Serging the edges of DIY dog bandanas is a great option for speed, style, or material factors. Plus, making a bandada with serged edges is incredibly easy, if you have a suitable machine. If only it was just as easy to get these two rascals to smile at the same time when posing together! Haha! Humphrey is always such a serious young lad about modelling duty.
Options for Finishing the Edges of DIY Dog Bandanas
When I make dog bandanas, I often use a hidden hem. Check out our post on styling a reversible DIY dog bandana for a how-to example. It’s a clean look, quick and simple, and easy for anyone with standard machine sewing equipment and basic sewing skills to tackle as a DIY. I rarely make single layer dog bandanas with my sewing machine, because its way easier to double side than fuss with folding a hem, especially on the acute corners at the top (neck) edge of the triangle.
An easy alternative option for finishing the edges (whether reversible or single sided) is to use a serger (or an overlocker). You’ll see this style of bandana edge finishing used in some of our upcoming special projects, so I thought it would be best to share a little introduction to making a bandana with a serger first.
No serger? No worries! If you don’t have a serger/overlocker, when you see that style of bandana in one of our project posts, you can just swap the base bandana for one of our other DIY dog bandana making methods (sewn or no-sew) or use a ready made bandana as your base instead.
The Pros and Cons of Serged Edges for Dog Bandanas
Special Equipment Required
On the downside, good sergers/overlockers are expensive. I resisted investing in one for a long time, but when I took the plunge, I was hooked from the get go. I have a Brother 4234D overlocker and like it very much. Although there are pros and cons to the look and style of a serged edge, I really think that equipment is the primary con. But if you have it, use it!
Super Quick Crafting
Serging is super quick. It takes longer to press, measure, and cut the fabric than to finish the edges of a dog bandana this way. Serging the edges is super speedy, yet well-finished (and versatile for many other sewing uses, too, of course).
The serged edge will be visible. This can be a pro or a con, depending on your personal preferences and bandana design goals. Make it part of your plan when styling the DIY project. You can chose the edge size (see stitches below) and thread colours as a subtle blend or as a pop of contrast.
Materials and Finish
Serging can be a great option for finishing a single layer without fussing with double fold hems and corners, to avoid unwanted bulk in thicker singles or double layers, or for materials that are can be otherwise difficult to hem, like stretches and knits. Corners aren’t turned or inverted, so you have perfect points (especially if you’re careful with how you rotate at the corners and how you finish the thread chains (a matter of personal preference).
Different Types of Serger Stitches
Just like sewing machines have a variety of stitches, so do sergers. The options will depend on the make and model of your machine. Most share the common basic serger stitch options, but fancier options vary depending on your thread options and machine complexity.
When you are serging the edges of a DIY dog bandana, the stitching will be visible as noted in the pros and cons above. You’ll need to pick your stitch type and thread colour(s) to suit your bandana style preferences.
When serging a bandana, I’ll usually opt for a less conspicuous narrow or rolled hem for the visible edge, like the examples here. Occasionally, I do something a little different, like our “Property of Cruella de Vil” bandanas which have a wide white overlocked edge as an accent feature with coordinating white Cricut iron-ons. You can see that full DIY along with our other DIY “The Hundred and One Dalmatians” costumes and decorations here on the blog.
Making a DIY Dog Bandana with a Serger (Serged Edges)
Sergers aren’t usually part of the craftroom equipment for beginner sewists, so this DIY is more for inspiration on why/how you can use it for making a bandana rather than detailed instructions. However, just in case you’re playing with a new serger or borrowing access, I’ve included links to additional details on how to serge and finish. Additional resources can be found on our Pet Craft + Doggy DIY Help Pinterest board.
Other than shaping and sizing the bandana to suit your pet, the basics are the same as you’d use on similar projects, such as napkins, tablecloths, etc.
Supplies and Materials
To make a similar dog bandana, you will need:
- Cutting tools (scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat)
- Sewing supplies, including a serger and threads
- Iron and ironing board (optional but recommended)
Washable fabrics are recommended for dog clothing. If using two fabrics for a reversible bandana, for the best results in ongoing wear and washing, the fabrics should have similar properties and care requirements. Wherever possible (and fabric permitting), I prewash/preshrink fabric and then iron flat prior to cutting or sewing.
If shopping for fabric or selecting fabric from your stash, pay attention to the size of fabric you’ll need (see below) relative to the pattern orientation options. Sometimes, directional patterns can be difficult to cut efficiently and still retain their orientation, especially for crafts like dog bandanas that are usually shaped on a diagonal.
Making Serged Edge Dog Bandadas
- Wash/dry fabric to preshrink, if/as needed depending on fabric type.
- Iron flat, fabric permitting. If the fabric is heat-sensitive, smooth out the wrinkles as best you can for even measuring and cutting.
- Cut to preferred shape/size (see below).
- Configure and set your serger for a rolled hem, narrow overlock, or alternative seam of your preference. Follow the specific instructions for your machine.
- Sew to finish the edges. Here are some great visuals and tips from the Singer blog for any readers who may not be familiar with serging narrow and rolled hems.
- Secure loose tails/thread chains.
- Trim any loose threads.
Sizing and Styling Options
Depending on the fabric and your preferences, you can make your bandanas single layer or reversible (using the same or different fabric). It works for cut triangles, fold-over triangles (square sewn folded into a triangle), or square bandanas (folded over when worn). It also works well if you are partial to shaping bandanas with a curvy neck instead.
A basic bandana shape will either be square (folded on a diagonal for wear) or triangular (half a square on a diagonal / right isosceles). The squares diagonal fold or the triangles long edge needs to be big enough to fit loosely around your pet’s neck plus extra to tie a small knot. If you aren’t comfortable with estimating the size, you can use a collar as a gauge or loosely measure your pet’s neck. Add extra for the knot and a wee smidgen for the serger’s trimming.
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. It’s flexible for different sizes, allows more versatility in how it’s worn, simple to cut/sew, and has less off-cut waste. If you prefer a flatter fit when worn or if your pet has a different neck-to-body built, a curved neck might be a better option.
Using DIY Christmas Dog Bandanas as Fabric Gift Wrap
With Christmas coming up, it’s the perfect time to create a few new bandanas for holiday wear, festive photos, or gifting to furfriends. If you’re doing the latter, bandanas (especially squares) make great fabric wraps for small gifts like books, treats, or little toys.
That’s a Wrap!
Need some wrapping ideas or inspiration? See our partner blog Green in Real Life to see a few of the bandanas featured in this post doing double duty as beautiful fabric gift wrapping. The post shows napkin or bandana-sized fabric being used to wrap different types of shapes.
Function and Fashion
Unlike our dogs beloved riptastic paper fun, these are better opened with care by the humans, though! Also, depending on the material, wrapping style and object, fabric wrapping can be wrinkly after unwrapping. Stylish pups might like their people to give it a quick pressing before dress-up.