I have a beautiful 50 pound mutt and a great desire to dress her up. However, big dogs, that spend most of their time playing in the mud and running in the woods, never seem to keep things like doggie sweaters very clean. With this thought in mind I found myself getting into the business of custom, handmade dog collars.
Now, for the most part I am a knitter and spinner, but for the dog collars I decided to move over to my sewing machine and combine the two. A love of yarn and a love for my pooch.
Step 1: Preparing the Hardware
Cut a length of nylon webbing to 24" (to make a medium-sized collar). Take a lighter and carefully burn the two frayed ends of the nylon until fibers melt. Have the buckle, slide, and ID ring ready. You will also need a small ball of some special yarn. I used a small bit of chunky handspun. This is a great way to feature that special yarn that you only have a few yards left of!
Step 2: Applying the Yarn
This is the most finicky part. Zig-zag the yarn the width of the nylon webbing for an inch or so. Pin down the yarn or hold with your finger. Sew down, in a simple straight stitch, the inch of zig-zagged yarn. I just used my fingers and moved slowly on the machine as fussing with the pins took too long for the same result. Continue zig-zagging and sewing down the whole length of the nylon. Don't worry, the second side will move a lot quicker.
Step 3: Side Two
Repeat the previous step for the loose zig-zagged yarn on the other side.
Step 4: Attaching the Hardware
Now you have a 24" length of nylon covered on one side, the exterior side that won't be rubbing against your dog's neck, with a pretty yarn applique. I used a store bought dog collar as a model to figure out how best to attach my collar pieces. By looking at the store bought collar you can easily figure out how you need to sew on the buckle, ID ring, and adjustable slide (aka tri-glide). Be careful when sewing on the slide, if you sew the nylon to the wrong side your collar won't slide!
Use the zig-zag setting on your sewing machine at a very tight setting to get some nice reinforced stitching on these high stress points on your collar (you can see exactly what I mean in my first image). I would run the machine back and forth when sewing on all of the hardware. This is especially important so your dog won't rip the stitches out when pulling on the leash.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Adjust collar carefully, so as not to fuzz-up your special yarn too much, to fit around your dog's neck. Then just buckle around one happy dogs neck! You will be happy that your pup is wearing something you made out of yarn and love and your dog will be glad it never has to wear that christmas sweater you made for her ever again!