Facebook Twitter Sew4Home RSS Feed Follow Me on Pinterest Instagram


Summer Fun: Dog Collar & Leash

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

Click to Enlarge

Webbing, ribbon, hardware, a couple of hours, and you can make your very own boutique style dog collar and leash. This is such a fun and easy project, you'll be offering to make them for all your canine friends. Of course, it's not just for dogs! That's Dexter, one of our French Alpine goats, stylin' our collar, and I think he's saying, "I HEART Sew4Home." Ahhhhh, thanks, Dex.

Our collar was really made for our sweet mutt, Elaine. Her neck measures 20". The finished collar adjusts from approximately 18" to 22", so these instructions would fit a great many pups. To be sure, measure your own dog's neck. You want the collar to be snug, so it can't slip off over the dog's head, but not so tight that you can't slide your finger easily underneath the collar. Measure your dog's neck, then add 10" to give you the 4" of adjustment from smaller to larger. For example, Elaine's neck measured 20", so 20"+ 10" = 30".

We used an invisible thread on top to stitch the ribbon to the webbing. This is not mandatory, but is a nicer look against the ribbon. For best results, you may need to loosen your upper tension slightly. It's also a good idea to lengthen your stitch and sew at a slow and even pace. This type of thread does not stretch as well as regular thread and can break more easily under pressure, especially if it accidentally slides off the spool and wraps around the spool pin. Using a spool cap against the spool helps hold it in place on the pin, and again, going slowly and evenly helps the thread to feed correctly off the spool. If you'd prefer not to use invisible thread, we won't get mad. But, we will suggest you choose a color of thread for the top that matches your ribbon and a color that matches the webbing for the bobbin.

Click to Enlarge

There are TONS of great ribbon choices out there. We used a  ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons with cute little clown fish riding the waves, and we thank our friends there for providing the ribbon needed for this project.  

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Click to Enlarge

We have split the ingredient lists for the collar and leash. If you decide, as we did, to make both and have them match, simply combine the yardage of the ribbon and webbing.

  • 1 yard of 7/8" ribbon: we used Clown Fish on the Waves, from Renaissance Ribbons
  • 1 yard of 1" nylon webbing: we used regular weight nylon in black from The Rain Shed
    NOTE: For a dog with a neck larger than 24", get 1½ yards each of the ribbon and webbing.
  • Hardware: we used accessories from local Oregon company, The Rain Shed. They had one of the best, least expensive selections we found anywhere. They offer online ordering and we highly recommend them.
    One 1" D-ring: we used The Rain Shed's Acetal D-ring
    One 1" single-adjust, side-release buckle: we used The Rain Shed's Acetal Curved Side Release Buckle
    One 1" slide/strap adjuster: we used The Rain Shed's Acetal Wide-Mouth Triglide

Leash ingredients (makes a 6' leash):

Other ingredients required for both:

  • Thread: we used all-purpose thread to match the webbing in the bobbin, and a .004 monofilament polyester invisible thread in the top in smoke
  • Fusible seam tape, such as Stitch Witchery or SteamASeam
  • Tape measure
  • See-through ruler
  • Seam gauge
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

For the purposes of these instructions, I am going to assume you are making BOTH the collar and the leash.

  1. Using our measuring notes above, cut the the pieces for the dog collar. In our sample, we cut our webbing at 30" and the ribbon at 30¾".
  2. Cut the pieces for the 6' leash. The webbing should be cut at 7 feet, 2½". The ribbon should be cut at 7 feet, 3¼".
  3. Melt all the ends of the webbing to prevent fraying. To do this, simply pass the end of the webbing through the flame of a lighter several times. It doesn't take much heat.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Thread your machine with thread to match your webbing in the bobbin and invisible thread in the top.

At Your Sewing Machine

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, adhere a strip of fusible seam tape to the center of the collar webbing and leash webbing.
    Click to Enlarge
  2. Layer the ribbon on top, right side up and centered, so approximately 3/8" extends beyond the webbing on each end. Fuse the ribbon to the webbing.
  3. Wrap the raw ends of the ribbon around to the back of the webbing and fuse in place.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Stitch the ribbon to the webbing along both sides of the collar and the leash, approximately ¼" from the edge of the webbing. We used our ¼" seam foot to keep a nice straight line.
    Click to Enlarge

Finishing the collar

  1. Lay out a tape measure flat on your work surface.
  2. Thread the collar through all the hardware. First slip on the D-ring and the slide, then thread the collar through both ends of the buckle.
    Click to Enlarge
  3. Fold back the ends until the length equals your finished length (20" in our sample). The fold-back of the side with the adjuster slide should be a great deal longer than the fold-back on the side with the D-ring. In our sample, the left side folded back 8" and the right side 3".
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Feed the long end back through the back side of the slider. Check your length measurement again to confirm it's still correct. Re-adjust as necessary.
    Click to Enlarge
  5. Use a small piece of the fusible seam tape to adhere the left end of the collar to the back of the adjuster loop and the right end of the collar to the back of the webbing.
    Click to Enlarge
  6. Stitch both ends in place with two lines of vertical stitching. I stitched forwards and backwards three to four times to make sure the stitching would stand up to lots of tugging.
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Your pretty collar is all done.
    Click to Enlarge

Finishing the leash

  1. To create the leash handle, fold one end back 11½". Place a pin 2½" from the end. Adhere with a small piece of fusible seam tape. 
    Click to Enlarge
  2. Feed the other end through the swivel hook and fold back 3". Adhere with a small piece of fusible seam tape.
    Click to Enlarge
  3. Stitch a rectangular box with an "X" through the middle to secure and reinforce both the folded back end at the swivel clip and the 2 ½" you originally measured and marked with a pin at the loop end..
    Click to Enlarge
    Click to Enlarge

Hints and Tips

Be Green!

When this collar or leash starts to show wear, simply cut off the webbing/ribbon and reuse the hardware to make a new one. Good quality hardware lasts a long time. Or, make your new collar and/or leash using hardware salvaged from an existing old set you may have on hand.

Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Liz Johnson

Other machines suitable for this project include the Singer 7422 Advance and the Pfaff select 3.0.



Comments (53)

KellyDreams2013 said:
KellyDreams2013's picture

If you can seal the end of the webbing from fraying by putting it next to a candle and melting it, how do you iron fusible seam tape to it without melting it?

KellyDreams2013 said:
KellyDreams2013's picture

Also, the picture that was attached to this link showed flower and bow tie collars.  Are the instructions for those someplace else?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ KellyDreams2013 - The heat is very different between the candle and the iron. You are actually lightly passing the end of the webbing through the flame in order to get it to melt. The heat from iron is not intense enough to melt the webbing - unless of course you set it down without moving for an extended period of time. I'm not sure which picture you are referring to about the flower and bow tie collars. This is our main tutorial for these collars, Perhaps you saw some alternate ribbon options. Renaissance Ribbons has an amazing selection: http://retail.renaissanceribbons.com

Michelle Zarfas said:
Michelle Zarfas's picture

where can i get good strong buckle that will not come open when my dog pulls me as we had afew buckles that have done this.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Michelle Zarfas - we like The Rain Shed, a local company that specializes in hiking and outdoor gear: http://www.therainshed.com/buckles.htm

No guarantees - but you might think about a cam buckle, which is less likely to pop open. 

anovoa85 said:
anovoa85's picture

I'm making one for a baby Chihuahua. What size nylon webbing and ribbon size should I use.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ anovoa85 - I can't give you a specific size long distance, but we do provide a formula above: Measure your dog's neck, then add 10" to give you the 4" of adjustment from smaller to larger. For example, Elaine's neck measured 20", so 20"+ 10" = 30".

In addition, you'll need to see what you can best final locally in the way of narrower webbing. 1/2" would be a good size for a smaller dog, then you'd need your ribbon to be approximately 1/4" to 3/8".

kimba said:
kimba's picture

Hi there! Thanks for the excellent tutorial. I made a leash and collar today, and I'm really happy with them both. One question: any reason you don't use clear invisible thread, rather than the smoke? 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ kimba - glad you like the tutorial. We opted for the smoke to make it even more invisible on the back side against the black of the webbing. 

kimba said:
kimba's picture

Thanks for the fast reply. I think I'm going to try to use the clear invisible thread on top next time and see how it goes. For future reference, is there any reason not to use invisible thread in the bobbin as well? 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ kimba - you can use invisible thread in both the top and bobbin - we've done it that way on the majority of our recent projects with Renaissance Ribbons. Your choice. Sometimes people people think it's difficult to wind the invisible thread on a bobbin, but we've not had a problem with in on our Janome machines. 

kimba said:
kimba's picture

Cool! I'll give it a shot. Not sure how my light-duty Brother will handle it, but I've got an old Singer 15-91 coming, and I'm hoping it will be as acommodating as it is tough. 

Hepp782911 said:
Hepp782911's picture

Can i use ribbon and webbing of the same width or should the ribbon be smaller than the webbing. i'm wondering because i have ordered 5/8" webbing and hardware but I can't seem to find 1/2" ribbon. I was also wondering if I can use satin ribbon for this project.

anne.adams said:
anne.adams's picture

It's a little easier to sew with the ribbon slightly smaller than the webbing, and having the tougher webbing extend a bit beyond the ribbon protects the ribbon from wear. However, on such a small collar (I assume for a small dog), it should not be an issue as long as you have them aligned well and stitch carefully. Satin spots when it gets wet, so it's not the most practical pick for a pet collar. 

Bara said:
Bara's picture

Please where I can buy nylon thread invisible for collars coz i buy one and burst still 

Ceri Louise said:
Ceri Louise's picture

Hi i love your tutorial but am looking to do this in the UK and having touble finding UK suppliers does any body have any recomendations??



Rachel.A said:
Rachel.A's picture


I use lyndashorsewear.co.uk.

very reasonable. And the p&p is good value!

hope this helped :-) 

Jennifer Throener said:
Jennifer Throener's picture

What type of sewing machine are you using? I am breaking needles like crazy and hardly finished one collar.

Angie Willis said:
Angie Willis's picture

What an awesome tutorial!  I've been wanting to do some for a rescue shelter also, but was having trouble finding reasonably priced hardware.  I will definately be using your techniques and hardware from The Rain Shed! Thank you for sharing talent :)   ~Angie

Abigail9 said:
Abigail9's picture

Love this idea but had a question.

I love the ribbon at Renaissance Ribbons but it's wholesale and requires a first purchase of $150 (that's what it says in the FAQs). Do you have other ribbon websites you can suggest that don't have such a large purchase requirement?



Rachel1987 said:
Rachel1987's picture

Great project!

I do have a question though, say if I would want to make a collar that is adjustable from 8-12" do I just add 8+12=20 to get my overal ribbon & webbing length?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Rachel1987 - here's the math part in the instructions: Measure your dog's neck, then add 10" to give you the 4" of adjustment from smaller to larger. For example, Elaine's neck measured 20", so 20"+ 10" = 30". 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Caroline - Cold Hands Warm Heart Crafts - Thanks for sharing your photo - and your blog. Great job on the collar and leash; love the Dino ribbon.
Caroline - Cold Hands Warm Heart Crafts said:
Caroline - Cold Hands Warm Heart Crafts's picture
Wonderful tutorial! I made both a collar and leash yesterday from your tutorial and it couldn't have been easier! I let my readers know about your great tutorial and added a link to your blog!

Here is the link to the post: http://www.coldhandswarmheartc...ollar.html
Jkaut58 said:
Jkaut58's picture
Thank you so much for this post. I will be making dog collars and leashes to give to shelter animals. This will be my first sewing project so I really appreciate the detailed instructions. Great post!!!!
Charlie Dawg :) said:
Charlie Dawg :)'s picture
GREAT TUTORIAL!!! This summer, I'll be saving up for a horse by selling dog collars and leashes, and this tutorial helped me SO much! Thanks! I've been looking all over for a good tutorial like this, and you are so detailed! Once again, thanks!!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@Marley's Mommy -- It sounds like 1/2" would be a good option for you little pup. You could substitute metal hardware if you are having trouble finding the plastic.
Marley's Mommy said:
Marley's Mommy's picture
I cant wait to make these! My mother in law owns a grooming store and I want to put some it there! smilies/wink.gif I have one question, My dog is a toy poodle only about 11 weeks old. should I use 1/2 inch hardware and webbing you think? I have a hard time finding 1/2 inch size ribbon, but I believe I need thinner anyhow, with 1/2 inch webbing.. which it does come in.. thanks so much, will do soon. smilies/smiley.gif
ewallace said:
ewallace's picture
I made 3 of these sets. Your instructions are so detailed. Thanks for such a great post!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Laura -- so glad to know another goatie will get a handsome new collar smilies/grin.gif
Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage said:
Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage's picture
This caught my eye because we have a goat, Miriam, that looks like yours. She too has a collar. It's in need of replacement.

I'm going to add a link to this tutorial on my blog under "Tutorials I want to try!"
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Pearl -- thanks for the post on your blog!
Mosaic Magpie said:
Mosaic Magpie's picture
Loved the tutorial. I have made dog and cat collars before and this tutorial was direct and to the point. Well done. I have purchased high quality plastic collar clasps to use on mine with no problems reported. I have also taken older collars apart to reuse exsisting hardware.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Thanks, Aloha2U ... an embroidered collar would be very classy. So glad you found us. Come back often.
Aloha2U said:
Aloha2U's picture
Your instructions are the best I've found. Very clear and easy to use. I've been making embroidered (names) collars and keyrings. Thanks.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Kristen -- Happy Birthday to your doggie-dog. I'm so happy you chose our project as a gift smilies/grin.gif
Kristen said:
Kristen's picture
I am so excited about this project! My dog's bday is coming up in a few weeks, what a great excuse to make it! I just finished completing my order on The Rain Shed! Thanks for the tutorial!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Thanks for your note, CAL. Guess we must have super calm dogs (and goats). I've never used a harness, so I don't have experience with that. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any tutorials out there either for a harness. Sounds like you've done a great job making one out of fabric; I bet you could substitute webbing and use a similar technique to what we describe above to add the pretty ribbon.
CAL said:
CAL's picture
A great tutorial - very kind of you to share. There are so many beautiful ribbons on the market! I would like to make one comment though. To avoid injuries, I never attach a leash to the collar, but to a harness only (unless your dog never pulls on the leash). We call our dog's collar a necklace, because it is used for identification purposes only (dog tags). Would love to see a harness tutorial. Have you come across one online? I've made fabric harnesses based on her existing harness, but one made out of ribbon would be great - especially for the hotter months of the year.
Obied said:
Obied's picture
I have been looking for something to jump start my interest in sewing again. I have been out of the loop of my beloved hobby for so long. This will do it. I am so going to get some of those hooks and loops and cool "doogie" ribons and fabric and get started again.
Thanks for the tip and giving me the "viola" to get going again.
GG Gifts said:
GG Gifts's picture
WOW, this is fantastic, we use collars on all our goats (some of them are a wild bunch and hard to catch) so for us the plastic would suit just in case one should get caught on something. I love it.
Grandma G said:
Grandma G's picture
Here is some really cute doggie ribbon, especially if you happen to have a dachsund!
alicia.thommas said:
Whether you prefer metal or plastic components, they both come in good and poor quality. Poor quality metal bends, and poor quality plastic breaks. The Acetel plastic we chose has extremely high tensile strength, but another benefit is that it's very lightweight and remains comfortable-to-the-touch in the sun. As Sheltie Girl says, if you use a metal D-ring, only a welded D-ring is appropriate for a dog collar. smilies/smiley.gif