DIY Dog Tuxedo Shirt
The DIY dog tuxedo shirt is very popular, the design is flattering to a greyhound, they stay put and easy to take on/off (plus they are super cute). If your pup is in the wedding, formal event or just dapper – this is a great DIY project to make him adorable!
We make these dog tuxedo shirts out of any dark fabric we find, but get the best results with black and charcoal gray summerweight wools. These fabrics hang very well.
Throughout these DIY Dog Tuxedo shirt instructions we refer to the inner fabric and the outer fabric. We find it easiest to use just one fabric for both the inner shell and the outer. However, when low on a particularly good outer fabric, we will use a different fabric for the inner shell.
Each tux takes me about an hour and a half to make. About a half an hour of this is the hand-sewing of the finishing touches and can be done while watching television or riding in the car. I don’t pin stuff and my patterns are already made, so it may take you slightly longer, especially for your first tux.
Materials Needed to make the DIY Dog Tuxedo
- 5″ strip of 2″ wide sew-on velcro (or 10″ strip of 1″ wide velcro)
- 1 yard of outer fabric (44″ or 54″ wide)
- 1 yard of inner fabric (44″ or 54″ wide)
- 1 10″ x 30″ piece of white fabric for shirt
- 1 36″ x 8″ piece of black velvet or black satin for the collar of the tux
- 1/4 yard of satin for cumberbun and tie
- 6 gold or pearl buttons for front of coat
- 2 gold buttons and a 4″ length of gold chain for tail buttons
- OPTIONAL: 1 12″ x 18″ piece of white fabric for French cuffs
- OPTIONAL: 1 2″ length of 1″ wide sew-on velcro for French cuffs
- OPTIONAL: 1 felt top hat (find this in the doll section of your craft store)
- OPTIONAL: 1 sheet of black plastic canvas to make top hat sturdy
- OPTIONAL: 1 8″ length of black 1/4″ elastic for hat strap
- Large sheet of paper or a paper bag cut open (for pattern)
Step 1 – Measure Hound and Make Full-Sized Pattern for the dog tuxedo shirt
- First, measure your hound in these three places and write down the measurements.
- Length – From where the neck bends and becomes the back to where the tail starts (usually 26″ – 30″)
- Girth – Biggest distance around the chest, just behind the front legs (usually 28″ – 32″)
- Width – Distance across chest as you look straight on at the hound (usually 6″-9″)
- Next, take a large sheet of paper and draw out your pattern similar to the one above, but to the size you measured on your hound. Don’t worry about matching the drawing above exactly. Generally, you want the coat full around the chest and you want it to taper as it moves toward the rear. The rear end should end just where the tail starts and the ends must be squared off to accept the “tails” of the tuxedo.
- To figure out the X measurement in the drawing above, subtract 5 inches from your hound’s girth, then divide the result by 2.
- Now take the pattern to your hound. This is a tough job, but worth the effort. Hold the pattern in place along the hound’s spine and make sure the coat falls as you would like. Make sure the coat will cover the chest but not drown it. If you need to make changes, do it now–even if you have to do the pattern over. Once you get a perfect pattern for your hound, you’ll never have to go through this again.
- The other pattern piece you’ll need is the tail of the tux. (This is the flap that hangs down over the butt. For this, you’ll need to measure the width of your first pattern piece at the rear end. Mine usually end up being 6-8″. Now add 1 1/2″ to this measurement and draw a line that length on your pattern paper. Draw a line at a right angle to this and make it 8″ long. Now draw a curved line to connect to two endpoints. You should have a pie-shaped piece.
Step 2 – Cut Inner Fabric for the dog tuxedo shirt
- Fold the inner fabric in half. Place the long straight side of the main pattern piece along the fold. You can put a few pins in at this point if you’d like, but I don’t. I just hold the pattern in place while I cut. Precision is not that important here.
- THIS IS IMPORTANT! Allow 1/4″ – 1/2″ extra around the pattern as you cut the fabric. This will be your seam allowance. I usually go with a 3/8″ seam allowance, but use what your’e comfortable with.
- Then place the tail pattern piece along the fold and cut it out, allowing for your seam allowance. Cut along the fold so that you have two pieces that are mirror images of each other.
- Finally, cut two 6 1/2″ by 5 1/2″ rectangles of the inner fabric.
Step 3 – Cut Outer Fabric
- Next, fold the outer fabric in half. Don’t use the pattern to cut the outer fabric. Instead, use the folded inner fabric as the pattern. This will assure you that the two sides will match perfectly. Cut the outer fabric to match the inner fabric shape.
- Now lay one of the tail pieces (inner fabric) on the fold of the outer fabric. Cut the outer fabric tail pieces to match.
- There are no rectangles of the outer fabric needed.
Step 4 – Construct the Shirt and Tie
- Cut a rectangle of white fabric 10″ x 20″. Fold the fabric into pleats and iron them one by one. After folding and ironing the pleats you should end up with a piece that is 10″ by around 6″.
- Cut one 10″ by 6″ rectangle of the white fabric as a backing.
- Cut four triangles (to be used for the shirt collar). These should be about 3″ along each side. Place two triangles right-sides together and stitch along two sides. Repeat for the other pair of triangles. Turn right-side out and iron.
- Place the pleated piece of fabric right-side up on your work surface. Place the two triangles along the top edge. They should touch just at the top edge of the pleated piece of fabric and should be in about the middle of the width. They should be side by side. Place the 10″ by 6″ rectangle on top of this, right-side down. Pin this construction together.
- Carefully sew along the two short ends first. Then sew along the entire length of the top edge. (This will stitch the triangles into place.) Then sew about 1/3 of the distance across the bottom edge. Stop stitching and move 2″ down. Finish sewing the bottom edge. Use the 2″ space to turn the shirt right-side out. Iron so the triangles form the collar. Hand-stitch closed the opening you used to turn the shirt right-side out.
- Cut a 2 1/2″ x 24″ rectangle of satin for the tie. Fold this lengthwise with right sides together. Stitch the length of the satin to form a tube. Turn the tube right-side out. Tie into a bow of the appropriate size for the shirt. Using thread that matches the satin, stitch the long ends of the bow under the collar triangles (while the bow is still tied. Trim the excess ends of the satin tube. Your shirt front is now done.
Step 5 – Construct Cumberbun
- Fold one of the inner fabric 5 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ rectangles in half, right sides together. You should have a rectangle 5 1/2″ x 3 1/4″. Stitch the two short sides using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Turn this right side out. Sew the scratchy side of the velcro to this rectangle, placing it as close to the finished (folded) edge as possible.
- Sew the other side of the velcro to the other 5 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ piece of inner fabric. Place it about 1/2″ from the edge of one end. Remember, the finished stomach strap will be 6″ long and 5″ wide. Be sure to place the velcro along one of the short sides of the rectangle.
- Cut a rectangle of the satin 6 1/2″ by 15″ and iron it flat. Loosely baste along both of the long edges. Pull the threads to scrunch the piece into a 6 1/2″ by 5 1/2″ size. With right sides together, pin the inner fabric rectangle to the scrunched satin rectangle. The velcro should be on the inside with the right side of the satin. Stitch the two basted (scrunched) edges first. Then stitch along the other two edges, making sure not to catch the folds of satin in the seam. Leave a 2″ area unstitched along one of the edges so you can turn the assembly right side out. Turn the assembly right-side out and hand-stitch closed the opening you left.
Step 6 – Stitch the Tail Pieces
- Place one inner fabric tail piece and one outer fabric tail piece with right sides together. Stitch along the 8″ side and the curved side, leaving the third side open. Place the other inner fabric tail piece and outer fabric tail piece with right sides together. The curved side of this tail piece should be on the opposite side from the first one you did. Stitch the 8″ side and the curved side, leaving the third side open. Clip the corners and curves to promote a smooth seam. Turn both assemblies right side out and iron flat.
Step 7 – Cut and Construct the Collar
- This part will scare you, but it always works out great if you just follow these steps. Really. Fold the collar fabric (velvet or satin) in half with right sides together. Lay this under the inner fabric coat piece with the folds together. Following the line of the inner fabric neckline, cut the collar to precisely match the neckline. Follow the outline through the curve of the coat to about where the front legs will be. Now remove the inner fabric. Freehand a collar shape as you’d like it to lay on the coat. Be sure to add 1/2″ for a seam allowance.
- Now take the piece you just cut (with right sides together) and flip it so the right sides are out. Use this as the pattern to cut the back side of the collar. (You’ll be cutting it out of the fabric with right sides still together. Only the pattern will be right sides out.) Cut it to match the first collar piece.
- Unfold the collar pieces and place them right sides together. Stitch along your freehand edges, leaving the neckline edge open. Clip curves and corners and turn right side out.
Step 8 – Final Assembly
- Lay out the inner fabric with right side facing up. Place the tail pieces on this. The raw edges of the tail assemblies should be aligned with tail edge of the coat. The two tail pieces should overlap in the center by a few inches. They should be placed so they are 3/8″ from the outer edges of the sides of the coat. (This will allow them to flip out correctly when you turn the whole thing right side out.)
- Place the stomach straps (cumberbun) in place. Put the satin piece with the satin facing up. Put the other strap with the velcro facing up. They should be placed on the sides where the coat starts to curve along the chest. They should be placed so they will not interfere with the front legs when the tux is complete and they are fastened.
- This order is important. Place the shirt front with the TIE FACING UP as shown in the diagram. Then place the collar assembly in place, over the shirt front.
- Place the outer fabric in place, right side down. Pin all the parts in place.
- Starting at the left side of the neckline, sew the pieces together. You’ll leave a 4-5″ opening near the collar. This will allow you to turn the coat right side out and do the final chest strap adjustments. Start sewing at the dot indicated on the diagram. (This will be 1/2″ from the collar corner on the side of the coat that DOESN’T have the shirt front pinned in place. Sew around almost the entire coat, sewing over the tails and stomach straps to trap them in place. Stop when you get to the second dot noted on the diagram. This will be 4-5″ from the point where you started sewing.
Step 9 – Turn Right Side Out and Press
- Clip all curves and corners, then turn the coat right side out. Press the seam all around the coat. Be sure to press the seam for the opening in the coat. This will make the next step easier.
Step 10 – Test Drive the Coat and Mark Chest Strap
- Don’t skip this step. Take the coat to your hound and try it on. Make sure the stomach straps are an appropriate length to fit snuggly but not too tightly. Check the length of the coat. (You can make the coat shorter, but not longer at this point.)
- Pull the shirt front across the hound’s chest and mark where the seam should lie for a perfect fit. Don’t worry if the chest strap is a few inches too long. You can trim it to a proper length before the final sewing.
- If you need to adjust anything, turn the coat wrong side out, pull out the necessary stitches and do it now. You’ll thank yourself later, believe me.
Step 11 – Connect Shirt Front
- Poke the dangling end of the shirt front into the coat body to the point you marked earlier. Use two pins to hold it in place. Make sure the seams are folded neatly on both sides and that they match up so that the top stitch will catch all pieces of fabric, including both layers of the collar. Hand-stitch the final seam using thread that coordinates with the collar.
Step 12 – Add Final Touches
- Thread a gold button and one end of the gold chain. Hand-sew this to the tails, just where they cross over each other. Thread the other gold button and the other end of the chain. Hand-sew this in place to the other side of the tail overlap. Be sure to leave a little slack so you get a graceful curve in the chain when it hangs.
- Hand-sew the six pearl or gold buttons to the collar of the coat, just next to the shirt front.
- That’s it. You’re done. Now take that fashionable hound for a walk. You both deserve it!
Step 13 – OPTIONALLY
Make French Cuffs
- Fold the white fabric with right sides together and cut a trapezoid shape as shown in the diagram. Stitch almost all the way around, leaving a 2″ opening. Turn right-side out and iron. Top-stitch around the edge, about 1/4″ from the edge, all the way around the piece. Cut a 1″ by 1″ piece of velcro. Sew the two sides of the velcro to the same side of the trapezoid piece. Repeat these steps for the other cuff.
Step 14 – OPTIONALLY Strengthen and Add Strap to Top Hat to the DIY Dog Tuxedo
- The felt top hats available in most doll aisles of the craft store are pretty flimsy. Here’s how I strengthen them for use on a hound. Measure the height of the inside of your top hat. Cut a piece of plastic canvas in a rectangle that is just a little less than that height. The width of the rectangle should be just exactly the circumference of the hat (i.e., distance around the hat). Using a hot glue gun, glue one end of the 8″ elastic strap to the inside of the hat. Then glue the other end of the strap into place. Finally, glue the plastic canvas rectangle into the inside of the hat. Be sure to leave the smooth factory edge of the plastic canvas toward the hound’s head.
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