Monday, August 30, 2010

DIY - Make Your Cat a Fancy Collar

I have noticed, quite recently, that the collars they portray as 'cat collars' are really dog collars in disguise. Yes, they're supposed to withstand the scratching and the outdoor romping that some cats do, but my cat, Thusa, is pretty darn pampered. She doesn't go outside. She gets flea medication when it's required. Most of the time, she's found sleeping in a sun patch on a plush pillow. Somehow, her old, green, tatty collar doesn't seem to properly convey how spoiled this cat is.

I wasn't too keen on buying a new collar, especially when the hardware on this one was still good, so I decided to make one! I turned it into a how-to, so that if you have a pampered, spoiled cat -- or your house pet just needs a little more crafty flair -- you'll be able to make your own, and recycle the plastic parts of your old collar.

Step 1: Gather Supplies
The first thing you'll need is, of course, your pet's old collar. If you're getting them new tags, go ahead and purchase these, so that you have them around. Thusa didn't need new tags, she just needed a new band, but I did take the opportunity to get some kind of smudge off of the 'Home Again' yellow tag.

Other than your pet's tag, you'll need a piece of fabric roughly 11" wide, and more than three inches tall. I used one that was 10.5" wide and 6.5" tall. It was a scrap I had left over from a quilt I made. You will also need straight pins, measuring tape (obviously), sewing machine thread in a coordinating or complimentary color, and some kind of marking chalk/pen/pencil. In addition, it's good to have a very sharp pair of scissors, since you will be cutting through the heavy-duty polyester of your pet's old collar.

Step 2: Measuring and Hardware Removal
For this step, take the collar off your pet and do not alter its size at all - measure the length as is, and write it down. Thusa's collar was 7"; I measured from the point that the buckle meets the fabric. This is the circumference of the comfortable collar around your pet's neck. You want to make sure that if you are using this DIY for any other animal - small dogs, larger cats, etc. - that you measure this and adjust your fabric need accordingly. I technically only need about 9" of fabric for this pattern, but I prefer to have 10.5" and keep the sliding adjustment piece intact, so that if Thusa grows, there is some room.

Now, cut the fabric of the collar and free the buckles, the sliding adjustment, and the jump rings that connect the tags to the collar. Set these all aside, clean them if needed -- keep track of them, you'll need them soon.

Step 3: Making the Collar

Take your fabric, and measure out the length of fabric (for me, 10.5"). The width of the original collar was about half an inch, so I have decided to stick to that. Basically, I am going to make hem tape, so the width of my fabric will be three times that of my finished object (1.5"). Take your strip to the iron and fold in from each edge 1/4" on the backside of the fabric. Press. I used a starch spray to make sure that the edges stayed crisp. Fold it over again, this time wrong side to wrong side, and press. Take it to your threaded machine and put a running stitch all along the edge, as close as you like. I did a 5/8 " edging.

Step 4: Re-Attaching the Hardware

Next, you are going to take your original hardware and put it back on the new collar structure. This means that you are going to be bringing metal and plastic parts near your sewing machine, so please pay attention that you don't run over anything with your sewing needle - it could be dangerous (not to mention disastrous!) There are four parts to the collar I had: The female end of the collar buckle, the male end of the collar buckle, the sliding adjustment, and the jump ring. The jump ring can be connected after the collar is constructed. The other parts cannot.

First, you will take the sliding adjustment and make a 1/2" loop of your fabric around part of it. Pin it if desired (I didn't see a need to). Take this part through your machine. I used a straight stitch. Next, flip it over so the hem is on the inside, and thread the female end of your buckle onto the collar. Now, bring the strip of fabric around and back through the sliding adjustment on the other side.

Take the female end of the buckle and make the 1/2" loop that you did through the adjustment, in the same way. Double check that the buckles line up by clipping them together. Once you are sure you have the right side on the outside, sew the hem on the inside. Re-attach the jump rings, and you have a new collar!

Note: If your pet is rough on their collars (Leopold, my parent's cat, loves to try and remove his), make the collar thicker or add a bit of interfacing to make the collar a little sturdier.

1 comment:

  1. what a great idea! we just adopted a new little kitty and i have a sewing machine too! perfect! thanks for sharing!



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