I made a dog coat out of an old dress

I mean, as titles for a blog go, that isn’t something you expect to read everyday, but still, this was how I spent my Sunday afternoon, making a dog coat out of an old dress.

Sewing Bee Sundays in my household!

The thing about trying to live a more sustainable life, is that you become a bit of a hoarder, you never want to throw anything away, ‘just in case.’

Last February I bought a dress in my local Oxfam and as I was in a rush to beat the time on the parking meter, I didn’t try it on. When I got home I realised it was too big, and not wanting to waste £3.99 by donating it back to the charity shop, I kept it. I decided I was going to either a) learn how to take it in and make it fit, or b) turn it into something else. Now, nearly a year later, I have turned it into something else.

The £3.99 Oxfam dress

This blog is not a how to guide, it is just to bring to your attention that throwing everything out to landfill doesn’t have to be the answer, we can reduce, reuse, recycle.

I used Simplicity pattern 1239 A which I had bought from Hobbycraft, the old dress, and then some binding, Velcro and thread that I have had in my craft box for years.

Pattern from Hobbycraft. Great pattern actually, 4.5/5

It took about 4 hours (I’m really slow at sewing, the pros on the Sewing Bee would have been able to rustle this up in an hour), and I’m actually really pleased with the final result, as was the dog!

Barley in his new coat

I used the left over material to make him a dog toy, which I filled with a squeaker from a toy he had previously destroyed (more hoarding, but why throw out the squeaker when I might be able to reuse it one day), and also the dress scraps for the toy stuffing, so none of this dress was wasted.

What I loved about this project was that I recycled something that was second hand, into something that will be used well for the next few years.

Money wise, I probably spent the same overall as I would had I bought him a coat new, but, by reusing something old I’ve contributed to the circular economy, which is better for the planet.

Linear vs Circular economy

I’m looking forward to minimising my purchases this year whilst also try to buy more second hand and reuse and repurpose where I can. This article from Friends of the Earth is a great place to start if you want to find out more about why reuse is important


“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”

Jane Goodall