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By Betsy Greer on December 5, 2023
We love pet projects! Maybe you’ve seen Spoonflower’s most pup-ular pet bandana tutorial, or famous dog bowtie how-to. Both of these projects are made to slip over a collar. But, can you DIY that too? Of course!
Using a fat quarter of Lightweight Cotton Twill and a few hardware pieces, you can easily stitch together a perfect collar for your furbaby. Or, utilize a full yard and go for a matching collar and leash set perfect to sit, stay and walk in style.
Anything is paw-sible with nearly 2 million designs in the Marketplace to use for your handmade pet accessories. Today, I’m making a collar and leash for my furry friends Camila and Rufus—continue reading to learn how!
If you’re making only one collar, a fat quarter of twill should work just fine! Though a leash added on will need a full yard of fabric especially if you’d like it to be extra-long.
Attention pup parents: does your dog pull on the leash? I’m able to get away with regular-weight hardware because my dogs stick to my side like glue, but heavy-duty snap hooks and D-rings are a must for any leash tugger to avoid breakage and a runaway pooch.
This project involves sewing multiple layers of thick fabric! Prepare in advance by purchasing a denim needle or other heavy-duty needle for your machine to ensure nothing gets jammed or broken.
With a measuring tape, measure around your pet’s neck where the collar will sit. Take this number and multiply it by two.
For example, Rufus (my smaller dog) has an 11″ (28 cm) neck, so my final measurement will be 22″ (56 cm). Camila (my bigger dog) has a 16″ (40.5 cm) neck so I will need 32″ (81 cm) for her.
Camila will need a 1” (2.5 cm) collar width and Rufus’ will be 3/4″ (1.9 cm). I’m cutting a strip of fabric as long as the neck measurement, but four times my desired width because we’re going to fold the fabric a few times before sewing.
For example, Rufus needs a cut of fabric 22” (56 cm) long and 3” (7.6 cm) wide. Camila, being a bit bigger, will need a 32” (81 cm) long strip that is 4” (10 cm) wide.
My fat quarter of Lightweight Cotton Twill is 29″ (73.5 cm) wide, meaning Camila’s fabric measurement of 32″ (81 cm) won’t fit within one cut. I solved this by making two cuts and attaching them together! With right sides facing, line up two pieces by the short edges on one side and sew with a 1/4″ (1/2 cm) seam allowance. Press open with an iron, cut the length until it’s what you need and continue on.
Cut the webbing at the same length as your fabric strip from step two, except trim 1/2″ (1 cm) from each end. Then, take a lighter and burn the cut ends to make sure they don’t unravel inside the collar. My webbing is 1″ (2.5 cm) wide to match the intended width of my collar.
With the right side of your fabric facing down, fold the short edges in by 1/4″ (1/2 cm) and iron flat. Tuck the ends of your webbing into each side and make sure the bottom edges align.
Fold the bottom long edge of the fabric, with the webbing inside, to the center and iron flat. Clip in place and sew along the raw edge (the middle) so all fabric and webbing is stitched together.
Do the same folding with the top side (the one without the webbing encased) until both edges meet in the middle. This process is almost like making bias tape!
Fold this piece in half a final time, tucking the raw edges inside, and clip it down. Sew with a 1/4″ (1/2 cm) seam allowance down all four edges of the fabric.
Using the photo below as a guide, attach the adjuster and first buckle piece:
Take the other end of the collar strap and feed the D-ring through, stopping a few inches in. Make sure the rounded edge of the D-ring is facing out.
Slide the loose end through the female (non-pointy) piece of the buckle. Clip it down on the inside side of the collar and sew in place, making sure the D-ring is on the inside of said loop. Sew another stitch line on the other side of the D-ring so it has only a little bit of wiggle room. This is where a leash hook will go, so it needs to be secure but not too tight.
Now you have a finished pet collar! Hook your pup’s tags or some extra bling around the D-ring and you’re ready to go.
For a matching leash, you’ll follow the collar steps 1 through 4. This time, however, use 1 yard/meter of Lightweight Cotton Twill rather than a fat quarter. I want Camila’s leash strap to be about 5 feet in length, so I cut my fabric to match. Remember, you can piece the fabric strips together like you would for a large sized collar– that’s what I’m doing!
After your leash strap is complete, feed it through the slot of your leash hook about 2″ (5 cm) and sew in place.
Finally, take the other end of the leash strap and create a loop comfortable enough for your hand to hold. Sew the end down and you now have a leash!