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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to Make a Chia Pet Halloween Costume for Your Dog

In 2009 I made my dog Kitai a Chia Pet Halloween Costume. It was an idea I'd had for a few years and noticed (on Google Images) that nobody else had ever made one before, so I did. I blogged it. Two years later this post has gone completely viral all over Pinterest, Facebook and more.



The process to make the costume was quite simple. Each year his costumes begin with a horse blanket made of felt. Felt is great because you don't need to finish the edges when you cut them. To find this particular shade of green I had to use wool (not polyester) felt available at JoAnn Fabrics. To create a horse blanket that fits your dog:

  1. Begin by measuring your dog with a flexible tape measure measuring the length of its body from the front of it's chest to the end of its body right up to where its tail begins.
  2. Then measure the width by measuring however long you want the side to come down to the center of its back then multiply that measurement X 2.
  3. Cut the rectangle out of felt and lay it over your dog setting it in the proper position from the rear. Where the other end reaches your dogs neck, fold the fabric under and pin to mark where you'll need to cut out the hole for its head.
  4. Cut as small a hole as possible to fit over your dog's head separating the narrow section in front of it to form two flaps. These will cross over each other and you'll stitch them into place to create the form that fits your dog perfectly.


I purchased square mats of plastic aquarium plants. They came 2 per package. In total it took 5 squares to cover a Lhasa Apso sized dog.

I pulled all of the foliage off the mats. Then I strategically cut holes in the felt horse blanket using an x-acto knife. I pushed the prongs of the grid through the holes and reattached the foliage alternating the two different types of leaves. I then lined the entire costume from the back so that none of the plastic could poke him or make him feel uncomfortable.

Around his neck I hand stitched the leaves to cover the felt. Here's a close up of how the foliage was attached.



With the new attention comes new questions so I've put together a little tutorial for Jenna about how to make terra cotta pant legs for her (and your) dog's Chia Pet Halloween costume. Jenna asked on the original blog post for clarification about how to make and sew the legs together.

There are three elements:
  1. An inner liner made of muslin
  2. An outer layer using terra cotta colored fabric
  3. Two straps and a cross strap connecting the first two together. The first straps are attached at the top of each leg, suspender style, to hold them up once you slip all four legs onto your dog (see photo above).
Here are the steps:
  1. Sew an inner leg liner using muslin or another fabric that is thin enough to bend if your dog wants to sit or lie down.
  2. Sew and outer terra cotta leg with appropriately colored fabric that is also thin enough to fold and bend for your dog's comfort.
  3. Make sure they are both the same width at the bottom. Drop the liner inside the terra cotta layer and fold the terra cotta layer under allowing you to sew them together with a single pass of your sewing machine.
  4. Not stitch the two layers together at the top in only two places where the strap will fasten along the outer side of your dog's leg and directly across from it on the other side. This holds the two layers together without binding them completely and eliminates the need to make the pant legs fit your dog's leg perfectly. This way the pant legs can loosely fit, be comfortable and look great!
  5. Once you've stitched the top of the legs together sew the felt strap along the outer side of the pant leg. 
  6. Do one leg first, then slip the other pant leg on your dog's other leg and pin it into place along the strap you're attaching them to. Make sure you can slip it off, bending your dog's leg to do so, and you've got the perfect length to trim the strap to.
  7. Attach the other pant leg same as the first.
I hope this additional tutorial helps. I'll be adding it to the original post with the rest of the photos as well.

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