Friday, 6 September 2019
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Mini Dress Shirt DIY Dog Bandana

Dog wearing a black check bandana that looks like a small button-up shirt

To finish this week's mini series of recycled dress shirt fabric/part DIYs for dogs, it's a miniature dress shirt dog bandana. Because why not?  This bandana looks like my husband's favourite work shirts (it's made from one of them, after all), right down to the miniaturised chest pocket. Now the boys can look just like their Dad.  Hehehe. 

When I make dog bandanas, I usually work with a straight-edged triangle and just let the bandana naturally fold/roll around the neck and chest. For this bandana I made an exception so that the shirt front would sit straighter when worn, and cut the neck edge as a gently rounded curve.

Instead of using a section from the actual shirt front, I opted to create a fake shirt front using material from another section of the shirt with a piece of the button placket (button side). In my case, this was a more efficient way to cut and use material. It also allowed me to switch the direction of the materials. I like the look of the lines on the body running on a diagonal, matching the shape of the bandana itself (totally optional, of course). The different orientation helps the pocket and placket to stand out a little more in the design despite being matched fabric. I backed the bandana with plain blue from another shirt. It isn't intended to be used as a reversible bandana, but making it this way covers the reverse of the stitched accents on the front and also helps to give a little more structure to the lightweight shirting material. 

The materials and craft supplies used in making the bows and bow ties shown are:

  • Salvaged Shirt Material (or other pre-washed/shrunk fabric of your preference)
  • Salvaged Shirt Button Plackets (Button Side)*
  • Complimentary Coloured Thread
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Hemming Tape (optional)
  • Sewing Machine and Basic Sewing Tools

✂️  If you aren't using recycled shirt materials or don't have a placket that you want to use, you can make matching faux placket using a strip of material with the raw edges ironed under and securely attach your own buttons.

Step-by-step instructions for making a dog bandana from an old shirt

Mini Dress Shirt DIY Dog Bandanas from Recycled Dress Shirt Materials

  • Cut a triangle (half a square on a diagonal / right isosceles triangle), such that the long edge is big enough to fit loosely around you pet's neck plus extra to tie a small knot. If you aren't comfortable with guesstimating the size, you can use a collar as a gauge or loosely measure your pet's neck.  Don't forget to add a little extra for seam allowances. 
  • Repeat for your backing material, ensuring that both cut triangles are the same size.
  • Optional: Trim the top edge of both triangles in matching gentle curve. Test fit around you pet's neck to adjust the curve for a flatter fall if/as you wish. 
  • Cut a section of button placket (button side) to fit vertically in the middle of the bandana. Iron the raw edge under, position the prepared placket on the bandana fabric, and sew securely into place. Trim any loose threads.
  • Cut a small pocket shaped piece of material. Double fold the top edge outwards, iron, and sew the hem. Iron the side/bottom raw edges under, position on the bandana fabric (I used hemming tape to help hold mine in the perfect position for sewing), and sew securely into place. You can sew just the sides for a function pocket, or sew down all the edges for a faux pocket. Trim any loose threads.
  • Align your triangles right-side-in and sew together, leaving a gap large enough for you to reverse the bandana. Trim any loose threads.
  • Trim excess fabric in the inside corners of your bandana to help things reverse neatly without bunching.
  • Reverse the bandana to pattern-side out, taking care to point out the corners.
  • Iron to flatten, taking care to try and have the turned seam fall right at the edge of the bandana so that the backing isn't peeking forward or vice versa.  Ensure that the seam allowances at the gap are folded inwards correctly for closure when you topstitch.
  • Top stitch at an even allowance all the way around the edge, securing the gap in the process. Trim any loose threads and enjoy!

Dalmatian dog wearing a dress shirt bandana

That wraps up our special week-long mini-series of dress shirt recycling DIYs, but no doubt you'll be seeing some of these materials pop up again from time to time in our crazy crafting. Lower waste and free supplies is a win win in my books! With reused materials, I feel no guilt about playing doggy dress-up, plus I get a giggle out of seeing our boys dressed as their Dad. Daddy's boys indeed! 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Maureen! I had so much fun crafting with the old shirts. :) I think the recycled french cuff DIY dog bow ties might be my favourite upcycle/recycle so far. Such a cute craft from a part of the off shirt materials that I didn't really have any other practical use for (at least not until my crafty craft mind comes up with others...heheh...).


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