A few months after we adopted our Dachshund, Bosco, I noticed he would get his short and squatty front paw caught in his collar. It turns out, one of his toenails was getting stuck in the loop for his ID tag. I couldn’t stand to watch him limp around like that! So I came up with a simple solution: an ID tag that slips onto the collar like a sleeve.
It worked so much better for him and he hasn’t gotten his paw stuck up by his neck again. Plus it’s really cute to easily see his name on his collar.
I’ve made a few for a little Morkie named Maks (who you may have seen in the previous blog post about summer harnesses) in fabrics to coordinate with his handcrafted Oxford Dogma gear:
The outside features your dog’s name stitched in nice heavy thread, and the inside is printed with your contact information and optional county ID number. It’s machine washable just like the collar, and it’s best to lay flat to dry.
Each tag is made custom for you based on your collar size, dog’s name, and contact details for $12 each. If you’d like to treat your fur baby to a quiet and comfortable ID tag, simply Request a Custom Order in my Etsy shop with what you’d like made.
Recently at Jackalope, an indie artisan market, a customer asked if I had a Christmas plaid collar. Actually, a few people asked for them! So I thought it would be fun to make a small batch of collars that are good for this time of year.
Made from a couple of cozy-looking upcycled button-down shirts, these dog collars are great for that time of year between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. But since they’re more subtle and classic, there’s no reason you can’t keep it on your dog beyond the holiday season.
The first chance to shop this collection will be at Crafeteria, the annual Phoenix indie craft festival, on December 2. If there are any left after the event, they’ll be found in my shop.
Does your dog have an accessory that you totally identify with them? For some, it’s a color (like a Yorkie I know who only wears purple) or a pattern (Bosco, my Dachshund, doesn’t look like himself without his navy and white gingham collar).
The collar is that signature thing — a part of their identity and look — that they always have on. Which is why collars are so much fun to design and make!
It’s not just a place to clip a leash
For small dogs, I recommend a harness over a collar for hooking your leash, to protect delicate necks. (I’m actually working on a harness design right now — sign up below for updates) But even if you don’t hook a leash to your dog’s collar, it’s still a basic necessity. At the very least it’s a good place to hang an ID tag in case your pup gets lost. But the collar also lives at that intersection of your personal style and the personality of your dog. It reminds me of the way parents express their style with outfits for their little kids: it’s a blend of their own style and what they see in their child.
My quest for special and personal
When we first adopted our dog, Pipsqueak, she came with a paper collar.
I showed up at the shelter without any sort of collar, leash…anything — a totally unprepared new dog mom! The next day, we bought a standard nylon webbing collar, just to feel the need. It was so dull and impersonal. Plus, even though it fit her properly, it was too narrow for my taste. It had one of those side-release plastic buckles that always made me nervous to use — it was so easy to pinch her fur or skin in it.
A chance to express your style
After I created Oxford Dogma, I had many dog parents ask if I make collars. I never wanted to make them just to make them. I wanted to find a way to put my own spin on them. And so I designed a collar that I was excited about and I just love how it looks on dogs!
I use familiar materials like cotton and silk + classic colors like navy blue, camel, red, pink, yellow + timeless patterns like plaid, gingham, stripes, and corduroy. It’s just so cute to see pups in these sophisticated and refined styles — the juxtaposition is a delight.
The materials are upcycled from garments that I hand-select. I get especially excited when I find something from Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, or other iconic preppy designers. Using these materials feels good because the final products are more unique than if I sourced my materials from the same place as other makers, and I also like reducing the resource impact on the plant. Re-using over buying new is my preference.
I designed them so they’re wide enough in proportion to the dog for a nice, strong band of color and pattern around their neck. They’re strong and sturdy, getting thicker as the size goes up for larger dogs. But they’re soft and flexible, to be comfortable to wear and touch.
Originally there were three sizes (small, medium, and large) but recently I added an extra small size for the littlest dogs.
One of my favorite elements of this preppy-looking collar is the metal buckle. I don’t have to apologize to my dog for accidentally pinching her in a plastic buckle anymore! ( I still find myself apologizing to Bosco almost daily when my feet bump into him under the table during dinner. But that’s another story…)
And while I love a refined and classy look, I also love things that are easy to take care of. So I made sure this collar stands up to being washed in the machine. If it gets a little grungy, just pop it in the washing machine, on a gentler cycle. Bosco tends to get a little messier than his sister, so I hit his with a stain remover (Zout is my absolute favorite) before washing and it comes out all clean and bright. I do recommend laying flat to dry instead of putting it in the dryer — that helps make it last longer so you are able to use it for a good long time.
We’re entering the time for holiday portraits! Have you considered getting your dog a new signature accessory for your family photo?
Choosing the right collar for your dog
You may be wondering how to choose the right size collar to order for your fur baby. Here are some tips to help you measure:
If you have a printer, you can use my collar sizing tool (just make sure it’s printing at actual size, and not shrinking or enlarging)
If you don’t have a printer, you can use something long and flexible, like a strip of paper or a shoelace, to wrap around your dog’s neck. Note where the end meets, and lay it flat on a ruler for length.
Or if you don’t have a ruler, measure the strip against something standard like a regular business card (which is 3 ½ x 2), or a sheet of 8 ½ x 11 paper.
Once you have their neck circumference, you’ll know which size collar to zero in on:
for neck measurement of about 6 to 8 inches, choose an Extra Small collar
Dobbie is looking so cute in a classic red, white, and blue plaid collar. When I put it on, his pet nanny, Amber, was instantly charmed and said “He looks so confident!”
Little did she know that the feeling of confidence is one of the qualities I keep in mind when designing for pets and their humans. It’s always a good feeling when that comes through without even being explained!
A collection of cute accessories that give your dog a casual yet polished look
As the weather has started to warm up, I’ve become fixated on creating some new items focused around gingham and plaid. Especially in colors that are fun for summertime.
Pink and white gingham dog collar / Pink and white gingham poo bag dispenser / Madras plaid and salmon pink poo bag dispenser / Madras plaid and salmon pink dog collar / Red, white, and blue plaid dog collar / Navy blue and white gingham poo bag dispenser / 6-ft navy blue and white gingham cotton leash for small dogs
Why gingham and plaid?
My affinity toward these classic fabrics is rooted in my love of order, systems, and patterns. But they also bring to mind summer picnics and easy, breezy days by the sea. They’re timeless and classic without being dull. They’re polished, yet casual.
Or perhaps childhood memories of watching Gilligan’s Island reruns after school bubbled up in my unconscious: Mary Ann often wore a red gingham dress. And of all the characters on that show, I’m a Mary Ann (trust me, I took the quiz).
A special summertime version of plaid is Madras style plaid. It’s often found in bright, vibrant colors that come together with a fun energy. Who wouldn’t love a beachy vacation stroll in Madras plaid shorts? Apparently it’s been an American staple for quite some time:
A few people have told me that putting a gingham or plaid collar on a dog transforms them. It gives them a really sharp and confident look — like you didn’t know what they were missing until they were sporting the dapper accessory.
I’m particularly excited about expanding my bag dispenser design to include some of these fabrics as accents on the outside. My inspiration board has many preppy summer outfits (pink, navy, and tan was one of my favorites!) that combine a few different colors and patterns, and I wanted to coordinate three different fabrics for the bag dispensers. It provides more of an opportunity to play patterns, colors, and textures off of each other.
To outfit your dog with these cute and preppy accessories, visit the my Etsy shop.
It’s been a lot of fun creating these new dog collars! When I set out to make collars, I knew that a traditional metal buckle would be part of the plan. The typical plastic snap buckles have their place and purpose, but I was getting tired of how much they hurt my fingers to use and how they get caught in Pipsqueak’s flowing mane.
The metal buckles are classic and old-school, which I love. They’re also a more classic shape, as opposed to a more contemporary, sharp-cornered buckle.
This collar design features upcycled materials reclaimed from silk ties, heavy cotton trousers, and button-down shirts. It’s a kick to repurpose these materials and give them new life. And they’re sturdy and substantial while being soft and flexible around your dog’s neck.
There are two sizes available:
Small: 5/8 inch wide, circumference of 10-11-12 inches
Medium: 3/4 inch wide, circumference of 13-14-15 inches
I could also make a 1 inch wide version (for a dog that needs a 16, 17, or 18 inch length) but that is one heavy buckle! So it’s something I’ll do as a special order for now.
Visit my Etsy shop if you’d like to get one for the special little dog in your life.
My first small batch of dog collars is just about ready, and I’m really enjoying how crisp and refined they’re looking (and feeling). I made some improvements to my original prototype, including making them thicker and more substantial, and doubling up on my topstitching thread for a more striking accent along the top.
One of the most time-consuming aspects of my design is cleaning up the threads from sewing on the buckle (shown above). Simply clipping off the thread ends looked fine at first, but when I tugged on the flaps the stitches started to come loose. We don’t want that! So instead, I carefully tied the threads off, and buried them into the fabric for a clean and durable finish.
This batch is primarily made from reclaimed silk ties and cotton trousers. If you’d like to get an email when they’re available in my shop, just fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch.
Often times when people see my handmade dog accessories they ask if I make collars. So my latest product in development is… a collar!
Since I’m a fan of classic design, I wanted my collar to have classic metal tongue-style buckles, with metal grommet size holes. And for the strap fabric, I’m testing out a sturdy canvas or twill accented with reclaimed silk ties.
After Pipsqueak has worn it for awhile I’ll get started making a variety of sizes and colors.
If you’d like to get an email when they’re available in my shop, just fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch.