I haven't always made dog coats you know! Some of you might know that I used to make wedding dresses and special occasion wear but the arrival of a shivering whippet (Bruno) gave me the incentive to give that up and make dog clothes instead. Now, don't get me wrong I don't miss it at all, I LOVE designing and making dog clothes. But like many of us ladies I struggle to find a coat to walk my dogs in that I really LOVE. You can find one that is waterproof, but too masculine. The snazzy fabric ones are often not even shower proof. Pockets are not deep enough, non existent or in the wrong place for my arms! And lets face it there aren't many days in the year when we don't need a coat of some description.
I finally found time to get together with Andrea, my trusty friend and pattern cutter extraordinaire in October 2017 when we put a few designs together and got them to the toile stage - calico mock ups. The silly season set in and I had no time to make samples, but in the following months a few things niggled me about the designs. They were not quite right. Andrea and I got together again the following June and with a fresh look at them, we tweaked and came up with 2 designs I am happy with.
I asked some important questions about sizing on Facebook, got lots of great feedback before we finalised the designs and it was clear that certain things were important to you:
This list presented a tall order but we applied our skills and came up with two we are happy with.
A short, unlined, hooded, roomy short style, The Chiltern. Made from a fantastic lightweight washable wax cotton and it fastens with a zip and the hood is lined in our gorgeous sight hound print cotton. The fabric has a teflon coating and the drips of rain just roll off. This is offered in Yellow and a limited number in Teal - I hope to offer it in Brown and Navy in due course. It is a great everyday coat, can be worn on it's own in warmer weather and with a jumper under for colder days. I love this style, it is perfect for my body shape and my life. It is my go-to coat, I love it.
The Malvern is longer, lined and generally smarter. It has deep pockets - as the Chiltern does - and even has a pocket inside for your phone. This style has a lovely fitted top and sleeve and is a flattering A line at the bottom, it is longer and will cover the derriere - a request I had from many of you when I asked what your ideal coat would be! This is offered in Rust with Tartan collar and cuffs, or in classic solid Grey. The fabric is washable waxed cotton, it will keep you dry in a shower, but not a deluge.
So, HOW do we offer them to you? In an ideal world I would make stock in all sizes and colours, but with 2 styles x 3 sizes x 2 colours for each style if we only make 1 of each style and colour that would be 12 coats. And what happens if there is one strong favourite, one size and colour - then we are left with the others, all made and looking gorgeous but with no new homes to go to. All that money invested in fabric and time in making - wasted.
I don't want to outsource the making, preferring to keep it in house, and with each coat taking considerably longer to make than any of our dog coats we need longer delivery times on them. So, we will be starting steady and safe. They are currently on 14-21 days delivery and I hope that you feel they are worth the wait - BUT we do have stock of some Chiltern Coats made up available for immediate delivery.
I love both styles and I'm excited to offer them to you and I hope you love wearing them as much as I do, solving the problem of what to wear next to the whippet who looks so stylish!
It gives me a great thrill to see them on customers, as I did at Crufts this year and hear the comments - 'oh so comfortable' and one lady said of the Malvern 'it is the coat I have been looking forever for'. They will never take over from the dog coats but I think they are a great addition to our range and I hope you do too.