Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rocker Girl!

After a few months or so the walking harnesses of Alex and the Girls really need refreshing.  Since they are tough to wash and dry in the machines (metal bits do not like laundry machines and visa versa) I have begun to make their harnesses.

I purchased them once and have been recycling the clips and rings into new harnesses for them.

Kelis's was getting pretty ratty so last night I made her a brand new one.

Check out my Rocker Girl:

Although I took about 15 shots of her on our walk this was the only one that turned out without Alex horning in on the action, Kemora blocking the view or Kelis shaking about.

This time I actually made a pattern and kept notes on what I needed to make her a harness so I will not have to remember how I did it.  As she uses this style of harness everyday, I see myself making at least a couple a year.

Why this style of harness?  Dachshunds are known for having extremely tender spines and leading them about from their collar only exacerbates the problem.  This style of harness actually puts any stress on their whole chest area and is extremely effective is keeping Alex and the Girls under control when needed.  One other benefit is that they cannot slip out of their harness like they can from their collars.  Even if the velcro belly band comes undone, the neck band has velcro and is also held together by standard dog collar hardware.  Even Alex cannot get out of it! 

Interested in making a walking harness for your favorite pooch?  Here are a couple of notes on lessons I have learned:

  • Measuring accurately is essential.  Around the neck, around the chest, width at the shoulders and from the neck to where you want the harness to stop.  Several on-line resources are available as well as commercial patterns and books can also help guide you.
  • Be prepared to make up a couple of test harnesses before you get the desired fit.  Use oak tag (for durability) for your final pattern while swedish tracing paper makes a great sample garment with little cost.
  • Seam allowances are not needed if you bind the edges of your harness as I do.
  • Do not leave a lot of excess space at the neck, as you would for a collar, as this style is only used for walking and not for all day wear.
  • Consider using a dark color for the lining to hide dirt.
  • Only a light weight interfacing is necessary to reinforce the cotton fabric. 
  • Velcro for the neck and belly straps should be at least four inches long, or even longer at the belly, for security.
  • Dog collar and leash making supplies are available from Creative Design Works .
Next up...a new harness for Kemora.

No comments: