Friday, September 13, 2013


I gathered my materials spending a good part of the day putting together Annie's new collar. A few years' back Artie bought Annie a pull toy at the 99 Cents Store. Consisting of a strap attached to a tennis ball it instantly became Annie's favorite. After a few good squeezes, the tennis ball split in two rendering the toy useless. Annie was heartbroken, Artie got her a different toy and I threw out the tennis ball but kept the strap for a rainy day.

The rainy day arrived - the strap was perfect for the new collar. The other materials were heavy duty black thread and Annie's old collar. Next I assembled my tools: my vintage hand-me-down cutting shears (my Grandfather was a tailor), pliers, a thick nail, a box of matches, my thread cutter, a heavy duty sewing machine needle and a sturdy needle used for embroidery.

Woven plastic strap from Annie's toy.

Since the strap was woven plastic, I decided to seal each end by melting them closed. Using a low flame on the stove, I melted one end but the plastic cooled quickly, the end result being very lumpy. I trimmed the lumpy part away and tried again using wooden matches instead, flattening the melted plastic with a corning-ware dish as I went along. The melted edge came out straight, flat and smooth.

Grandpa's scissors and the trimmed, resealed end.

Next, I placed the old collar on top of the plastic strap, measuring the strap and allowing for additional material I needed to fold over to stitch the buckle and loop for Annie's tags in place. After rechecking my measurements twice, I cut the other end, shaping it to a point like the original collar then repeating the process for melting the edges.  

Getting ready to shape the collar.

The finished shape prior to sealing the edge.

Now it was time to movie back to the other end of the collar. After cutting the original collar away from the loop and buckle, I threaded the strap through both and pinned them in place. Using the heavy duty needle and thread, I sewed the buckle and loop into place with my sewing machine leaving enough thread at both ends to finish the stitching by hand.

Pinned and ready to sew.

Ready to finish off by hand-stitching.

A few finishing stitches with the embroidery needle on each end of the new collar and double knotting the thread will prevent the stitches from coming undone and the collar from coming apart. In order to achieve a nice, clean finish I pulled the threads between the two layers of strap cutting off the excess with the thread cutter.

All that remained was to add the holes to secure the collar. Back to the stove I went with pliers and the large nail. Grasping the nail with the pliers, I heated the tip on a low flame. With the original collar as a guide, I pushed the nail through the holes then through the new collar repeating the process until the holes were large enough to accommodate the buckle.

Working on adding the holes.

The finished collar.

Not bad for a DIY project where the DIYer invented the instructions as she went along! Of course, Annie looks great in her new collar. One last important point, we NEVER walk Annie by her collar, her leash is always attached to her harness. That's why I made the collar myself. I would suggest doing more research if you are going to attempt making a collar used for walking your dog. I know this collar is sturdy enough to keep Annie and her tags from parting company which is all that I need it to do. 

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