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Below are step by step instructions on how to make an "Adopt Me" jacket to help rescue dogs (or cats!) find their forever home.
We love trying to help homeless dogs find their forever home by making these “Adopt Me” jackets / vests for rescue groups and foster carers.  We thought there might be others out there that would also like to help and who would enjoy crafting up a few themselves – so here is how…..

Summary of materials you will need:
  • 100% cotton red fabric
  • ¼ inch (13mm) double fold bias tape
  • Sewing machine, thread and scissors
  • Iron-on transfer paper for dark t-shirts (for the letters) or fabric paint
  • Home printer and card/paper (to print out the pattern templates)
  • Cotton or nylon webbing (for straps)
“Adopt Me” Vest Instructions
The materials you need will vary depending on the size of vest you would like to make.

These instructions are for a “medium” size vest (one that measures 37.5cm along the neck to the tail) which is a great fit for dogs around about the size of a kelpie.  

Details of what you will need:
  1. 0.5m of 100% cotton fabric. You can use almost any material but 100% cotton is best if you are using iron-on transfer paper for the words “Adopt Me” on the vest.  I use red cotton for most of the vests I make and blue cotton for the bias tape, but you can use any colour you like. Strong bold colours are the best to get the attention you want. 
  2. 170cm of ¼ inch (or 13mm) double fold bias tape.  I make my own bias tape as its much cheaper and you can make it in any material / colour you like.  There is a great tutorial from here if you would like to make your own, alternatively, you can just buy bias tape at Spotlight or Lincraft or order it online.  
  3. Sewing machine: You do not need anything fancy – just a simple straight stitch is all that you need to be able to do.
  4. Thread:  For a more professional look get thread to match the colour of your bias tape.
  5. Iron-On transfer paper for dark colours.  You’ll need 1 to 2 A4 size pages for the “Adopt Me” lettering on the vest.  You can buy transfer paper at Officeworks or order it online.
  6. Home printer and card/paper to print out the jacket pattern templates.  You’ll also need some cellotape to stick the pattern together.
  7. 170cm of cotton or nylon webbing (for straps).   I buy mine from a great little etsy store but you can easily get webbing from Spotlight or Lincraft.

1. Wash then iron your material.  This is to prevent shrinkage later and is recommended for a more professional finish.

​2. Print out the template for the size of jacket you are making.  The templates are available as JPG images, here: 
Download File

Download File

Download File 

Download File


 3. Stick the template pages together as per the template instructions.

4. Cut out your template and pin it on your fabric. Then cut out the vest shape.

5. Using your home computer and your iron-on transfer paper (for dark t-shirts) print out the words ‘ADOPT ME’ (Trademarked). NB. You don’t have to use transfer paper; you could try fabric paint or a fabric marker or even sew on the words.  I use high quality vinyl and a heat press for the lettering on the jackets I make, as it looks for professional and wears much better but not everyone has access to a heat press and vinyl.  Iron-on transfer paper as the name suggests can be ironed on with your regular iron and works well if you follow the transfer paper instructions.

6. Cut out your “ADOPT ME” letters and following the transfer paper instructions, iron them onto your vest.  NB. With transfer paper do remember to take off the backing paper before ironing – I’ve lost count how many times I’ve made this mistake!

​7. Sew your bias tape all the way round the edge of your vest.  If you haven’t sewn on bias tape before check out this great tutorial from 
8. Cut four lengths of the webbing for the vests straps.  For a medium jacket cut four lengths of approximately 37cm.  This will keep the jacket nicely in place and is cheaper than buckles and longer lasting than velcro, which tends to stop sticking after a while from too much dog hair and some dogs shy away from the noise).

​9.Sew on the straps to the underside of the vest using double stitching and your done!

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