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Summer Fun: Dog Collar & Leash

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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.

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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

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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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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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.
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  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".
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  7. Your pretty collar is all done.
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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. 
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  2. Feed the other end through the swivel hook and fold back 3". Adhere with a small piece of fusible seam tape.
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  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..
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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)

Carolynlvs2sew said:
Carolynlvs2sew's picture
Just what I needed! Made collars for my DD's dog before I had a dog. Now that I have a dog can't find the instructions.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Sheltie Girl, Thanks for the input! We did do quite a bit of research on metal versus plastic and ultimately decided on plastic. But, we purchased the very high quality plastic used for climbing and outdoor gear, which is why we recommended the supplier above. I totally agree that a cheap plastic would be a bad idea. I am grateful for your points, though, especially for those situations where a dog could panic. And, good suggestion to look at a tack shop or livestock supply store. We've shopped in these stores before to find metal buckles and rings for our bag projects. Thanks again for your helpful tips.
Sheltie Girl said:
Sheltie Girl's picture
I am happy to see this project. I have been making my dog's sweaters, leashes, collars, harnesses and beds for years. It is so easy. However based on my experience, may I point out that using a plastic ring on the collar and a plastic hook on the leash can be a huge mistake. If the dog panics, these items will break, allowing the dog to run free. Instead buy a welded ring and metal snap hook from a livestock supply store. Even a metal ring that is not welded will straighten out and release the dog. Otherwise, go for it! It is fun to have a dog with one of a kind, eye popping accessories.

And don't forget to make a short leash to fasten to the car's seat belt for your dog. Never "seat belt" them with a collar; always use a harness.