I have greyhounds, so that means we use martingale collars. These collars are used with dogs like greyhounds because their necks are as large as, or sometimes larger than, their heads. These collars are designed to not slip off the dog’s neck due to a looping system. The ones I use look like this. This specific style is useful because it allows for some individual sizing, so I can switch it between my dogs. Before the move, I asked one of the foster moms to make me two collars so the boys could have fancy collars in addition to the regular webbing collars.
I love how they look, and now I want more, especially because I need to wash the collars on a semi-frequent basis due to all the red dust out here. Today, I’m going to do my best to walk you through how I made my own collar.
- Fabric (one fat square would work)
- Stiff, fusible interfacing
- A sewing machine
- 2 Square rings
- 1 Split square ring
- 1 D ring
- Cut your fabric. I cut two 18” x 2.5” strips and two 12” x 2.5” strips from the fabric. I cut one 17” x 2” strip and one 11” x 2” strip from the interfacing.
- Center and iron one piece of interfacing to one long strip and one short strip on the wrong side of the fabric.
- Make a tube out of your long strips by putting the right sides together and sewing down the long side seams using a 1/4” seam allowance. Make sure to backstitch at each end.
- Trim the seams close to the stitching, careful not to cut the stitches.
- Repeat steps three and four with the short strips.
- Turn your tubes right side out. Be gentle, but make sure to push out at all seams. Fold the unseen end edges of the tube inward. Iron everything flat.
- Topstitch around the ironed tubes. This will close the ends and give it a finished look. It is up to you where you topstitch, but I stitched at about 1/8”. I just pivoted in each corner.
- Take the long strip and split square ring. Loop the end of the strip through the right part of the ring and sew the end down so the square ring is now “trapped” at the end of the split square.
- Loop through one of the square rings, and come back to the split ring. On the right side of the split ring, come up from under the end you sewed down, go over the splitter, then come back down and under the left side of the split square.
- Loop the open end through a square ring and sew closed, trapping this ring like you did with the other end.
- You should now have a square ring that leads into the split ring and a loop with another square ring at the end (or middle of the loop, depending on how you look at it).
- Take the short strip and create a loop that goes through the two end square rings. When sewing this closed, insert the D ring between the end flaps. Sew on either side of the D ring to close the loop and trap the D ring.
- That’s it! You’re done!
Tips and Tricks
- This is a million times easier if you have a collar, or at least a picture of a collar to look at for the structure. I did my best in my descriptions, but it really makes a difference to have a reference.
- I, somehow, bought the wrong side D ring, so it was too small. Simple fix (seen above): just add a little square of fabric that is smaller to hold the D ring. This also allowed me to add the flower in the picture. The flower had an alligator clip that I slipped into the fabric square.
- I didn’t like the quality of the finished product when I took the pictures for the process, so I started over. It does take time to make everything look good and clean. Find some scrap fabric and make a few mock collars until you feel comfortable with the process. I didn’t bother with interfacing for the mock collars.
- I like to actually start by cutting my pieces larger than the final product, and then trimming down to the final size. For example, I actually made all of my first cuts 1/2” wider than the final measurements, and then I took a quarter inch off each side. This allowed me to try and really get precise, even cuts. I need to do things like that to make it as precise as possible, but you might be a better cutter than I am.
- I got my measurements from an existing collar that I added seam allowances to. If you have a dog that is bigger or smaller than my greyhounds, you’ll need to adjust the length of the strips. I used 2” rings because I like the larger look on my dogs, but your strips might be thinner if your dog doesn’t look as good with a big collar. Just remember to add seam allowance.
- I used fat quarters for my fabric. This is a pretty economical way of getting collar fabric because it is often cheap (99cents each in my case), and it usually comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
- Once you have the basics done, look for embellishments. The flower I used was in the clearance section. Since it’s on the alligator clip, I can add or remove it as I see fit. You could also make a bow or add some rhinestones. There are tons of customization options.
Overall this project wasn’t that hard. I messed up a few times when I first started trying to make it, but I slowly learned things like the best order to sew the closures. I can probably make one collar in forty-five minutes now. If you have a friend with a dog, this can be a great personalized gift to share with him or her.