Take your pet walking in a winter wonderland in style this year! Beautiful ribbon, hardware, webbing, 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. Our thanks for Renaissance Ribbons for providing the ultra-stylish ribbon for both sets. It's a perfect holiday gift idea, especially with the cute embellishments we added to each. There's a slip-on bow tie for the dapper dog, and a set of poms and jingle bells for the more festive (and bouncy) pooch.
Right now, Renaissance Ribbons has an amazing collection of holiday themed ribbon. There are also adorable Animal themes, including Jessica Jones' Dogs and Anna Maria Horner's Leopard Print. And there are always fun options on sale. We're excited to see the latest bundles from Renaissance Ribbons, their limited edition Treasure Packs. Each pack contains 10-15 yards of either Vintage lengths or new Designer favorites.
Our decorative accents are just that – decorative. They are only meant to be attached to the collar when the dog will be supervised. When the dog is running about, remove any embellishments so there's no chance of snagging them on branch or other obstacle.
We chose plastic hardware, which people sometimes feel isn't heavy-duty enough for collars and/or leashes. However, if you choose acetal plastic hardware meant 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 through absorption and so performs very well under all weather conditions. However, you know your dog best, and you could certainly switch out to all metal hardware.
Our collar was sized for our own sweet doggie, 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 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.
If you'd prefer not to use invisible thread, we suggest choosing a color of thread for the top that matches your ribbon and a color that matches the webbing for the bobbin.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Skyline S5)
- #14-16 denim needle: recommended over a universal needle to best penetrate the tough webbing material
- Quarter Inch Seam foot (optional)
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. We used webbing and hardware accessories from local Oregon company, The Rain Shed. They have one of the best, least expensive selections we've found for quality hardware.
- 1 yard of ⅞" or 1½" ribbon; we used the following Renaissance Ribbons:
⅞" Indigo Lantern by Tula Pink
1½" Ecru Garland on Red by French General
- 1 yard of 1" or 1½" nylon webbing: we used regular weight nylon in black
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, a curved style is best for comfort
- One 1" or 1½" slide/strap adjuster
FOR THE EMBELLISHMENTS
1" collar with ⅞" Indigo Lantern by Tula Pink
- Fabric scrap in a coordinating color for the bow-tie – you need just a 4½" x 10" cut; we used a scrap of turquoise cotton
- Scrap of ¼" black elastic – you need just two 3" lengths
- Hand sewing needle
1½" collar with 1½" Ecru Garland on Red by French General
- Yarn for 1-3 poms; we used natural, gold and red polyester yarn – the amount of yard required will be based on the thickness of the yarn and the fluffiness you want to achieve, so we can't give you an exact amount.
- Clover Pom-Pom Maker; we used the large option for an approximate 2½" pom
- Large jingle bells; we used 1" bells in a matte gold finish
Leash ingredients (makes a 6' leash):
- 2½ yards of ⅞" or 1½" ribbon; we used the following Renaissance Ribbons:
⅞" Indigo Lantern by Tula Pink
1½" Ecru Garland on Red by French General
- 2½ yards of 1" or 1½" nylon webbing: we used regular weight nylon in black
- One 1" or 1½" swivel snap hook
Other ingredients required for both:
- Fusible seam tape; we used ½" Pellon Lite EZ Steam II for the 1" ribbon and ⅞" Heat 'n' Bond for the 1½" ribbon.
- Tape measure
- See-through ruler
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Small lighter for melting the ends of the poly webbing
- 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" leash, the only difference between the two is the positioning of the ribbon, which is noted below.
- 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".
- 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".
NOTE: You want the ribbon to be an about an inch longer to account for any shrinkage when pressing it onto the webbing.
- 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.
- We recommend threading your machine with thread to 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
- Following manufacturer's instructions, adhere a strip of fusible seam tape to the center of the collar webbing and leash webbing.
- Layer the ribbon on top, right side up and centered, so approximately ⅜" extends beyond the webbing on each end. Fuse the ribbon to the webbing.
- 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 the ends in place.
- 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.
Wrapping the collar through the hardware
- Lay a tape measure flat on your work surface.
- Thread the collar through all the hardware. First slip on the D-ring and the slide, then thread each collar end through one half of the buckle.
- Fold back the ends until the length equals your finished length (20" in our sample).
NOTE: Remember, the buckle counts, because it does add to the length.
- The fold-back on the side with the adjuster slide should be a great deal longer than the fold-back on the side with the D-ring (because you want that length for the adjusting). In our sample, the left side folded back 8" and the right side 3".
- 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.
- 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.
- Stitch both of these fused ends in place with two lines of vertical stitching. First stitch the outer side of the short end.
- Then stitch to the other side of the D-ring, getting as close as possible to the ring.
- Then lift up the adjusting loop to stitch the longer end in place.
NOTE: We stitched forwards and backwards three to four times to make sure the stitching would stand up to lots of tugging.
- In the photo below, the collar is pulled apart and twisted a bit to show all the stitching.
Finishing the leash
- To create the leash handle, fold one end back 11½".
- Place a pin 2½" from the end. Adhere the end in place with a small piece of fusible seam tape.
- Feed the opposite end through the swivel hook and fold back 3". Also adhere this end with a small piece of fusible seam tape.
- Stitch a rectangular "X box" at each end to secure the folds in place. We used a 2" box on the handle end 1½" box on the swivel clip end.
Edgestitching on the wider ribbon
- The available widths of webbing are more limited than the ribbons. For our 1½" ribbon, the next larger size of webbing was 2", which seemed too wide. So we went for 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.
- The remaining steps are the same as above.
- We used the Clover Pom-Pom maker to create three 2½" poms. Check out our step-by-step tutorial on pom-making. It's super easy.
- Leave the final pom tie tails long. Thread a jingle bell onto one of each pair of yarn tails.
- Wrap the tails around the collar and knot to secure.
NOTE: As mentioned above, use the embellishment only when the dog is supervised. It is meant as a cute decoration, not necessarily as something for a long walk/run in the rain.
- Our measurements are based on our ⅞" ribbon.
- From a coordinating fabric scrap, cut ONE 10" x 4½" rectangle and ONE 2" x 2½" rectangle.
- From the ribbon, cut ONE 10" length and one 2½" length.
- From the elastic, cut TWO 3" lengths.
- Place the ribbon down the center of the large rectangle. Our ribbon was 1¾" in from each side. Pin in place or fuse in place with fusible seam tape.
- Edgestitch the ribbon in place along both sides.
- Fold the rectangle right sides together and stitch along the 10" side, using a ¼" seam allowance.
- Turn right side out through the open end. Roll the seam to the center back, opposite the ribbon.
- Repeat to stitch the short ribbon length to the small rectangle.
- Fold, stitch and turn as above. There will be fabric showing to either side of the main bow, but the center loop will just show ribbon from the front.
- Fold the main bow strip in half and pin the raw ends together.
- Stitch the ends together with a ¼" seam allowance.
- Turn the loop right side out and roll this short vertical seam to the center back.
- Finger pleat the bow at its center.
- Wrap the faux knot loop around the center to secure the pleating.
- Whipstitch to secure.
- Find the elastic lengths. Stitch the ends to create two loops. We used our sewing machine. You could also handstitch the loops.
- On the back of the bow, securely handstitch one loop to the outer edge of each bow "wing."
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild