Friday, 23 June 2017
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DIY Fancy Dress Dog (and Cat!) Bandanas with Trim + Ties

DIY white dog bandanas with red trim, with a big varsity letter iron-on initials

These pretty red and white bandanas were created for our boys for Canada Day, but they can do double duty for general wear as well special red and white events like Valentine's Day or Christmas holidays. I even made a mini-bandana for Tiger, although his doesn't have a monogram iron-on as it's much smaller.  Fun fact: Tiger was born in Canada, and has had a rather well-travelled life for a rescue cat!

This DIY is easily adapted to other colour schemes, or for our Canadian readers, you can go full maple for an extra special Canadian version by using pattern fabrics, a maple leaf iron-on (not readily available down here!), or stamp your own design. If you have a computer controlled cutter, like our Cricut, you can create a custom iron-on, but you can also hand cut heat transfer materials.

Fluffy white cat wearing a red bandana

You can use ready-made binding for this DIY or make your own.  I made my own binding (it's very simple, for short lengths like this that don't require joining), and since I wanted an extra wide contrasting edge, I did it by hand ironing instead of using my binding makers as easy guides. I also (sadist...) opted to make my triangles slightly obtuse (wider and shorter than a right triangle bandana) instead of the easier-to-bind right (90 degree) bottom edge. You can customise you own design any way you please. :)  

Dalmatian dog wearing a homemade bandana with diagram for how to make a dog bandana

The materials and craft supplies used in making the bandana shown are:
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Sewing Supplies Can be fully hand sewn if you wish, but will be much quicker/easier if you have a sewing machine. 
  • Iron On Embellishments
To sew your own bound edge trim and tie bandana as shown, you will need colour-fast washed/preshrunk red fabric or ready-made red binding, washed/preshrunk white fabric (a thicker fabric like drill or heaver cotton works nicely for this style of bandana), complimentary coloured thread (red in this case), basic sewing supplies, and iron and ironing board, and (optional) iron on embellishments.

DIY dog bandanas, step-by-step instructions for how to make
  • Cut a triangle of fabric such that the long edge is big enough to fit one side (finished bandana can be worn sideways, front, or back) and to the edges of your pet's neck. If you aren't comfortable with guesstimating the size, you can use a collar as a gauge or loosely measure your pet's neck. 
  • Cut or (optional) create your binding (if not using premade) by using two long narrow strips of fabric. For an even size as shown, they should be of equal width (just shy of 4x you desired binding width), with one strip long enough for the two side edges of your triangle plus spare to work with for cornering and the other strip long enough to fully encircle your pet's neck plus extra for tying into a knot (or, if you prefer, longer for a bow). Iron your binding fabric to prepare for sewing, with a crease along the lengthwise midline, then fold and iron along each side edge into that center/midline crease.
  • Sew your binding around the side edges of your triangle (excluding the top/neck edge).  Take extra care when turning and positioning at the bottom point of your bandana for a neat fold.

✂️  If you've never worked with binding, it's pretty easy to sew (especially wider binding on a sturdy base). The tricky bit (but easy once you know how!) is turning a neat corner.  Fortunately, there are tons of great tutorials and videos on-line if you need a hand! See our DIY dog blanket posts for a step-by-step on turning a corner with binding as well as helpful links. My personal top tip is not to skimp on ironing before and during sewing binding. It's extremely helpful in getting a neat finish.

  • Trim any excess fabric from the top edge if/as may be needed before attaching the top/neck binding.
  • Hem or (optional) iron to point the unfinished ends of your top/neck binding to finish the tips of your tie.
  • Position the binding centered on the top edge of the bandana with the raw edge of your triangle sandwiched in the middle and pin to secure. Sew into place.
  • Optional: If embellishing with an optional iron-on as we did, position and apply according to manufacturer's directions, of embellish with stamps, stencils, embroidery, etc if you wish.

Blue-steel Humphrey was unimpressed to share the spotlight with Oli - look at the snobby little minx below!  I should know better than to try and get a sensible photo of these two dressed-up together by now...just like kids!

Dalmatian dogs wearing homemade white bandanas with red trim, with a big varsity letter iron-on initials
Dalmatian dog wearing a homemade white bandana with red trim, with a big varsity letter iron-on H

✂️  Want a simpler DIY?  We have a DIY to share next week in a double-sided design (so cute!) that skips the side binding for a fancy looking bandana that's actually a very simple sewing project. Stay tuned! We also have lots of other bandana ideas - use the post labels in the footer below to explore.


  1. Hello Kitty! So fluffy! I love all of your animals!

    1. Thanks! We love them madly too, as you can probably tell by the blog posts. :) Tiger is an incredibly fluffy old fellow. His bandana practically disappears into his mane. Hehe... And you should see his tail!


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