A Fast and Easy Bandanna for your Favourite Four-Legged Friend!

February really is the month for love! Did you know that February 20th is National Love Your Pet Day?

We're big animal lovers here at Sewing Gem, and we're in good company - the RSPCA estimates that there are 29 million pets in Australia! 61% of Australian households include a pet, with dogs being the most common.

In honour of National Love Your Pet Day, we thought we'd share a quick how-to for making a reversible tie-on bandanna* for your dog. This is a fast and simple project, and great for using up fabric ends or off-cuts.

I (Anne-Marie) have taken over Tips on Tuesday for this week, with the help of Pepper, my miniature poodle. Pepper loves naps, chasing balls, and trying to sit on my lap while I'm sewing. Luckily, she enjoys a good accessory, so she makes the perfect bandanna model!

What you need:

  • lightweight woven cotton fabric in two colours (the exact fabric size will depend on the size of your dog)
  • matching thread
  • a measuring tape
  • pins
  • a fabric marking pen, pencil, or chalk
  • fabric scissors
  • an iron
  • an amenable dog

Making the body of the bandanna
Step one:
Measure around your dog's neck. This will be the measurement for the longest edge of the body of the bandanna. Pepper's neck measures 33cm.

Step two:
The easiest way to mark and cut the triangles that form the body of the bandanna is to start with your fabric folded in half. Work out what half of your dog's neck measurement is (for Pepper, this is 16.5cm), and measuring in from the fold of your fabric, mark this point. 

To make the point of the bandanna, measure your fabric up along the fold, and mark another point using the same 1/2 neck measurement. Join these two marks, and cut your fabric.

Mark and cut out your second piece of fabric in the same way.

Step three:
Put your triangles right sides together, pin, and with a 5mm seam allowance, stitch them together along the long edge. Don't forget to iron your seam neatly! This is the body of your bandanna.

Making the bandanna ties
Step four: 
How long and wide your ties are depends on your preferences, how much fabric you have, and how big your dog is; but I like my ties to be at least 20cm long and 3cm wide when they're finished, so that I can tie them comfortably. 

Measure and cut four ties of your chosen length and width (don't forget to take your seam allowance into account when measuring); two in your main fabric, and two in your secondary fabric. 

Step five:
Place your ties right sides together, and with a 5mm seam allowance, sew around three sides of each tie. Leave one short edge open for turning. 


Trim the corners of your ties so they sit neatly when they're turned, and turn them inside out. Use something long and thin to help you turn out the corners (I like using a chopstick for this.) Iron your ties well so they're nice and flat.

Putting it all together
Step six: 
Open up the body of your bandanna, with the right side of the fabrics facing out. To make sure the straps lie straight, we need to blunt the point parts of the centre seam of our bandanna triangles slightly. Place the straps just under the seam of the bandanna body, so one long edge if the strap rubs parallel next to the seam. Have the closed ends pointing inwards, and line the bottom corner of the open end of the strap up with the edge of the of the bandanna body.

Pin the straps in place. Cut the pointy bits off the bandanna body along the open edge of the strap.

Fold the bandanna body along the middle seam line, matching up all the edges. Pin in place, and sew the edges closed with a 5mm seam allowance - but leave a small gap unstitched along one edge for turning. 

Trim the corner at the tip of the bandanna body.

Step seven:
Gently turn the bandanna the right way out through the gap you left, and iron well. Sew the gap closed using a slip stitch.

And that's it - a simple, reversible, stylish bandanna for your favourite pooch! 

If you make one yourself, please tag us - we’d love to see it! If you just want to send us photos of your pets, that's alright by us (and Pepper) too! 

* Just a quick word on fashion safety:

  • Never leave your dog unattended while they're wearing a bandanna. You don't want them snagging themselves or getting caught on anything while you're not looking!
  • Make sure the bandanna is the right size for your dog and not tied too tightly. You should be able to fit two fingers comfortably between the bandanna and your dog's neck. We're all about pain-free fashion here at Sewing Gem!

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