Handmade For You, By Me, With Love. aka Before and After

If you remember, back in December I was tossing around the idea of making a coat for Cash, well, yesterday was the day. Please excuse my photos. No, I don't own a digital SLR, and no, I don't get massive amounts of gorgeous natural sunlight to produce dreamy photos without the use of flash, and no, I'm not good enough with Photoshop to make up for the lack of the above (if, that's even possible).

Materials Used:
- paper grocery bag
- reused jacket
- old dog bed (batting)
- velcro
- sewing notions

I started by gathering inspiration online, looking at different patterns and tutorials. I took Cash's measurements (neck girth, body girth, length of back) and cut a paper pattern reusing grocery bags (from a trip to the store where I had forgotten to bring my own !! I know, but it happens), eyeballing the shape and doing my best to "fit" it as I went.

Fortunately or not, I have always been spoiled in my sewing endeavors because my Mom is such a major seamstress. In turn, when left to my own devices and limited resources, the execution of my project is anything but perfect--this I know. This project would have been infinitely easier if I had access to a serger (my sewing crutch--it makes everything, I mean everything, easier, cleaner, and more presentable).

I put out a call for any coat donations and received little more than empty, "I mights.." So, I hit the Target men's department sale rack and found this reversible windbreaker on clearance for $7.48 which, I figured, is cheaper than I could purchase polar fleece for:

Next, to work disassembling the jacket and getting the body of the new coat ready for assembly. Cash destroyed a section of his (once loved) bed in protest of its being too-small recently, which I took advantage of by using the top layer, a faux lamb's wool, in lieu of purchasing batting, to add an extra layer for warmth.

Cutting along the stripe of the plaid pattern, I created 4 long strips of fabric which I sewed together to make the binding. I attached the binding to the underside of the coat body before sewing the layers together. After sewing once around the edge, I measured, pressed, and top stitched the binding to conceal the raw edging (again, I would have loved access to a serger).

I used the jacket hood to make the collar (it being a Target jacket on clearance, the plaids do not match up--this is not my doing, but one must make the most of the fabric one has) the necklines matched perfectly and all that was required was trimming the shape down, pressing, and top stitching. Long, wide rectangles formed the straps for the belly and neck. To these I attached velcro in strips long enough for the jacket to remain adjustable.

For an extra touch, I made a back belt (really, it's a rectangle) embroidered it with "Cash.Man" and attached it with 4 small black buttons I had lying in a craft box. I think that a pair of darts near the rump are still needed to sort of round out the back shape (hopefully, making it less cape-like).

(I'm telling you, he's really difficult to take photos of. I can never get him to hold still unless he's nearly or actually asleep.You've just gotta see in in person.)

Regretfully, it is by no means a wonderful example of my finest sewing skills. There are sloppy stitches and imperfections abound (which, I wouldn't admit to if it weren't so apparent in the photos. Please, don't enlarge them). However, it was a fantastic Sunday project, a way to concentrate on something other than my funky mood of the past week, and, admittedly, I think its really adorable. It's cuter in person. I'm quite pleased.

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