How to make dog clothes from baby clothes in 4 simple steps

Unlike human children — who seem to need new clothes every couple of days — your dog isn’t likely to outgrow her pajamas anytime soon (as long as she’s not a growing pup, of course); luckily, handing down some baby clothes to your fur baby isn’t all that tricky. With just a few adjustments and a little time, you can turn nearly any onesie into a cute, comfy outfit for your pup.

Grab your old onesies, your pup, and your sewing machine: You’re about to learn how to make dog clothes from baby clothes. Even better: You may even have everything you need already in your home! You don’t even need to be an experienced sewer to get this project done — a simple hand-done stitch will do the job just fine!

a Chihuahua in a pink sweater sleeps on a carpet

Find the correct size of baby clothes

If you’re really lucky, you just might have a perfectly sized onesie for your dog in your home. It helps to plan ahead if your child (the human one) is still young, so you know what size of their clothing you should be looking to save. Although every dog’s body is different and may not fall easily into these categories, you can start your search for the correct size based on your dog’s weight (via OurEverydayLife):

  • Newborn: for dogs up to 7 pounds.
  • 0–3 months: for dogs 7–12 pounds.
  • 3–6 months: for dogs 12–16 pounds.
  • 6–9 months: for dogs 16–20 pounds.
  • 9–12 months: for dogs 17–22 pounds.
  • 12–18 months: for dogs 22–27 pounds.

Once you have your dog in the baby clothes, you can move on to the next steps.

a French bulldog wearing banana-patterned pajamas sits in front of a yellow background

How to make dog pajamas out of baby clothes

Here comes the fun part! Once you have all your materials ready to go, all that’s left is to actually make your pup’s new clothes. This is how:

1. Gather your materials

Although your exact steps and materials will depend on the style of shirt or onesie you make for your dog, every project will need a few basics. These include:

  • Scissors
  • Fabric pencil or marker
  • Sewing machine or sewing kit
  • Needle and thread in your desired color

Don’t forget your onesie and the dog, though your furry friend will only need to model her new shirt for a few moments while you take measurements. She still might expect a treat as a payment, as models do.

2. Try it on for size

Before you start modifying your onesie, make sure it’ll be a comfy fit for your dog. The easiest way to do this is simply to help your pup try it on, though you might need to use a few treats as an incentive. You can measure your dog’s length from neck to tail, as well as her chest girth, but these measurements may not be as useful when comparing them with baby clothes sizes.

3. Measure and cut the onesie

While you keep your dog semi-occupied with a few treats, use your fabric pencil to make any guides you’ll need for cutting and sewing your pup’s PJs. There are a few ways you can do this depending on your dog’s comfort and needs.

To make a true onesie for your fur baby, most of your work will be around the tail of the garment. Feel for the base of your pup’s tail, then mark a wide enough circle on the onesie to give her some extra wagging room.

If you’re looking to make something along the lines of a T-shirt for dogs, the only mark you’ll need to make is wherever you’d like the length of the shirt to end. Keep in mind that this style of pajama for your pup won’t cover her back legs or bottom, though everything from her hips and forward will have some warmth.

You may also want to cut off the collar of your onesie if your pup has a lot of fur or a particularly large neck. The same can be done for the edges of sleeves if they feel snug on fuzzy legs.

4. Hem the edges

The edges of your dog’s new onesie will be smooth and protected if you decide to hem them. To do this, you’ll fold back ¼ inch around any cut edges, then sew straight through both layers, following your cut. You can use a sewing machine or sew your hems by hand — it’s up to you!

Hemming your shirt’s edges is an especially smart move for owners of pups who like to chew, as it can keep the fabric from unraveling or tearing under stress. Plus, it makes any doggie onesie look extra clean and professional, so your stylish dog will be ready for her photo shoot in no time.

There are so many perks to making your own dog clothes out of baby clothes, including the positive environmental impact of recycling — or would it count as reusing? Either way, both your pup and the planet will benefit from this fun DIY. You’ll get a chance to practice your sewing and measuring skills, and just think of how sweet your fur baby will look in her new pajamas!

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