Sunday, August 5, 2007

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know …

… about doggy diapers. ;-) (Sorry, no Burda top yet.)

So, along with making Dani some new diapers since she likes to chew on them (grrrr!), I decided to take some of your and my family's comments to heart and experiment with making others to sell. I figure between a flyer I'll put up at the dog park next week, Ebay and some other local venues, I might just gain a small customer base. There seems to be a need because many small dogs have piddle accidents in addition to those going into heat, but the "RTW" dipes you find in the chain pet stores are, frankly (and excuse the pun), butt-ugly. And many of the dipes on Ebay are horribly-sewn and still selling (although to be fair, some are very nice too). So, who knows if this will lead anywhere.

I've done some research and test sewing (one of the reasons I've been blog-absent). First, I went to the pet store with a measuring tape and notepad to get a better idea of the sizes & shapes. I figured why reinvent the wheel when someone else has already done the calculations. Then I made another trip with the measuring tape to the small dog side of the dog park since I'm limited with my own live "fit models." It was interesting convincing pet owners to let me measure their poochies' crotches. ;-)

Speaking of models … I also looked for and found (whew!) a free downloadable pattern for a stuffed dachshund. Oh, I love the internet! None of the Big 3/4 pattern companies have anything remotely useful for this or I probably would've bought that since finding a pre-made stuffed toy dog at Walmart was also a bust. I've seen my own photos of Dani (Hi Sherril) plus others using real dog models. It's very hard to capture a live dog photo which looks like they're enjoying the modeling session and/or the diaper. Since I don't think it's particularly good salesmanship to use humiliated models, I decided a generic dog was in order.

But smack me if I ever want to sew a stuffed dog again, OK? Sheesh. Flashbacks of Home Ec in junior high with a stuffed green & white gingham hippo (which I think my mom still has!).

The free pattern was fine, but talk about fiddly. All those Y intersections, sharp curves and tiny seam allowances and me with ravel-ly twill. I almost gave up in the middle of it. But when I went back at it the next day, things worked out better. She didn't turn out perfect but she's more than acceptable for these purposes. My sons think she's "freaky" because she has no face. I think she's kinda cute, and she makes a great pincushion. Ewww ... doggy acupuncture. ;-)

So, where was I? Oh yes. Patterns. Until 2 weeks ago, I'd never even contemplated making human baby diapers let along a doggy version. But I had my prototypes from Dani, measurements from the dog park and plenty of tracing paper, pencils and my french curves. Working out the basic pattern was pretty easy. Refining it and working out the fastest sewing order took a little more work.

If you remember, my first Dani dipes had a tail hole like this:

But I saw others on Ebay that had ribbing (or bias binding) like this one I made for Dani:

At first I thought the ribbing would be easiest. Ah, how wrong I was. It's hard to tell scale in my photos, but the tail holes are not that big and there's barely enough space to maneuver a sewing machine presser foot, let alone a serger or coverstitch machine foot.

Back to Plan A, but with a better sewing order (another of the prototype dipes for Dani).

Deciding on this tail hole did mean a pattern redraft of all the sizes but now I've streamlined the sewing and can spend less time and materials on the dipes because there's no ribbing to cut, sew/press in a circle and then attach and topstitch around the hole (swearing like a sailor the whole time!). On top of that, this unbound tail hole makes the diaper easier to put on and take off, especially when you add fur to the scenario. Plus, with all that seaming and thread at the dog's nether region with the bound version, I think it's got to be less comfortable. I do know that Dani chewed hers with the ribbing and has left the plainer tail holes alone.

Next up was deciding on the lining and interior. Flannel is soft and absorbent but little piddlers need a bit more protection. I settled on two layers of microfiber toweling sewn onto the wrong side of the flannel lining before assembly. It's soft and very absorbent without being too thick for the dog's comfort. Those with bigger wetness issues can also add a disposable pantyliner, etc., like we've been doing while Dani is in heat.

So here's one of the final dipes (Chihuahua or Yorkie sized). There's elastic inside at the tummy and leg areas to prevent gaping and leakage and heavy-duty Velcro at the waist for easy-on, easy-off and adjustability.

Here's another with a removable skirt option. Am I getting carried away now? ;-)

The last thing was to make myself a logo, of course! ;-)

If you'd like to make your own stuffed dachshund, here is the link. The original is much cuter than mine because it's made from faux fur and has a face. But don't say I didn't warn you about the sewing! I can't even fathom it with the fur.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Nothing Exciting

I figure I'd better post something just to let you all know I'm alive and well. Thanks for all the notes of concern. I really appreciate it!

I'm fine, but busy with life-stuff. Some sewing, some not, and a bit of computer burn-out which happens from time to time.

I've made not one iota of progress on the Burda top and it still sits in traced pattern form pinned to my dressform as you last saw. I'm hoping to work on it over the weekend.

The only sewing I've done since my last post is more panties for Dani since she likes to EAT them (sigh!) and some others to try to sell. More on that later.

I'll be back to posting regularly soon.