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I like one finger through the mid section for warmth and two fingers around neck and legs for flexibility. They should all come with a complimentary pair of scissors. Never heard of one fitting perfectly off the shelf.
 

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Here's a copy of my take on vest tailoring:

Tailoring a Dog Vest

Getting an off-the-shelf vest that actually fits your dog correctly (snug everywhere, but not tight anywhere) would be a remarkable fluke. Even with a design like Cabela's wide Velcro fastener that affords an inch or two of adjustability zippers don't, the vest won't be fully functional without tailoring.

The drill is to buy the correct chest size and break out a marking pen, straight edge, scissors and a can of "neoprene cement," like Block Surf (not Aquaseal or Goop or any other substitute), and go to work.

With the vest on the dog, pinch out the excess material and mark both sides where the pinched material meets and the tip of the triangle the pinch creates.

Take the vest off the dog, and using the straightedge, draw lines from each "pinch" mark to the "tip" mark, which will create the triangular "dart" that needs removed with your scissors.

Having removed the darts of excess material, you're ready to close the gaps they created. This is where using neoprene cement, which melts the neoprene edges and essentially welds them together quickly enough that it's no strain to hold them together while it works pays off. Other types of adhesives will require stitching to hold the new seam edges together while they dry and perhaps even for support. I have never had an unstitched neoprene cement seam separate.

You'll also likely need to remove some material that will otherwise chaff Pup's arm pits and an opening around a male dog's penis. Don't worry about cutting beyond the bar tacking on a vest's stitched seams, as on a properly made vest the stitching is really just eyewash for buyers, rather than necessary.

May sound complicated, but it probably took me longer to type that than it would have to properly tailor a vest.
 

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When you're cutting and altering, you don't want to use "Aqua Seal", instead use "Seal" cement. Seal cement is wetsuit repair glue. It comes in black and clear. I've found the black to be stronger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rick Hall I actually understand what your saying. I bought a Cabela's XL seemed to tight so I just ordered a 2X. I will keep what ever is best. My dog has a big chest not so much neck and belly. The XL Velcro lined up just right but I sure had to work it. I will try on the 2X and go from there.
 

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Here's a copy of my take on vest tailoring:

Tailoring a Dog Vest

Getting an off-the-shelf vest that actually fits your dog correctly (snug everywhere, but not tight anywhere) would be a remarkable fluke. Even with a design like Cabela's wide Velcro fastener that affords an inch or two of adjustability zippers don't, the vest won't be fully functional without tailoring.

The drill is to buy the correct chest size and break out a marking pen, straight edge, scissors and a can of "neoprene cement," like Block Surf (not Aquaseal or Goop or any other substitute), and go to work.

With the vest on the dog, pinch out the excess material and mark both sides where the pinched material meets and the tip of the triangle the pinch creates.

Take the vest off the dog, and using the straightedge, draw lines from each "pinch" mark to the "tip" mark, which will create the triangular "dart" that needs removed with your scissors.

Having removed the darts of excess material, you're ready to close the gaps they created. This is where using neoprene cement, which melts the neoprene edges and essentially welds them together quickly enough that it's no strain to hold them together while it works pays off. Other types of adhesives will require stitching to hold the new seam edges together while they dry and perhaps even for support. I have never had an unstitched neoprene cement seam separate.

You'll also likely need to remove some material that will otherwise chaff Pup's arm pits and an opening around a male dog's penis. Don't worry about cutting beyond the bar tacking on a vest's stitched seams, as on a properly made vest the stitching is really just eyewash for buyers, rather than necessary.

May sound complicated, but it probably took me longer to type that than it would have to properly tailor a vest.
Rick,
You don't sew around the high stress areas after the cement?
Back then I used a sail's needle with tent thread to enforced the areas.
Times have changed. :)
BJ
 

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I've done no sewing or bartacking at all since I quit trying to use Aqua Seal or Marine Goop (both of which require stitching to hold them while they dry) and started using neoprene cement. Not saying bartacking would be a "bad" idea, just that I've not bothered, and it's not mattered. The neoprene cement melts the neoprene and creates a tough weld.
 

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Looking at the Cabela's vest - my dog measures an XL in the chest, but is a little smaller than a Medium in the stomach.
So if I buy the XL to fit her chest, following Rick's tailoring instructions - can I really take the stomach down/in that much? This sounds silly when I say it, but I'm wondering, at what point am I attempting to take out so much that it's going to affect the vest fit in other areas..?

If it's not clear, I have never done this before, and I admittedly might be overthinking it.
My female has been slow to fill out, but I hope to duck hunt with her this Fall and would like a vest. Are there other brands I should consider for a dog that has a rather extreme tuck-up?
 

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I can't speak for your dog, but I've tailored to fit this deep chested and thin waisted fellow:


as well as pointing dogs that may have had even greater chest to waist ratios.
 

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Here's a copy of my take on vest tailoring:

Tailoring a Dog Vest

Getting an off-the-shelf vest that actually fits your dog correctly (snug everywhere, but not tight anywhere) would be a remarkable fluke. Even with a design like Cabela's wide Velcro fastener that affords an inch or two of adjustability zippers don't, the vest won't be fully functional without tailoring.

The drill is to buy the correct chest size and break out a marking pen, straight edge, scissors and a can of "neoprene cement," like Block Surf (not Aquaseal or Goop or any other substitute), and go to work.

With the vest on the dog, pinch out the excess material and mark both sides where the pinched material meets and the tip of the triangle the pinch creates.

Take the vest off the dog, and using the straightedge, draw lines from each "pinch" mark to the "tip" mark, which will create the triangular "dart" that needs removed with your scissors.

Having removed the darts of excess material, you're ready to close the gaps they created. This is where using neoprene cement, which melts the neoprene edges and essentially welds them together quickly enough that it's no strain to hold them together while it works pays off. Other types of adhesives will require stitching to hold the new seam edges together while they dry and perhaps even for support. I have never had an unstitched neoprene cement seam separate.

You'll also likely need to remove some material that will otherwise chaff Pup's arm pits and an opening around a male dog's penis. Don't worry about cutting beyond the bar tacking on a vest's stitched seams, as on a properly made vest the stitching is really just eyewash for buyers, rather than necessary.

May sound complicated, but it probably took me longer to type that than it would have to properly tailor a vest.

Rick, can you explain marking the pinch points and the top of the triangle better for me? Im overthinking this and can't figure out what you mean. Maybe pics?
My female is thick but has a smaller neck so the neck needs trimmed quite a bit.
Thanks.
 

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Pinch out the slack at the outside edge of the vest material, and mark where the material meets. You will have created a hump/ridge in the material that tapers down the better fitting portion of the vest and also need to mark the point where that ends. By drawing lines between the two edge points and the one inside point, you will have created a triangle of excess material (called a "dart") that needs removed.

When there isn't much excess, a single mid-neck dart should do it. But if there's a lot of slack, you may be ahead to take a smaller dart from each side, rather than a big one in the middle.
 

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Pinch out the slack at the outside edge of the vest material, and mark where the material meets. You will have created a hump/ridge in the material that tapers down the better fitting portion of the vest and also need to mark the point where that ends. By drawing lines between the two edge points and the one inside point, you will have created a triangle of excess material (called a "dart") that needs removed.

When there isn't much excess, a single mid-neck dart should do it. But if there's a lot of slack, you may be ahead to take a smaller dart from each side, rather than a big one in the middle.
OK, I am going to try this. Thank you!
 
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