I've learned that I'm way more likely to exercise if I have some company while I do it, so to that end I've started taking my dog Jeff with me when I run intervals in the park by my house. Some things I learned from our first run: 1) Jeff gets tired and could use a drink after about 20 minutes, 2) there are no spigots, water fountains or trash cans for miles, apparently, and 3) it is no fun to run while holding a bag of poop (or two).
Hence the doggie backpack. This is meant for light use, carrying some bags/water/full poop bags until they can be disposed of, and for no more than an hour at a time (because honestly, I can't last that long either). It has a handle for easy placement upon the dog's back, and a padded chest strap. I added a pad to the girth strap after I took these pictures.
Size: Jeff is medium-sized, about 55 lbs. He measured about 28" around at the chest, behind the forelegs, and about 18" across the front of the chest to the point above his elbows.
YOU WILL NEED:
About 1/2 yard or so of fabric (I used camo duck cloth, but if you want something more durable, I would try a ripstop nylon)
1" nylon webbing, about a yard and change
Two 9" zippers (I used 7" because that's what I had)
Two plastic buckles for 1" webbing
Scrap batting (I used fleece, again out of convenience)
A lighter or match, to melt the cut ends of the nylon webbing
All seam allowances are 1/2" unless otherwise noted.SADDLE BASE
Cut two rectangles 21" x 9.5" and curve the corners. Pin right sides together.
Sew around the outside, leaving a small opening. Turn inside out and fold the edges under in the opening. Press.
Sew the opening shut close to the edge (if you're extra special, hand sew the opening shut to hide the stitches). Top stitch 1/4" in from the edge.POCKET
(Instructions are for one pocket, repeat for the second pocket.)
Cut one rectangle 8.5" W x 10.5" H (A), and one 10.5" W x 7.5" H (B).
Fold (B) in half width-wise and mark 1.5" from fold on top and bottom, both sides. Lay flat.
Fold between the marks and press. Fold each pressed line in towards center about 1/2" to create a box pleat. (B) should now be the same width as (A). Pin in place.
Baste the pleats in place.
Pin the zipper face down along the edge of (A). Sew.
Flip the zipper back and place so zipper and (A) are face down on (B).
Pin and stitch in place.
Open the layers and press the seam allowance away from the zipper.
Open the zipper halfway and fold the pocket in half, right sides in, so free edges are aligned. Pin in place. Stitch around the sides and bottom.
Pull the layers apart so that two folds run at 45 degrees from the corner. Stitch across these layers, perpendicular to the bottom seam. Clip the corner (not pictured).
Repeat for the opposite side.
Turn inside out and press. Repeat for second pocket.
Align the bottom edges of the pockets with the bottom of the saddle base. Pin in place by the top edge. Stitch across the top edge. (I did a double line of stitching for extra strength.)HANDLE
Cut a length of nylon webbing slightly longer than the width of the saddle base. Melt the ends with the lighter. Pin in place along the midline.
Stitch the ends in place using an "X in the box" stitching line (Do this every time you tack down the end of a strap).PADDED CHEST STRAP
Cut a rectangle 14" L x 3.5" W, two from fabric, one from batting/padding/fleece. Curve the corners to create an oblong shape. Cut a rectangle 12.5" x 3.5" from fabric.
Flip edges under on the rectangle, press and stitch.
Pin in place centered on one of the oblongs, both right sides up.
Baste across the long edges (not pictured). Place a length of the 1" nylon webbing lengthwise along the center of the oblong. This will be used as a guide for stitching the strap channel.
Stitch down the length of the webbing creating a channel. Stitch as close to the webbing as you can manage without stitching over it.
Stitch on both sides of the webbing. Your channel should look like this.
Lay the three pieces in the following order: batting, plain oblong right side up, channel oblong right side down.
Pin in place.
Stitch around the outside, leaving a small opening (not too small, otherwise it's a pain in the rear to turn inside out).
...press, and stitch the opening closed. Topstitch 1/4" in from the edge.STRAPS
Flip the pockets up. Place the chest buckle about 3.5" above the bottom edge, and in far enough so the whole buckle lays on the saddle base. Mark with a pin. Cut a 3" length of webbing, fuse ends, and tack down female end of the buckle, aligning the edge of the buckle with your pin.
Slip the chest pad onto the webbing. Mark the corresponding spot on the opposite side of the saddle base. At this point, check the fit on your dog! Trim the webbing and tack down the end. It's always better to leave a little extra and trim the excess later.
Align the girth buckle perpendicular to the chest buckle, about 3" in from the posterior edge. Tack down in the same manner as the chest strap. Find the corresponding point on the opposite side of the saddle base. Tack down the edge of the girth strap.
Check the fit, trim the end of the girth strap, and buckle. Tada!