and are perfect! You demonstrate your talents as I couldn’t even begin to do something like this…

    I think she might-over heat in plastic. But duct tape… there’s a possibility. 😀 ~W

  • Marie:

    Sophie is so lucky to have been adopted by y’all!
    Great job!

    Thank you!! 😀 ~W

  • What about those nail covers that the vets sell? Would that work to keep her from scratching herself raw? Love the tees! You rock — making these for the poor girl! I love the Vermin Killer theme — Ruby needs one that says, “Got Rats?” 🙂


    Ruby does need one!! 😀 And yes! We tried the soft paws. They worked for about a month, until Sophie figured out she could chew them off. So, I’d put on a set and they would be gone the next morning. In theory, they work, because she’s so busy chewing them off she doesn’t scratch–but that’s kinda expensive. 😀 ~W

  • Here’s a link to what I was talking about . . . There are other brands on the market, too.

    I wish those came with stronger adhesive. Although, I don’t think even that would keep her from chewing them off. She’s good–and like all terriers, has a one track mind. It’s so hard, because not only is she really allergic but she’s also very anxious. It’s sad. Poor baby. ~W

  • Dogs do love to scratch and/or chew; it seems to be in their nature. Making it harder is the key and you are doing that. RAH!

    I know! She’s so darn itchy. 😀 ~W

  • You are making me feel quite exhausted.

    Exhausted, but impressed by your tenacity and ingenuity.

    The word “tenacity” takes me back, darlin. When I graduated from college, one of my professors said to me, “You weren’t the brightest student I’ve ever had, but you were the most tenacious.” I know! The nerve. If he only knew, eh? 😀 ~W

  • Are these going on Etsy? I think (as noted in previous comment) that they’re delightful tees. Very nice handiwork, Wende! Now if you only had a dog with a right front leg. (sorry. couldn’t help it. funny camera angle on Sophie. But she’s very cute even without. And I agree with Marie.) Off to look at nail covers link- McCloud needs them.

    It’s funny you mention the camera angle… she was being so difficult! I just couldn’t get a decent photo of her AND the t-shirt. And NO, not selling these on etsy. My girl wears COUTURE… I don’t think she’d appreciate me selling to the masses. (I’m so going to fry for that—I’m sure some local blog will mock me for months on that comment alone. Hee.) ~W

  • Those are awesome, Wende! SOOOOOOO unlike the doggie fashion at my local vet. Geesh. Gorgeous!

    Thanks, Kate! I like them. My machine should be back in a week or so, and I’m already dreaming up new t-shirts for the dog. That’s kinda pathetic, eh? 😀 ~W

  • Well, I’m all for anything that is both fashionable and good for you as well…I mean, with all the awful scratching and whatnot…

    See, good fashion should be beneficial. 😀 ~W

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