Monday, August 20, 2012

Tutorial: Make a Kerchief for a Shelter Dog in Need


Hi readers! As promised, today is the first tutorial on how to help animals in need at Pets Alive, where we adopted our dear Rosie. In honor of the publication of my first book, we're having a drive to help the animals at Pets Alive with sewn items.

Jeff and I have adopted 3 shelter animals, and we've never been so impressed by a facility. Pets Alive is committed to providing a no-kill sanctuary for animals in need, from all over the country--for as long as they need it, i.e. life. (Rosie came from Puerto Rico. She had 3 babies on a highway roadside and then Pets Alive turned her life around--and ours!)

One of major sewn needs of Pets Alive is kerchiefs for the doggies. This may seem a little silly, I grant you. But the kerchiefs are used for two important purposes: first, as "adopt me" kerchiefs for pets to wear at adoption events. Secondly, as festive "I'm adopted!" kerchiefs to wear when taken home. When we finalized the paperwork to adopt Rosie, she was dressed up in a fancy kerchief (in a sparkly cupcake print), the adoption bell was rung, and we had a family portrait taken. That cupcake kerchief is now a prized possession. (I get a little weepy when I think about it, to be honest.)


So let's talk about how we can sew kerchiefs for our doggie friends! I've tried a few methods, and my favorite way is to make a two-layer kerchief. Making a narrow hem on a single-layer kerchief is an option, but it gets fiddly around those sharp angles. A two-layer kerchief creates a nice clean finish, while eliminating hemming. Hooray!

Supplies needed for an "adopt me" kerchief:

  • 1/2 yard of light-colored cotton 
  • a ink jet printer
  • ink jet transfer paper for light colored fabrics (This can be purchased everywhere from Joann to Target to Office Max to online. For more online shopping options, Google "inkjet transfer paper light".)
  • This PDF
  • a ruler and chalk
  • thread, pins, and other usual sewing notions
Supplies needed for a festive "I'm adopted!" kerchief:
  • 1/2 yard of brightly printed cotton (i.e., quilting cotton)
  • a ruler and chalk
  • thread, pins, and other usual sewing notions

Here is your size chart, carefully devised by the human and canine experts at Chez Gertie. As you can see, there's measurement A and measurement B for each size. For reference, Rosie weighs 17 pounds and wears a size Small. An Extra Small will fit a puppy or tiny adult, while an Extra Large should fit the biggest breeds. Your average adult lab or shepherd will likely wear a Large.

You're going to start by laying out a double fold of fabric, folding selvage-to-selvage. Next, draw a line equaling Measurement A along the fabric's straight grain.

Next, mark the center of this line. Then, use a ruler to measure up the amount of Measurement B and make another mark.

Next, connect that mark to the two ends of line A, making a triangle. (Apologies for the wrinkly fabric.)


Now, cut out along your lines. This will give you two triangles.

Pin the triangles together, right sides together.

Sew, using a 1/4" seam allowance, all around the triangle--BUT, leaving a 4 inch opening on the long edge.




Now, cut down the three corners to eliminate bulk. 

Turn the triangle right side out, poking out the corners. (It helps to use a pin to pick out the corners from the right side.) Press the whole thing, turning in the 1/4" seam allowance on the 4 inch opening. 


Pin the opening closed. 

Edgestitch all the way around the triangle. I like to use my Bernina #10 foot to get a perfect 1/8" edgestitch. 


If you're making a festive quilting-cotton kerchief, you're done! If you're making an "adopt me" kerchief, you'll want to add the text. Download this file, which has text in three different sizes. Print the file "as is" on your ink jet transfer paper. Follow the package directions to ensure that you're printing correctly. You will notice that the text in the file is backwards; this is intentional.

Cut out around your desired size, leaving minimal paper outside the text. (I used the smallest text for a size Small kerchief.)


Now, place the text face-down on the right side of your kerchief. 

Press with a hot iron until it's fully adhered. Let cool for a minute, and then peel off the backing. 


Voila! A finished kerchief. 



That's it! Not bad, huh? Please make as many as you're able (and of course make a fun printed one for the doggies in your life to wear!) and send them to:

Pets Alive
363 Derby Road
Middletown, NY 10940 
USA 

If you'd prefer to donate another way, you can send money via PayPal or check out their list of other needed items

Thank you, readers! 


20 comments:

  1. Hello hello, this is a great way for me to use all my smallish amounts of hoarded fabric! What date would you like these by?

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    1. Yay! Let's try to get things to Pets Alive by the end of September. Thanks for joining in!

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  2. Is there a PDF for "I'm adopted" or do they not need those also? Have to admit, helping an animal shelter tugs at my heart strings in a huge way.

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    1. Hi Angela! Their usual system is to use "adopt me" kerchiefs for adoption events, and then dogs get a special new kerchief in a fun print (no text) for going home. I like the idea of doing a reversible one though--"adopt me" on one side and "i'm adopted" on the other. I'll get to work on it!

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  3. I wondered the same thing....is their kerchief different when going to a furever home.
    Such a sweet idea and nice sewing tutorial. A simple process for beginners and anyone wanting to learn to sew!
    Great job Gertie!
    Oh yeah, you and your husband are such lookers :0)

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  4. I'm on it! Thanks, Gertie, I can't wait to make these, they seem like excellent stash busters that can help an animal in need! Wonderful!

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

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  5. A great project!

    Any suggestions on what to do if I lack an ink jet printer?

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    1. Hi Janell! They also need these kerchiefs in fun prints with no text. Have any quilting cottons you'd like to use for the cause? :)

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  6. Ah! What a timely post. We are currently fostering a puppy that we found roaming the streets of Memphis and Saturday is his first appearance at the adoption day at our local pet food store. He's going to be wearing one of these for sure!

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    1. Aw, I hope the kerchief works its magic!

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  7. Another function of the kerchief in our home is drool-catcher. Works great!

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    1. Haha! That's great! I've also seen some that have a pocket for poop bags--another great multi-function. :)

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  8. Just Wondering the same thing as well, I there an "Im Adopted" text? Cant wait to make these :)

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    1. Hi April! See my reply to Angela above--I'm on it! Thanks for helping out!

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  9. It is so interesting and next time I can do it by myself to help our doggie friends.

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  10. How fun!! I don't have a inkjet printer so I'll be making ones for the lucky doggies going home.

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  11. so lovely the dog. very interesting, i like the method with my dog
    layered wedding dresses

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  12. Scraps are being gathered and iron-on transfers were bought yesterday. Really excited about this. Thanks so much. By the way, this post makes me cry like a baby!

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  13. Thanks for this tutorial!! I had been looking for a good one to make kerchiefs for the dogs in my life and this was perfect. I wrote about it at http://www.agirlcallederika.com/2013/04/dog-scarf.html. Thanks again!

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  14. Impressive contents and information. It's really a great work for the author to share their useful thoughts and ideas to other. Keep up the good work.

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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