My name is Lindsey, and I’m addicted to dog collars. And by addicted I mean.. I have a trunk full of them. My dogs have wardrobes- collars for Christmas, Halloween, Independence Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Snowmen collars, palm tree collars, striped, spotted and argyle collars. Some of my collars are hand me down collars from my previous dogs, and a few are even nearing 20 years old.
My trunk of collars. To be fair, I also have harnesses (tracking, walking, and guide dog varieties), a few backpacks, some puppy coats, and two search and rescue jackets underneath all those collars. So it’s not *all* collars in that pile.
A sampling of a few collars
I even have a bookmark folder chock-full of bookmarks of dog collar websites such as http://upcountryinc.com/ and http://www.felinefido.com/ among others. My favorites are the nylon with ribbon collars, but I also have leather collars, fabric collars, polypropylene collars, grip-rite collars, ASAT (all season, all terrain) collars, and even plastic collars. I am addicted. It wasn’t long before I decided to start making my own, both nylon ribbon and fabric varieties. If you’d like to learn to make a fabric one, grab some fabric and your sewing machine, and follow along!
- Sewing Machine (while you can probably do this by hand- I’m not that patient, and my hand stitching is not that strong. I recommend a sewing machine!)
- Fabric, if buying new fabric, I recommend buying about 1/2 a yard- even then you’ll have plenty leftover. Long scraps work well, too.
- Thread (and an empty bobbin you can load with with your thread)
- Collar hardware- a triglide slide, a side release buckle, and a D ring.
First- you need fabric. You don’t need much, even scraps will work, depending on the size of your collar and/or dog. I usually go and buy 1/2 yards of types I like, and have plenty of fabric to make lots of collars off that 1/2 yard. You want to go for fabrics that have a narrow pattern. As the collar will be at most 1-2 inches wide, if you have a large, elaborate design on the fabric, you won’t see it well once it’s made into a collar. I like to judge the pattern by how it looks on the skinny edge of the bolt at the fabric store. While you’re there, you’ll need to pick up some thread, and some medium to heavy weight iron-on interfacing. I’ve made them with sheer weight as well, which works, but the stiffer the interfacing, the stiffer the collar, and the better it stands up to abuse.
You’ll also need some collar hardware. If you have an old smelly collar lying around, you can wash and reuse the hardware if it’s still in good shape. If not, you can order from a variety of places on the internet- my favorite is Country Brook Designs: http://www.countrybrookdesign.com/. They also sell nylon webbing for ribbon collars, but that’s for another tutorial.
Materials (note, my buckle here is not from country brook- it’s a recycled buckle that came off a collar from a dog I once pulled from the pound for a rescue group. It was too decrepit to save, so I salvaged the hardware).
Your thread color is up to your personal preference. Some people may like a matching thread color, some may like a contrasting color. It’s entirely up to you- for this tutorial, I’ve chosen a red that matches the candy canes on the fabric I’ll be using.
Make sure to wash and dry your fabric first, so that any sizing is removed from the fabric, and so that it shrinks if it has a tendency to do that.
I have pre-measured patterns that I made out of the paper that comes with interfacing that I usually refer to for collar sizes. You can use my sizes here, or you can measure a current collar your dog has. You want to add a couple inches to the length to account for folding and sewing the edges, and you want to multiply the width by 4.
Or you can use my pre-measured sizes here:
Large (1″ wide collar) : 4″ x 34″
Medium (3/4″ width collar): 3″ x 25″
Small: (5/8″ width collar): 2.5″ x 19″
I’ve never had occasion to make anything smaller. Being primarily a Dalmatian/Labrador & Golden Retriever/German Shepherd owner I have one or two tiny collars that most of my puppies grow out of inside of 2-3 weeks (or they’re large enough to fit a ‘small’ size as soon as they come to me), so I’ve never made a tiny-size collar, but if you have a collar you can measure- go for it!
Once you’ve cut your fabric out according to the size you’re making, you’ll want to cut an identical one out of the interfacing.
My cut fabric
Because the interfacing will be ironed onto the inside, you can cut two or three different pieces, as long as the total length and width of your fabric is covered with interfacing. I cut two 4″ x 17″ pieces instead of a single 34″ piece.
Once you’ve got your pieces cut, follow the directions on your interfacing for the correct iron temperature, and iron the interfacing to the backside of your fabric.
Ironing on interfacing- the first piece.
It should look like this when you’re done- interfacing all along the backside of your fabric
From there, we want to set the iron to the correct temperature for the type of fabric you’re using. My fabric is cotton, so I set my iron to the cotton setting. Once your iron is heated, fold your fabric in half “hotdog style” a.k.a. along the long side of the fabric, just once, and iron a crease. (and you thought after elementary school, you’d never use the phrase hotdog style to refer to cutting and folding again!)
It should look like this:
Ironed in half
After this, you want to fold in and iron over your edges, like this:
Once you have a nice crease, open your fabric, and fold the edges of the fabric into the center one at a time, and iron, like so:
That center ironed crease should help guide you as to where to fold the leading edges of your fabric to in order to make sure your collar is even.
If you’re very dexterous, you can probably do both sides at one time, but I’m not, so I do one side, then the other. However you do it, you want to end up with both sides ironed down.
From there, fold it like a taco, with the edges tucked inside, and iron the whole collar:
One long collar
After the ironing and folding you should gather your other materials. You collar should look something like this, at this stage:
Load your bobbin full of thread, and set up your sewing machine.
Loading my bobbin
While you can use any variety of stitches for a collar, I prefer a straight stretch stitch- it’s much stronger than a regular straight stitch.
My sewing machine’s settings.
Load your collar under the foot, position your needle, and prepare to sew all the way around the edges of your collar.
Ready to sew!
Sew down the side, sewing closed the opening. When you get to the end, position the needle down into the fabric to hold its place, then lift the foot up, and turn the collar 90 degrees.
End of the fabric
Needle down, foot up
Turn fabric 90 degrees
Sew like this all the way around the collar. Back stitch the final narrow side, and trim your loose threads off.
Sewn all around
The first piece of hardware we’ll sew is the triglide. Thread one side of the fabric around the middle.
Pull it through about an inch or two:
Again, you can use any type of stitch you like. I prefer to use a small zig zag stitch for this part, and keep the stitches tightly together, almost like applique. Stitch down the width of your collar, sewing the loose end back to the collar itself.
I like to add a second line for good measure.
Next, string the male part of your side release buckle through your collar, then fold the fabric back through the triglide
Next, slide the D ring onto the collar. *Make sure to put the D-ring on next, BEFORE the female part of your side release buckle.*
Next, the female half of the side release buckle
Pull the end of the fabric through the buckle, then sew the free end back to the collar. Again, I use my zig-zag stitch.
Sew the free end down to the collar
Slide the D-ring down against the end you just sewed, and then sew another line next to the buckle end. Sew as close to the buckle as you can get.
Second line- nearest the buckle.
It should look like this
Next, we’ll sew one side of the D-ring, again with another line of zig-zag stitches. Move your needle over a tad bit, and make another line of stitches.
Now it should look like this
As soon as that is done- you want to push the D-ring up against your line of stitches, and sew the other side of it. You want to make sure to sew as close to your D-ring as possible, so it’s in a nice, tight, pocket. This will keep it from sliding around when you clip a leash to it. I often have to manually hold the foot of my sewing machine up a bit to get the needle close enough to the metal ring to sew.
One side of my foot is up on the metal ring- I often have to hold it partially up to get in close enough.
Now clip your ends together, and you have a collar!
Dierdre models the new collar. A bit too big for her!
Fits much better on Hawkins. He’s ready for Christmas!