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Who’s a good boy?! Make sure your favorite walkabout companion is sporting the latest style in leash and collar sets. Our design has sturdy webbing as a base, gorgeous ribbon for flair, and tough hardware to keep it all secure.

We chose Renaissance Ribbons for our accents. Their jacquard ribbon is expertly woven for a smooth, flat finish, and it’s colorfast. Plus, you can choose from custom ribbon collections in a variety of widths from some of your favorite designers, like Kaffe Fassett, Tula Pink, and Odile Bailloeul. We provide direct links to the ribbon we chose as well as to the complete selections in our recommended widths of ” and 1½”. You’ll find designs from whimsical to elegant.

This is a fun and easy project – very beginner- friendly. A matching set makes a great gift idea for your pet-loving pals. If setting up a collar assembly line is in your gift-giving future, consider buying one or more of the Renaissance Ribbons Designer Ribbon Packs. These feature several ribbons in perfect one yard lengths. 

We went with predominantly plastic hardware, which people sometimes feel isn’t heavy-duty enough for collars and/or leashes. However, if you choose acetal plastic hardware, made for climbing and other outdoor gear, you should be well satisfied with its ability to snap tightly closed and hold fast against yanks and pulls. 

Acetal is known for its stiffness and tensile strength. It also resists moisture and so performs well under all weather conditions. However, you know your dog best, and you could certainly switch out to all metal hardware. As you can see on our samples, we actually opted for a mixture of acetal plastic and metal, using metal Swivel Hooks to attach the leash to the collar on both sizes, and a welded metal D-ring on the wider collar for a bigger/stronger dog.

When selecting webbing, you also want something in the heavy-duty category and in polyester. Poly is not only more weather resistant, the ends can be heat-sealed so there’s no worry about raveling. But remember, with thicker layers comes the need for a stronger, sharper needle. A denim or jeans needle is best.

Our collar was sized for our doggie models; Lincoln, the very busy Corgi puppy and Danny, our sweet street dog rescue. Lincoln’s neck measured approximately 16”. Danny’s neck measured approximately 20. Using our suggested cut lengths, the finished collar adjusts from approximately 14½ 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 extra inches needed for adjustment from smaller to larger. For example, using Danny’s neck measurement of 20, the formula would be: 20+ 10 = 30.

We used invisible thread 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. Finally, always sew in the same direction along either side of the ribbon. This will help prevent shifting and puckering.

If you’d prefer not to use invisible thread, we suggest choosing a color of all-purpose thread for the top that matches your ribbon and a color that matches the webbing for the bobbin.

If you love this leash and collar set, we have another similar set to which we added a couple cute embellishments. There’s a slip-on bow tie for the dapper dog, and a set of poms and jingle bells for the party animal. Click here for this free project. 

Sewing Tools You Need 

Fabric and Other Supplies

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.

Collar ingredients:

  • 1 yard of ” or 1½” ribbon
    Shop the entire selection of ” ribbons at Renaissance Ribbons; we originally used
    Big Diamonds in Orange, Red, and Yellow by Kaffe Fasssett for Renaissance Ribbons
    Shop the entire selection of 1½” ribbons at Renaissance Ribbons; we originally used 1½” Beach Ball on Black by Kaffe Fassett for Renaissance Ribbons
  • 1 yard of 1” or 1½” heavy-duty nylon webbing; we originally used orange for the narrow set and black for the wide set – this type of webbing can be easily found online and at retail outlets – make sure you are buying a heavy duty webbing in polyester not cotton
    NOTE: For a dog with a neck larger than 24, get 1½ yards each of the ribbon and webbing
  • One 1 or 1½” D-ring
  • One 1 or 1½” side-release buckle
  • One 1 or 1½” slide/strap adjuster
    NOTE: As mentioned above, look for the heavy-duty acetal plastic hardware meant for climbing and other outdoor gear or go with metal. We used a combination of plastic and metal, opting for metal for the larger set, which is meant for a larger dog. Searches online will reveal a number of great hardware ordering options. If you have a large outdoor store in your town, it may also have a selection of this type of hardware.

Leash ingredients (makes a 6 leash with a looped handle):

Other ingredients required for both:

  • All purpose thread to match webbing
  • Monofilament thread for ribbon stitching; optional, but our recommendation for the best finish; if you choose not to use monofilament, pick all purpose thread to best match the colors in the ribbon
  • Fusible seam tape; such as Pellon Lite EZ Steam II – make sure it is narrower in width than your ribbon
  • Tape measure
  • See-through ruler
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Pressing cloth 
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins and/or clips; we used Wonder Clips, which is a good option for the thicker layers
  • Small lighter for melting the ends of the polyester webbing

Getting Started

  1. For the purposes of these instructions, we are going to assume you are making BOTH the collar and the leash. We are showing the steps for the 1 set; the only difference between the two is the positioning of the ribbon, which is noted below at the very end of the instructional steps.
  2. 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 one inch longer at 31.
  3. Cut the pieces for the 6 leash. The webbing should be cut at 7 feet, 2½”. The ribbon should be cut one inch longer, at 7 feet, 3½”. This is a generous length, but does – of course – create a leash that is not-retractable. If you prefer a tighter grip on your dog, you could certainly start with a shorter length.
    NOTE: You want the ribbon to be an about an inch longer to account for any shrinkage when pressing it onto the webbing and to wrap the ribbon around the ends of the webbing.
  4. 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.
  5. We recommend threading your machine with thread to best match your webbing in the bobbin and invisible thread in the top. You can use regular thread to closely match the ribbon in the top, but the invisible thread looks better and is stronger.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Following manufacturer’s instructions, adhere a strip of fusible seam tape to the center of the collar webbing and leash webbing.
  2. Layer the ribbon on top on the webbing, right side up and centered side to side. Approximately ” – ½” of ribbon should extend beyond the webbing on each end. Fuse the ribbon to the webbing.
    NOTE: Neither the ribbon nor the webbing respond well to high heat. Use a lower temperature on your iron and consider working with a pressing cloth to protect the material.  
  3. Wrap the raw ends of the ribbon around to the back of the webbing. Place a small piece of the fusible seam tape behind the raws ends and fuse these ends in place.
  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 Janome Quarter Inch seam foot to keep a nice straight line. 
  5. Whenever you are working with ribbon, always sew in the same direction along either side of the ribbon. This will help prevent shifting and puckering.

Wrapping the collar through the hardware

  1. Lay a tape measure flat on your work surface.
  2. Thread the webbing through all the hardware. First slip on the D-ring and thread the right end of the webbing through the female side of the buckle. Pin or clip in place.
  3. Then slip on the adjustable slide (going up and over the center bar) and thread the opposite end, the left end, through the male side of the buckle. Pin or clip in place.
  4. Un-pin/clip as necessary and continue folding back the ends until the total length equals your finished length (20 in our sample). Pin or clip in place – webbing sides together.
    NOTE: Remember, the buckle counts, because it does add to the length.

    NOTE: The folded-back on the side with the adjustable slide should be a great deal longer than the folded-back on the side with the D-ring. You need that extra length to allow for the adjusting. In our sample, the left side folded back about 8 and the right side  about 3.
  5. Un-pin/clip and feed the longer left end back through the back side of the slider, going under/behind the existing loop. Pull it through about 1½’ and pin or clip in place – webbing sides together.
  6. Use a small piece of the fusible seam tape to adhere both ends in place, then remove the pins/clips.
  7. Stitch both of these fused ends in place with two lines of vertical stitching. 
  8. First stitch the outer edge of the short end – beyond the D-ring. Then stitch to the other side of the D-ring, getting as close as possible to the ring. This forms a little pocket for the D-ring.
  9. Lift up the adjusting loop to stitch the longer end in place – again using two vertical seams.

    NOTE:  We stitched forwards and backwards three to four times along each of the two lines to make sure the stitching would stand up to lots of tugging.
  10. In the photo below, the collar is pulled apart and twisted a bit to show all the stitching.

    NOTE: This is simply a mini circular version of an adjustable strap. If you are brand new to the technique, check out our full Adjustable Strap Tutorial. 

Finishing the leash

  1. To create the leash handle, fold one end back 11½”.
  2. Place a pin 2½” from the end of the fold-back. Adhere this end in place with a small piece of fusible seam tape.
  3. Feed the opposite end through the swivel hook and fold it back on itself 3. Also adhere this end with a small piece of fusible seam tape.
  4. Pin/clip both ends in place and mark to secure each end with a rectangular X-Box stitch.
  5. We used a 2 box on the handle end 1½” box on the swivel clip end.

    NOTE: Check out our full X Box Tutorial if you are new to this technique.

Edgestitching on the wider ribbon

  1. The available widths of webbing are more limited than the ribbon. For our 1½” ribbon, the next larger size of webbing was 2, which seemed too wide. So we went with the same width for both: 1½”. The only change we made was to simply center the ribbon on the webbing so the edges were flush.
  2. The remaining steps are the same as above.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever

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Linda
Linda
6 months ago

My dog – Axel – needs me to make him several of these!

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