My Handmade ‘Thundershirt’ Dog Coat

When I was younger, my mother used to make all of our clothes. I was styling plaid pants and my classmates were sporting bell-bottom jeans. Thank goodness I had the bully attitude to be able to wear these pants and not get beat-up.

I first started sewing with a child machine that actually dropped a spot of glue on the fabric instead of using dangerous needles. What a mess! Mom soon got me my own needled machine and I started making clothes for my stuffed animals. I wasn’t a girly-girl and had no dolls or Barbies, however my stuffed animal collection was vast… And well dressed!!

By the time I got to high school, my homemade clothes were a hit instead of a miss! I even made my own Homecoming dress. I started to get requests for puffy shirts, skinny pants, and legwarmers… It was the early 80’s, kind-of a scary fashion period 😉

Since then I’ve not really kept up on my fashion pursuit. I had a good job and more money than time. It was much easier to go to the store than to make anything. Granted, if any alterations were needed, a rip in a new garment would warrant a discount or anything needed some extra bling, out came the sewing machine!

I do still have the Singer machine my mother gave me. I think it was her old one, circa 1965. Still hums like the day is was made. It gets pulled out a few months out of the year to make repairs, random Halloween costumes and sometimes (if its lucky) a cool project!

This was the latest project, a Thundershirt for my dog. These are supposed to lessen a dog’s anxiety level under the premise that it ‘applies pressure’ and makes them feel secure. Although they don’t make a reference to this on the site, I think they are mimicking the swaddling of babies.

I used my dog as a mannequin and just cut out a pattern I thought worked well for a dog coat. It is two-sided and uses Velcro closures.

Here’s Oreo sporting his new coat!


I’m not sure if he feels any calmer in this, however he looks uber cute!!


29 thoughts on “My Handmade ‘Thundershirt’ Dog Coat

  1. I went through that horrible plaid pants stage thanks to my mother! I believe it was 7th grade 1975…not that it is branded into my brain!
    However, on the positive side…..I believe your words describe your dog perfectly….uber cute!!


  2. My daughter would love to come over for a play date. She wants to be a fashion designer in Paris when she grows up but unfortunately I don’t do much sewing but we’ll have to get onto it and at least make some clothes for her toys.
    Great to find another Border Collie blog. They are the best dogs!


    • Thanks for visiting!
      Yes, I was a fashion designer for my stuffed animals at her age! Be aware that smaller clothes sometimes presents more difficulty in sewing. Start with a big teddy bear, works well as a mannequin and you can pin fabric to it easily. When she graduates from teddies, skirts are the next best thing, long seams and learning how to put elastic in the waist. Generally good practice with long, straight lines, which will also need to be learned.
      Border collies are the best! They are so smart.. Like, scary smart! We have lots of fun adventures with them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes. Bilbo is definitely in the scary smart category. There was this intelligence report about different breeds of dog and Border Collies were up the top and now we’ve got Lady who is half Cavalier and we think her IQ is more cavalier than Border Collie we can really spot the difference. The study looked at how many repetitions it took a dog to learn a new task and BCs were able to learn with one go. Cavaliers came in at something like 42 on the list and we weren’t surprised.


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