Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dog Days of Diapers

Happy 52nd post!

Today's before picture is a bit different from the norm...
This adorable little man is Brody. Brody and my buddy spent the weekend at the house and we all had a blast. As you can see though - Brody gets excited and has a bit of a bladder issue that necessitates a diaper. This particular type is a Huggies Swimmer. Growing up in a day care with a pool, I can tell you these things suck up anything and everything so they worked pretty well as a doggie diaper. However, his owner wasn't all that proud to bring Brody around in public with this particular fashion, so he came to me with a problem.
 
Problem: Bought doggie diapers at a pet store - not going to call out names or anything but they consider themselves smart about pets - and was unhappy with both the price (expensive) and the quality (fell apart in the dryer). As he's read my blog a few times and considered me someone of the crafty type (blushing), he asked for my assistance and I was certainly happy to help. So I got my supplies together and went for a test run before I go ahead and begin my Dog Days of Diapers business. *Note: don't get excited, I'm not selling these (unless you want to pay me in old dresses that I can redo. I'll take those) nor am I starting a business.*
 
First thing was first: fabric. I pawed through all my fabric that I bought off Craigslist. I was aiming for two things: something durable for the outside, and something soft for the inside. And not pink - his owner ain't raisin' no girl. I found two fantastic fabrics: a soft denim and a manly flannel piece. Luckily, I had a yard of each so I can make plenty of these.
 
I cut out a piece of each fabric and laid them on top of each other with right sides together, as such.
I then sewed up the sides. This was my first mistake, because my intention was to sew it like a pillow cover: sew up three sides, turn it inside out and then sew up the last side. Yeah, that didn't happen. Apparently I got on a role and was jamming out to my music that I didn't pay the slightest attention to my sewing up all four sides. The trusty seam ripper came out, I undid one of the sides and pulled the whole thing right side out. This was my second mistake. I realized I planned on putting binding around all the sides so having raw seams was not a big deal and sewing it inside out in the first place was a waste of time and just added bulk. Lesson learned.

Next I added elastic to the diaper, as it needed to hug him around the hips to stay put. I took 1/4" elastic, stretched it out, sewed down each end and then sewed it all down while having it stretched. This ensured it would scrunch all up when I stopped stretching it.
Next, I got out the single fold bias tape that I had never used, nor had any idea on how to go about sewing it. After a quick 10 minute YouTube search, I got my confidence and sewed it on there like a pro. If a pro messes up a lot.
Truth be told, this was a rather simple project. I learned quite a few new techniques and honed my elastic stitching skills, so I was pretty happy. Along with the first lesson learned with the seams, I also learned that for this project it would probably be a better idea to sew the elastic to the bias tape, and then sew the bias tape to the diaper. Putting it on the fabric was fine, but as soon as I attached the bias tape the elastic didn't scrunch up as much and I was worried it wouldn't hug him as it should.
Finished product: side view
Finished product: front view
 
The original diaper that I was working from had Velcro on the ends. This was where most of that quality issue stemmed. The Velcro came apart in the dryer and it was also not sticky after a few washes. So, along with it being a shy too short, Brody's owner was putting safety pins on the diaper to hold it together. Let's be honest: they call them safety pins but your fingers are never actually safe.

Once my model arrived, I sized him up and attached some snaps to the ends. This was my final lesson. I made the mistake of assuming attaching snaps was easy - line 'em up, hammer it down, call it a day. Yeah... no. I got too excited with the hammer for 3 of these things and ended up messing up the snap that it wouldn't close. Eventually, I got some snaps on there that were effective enough to see how the diaper would work. Next time, I'm going to try two different snaps - one set with heavy duty snaps that you hammer in, and the other with a set of snaps that you hand sew in. (Suggestions are welcome)

All in all, I think owner and dog were happy and comfortable, respectively. I was in luck because the diaper stayed in place and served its purpose. I'll be making many, many more of these so if any of them are groundbreaking, I'll be sure to post it.

All I have to say is: now who's smart for pets?! *Evil laugh*. Now get ready for the "awww!" inspiring picture: