Monday, 5 December 2016

DIY Reversible Dog Collar Bow Tie (Standard or Oversize)


Doesn't Humprey look doggone dapper in his oversized polka dot bow tie?  And Professor Oli? These are deceptively simple to sew and can be whipped up in minutes with simple materials.  Here's how to make your own!


Bow ties are quick crafts and are great projects for using offcuts or general stash busting.  We've shared DIYs on how to make a no-sew bow tie and a basic easy-sew bow tie, and today's DIY is a fully reversible bowtie with padding for a soft but shapely tie, whether standard doggy size or an oversized party version. It's VERY easy!

The materials and craft supplies used in making the bow ties shown are:
To make your own bow ties, you will need some small pieces of suitable fabric, complementary coloured thread, a small piece of quilt batting, and scissors/sewing tools. 

  • Cut an equal rectangle of each tie fabric in the width and height of your finished bow tie plus a small seam allowance around the edges. Scale the project to suit the size of your pet and style of tie you'd like, whether standard or oversized.
  • Iron flat. Crease (my preference) or mark your seam allowances.
  • Cut a rectangle of quilt batting in the size of your rectangle without including the extra for  seam allowances.
  • Layer your fabrics right-side-in. If your fabric has a directional pattern, make sure both are the same top/bottom orientation.
  • Sew together along the seam allowance, leaving an open gap at one end for inversing and adding your batting. 
  • Trim any threads and/or excess material from the internal corners (helps reverse into a point), then inverse to right-side-out.
  • Fold your batting, slide it in through the gap, and work in into a flat position inside the tie, making sure it extends into all of the corners.
  • Fold your gap seam allowances in, and sew a narrow allowance seam all the way around the outside of your bow tie, closing the gap, securing the batting, and adding a little extra style to the tie. Sew a seam top-to bottom the through the center of the tie to further secure your batting. Tip: If your dominant fabric colours are different, you can use different thread colours on the top spool and bottom bobbin to better blend your seams, if you wish, as shown in my photos.  Trim any excess threads.
  • To keep this tie reversible, it doesn't have a permanently sewn loop. Pinch the tie together along the middle seam and hand-stitch repeatedly through the center to secure the bow tie into shape. 
  • Attach as you wish to your collar, such as a ribbon tie, elastic loop, slide, or Velcro. Remember, embellishments are for supervised wear only. :)  See tips below and our method for this tie in follow-on.

Tips for attaching embellishments to your dog's collar:  The best method of attachment really varies depending on the size and temperament of your dog, the type of collar, and the type of flair/embellishment.  A lightweight decoration may be fine with a simple ribbon, and attached loop of elastic to slip onto the collar, or a little velcro.  Larger pieces may need several loops of firm elastic or wide velcro. To make sure that things stay in place for a very special event or with an extra active pup, you may even prefer to sew your embellishment onto a matching collar slide or directly onto the collar.  Good behavior to go with the good looks is not guaranteed. :)

If your dog wears a narrow collar, you can easily attach a bowtie with a single loop of fabric, elastic, or other material that slides around both the collar and your bow tie's center. If your dog has a wider collar, this doesn't look as nice. Our our no-sew tie has a simple ribbon and our easy sew bow tie shows a two-piece loop and velcro strip method (great if you'd like the collar piece to be wider than the tie loop).  For this bow tie,  I thought I'd show a one piece loop and velcro strip. If you'd rather a double loop to slide onto the collar instead of using Velcro, you can sew the strips in either method closed instead.   I could get away with an elastic loop around Humphrey's collar, but it would be visible above/below the tie on Oli's much wider collars, hence why my matching ties use fabric over-the-collar attachments. 


  • Cut a narrow rectangle of fabric in double the width of your desired slide plus seal allowances, and a length three times the width of your collar, extra to loop around your tie, and seam allowances to finish the ends. Not sure about length? Make your strip a little longer and you re-adjust later in a test fitting, if needed.
  • Since long skinny tubes of material are a pain to inverse, we're going to fold lengthwise along the mid-line into half and iron to crease. Fold a seam allowance inwards along the edge of each strip, and iron to crease.  Optional: Pin around your tie, check your length around you collar, and adjust if needed. Ensure that your seam allowances are all folded inwards, then sew a narrow seam all edges, ensuring that you capture the folded edge underneath, including the fold on the closed edge, just for looks.
  • Sew in the center to create the loop for going around the bow tie. Make sure this seam is strong.
  • Attach your velcro to the ends of the strips. Sewing velcro can sometimes be a bit fiddly, so if your velcro isn't self-adhesive, you may find a little double-sided tape helpful in keeping things in position for sewing instead of trying to pin.
  • Roll one side of your bow tie tightly and slide it through the loop. Fluff it up and you're good to go! 

The tie can be spun within the loop to reverse sides/patterns and refluffed if/as needed. The loop can also be removed to wash the tie, change the attachment method, swap attachment loop styles, etc. Changing the loop can totally change your look. This red/cream/green combo is nice and Christmassy, but the bow-tie isn't Christmas only and can be used any time for plenty of other looks/styles.


We have a Christmas post for your ever weekday between now and the start of our offline holidays, with toys, decorations, treats, and more so stay tuned! See you again tomorrow, furfriends!

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