1 cuddly Ori Pei + Creative Tools = Happy Dog

by - 1:50 PM

The beautiful Miss P., courtesy @penelope.oripei.rulez  © penelope.oripei.rulez
I love working with customers like this cuddly Ori Pei  and her just-as-lovely owner Nicole.  Miss P. is adorable in every way but she was definitely one of the harder dogs I have ever had to fit being that an Ori Pei is a Sha Pei / Pug mix!  Shorter in length than standard dog sizes (if there really are "standard" dog sizes :P) and broader up front with a tiny waist made this an interesting doggy rain coat to get right.

Nicole, who is as enthusiastic about color as she is about her dog really got me into the spirit of the project when I asked her what colors she would like to see on Miss. P.  From her reply I knew I would be able to be very creative with this furry girl.  

Often people wonder why I would jump the graphic designer ship and become a sewing artisan,  but this has really been a natural progression for me and happens to use some of the same creative processes.  Being creative is a wonderful skill in any profession, plus, spending some twenty five plus years as a graphic designer has made me a better thinker and maker.  I still use graphic designer "tools" like a mood board when creating a custom coat like the one Miss P. is wearing.  

Sublime Birdy custom coat mood board example
The mood board created for Miss P. reflects her owners love of color and pattern.  © Sublime Birdy

I love to use a mood board for custom coat design because, although the researching of fabrics can be tedious, the process keeps me on budget on my swatch selection, good for me and the customer!  The board also allows the customer to give valuable input before a single stitch is made.  Because we had already chosen a style for the coat, the mood board helped the customer and I to communicate color and pattern likes and dislikes.  This narrowed down the time and sometimes the frustration that can build in creating a custom order with someone you don't know.  

Colors, fabrics, buttons?  That's the easy part!  Sizing is key in this instance, so, while I was waiting for the fabric to arrive I used the time to create a muslin or a draft garment from the sizes that Nicole had sent me on Miss P.  Luckily I took this approach because the final muslin had to be adjusted slightly once I got it back.  The muslin was an invaluable part of creating a tricky garment like this one and I will definitely use it again when I run into another custom request for a snuggly, four-legged customer like Miss P. 

I was grateful for the opportunity to dress the hard-to-fit Miss P. as it made me think through the process to deliver a great custom experience for dog and owner, the end result being one very happy and dry dog!

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