Friday, May 13, 2011

Doggie Accessories

Over the past couple of years I have been making leashes for the dogs from some inch-wide heavy weight webbing.  They worked well but were pretty heavy for such light weight dogs.

Dachshund Rescue of Houston (DROH) had friends who made walking harnesses for the dogs and all the proceeds went to DROH.  Unfortunately it appears that relationship has ended so I used the original harnesses as patterns for making custom harnesses for my guys.  See Kelis's most recent harness here.

Last night I finally completed the ultimate dog accessory.  I made both Alex and Kelis new collars.   More on these later.

The biggest obstacle to making custom accessories for your own dogs is obtaining the materials   Webbing is rarely available in a multitude of weights at reasonable prices.  The closures and D-rings for collars are unavailable in our local sewing stores.  And then sourcing the right size webbing with the right size of closures simultaneously is almost a miracle.

BUT there is one source for the notions needed and that is old leashes and harnesses.  That is why I have been able to make the harnesses and leashes I have in the past.  Collar closures and D-rings have eluded me until I found Creative Designworks.

This company has almost every size and weight of webbing that you could possibly imagine AND the collar parts even come in colors!

If you ever wanted t make your own dog accessories, try this company... great shipping, no shipping charges and their prices on bulk purchases are extremely reasonable... especially if you want to start your own business.

Back to my adventures in collar making....

Alex just had his annual physical and, as is custom here, a new collar was in the works.  I took him to the local pet store and found lots of cute collars but they all had the same problems.

The problems were that they are pretty heavy duty and the prices seemed ridiculous.

Alex doesn't need a heavy weight collar because I do not attach his leash to his collar,  His collar is primarily used to hold his tags so it is really a fashion accessory rather than a way to control his behavior.

For him I used a 5/8" light weight black webbing and a comparable size of black buckle and D-ring. I then added black and orange striped ribbon for a touch of color.  I am unable to get a good shot of his new collar but I love that its nice and soft and will not dig into his neck if he gains a little bit of weight.
Alex won't let me get close to photograph his new collar.  He would rather stand on guard against unruly squirrels and passing cars.

Kelis's collar, on the other hand, was made using parts from the mini-dog size kit for 3/8" webbing.  I didn't use webbing but substituted fabric that matched her newest harness.  Quite a sharp dresser on our walks!
Kelis would let me hold her steady for a photo.
It takes very simple sewing to make collars but you need to be able to see in four dimensions to figure out when to add each piece of buckle and D-ring.  It took me at least two tries for each collar to get the placement right.  One hint that is not in the instructions is that you should really melt the ends of the webbing, with a candle or lighter, to prevent raveling.

I now have enough parts to keep making collars, harnesses and leashes for them for many years.  With multiple sizes, weights and colors now available for the webbing my choices are virtually endless.  The company that supplied my parts has reasonably priced guides to running a business making these items.  I don't think I would ever go that far but I can see other, more entrepreneurial people, having a nice little side business.

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