How to Make a Homemade Dog Dress

Check out these creative user submitted dog dress ideas. These can be great for every day attire or for that special occasion, like a dog birthday party.

Dog Harness Dress

by Cynthia (Elk Grove, CA)

Allie poses in her dog harness dress
Allie happy shows off her dress

My pup’s first birthday was coming up. I thought it would be fun to get her a new harness. I was browsing through some Internet dog boutiques and saw that they had great harnesses that looked like dresses, but many of them were over $75!! I figured I could make one myself and save a ton of money, and I was right! 

This is the first sewing project I attempted, and I don’t even have a sewing machine. It took me about a week to make, but I only worked on it during the night and I was being distracted by other things like TV. LOL.

Materials needed (all of these things I found at Joanne’s):

  • Fabric for top (for my 11 lb pup I purchased 1/3 yard) 
  • Cotton fabric for skirt (1/3 yard) 
  • Cotton fabric for lining (1/3 yard) 
  • Flannel bias tape (I used less than 1 package)
  • 2 “D” rings
  • Velcro
  • Small amount of ribbon to hook up the D rings
  • Extra ribbon for trimming the waist 

I used my dog’s current harness (that I purchased ready-made at a pet store) as a template. As you can see from the photo, it is only the vest portion. 


  1. Cut out one “vest” from the fabric for the top and one “vest” from the fabric for the lining. 
  2. Loosely pin them together with stick pins. 
  3. Cut Velcro and pin it (on your working harness) in the same place your guide harness had it.
  4. Using the bias tape, sew the top fabric and lining fabric together, incorporating the Velcro if necessary.
  5. Put the vest on your dog and make sure it fits comfortably. 
  6. Drape the skirt fabric onto your dog and see how long the skirt should be and where you should cut it. You don’t want it to get in the way of her walking or going to the potty. I cut my skirt so that it is shorter in the front and longer in the back for that reason.
  7. Take the vest and skirt off the dog and sew the pieces together at the waistline. 
  8. Hem the skirt so that the edges don’t fray.
  9. Thread one D ring onto a small piece of ribbon (2 inches was enough for my small dog). 
  10. Sew the loop of ribbon (with cut sides facing together) underneath the flap of the vest. This is what you will attach your leash to.
  11. Thread the other D ring onto another small piece of ribbon (again, 2 inches is fine) on top of the flap of the vest. Now you have one D ring pulling on the underside of the flap and one pulling on the outside of the flap. This ensures that if your pup pulls on the leash, the vest won’t come apart (since it is only held together with Velcro)
  12. If you have any messy edges, sew some ribbon on to hide it.


Good for you for tackling such an ambitious project without previous sewing experience, Cynthia! As you noted, a sewing machine is not necessary – hand sewing just takes a little longer.

Thanks for taking the time to outline how you made this dog harness dress, and we appreciate the gorgeous photos!

All the best,

DIY Dog dress

by Suzanne Meola  (Florida)

Candy the dog in her one of a kind dress.

I constantly see all these gorgeous dresses for dogs, but the prices are ridiculous. So while looking at patterns for the dog vest…I came up with my own beautiful little dresses. I pretty much just added onto it really. 😉 lol. For my little princess custom is the only way to go. 🙂

A Dress For Dogs

by Savannah (AZ)

Have you ever wanted to make a dress for dogs the size of a Chihuahua? I did!

I used an old dress and cut it in half, then tied a ribbon in the middle to put it on my dog Mini.
She loved it so much she picked it up and gave it to me with a wagging tail.

Note: to make a bigger dress for all sized dogs make sure to see what size they are before you make it. And *use a bigger scrap of an old dress or shirt.