Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dog Sweater Tutorial

The original 2009 free gauge-free version
Please read the pattern through completely before contacting me with questions. The instructions are in ALL of the content- pictures, notes, etc.

For personal use, gifting, and donation only. If you are involved in an animal charity, please contact me with details of the charity and event for permission to sell for fund-raising. Please do not sell or duplicate this pattern or ever use items made from this pattern for personal gain.
About this pattern:
This pattern does not use gauge and there is no specific type of yarn to use. It can be used with whatever materials you wish. There are specific steps of measuring along the way which will take the place of needing to know gauge or make a gauge swatch. This pattern will work for any size or shape dog. I have made sweaters for many dogs with this method- from a teacup Chihuahua with a 9inch chest to a Basset Hound with a 32inch chest.  Be sure to read through the pattern especially all the notes before beginning.  

MY PROJECT- for illustration purposes:
I am making a sweater for my Rat Terrier Pagan. She is on the small side- 12 lbs. Her measurements are Neck: 11", Fore-chest- 4", Chest- 17", Back- 13". These are the measurements I will be working with. I am using about 8oz of  Caron SSEco with an H hook. 
What you will need:
Yarn- whatever yarn you like to use
Hook- whatever hook you find comfortable to use with that yarn
Stitch Markers
4 Clothespins
Tape Measure
Tapestry Needle

N = Neck Circumference in inches
F= Fore-chest length in inches
C = Chest circumference in inches
B = Back length in inches
TIP: How much yarn? This is merely an estimation- but it should give you somewhat of an idea if you have enough to complete a project you start. Using the abbreviations above: CxB=A , A/50=Y(in ounces) This is true for most WW yarns using an H hook. Caron SS, as used in the illustrations, is closer to A/30 with an H hook. Be sure to be generous with your estimations!
Stitches Used:
Ch- chain
sc- single crochet
BLO sc- single crochet back loop only
hdc- half double crochet
sl st- slip stitch
HDCtog- half double crochet 2 stitches together (decrease)
inc- increase
FO- finish off

Starting with the collar-   ALTERNATE COLLAR See Hoodie
Ch 5*+1
*I use 5 as a minimum. You can make a tall collar- like a mock turtleneck- or even taller- like a real turtleneck which looks very nicely turned, but 5 is the minimum to get a neat, ribbed effect. +1 is the turning chain and does not count as a stitch.
Row 1- sc in 2nd chain from hook and in each ch across. Ch 1, turn.
Row 2- sc in BLO** across. Ch1, turn.
**For added strength in the ribbed collar, I generally do a regular sc in the ends and BLO in the middle stitches. This does not stretch quite as much this way, but it also does not stretch out of shape as easily. Unless your dog has a considerably larger head than neck, it really doesn't need to stretch too much, but you certainly do not want it to sag in the future.
Repeat row 2 until collar = N, ending on an even number of rows***. Ch1, turn.
This is my collar finished- 5+1 beginning chain- 11 inches long.
***An easy way to tell you have an even number of rows (without counting over and over) is to compare the two ends. As long as the last two rows on each end look the same, it is even.  In other words, you will have either a roof peak or vee formed by the last two stitches (due to the BLOsc). 2 Roofpeaks or 2 Vees= even number of rows!
Joining the collar
Fold collar in half, matching end. Sl st in each end stitch across, being sure to match and stitch through both layers. Ch2 and turn collar right side out (With seem on the inside) Do not FO!  You will not FO until you are ready to finish the sleeves!!!
Illustrating beginning to sl st through both layers
Beginning the body of the sweater
R0w 1- (Previous ch2 counts as HDC****) HDC in the end of each row, increasing every eighth stitch. Join at top of ch2, ch2. Do not turn.
****Ch2 counts as hdc throughout. Do not turn unless otherwise noted. You will be working in rounds for the next several rows.
Fold piece flat, seam in center of top. On the right and left edges, place a stitch marker. This will tell you where to increase.
The first round (with increases) finished and my stitch markers in place
Round 2- HDC around, making an increase at both markers. Do not join. Continue on to rnd 3.
Round 3- HDC around.
Repeat Rounds 2 and 3, until the piece measures F from bottom of collar to edge of work.
TIP: You will want to measure every few rows to be sure the sweater is increasing enough or not too much. In WW and Hhook- each row of increase adds about 1/2 inch circumference.  You may need to add more increase rows, or spread them out further, depending on the difference between your dog's neck and chest circumferences.
My Pagan has an 11inch neck and a 17inch chest- quite a leap. Her sternum is only four inches- which is only goign to get me about 9-10 rows of HDC. I have to make increases on almost every row. This is, by the way, why store-bought sweaters never fit her. Remember that you are getting an extra inch or more already in the first row.
Laying the piece flat and measuring from side to side as you go will let you know how much more increasing you have to do. If it measures 8inches across, it is 16inches circumference. (never mind real math here- this is crochet math)
You will want to try to increase at regular intervals to get the neatest fit, but for the first try I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just make a note for future sweaters how many increase rows you need and you can space them out better in the future.

Illustrating checking the measurements and increases as you go:

First check: 2.5/F and still need another full inch increase for C

Second check: 3.5/F and still need another .5inch increase for C- going well!

Final check: 4inch length gets me my F spot on- and 8.5inch width doubled gets me the 17inchC perfect! Yay!
Once you have the piece from bottom of the collar to end of piece measuring F- end your rounds in the center (even with the seem) with a sl st.
Finished and sl st in the center- ready to try it on!
Positioning the Leg Openings
Here you will want to pull out a big loop to prevent any unraveling when you go to try it on your model. Slip the sweater over your dog's head and position the center seem at the throat. The bottom edge should be just to the legs with a little wiggle room.
Take your 4 clothespins and clip them on just inside the front legs AND outside the front legs about halfway up the shoulder. The inside edge of the pin (toward the leg) should line up with where you want it- NOT the middle of the pin. (Which I did not do perfectly, and I had to recheck it again!!!)  If your dog has had trouble with sweaters being tight in the shoulder, give a little extra room.
Pagan trying on her sweater. That clothespin on the far right is totally in the wrong place, but we're going to fix that!!!
Slip the sweater off carefully, being sure not to dislodge your markers. Replace the clothespins with stitch markers four stitch markers INSIDE the clothespins.
Stitch markers replacing the clothespins
DOUBLE CHECK! Count the spaces on each side- make sure they are the same! Err on the side of more room if they are not equal and move your markers accordingly. At the same time, be sure they are still centered on either side of the chest. In the future, you will know how many stitches to skip for leg holes (using the same yarn and hook, of course) and can skip the clothespin step entirely!
NOTE: Place your markers in the first and last stitch you will skip. For Pagan's sweater, I skipped 10 stitches for each leg opening, so the marker is in stitch 1 and 10- and I skip those entirely when proceeding to the next step.
Beginning the leg openings
Row 1- ch2 to count as the HDC. HDC in each space UP TO the marker. Ch'X' (X= the number of stitches skipped from marker to marker). HDC in the next stitch past the marker and around, repeating for the next pair of markers. HDC back to the center and join at the top of the ch2 with a sl st. Ch2
Round 2- (working in rounds again beginning with the end of this row) HDC around.
Continue to hdc around until piece equals (B-F)/2******
******This is more crochet math! Yay! Basically, the total length of the sweater is going to be B- the length of your dog's back. You've already worked F- so subtract that from B. (For Pagan, this is 13-4=9) Now HALF of the remaining will be worked in rounds. (Pagan's- 4.5inches) The remainder (Pagan's- another 4.5inches) will be worked in dec. rows in order to form an open belly the bottom end of the sweater for free movement. (And boy dogs appreciate this as it won't rub their parts and you'll appreciate it as less weewee accidents and less sweater washing)
Once your sweater reaches the correct length, end with a sl st in the center.
Pagan's Sweater before the decrease rounds for the end of the sweater
Beginning the end of the sweater
Row 1- ch 2. HDCtog the next 2 stitches. HDC around until the last 2 stitches. HDCtog last 2 stitches. Ch 2 TURN
Row 2-? - Continue on each row in HDC, HDCtog the first 2 and last 2 stitches each row until sweater reaches B.
The sweater at B length (13 inches) before finished edging or sleeves.
Finished edging  - ALTERNATE TRIM see Hoodie
Round 1- Ch 1.  2 sc in same stitch. sc in each stitch across, 3sc in next corner. Working down the sides, sc evenly spaced 2sc per side of each HDC******* End with sc in same st as beginning to complete corner. Sl st to close. Ch 1. Do NOT Turn.
*******To prevent gapping along the trim, place one sc in the seem between HDC and one in the side of the HDC.
Round 2- Repeat Round 1, ending with a sl st to close. FO, leaving long tail to weave in.
Sleeve (repeat for both sleeves)
Round 1- Join yarn to arm hole and ch2 to count as 1st hdc. HDC around (In each hdc, the side of both hdcand bottom of chain)- placing 2 HDC in the sides of the HDC on sleeve hole openings. Do not join, do not turn. Use a stitch marker if needed to mark beginning of rounds.
Continue to HDC in rounds until sleeves are desired legnth. (I did 4 rows for Pagan's sweater) A good length sweater sleeve end before the elbow. Sl st in next st when sleeve is desired length.
Finish- 2 rows of sc as with bottom of sweater. Sl st at end of last row, FO leaving a long tail to weave in using needle.

Finished Sweater
TIP on HDC in bottom of chain when adding the sleeves:  It is best to stitch through BOTH loops of chain that remain in order to make the sleeve stronger. This may seem a little awkward at first, but once you get it started, it lines up well for the next stitch. If you prefer, you can HDC BETWEEN the HDC below the chain, though that is not as neat, but it's going to be in your dog's armpit, isn't it? The point is to just make it hold strong- whichever way you prefer to do it.
FURTHER TIPS: If you need to join yarn- run out or are doing stripes, etc.- ALWAYS tie your joins and THEN stitch the ends in to hide them. This will prevent future unraveling in a garment that is not likely to be treated gently!
Weaving in ends TIP: Best to leave too much than too little. Weave back and forth a couple of time or in different directions to prevent ends popping out in the future. Most likely this garment will need to be washed often, so you want those ends to stay hidden forever!
Remember, this is a basic sweater- what I may do with it later to embellish it will likely turn it into something entirely different.

Share your completed sweaters on our FaceBook page!

If you are looking for more advanced sweater patterns suitable to remote fitting that include permission to sell or commission, visit the Ravelry Store or click the 'crochet pattern' link at the top of the blog. 


  1. Awesome instructions. Pretty sweater on a pretty girl.:)

  2. What does it mean to increase?

    R0w 1- (Previous ch2 counts as HDC****) HDC in the end of each row, INCREASING(?) every eighth stitch. Join at top of ch2, ch2. Do not turn.

  3. To increase means to put an extra stitch. In this case, you will put 2HDC in one stitch, then 1HDC in each of the next 7 stitches, then repeat that around.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this pattern! I am looking forward to trying this for my Rat Terrier, Moe Joe. He gets so cold during our NH winters! I've bought so many sweaters for him but, nothing fits him well because of the broad chest.

    I actually learned to chrochet earlier this year just so I could make him some sweaters! It's a beautiful craft and I've really enjoyed getting into it!

  5. This sweater is so cute! I made one for my Rat Terrier, Spot and she looks super adorable in it. She was getting very frustrated with me cause I had to try it on her so many times haha
    My boyfriend wants one for his Pit Bull now D; I think I'm just gonna make one out of fleece for him though! He weighs about 120 lbs so he is enormous and I don't think I could crochet that!

  6. Love this sweater! Your instructions are so clear and easy to follow. I searched the Internet and other pattern websites for a pattern this beginner could do, and yours fit the bill! Thanks so much!

  7. Thanks for the great pattern! I'm going to try it for my hairless cat!

  8. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I can't tell you how many sweater patterns I've tried on my yorkie and how many were thrown out because the pattern was too confusing or didn't fit my yorkie well. This is just great! Finished up a purple one and moved onto a pink one!

  9. Just got done making one for my Rat Terrier, Scubby. Poor guy is always so cold. He is wearing it well. Thank you so much!! It was easy and finished in just a couple of hours. Now time to make one for my mom's pit bull Rambo and her foster doggie Penny!

  10. This pattern rocks my world! Thank you for mentioning what your stitching abbriviations are! It made my life so much easier! And my maltiepoo Cooper is loving his little blue sweater!

  11. I came across you pattern by accident. I have a dog that needed a sweater and this one has worked up just fine. Love that crochet math!!!!
    Thank you for creating this pattern, posting step by step instructions and pics.

    The model is adorable.

  12. I had love this pattern. I'd say I am a novice crocheter....I have made a few afghans but I want to learn more than that. I have started this sweater for my JRT mix, Cooper. With your pictures and very clear instructions I am having fun and very excited to get it finished. Thankyou so much for posting this blog.

  13. My little guy is an Italian Greyhound/Rat Terrier mix and basically impossible to fit! This tutorial is exactly what I needed to help me adjust patterns I like and to make up my own for him. The first one came out great and keeps him warm and snuggly. Thank you so much for sharing!

  14. Once I'm no longer a beginner (I have just learned the chain and single crochet stitches) I'd love to try this for my pug... pugs are shaped so weirdly...

  15. I love the pattern! You have made it super easy to understand. I am going camping and my newest puppy is always cold, but nothing store bought would fit her. This has been awesome. I will be sure to post a picture of the final project. :-)

  16. This is awesome. Thank you.. I have been playing around and this is alot of help. SOmetimes seeing is better and patterns for me don't make sense unless I see it.

  17. I think this is sooooo cute. i also think it would look cute with some flowers on it as well.

  18. So excited to try this out! I've knitted a few sweaters for my Rat Terrier mix, TARDIS, but I've recently taken to crocheting, and its surpringly hard to find a crochet pattern I like.
    I have no idea what she's mixed with, but she has the huge RT chest and an itty bitty tummy even though she eats like a horse. So naturally store bought sweaters don't fit as well as they should.
    Thanks sooooo much for posting this!!!!!!!

    1. OMGosh! Tardis! *dies* I love it! I am wearing a tardis shirt right this minute! haha! Hello, Tardis! I hope you will like your new sweater!

      So glad you found it! I hope it helps! Be sure to share a picture with us on fb!

  19. I recently began successfully knitting small projects and I haven't been successful at crochet the few times I have tried it. Is there a way to convert these patterns to knitting? I really want to work up and make my Pit Bull mix hoodie. Sweaters at the store always fit too tight in her shoulders even though they are Xl's.

    1. I will eventually be offering some knit patterns, but as far as converting a pattern, I believe there are lots of tips online to teach you how to do that. Thanks for the comment.

    2. Awesome! thanks for the tip! I do plan on trying crochet once I get better at knitting. It would be useful in the long run.

  20. Thanks - this is just what I was looking for! Now my little doggy Lucky will be warm :)

  21. We have a 172 pound Great Dane and can't find him sweaters anywhere.... do you think I can do this for a dog that big?

    1. It would be a big job, but could be done! I've never made a sweater for a dog anywhere near that big, but have for a few with some very large chests. The method is the same, just more yarn and time! I can't wait to see it!

  22. did you do the sweater for the Great Dane, I have 3 pound maltese, I just made this sweater for, and a 24 pound jack russell, for my next, I was hoping to apply this to our great Dane Puppy, she is 130 LBS, I'm going to give it a shot, but if you made one for your 172 dane, i would love to see it....

  23. My dauchshund is going to love this!

  24. I admit I don't know much about how to get patterns off of pintrest. How do I print this pattern? I love it and have been looking for great dog sweater patterns for a long time. HELP!

    1. Please see 'saving patterns help' at the top of the page.

  25. Hi, Jenna. Just one dumb question: what is the "fore chest" and how do I measure it? I have a very muscular pit bull and can't find a ready-made sweater to fit him. I'm eager to start on this one!

    1. Hi, Sande! Check out the link at the top of the page 'Measuring your dog'. GL!

  26. I have a Pit Bull puppy and I have been crocheting since the beginning of November 2012. My puppy is always cold when I take him out to "piddle." When I thought about it, I figured that I would look up Crochet patterns for doggy sweaters and this fit the bill!! Thanks for posting this!!

  27. Thank you for a wonderful, clear tutorial. I was able to create a sweater for my miniscule chihuahua without too much trouble. For the first time, Zippy has a jumper that is made too measure!!! Thank you for sharing it!

  28. hi Jenna, i have searched EVERYWHERE for a decent all in one pattern for ages and i finally found this one!!!.......thankyou so much for sharing it. i have a question. I am up to the sleeves and am unsure what the pattern is saying in regards where to put the HDC'S . Thanks so much , Danielle :))

    1. Hi, Danielle. I am going to assume you mean where it says 'sleeves' in the pattern. It's really not that important- use your instinct about where to stitch and where you think it will be strongest. Just get the same number of stitches for both sleeves and you are good! Hope it works out!

  29. thanks Jenna!.........this is the part im not getting....really prefer to follow pattern as im not an advanced crochetER LOL.....

    HDC around (In each hdc, the side of both hdcand bottom of chain)- placing 2 HDC in the sides of the HDC on sleeve hole openings.

    1. It is the same thing as crocheting evenly around a square where you have to stitch into the sides of stitches part of the time. Check out this link- It's not complicated, I promise! Just be confident and do it and if you don't like it, take it out and do it again!

  30. Still loving this pattern, I've made a shirt, hoodie, and suit jacket for my shiba chihuahua with this! Thanks so much

  31. I love this pattern! I crocheted one for Chewbacca, my surprisingly large Yorkie in one night! Actually, only about 4 hours of working sort-of consistently (many stops were made to enjoy a pumpkin spice donut. :P And to get my yarn ball out of my puppy's mouth.) It fits him great, though I think I made it a bit too long the first go. But I'm about to tackle one for Sweet Pea, our dalmation/lab mix. We've got 5 dogs in my house, so I'm sure this pattern will be utilized many, many times! (Except maybe for our Saint Bernard pup Janey, who likes to eat my crocheting rather than wear it.) Thanks!

  32. I have a Boxer/Am Staff mix and have so much trouble finding her anything that fits...her chest is ridiculously long and her waist is sooooooooooooo tiny lol she's make a great Marilyn Monroe LOL if I make this long enough I'm thinking of putting some sort of strap to hold it down her back, like maybe around her back legs. I should do ok with it. Thanks for sharing it!! <3

    1. If you look on the projects page on Ravelry (there's a link at the top of this page) you will see someone made leg straps for it. That might be an option. I would recommend putting some decreases in the belly- something that is not written into this free pattern but included in the new improved patterns. Hope it works how you want!

  33. I just worked this pattern starting last night. I love the sweater! I was a little confused by the instructions on the ending border but no big deal. I just wung it. :) I'm suire once my dog gets done pouting (she hasn't had to play dress up in years) she will thank you. lol

  34. I am having trouble with increase from neck to chest for my pittbull sweater. I get the increase but on rows that do not increase my sweater is still increasing by 1/2" per row which is too much. Any ideas what I am doing wrong?

    1. Try counting your stitches in each round. If you are joining each round, you may be adding a stitch in there by accident. If that is not it, then you may not be keeping steady tension, crocheting looser at some times than others. These have to do with crochet experience and will come to you with practice. Good luck!

  35. When you did the chain stitches for the arm space, was it supposed to fit in well? My chain stitches are shorter than the stitches on the space from the first marker to the next but they're the same number.
    Do i make the chain stitches longer or are they supposed to be like that?

    1. You must chain a lot tighter than you actually stitch. Try chaining looser or use a bigger hook to chain with if you have to.

  36. I just finished making this sweater for my Great Dane. Took about 6 hours total. Thanks for the great pattern.

  37. Love this pattern! I made this for my dog but it stretched out quite a bit I'm thinking about taking it apart to redo. I'm fairly new to crocheting I used a number 4 worsted weight I think it might have been acrylic. Is it the yarn itself that would have stretched? I'm wondering if I should try to count my stitches before I take it apart and then estimate how much smaller to make it OR if it's the yarn itself that has stretched could I remake it and it wouldn't stretch out again? Not sure if that makes sense or not. Or would I be better off to make a new one with better quality yarn? I just hate to waste all that yarn my dog is huge! Also when I did the decreases for the belly opening it looks weird because she's so big I needed more any suggestion on how I should try it next time? Maybe do double the amount on each row I guess I could just try and check it until it looks less saggy at the belly.

  38. Lovely pattern!
    So easy to follow with all the pics - I'll certainly try to adapt it to my Italian greyhound <3


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