You love sewing gifts for all your family and friends—why not include man’s best friend in the lineup as well? Pet products, especially custom ones, can be quite pricey, but are surprisingly easy to produce yourself. A bit of specialty hardware and some heavy-duty needles and thread are all you need to get started creating your very own leashes, collars, toys, and more. Here are a few more ideas to get your pup kitted out in style!
1. DIY Leashes
There are lots of ways to make leashes. The most straightforward is to simply purchase a length of nylon strap material, add a swivel clip to one end and a loop to the other. Voila! Two quick seams and you’ve got a perfectly serviceable leash. But if you had something a bit more unique in mind, try making a scrap-busting strip-pieced leash, patching together a long strip from different colours and materials. Stitch two layers together to form a long tube, trim your seam allowances, and turn the leash right side out. To reinforce the leash, add topstitching down the length, then add your swivel clip hardware and a wrist loop at the other end.
2. Cold Weather Jacket
For our smallest canine companions, cold weather is as tough on them as it is on us. A quick, fleecy jacket is the perfect project to keep them toasty for midwinter walkies. This tutorial will walk you through the process. Opt for materials that are sturdy and easily washable, like cotton/polyester blends, which also have the benefit of being stain resistant.
3. Pupper Placemats
Dogs do not have a reputation for being the tidiest eaters. Spare your floors by making water-resistant placemats to put under their food and water dishes. Materials like vinyl or other laminated fabrics are perfect for projects like this, as they easily wipe clean. They do have a tendency to slide on wood and tile, however, so depending on your floors, you might want to make a double-sided version featuring a less slippery material, like canvas, on the reverse.
4. Burrow Beds
Does your dog love to dig and burrow into blankets? Give them their own little nest by creating a burrow bed! It’s got a built-in blanket that’s securely attached, so your pup won’t need to keep stealing yours! Check out this adorable version for a step-by-step guide to creating your own.
5. Bow Tie Collars
How does a dog dress for a wedding? To the ca-nines, of course! All jokes aside, it’s becoming more and more common for dogs to appear at special events, and why not celebrate the occasion with a special bow tie collar? It’s just as easy to create bow ties for dogs as for people, though we do recommend going with pre-tied for a dog! You can add a slide-on bow to Fido’s existing collar, or create a custom collar just for the occasion. Just make sure to measure carefully and make the sizing adjustable so the fit is not too tight or too loose— you should be able to easily slip two fingers under the collar when it’s on and fastened.
6. Removable Collar Bandanas
For less formal occasions, when a bow tie might be a bit much, opt for a quick and easy slide-on bandana. This is also a great way to share information about your dog, especially if he’s a bit nervous. A bandana that says “I’m still learning my manners—please don’t pet me!” can save a lot of confusion and stress for dog and owner alike. For pets who are more comfortable in public, use these bandanas to show off some personality with fun colours, sayings, or other embellishments.
7. Crate Covers
Crate training is a popular way to give dogs a space of their own: a safe den to which they can retreat when they’re feeling unsure or just need a break for a quiet snooze. While crates can work well for this, they’re also rather unsightly, and many—made only of wire bars—don’t exactly offer much in the way of comfort and privacy for your pup. A crate cover is a simple slipcover that slides into place over the crate to keep it out of sight and give it that den-like atmosphere. Some versions even use roll-up sides to provide more ventilation when the weather is warm. Add a matching cushion to the inside of the crate for maximum comfort—for maximum washability, use a zip-off cushion cover that can be thrown straight into the wash.
8. No-sew Chew Toys
All right, so these aren’t technically a sewing project for your dog, but only because there’s no sewing required! For dogs that love to chew, sturdy braided chew toys are a great alternative to materials like rawhide, which can cause digestive problems, and bones, which are tough on their teeth. Old t-shirts and jeans are great materials to upcycle into chew toys! Learn how to braid your own and keep your pup happy and busy. As with all toys, make sure to keep an eye on your dog and take the toy away once it begins to fray.
9. Jingle-Free Collars
If you want a quiet alternative to jingling dog tags, add sew-on labels to your pup’s collar! This is a great way to add your dog’s name and owner contact information in a way that can’t be lost as long as he’s wearing his collar. There are tons of options available for custom labels, including those done in leather, which makes it easier than ever to create these trendy collars. If you make dog-friendly items to sell, consider adding these to your inventory!
10. Leash Caddy
If you’ve ever found yourself fumbling for a waste bag in the rain while out walking your dog, you’ll definitely want to whip up a couple of these handy caddies. Use heavy duty snaps or a spring clip to keep them attached to your leash, and they’re just the right size for storing a few spare bags and a treat or two, just in case you need a bribe for some good behaviour.