This week we're going to the dogs with a DIY adjustable collar. By making your own collar you can ensure a great fit, trust in the quality of the hardware and workmanship, and show off a bit of your own style.
(Moxie is wearing a size S 5/8" wide collar)
Our pattern and video will walk you through correctly measuring your dog's neck for a secure and comfortable fit. Because you construct the collar from your dog's specific measurements, their neck size will be in the center of the adjustment range leaving room for them to grow or lose weight. Dogs weight often fluctuates (just like ours) and when it does you know their collar will still fit perfectly. You can also choose the width that is most comfortable for your dog.
Quality hardware in a dog collar is a big deal. You are trusting your dogs safety to it's reliability. First and foremost, be sure to use only heavy-duty welded D-rings. Even small dogs can be quite strong and may be able to bend non-welded hardware and escape. You want a heavy plastic tri-glide slide (the part that lets the collar adjust) with teeth. The teeth help grip the collar so once you've adjusted it, it stays in place. Poor quality slides can break and don't grip as well, allowing the collar to get larger and possibly slip over your dog's head. Last is the buckle: Look for a contoured side release buckle made of heavy plastic. They have a slight curve to them so they fit comfortably against your dogs neck. Look for one you can open easily with one hand, but that stays secure once it's snapped closed. If you have a long haired dog, try finding a buckle with rounded clips, it helps keep their fur from being clipped in the buckle.
Now the fun part - the fabric. Almost any sturdy washable fabric will work to cover your webbing. There are only three things to keep in mind when choosing your fabric: bulk, feel, and care. While denim, and other thicker fabrics, can be super cute and durable, they are too thick to make this style of collar. You are going to be sewing four layers of fabric, plus the webbing to itself, and then pulling it through the hardware. "Feel" simply means your fabric should feel comfortable against your dog's neck, nothing rough or scratchy. This is especially important for short haired breeds. Dogs get dirty, choose a fabric you can wash and that can take a bit of wear and tear. Don't forget to prewash your fabric, to prevent distortion when you do wash your collar. You also want to prewash fabric so any dye that isn't fully set comes out in the wash, and not on your dog. Quilting cottons, linen, or light-weight canvas make great choices. This is also a fun time to try upcycling. Try making a collar from an old man's dress shirt, a torn sheet, or even a pair of flannel PJs. You can find some really fun patterns in old clothes. You don't need a lot of fabric, get creative!
(Teyla is wearing a size M 1" collar)
We've put together a detailed pattern and video tutorial to help you get great results. The pattern includes instruction for all sizes and 5/8" or 1" width, plus instructions for making a matching leash. We show you how to measure your dog's neck correctly, give you a formula for constructing the collar based on your specific measurement, and and we created a video to show you how to put all that hardware on the correct way. We also searched for and put together kits with high quality hardware and webbing--all you need to do is add some fabric. Easy! Our kits are available in 5/8" width (fits neck sizes up to 15") and 1" width (fits up to 24" necks).
Once you get the hang of it, these collars come together quickly. You'll want to make your dog an entire wardrobe. A customized collar is also a wonderful gift for a dog lover in your life.
Teyla can't imagine why we'd make a collar for any other dog, so she's trying out the size small as a nose ring.
Note - Fabrics pictured are old and from our stash. They are no longer available for purchase.