DIY Dog Harness Part 2: Valentine’s Day

Super excited that I was able to fit in TWO fully finished sewing projects this week!  I’m trying out a few different ways to get the perfect fit/style for Karla’s dog harness.  For Round 2, I really wanted to make her a cute Valentine’s Day themed harness (mainly so I could browse all of the cute seasonal fabrics at JoAnn’s).  This dog harness was a major improvement from the first trial, and I can see a few more areas I’d like to adjust.

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DIY Valentine’s Day dog harness with parachute buckle

I ditched the velcro closure and opted for a parachute buckle, which makes the harness way more secure and sturdy.  I didn’t have the adjustable piece for the buckle so I had to make sure the nylon strapping was made to fit.  It’s okaayy, but I think on the next trial I will go ahead with an adjustable option to make for a better fit around her rib cage.  I think the neck strap needs to be shaped a little better as well (although I like that it is a little loose so it’s not choking her).  For the chest/belly strap, I thought I was going to like bringing more of the fabric up around her back, however, I’m still deciding if I’d prefer it shorter with longer strapping.

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Closure across dog’s back…buckle feeds through top strap loop (not shown) before connecting closing buckle

I also added an extra layer of batting inside for extra warmth and comfort.  I also like that it gives the harness a more soft and cushioned look overall:

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Chest/belly side of dog harness includes layers of batting sandwiched between the outer fabrics. Provides comfort and gives shape and stability.

Overall, I’m really happy with this trial harness.  It was totally functional and gave her plenty of movement to run freely.  Hopefully, I can improve this piece even further, and settle on a standard harness pattern with a perfect fit!

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DIY Dog Harness with Bias Binding

So this week’s project was another sewing adventure, and  Karla just seems to work as the easiest guinea pig since items for her don’t require spending a lot on supplies.  The inspiration for this project came from all of her walks and trips to the dog park.  She LOVES being outside and snooping around, which unfortunately makes her tug her leash too much when she’s excited.  We always feel bad that she chokes herself, and we’ve wanted to get her a dog harness instead.  It seemed like a fun and easy DIY to tackle so that we could have our own unique version to match her DIY Dog Leash.

There are so many styles of dog harnesses, but I wanted to try and make one that would really show off the design of the fabric.  I opted to make the straps of the harness wrap around her chest and belly, but after testing it out I think I prefer to make the wider cushiony part of the harness against her chest and have the straps wrap across her back.  I think this will still show off enough of the fabric design and will provide more comfort when she tugs.

For our first test run, the moment she had any resistance, the harness came right off.  I used general purpose velcro I already had on hand, which I knew just wasn’t going to work.  I swapped it out for some heavy duty velcro, and the grip seems to hold up so much better.  Overall, I don’t think the velcro is an ideal choice for a closure for this style of dog harness.  I plan on making her a few more in a few days so she can be stylin’ for the upcoming holidays.  I’m going to replace the velcro closure with nylon strapping and a parachute buckle which will guarantee the harness won’t come off.

 

I do like the idea of binding the edges with bias tape, but it was such a hassle for some reason!  I’ve used bias binding enough times, so I don’t know if I was just overly tired or what, but I could not for the life of me get a nice finish around the curved edges.  I was going to leave it, but being the perfectionist I am, I ripped it out the next day to redo it.  I must have been exhausted because taking it out and re-sewing it nicely took hardly any effort.  It did take a nice chunk out of my finger, though, as I can’t believe I ran it over with the sewing machine!!  I guess there’s a first time for everything, and seeing how much better the bias binding came out was worth the little mishap!  Stay tuned for DIY Dog Harness Part 2 to see if it’s as successful as this attempt!

Why buy when I can DIY…

Super excited that I finally got around to finishing this project.  It’s something that’s been on my to-do list ever since we brought Karla home back in July.  With the adoption, we received a free collar and leash from the spcaLA that worked fine, and most importantly, didn’t cost a cent!  I quickly grew tired of looking at it, though, as I felt it was drab and didn’t give her any pizazz.  Yes, I could save myself the trouble and just buy a new leash for cheap, but why not make it personal and one-of-a-kind?

Although it’s kind of a basic project, it was a great way of getting baimg_2219ck into crafting/sewing mode while not breaking the bank.  It requires just a few supplies, and if you wait for the right sales or coupons, it’ll hardly cost a thing.  Since it’s small and only requires a few steps, I was able to finish in a couple of hours while watching the Boo save Gotham in Arkham Knight.  I used this really cute paw print fabric, but a strip of ribbon would work and be even faster.  I figured out a few little tweaks I will try out when I make the next one.  I got all of the supplies from JoAnn, and I have some leftover fabric so I’m thinking of making a matching treat bag or new collar to match.

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I swore I’d NEVER be one of THOSE people that make a fuss about my furbaby’s accessories, and yet, here I am.  I’ve already made a trial beanie and sweater that just needs some tweaking to the patterns for a little better fit.  I was so busy during the holidays that I didn’t have time to take progress pictures or blog about it, but I did post it to Instagram.  I was pleasantly surprised when the JoAnn Fabric and Craft account asked to repost it on their page!  Someone even asked if there was a pattern!  It definitely gave me a little confidence boost.  I hate the color of the yarns, but I just used some scrap yarn I had on hand since it was just a sample to figure out a pattern.

Feels good to get some practice in, while also making things that are useful!

Finding a bit of Reassurance…

One of the things I’ve realized – and definitely a huge factor in my decision to pursue working at home – is that I don’t want to miss out on my family.  Some things just aren’t worth sacrificing, and my young nieces’ childhood is something I would be heartbroken over if I had to keep pushing aside.  They’ve both been through far too much, and have seen entirely more than they should have in their short lives.  We’ve been fortunate to live together all of their lives, so unlike many aunts and uncles, I’ve been able to be there for almost all of their milestones thus far.  I’ve been able to have such a close bond with them because like many families today, we have never had the typical nuclear family household.  We have our own little unique family unit and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

With all of the craziness as of late, the girls were definitely in need of a pick-me up, and a reminder that the world is not all bad.  I wanted to remind them that love is great and the world is not just full of disappointments.  To remind them that there is plenty in the world to be happy about, and how important it is not to let anyone steal their joy.  Something that will help them learn responsibility, and give them something to look forward to when they come home. A friend they can play with and talk to when they feel alone…

…enter Karla, our little 5 yr. old Terrier Mix and newest addition to the family.

Although I had been entertaining the idea of a new dog, I hadn’t seriously considered looking at this time because my schedule just wouldn’t allow it, and if I didn’t even have time to spend with the girls, I certainly wouldn’t have time to care for a new pet.  My decision to move on from my current job fell at the perfect time, as it opened up this opportunity right as the nationwide Clear the Shelters event was going on.  I don’t even know how exactly I stumbled onto the article, but I’m so glad I did!  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an attempt to move out as many pets from the crowded shelters and find them permanent homes by reducing the adoption costs to only $20!!  I really had never considered adoption because I always had a clear idea of the exact breed I wanted and I figured I’d have to save forever in order to buy one.

We decided there wouldn’t be any harm in checking it out and we were definitely prepared for some hidden extra fee, or not finding a dog we meshed with, etc.  I can’t begin to tell you it was an amazing experience!  It was completely as advertised: $20 flat fee, vaccines and meds included, and same day take home!  I have to admit, Karla was not our first choice – initially. We went in with the idea that we wanted a puppy, nothing over 3 years.  As we were looking around, there was something about Karla that just instantly grabbed our attention.  She wasn’t playful, or outgoing, and you could see the shy nature immediately, but it’s as if she picked us.  Her calm, timid disposition just jelled right in line with our personality types and we just knew she was the one.

When we brought her home, everyone fell in love.  She is exactly what everyone needed and the girls have not left her side!  I understand why dogs are used in therapy and rehab situations because they provide such a joy to those in need.  The girls haven’t been this excited in awhile and it’s given them a renewed sense of stability and a feeling that our little mixed up family unit is complete.  Even though it’s just a tiny step, it’s given me such a reassurance as well. To know that my decision to make a change has already given me some of my life and happiness back is a great motivator to keep me pushing forward and not give up!