We Brits are a nation of animal lovers, particularly cats and dogs and, generally, we look after them well and love to pamper them just a little.
There inevitably comes a time when we have to say farewell to our loyal companions and, whilst I have lost many a pet over the years, it doesn’t get any easier.
They say the best way to mend a broken heart is to find a new love and certainly the arrival of a new puppy in the family does wonders to heal the gaping hole left by the loss of an old dog.
They also say that a puppy breathes new life into an elderly dog so, when our Yorkshire Terrier reached eleven years, we thought it would be a good time to introduce a puppy.
Yorkies have a life expectancy of 12-15 years so Fifi, who is now 12 1/2, is enjoying her old age with a new spring in her step with the companionship of a younger dog. Tess, who is now an 18 month Yorkie x Chihuahua, has benefited enormously from her older, wiser, calmer and well behaved mentor. When Fifi goes, we will have the comfort of having a dog in the family still. It’s a win-win-win.
Tess has the boundless energy found in one so young and they both enjoy long walks in the country, but recently Fifi has started showing her age. She often turns around and walks back home if we are in the fields behind the house and, if we are doing a lane walk, she plods along slowly unable to keep pace after a couple of miles.
I now get to the point of this story; I wanted to make a dog carrier to take with me on our walks so that Fifi could climb in and rest her weary bones as and when she feels like it and, yes, she does tell us when she wants a carry!
This is the parcel that arrived: –
The carrier is lined and padded so is both comfortable for the dog and for you to wear across the body.
It incorporates a swivel clip to secure the dog to the inside of the carrier, but I chose not to include this as Fifi is an old dog and wouldn’t even consider jumping out – being restrained would make her nervous.
I saw the matching accessories and just had to make those too! The swivel clip could be used on the lead instead.
I chose a ready-quilted fabric in a raspberry coloured faux leather which incorporated a layer of wadding so would be the perfect choice, adding structure and warmth to the carrier and harness, yet is also wipeable for practicality.
It also meant that I didn’t need to add the layer of fleece that the pattern called for as the wadding was padding enough.
This Turquoise Blue crinkle textured cotton was the ideal fabric for the lining, adding a pop of bright colour.
There was just one single pattern piece for the carrier which made it very simple to cut out.
I have to mention that I was extremely impressed with the quality of the paper used for the pattern – can you get an idea of how sturdy it is from this photo before I ironed it? It’s not transparent or flimsy and therefore doesn’t tear accidentally, unlike the usual brown tissue paper type.
Always iron your pattern pieces!
The carrier made up like a dream – the instructions were simple and easy to follow. You’re required to press at every stage which I couldn’t do with the faux leather in case it melted. When top stitching, it wasn’t a problem just rolling the faux leather out slightly over the cotton to get a crisp edge so being unable to iron it didn’t matter.
Here is the finished carrier….
….and here’s Fifi trying it for size!
She may look a little reticent in this photo, but she actually curled up happily and let me snap away until I got the pics I needed.
Then onto the harness.
Again, just one main pattern piece (plus a piece for a strap for the D-ring) so the lining and main fabric were simply sewn right sides together before being turned through a gap in the stitching.
Sew the scratchy side of the velcro to the outside….
…and the soft side to the inside lining. We don’t want friction causing any nasty sores, do we?
I used the lining fabric as a contrast for the D-ring strap which was top stitched on securely.
Different coloured thread was used for the bobbin for a ‘blend in’ effect but opposite colours would work equally well if you prefer a contrast – turquoise on the magenta and vice versa.
How ‘Designer’ does that look, eh?
I almost plumped for the turquoise cotton to make the lead, but in the end thought the quilted fabric looked more luxurious.
It was a bit of a pig to fold and top stitch such a narrow, thick strip of fabric though, the cotton would have been a piece of cake to press and stitch but you can’t iron faux leather….
Just look at Fifi’s hang-dog expression! She was itching to come to me but I wanted a photo from the back to show off the harness to best effect, so this is her being patient with me.
I sewed the ‘Large’ size harness believe it or not (Fifi only weighs six pounds!), but there was one larger and three smaller sizes on this multi-sized pattern. I’m guessing the variation in sizes would probably fit from a Chihuahua to a Westie.
Here we all are, ready to go for a ‘walk’.
I think I’ll tie it up a bit higher as I usually carry her under my arm and this feels a little low.
Fifi loved it though – she was almost asleep by the time No.3 Son had finished taking photos!