DIY Dress Shirt Dog Collars (and How to Adjust Collar Size)

DIY recycled dress shirt dog collars including resizing
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Link to Disclosure Policy - Posts may include affiliate and/or referral links from which we receive a commission when you make a qualifying purchase. They may also display third-party advertisements. These programs are part of how we support operating Dalmatian DIY as a free access site. For more information, you can click here to read about these programs and how they work in our detailed site disclosure. Woofs!

In this post, we’re looking at how to make DIY dress shirt dog collars, including size adjustments to make a collar larger or smaller as a custom fit for different sized pets. We’ve got special mini-series coming your way, using materials salvaged from old shirts for a combination of sew and no-sew projects.  All of these crafts are made with materials from the shirts we cut apart to make our Pillow Daddy recycled dress shirt cuddle cushion covers.

Dressed for Success (and Snuggles)

Daddy’s Boys

For years, I’ve had the occasional giggle from putting one of my husband’s laundry-bound shirts onto Oli (and now Humphrey). Buttoning the collar and leaving the shirt flapping like a Daddy-scented cape. When the time came to cut apart some old shirts, of course I was going to keep the collars for the dogs. Hehehe… I mean, seriously. How could I not? Look how cute they look in this Father’s Day photo, recently shared on our Facebook page.

Dalmatian dogs wearing dress shirt collars

Shirts and Sizing for DIY Dress Shirt Dog Collars

By luck, they fit our boys well with no alterations needed making this a quick no-sew craft. However, a smaller owner (like me) and/or a different sized dog would need some adjustments. You could buy a thrifted shirt in a more suitable size, of course, but that’s not quite the same as being wrapped up in a little bit of owner love, is it? Plus, we’re using shirts that were not suitable for donation, so we’re giving these collars a new life instead of cutting up wearable clothes. Win win!

Choosing a Shirt for a Repurposed Dog Collar

For shirt collars to work well as repurposed dog collars, they need to be stiff and sturdy. Lightweight collars can lose their shape when trimmed from the shirt body and just look sloppy. Options include thick fabric, like a heavy flannel or drill work shirt, or a quality dress shirt with a stiff collar. The collar also needs a top button closure rather than an open neck, so that it can be buttoned onto the dog. Alternatively, you’ll need enough excess at the neck so that you can add a button and buttonhole or other closure.

I’m using men’s dress shirts with two-piece collars. They’re stiff through both the collar stand (around the neck where the shirt meets collar) and collar (the visible fold over collar leaf).

Fitting a Shirt Collar for a Repurposed Dog Collar

Fitting around the neck should be secure but comfortable, much like fitting for other items, like a collar or bandana. The circumference can be adjusted (as we’ll demonstrate later in this post) for a better fit around the neck, but adjusting the folded over collar height requires significantly remaking the collar. The vertical size is unlikely to be an issue for most larger dogs, but may be problematic for certain body types or small pets.

Removing a Shirt Collar for Use as a Repurposed Dog Collar

Carefully cut the collar away from the shirt just below the collar stand. Trim to tidy the cut line if/as needed and (optional) apply fray-check, if needed. My collars are not fray checked. It’s really that easy! As long as the collars fit, of course. If not, see below for resizing ideas.

How make a recycled dress shirt dog collar

Since our boys and their Daddy share a similar collar sizes, these resizings are for example demonstration only so there are no modelling pics (and less than perfect temporary sewing). I show two methods below, but if I needed to resize a collar for long term use, I would personally opt for some form of facing. Only a little extra effort for a much nicer finish. I will likely be patching up with facing to return these example collars back to their original size at some point!

DIY recycled dress shirt dog collars sized to fit different necks

Resizing a Shirt Collar to Fit a Larger Dog

Resizing DIY dress shirt dog collars can be as easy as cutting and adding some elastic, but if you want the collars to look good all the way around, you can add an extension piece using matching fabric.

To mimic the stiffness of the base and collar, I’m using a piece of the interfaced cuff from the same shirt to create the example extension (keeping it simple, totally recycled, and bonus prefinished matching edge). You could also create an interfaced extension with a small piece of iron on or sew-in interfacing. The extension can be sewn direct with visible seams semi-hidden under the folded collar (as shown below) or by using a facing to conceal the extension (like our resize to small).

Visible seams are quick and easy, but are not as tidy a finish and have added bulk. That said, from an as-worn view, quick seams look fine and these are just old off cut collars, so really anything goes!

Resizing a Shirt Collar for a Larger Dog With Visible Seams

  • Cut the collar in the centre (midpoint, back of collar).
  • Position the extension piece (see above) so that the right-side-out will be the inside and visible fold of the collar. Match patterns if/as you wish.
  • Sew into position. Trim and finish edges if/as needed (optional).
  • Iron to flatten seams. Sew down the seam allowances to secure bulk if/as needed (optional).
  • Topstitch to match collar (optional).
    Iron collar back into folded position.
How to resize a recycled shirt collar to fit a larger dog

Resizing a Shirt Collar for a Larger Dog With Faced Seams

You can use one facing and wrap the whole extension, or a narrow facing for each seam if you created an extension that you want to leave visible. You can also customise your extension piece so that the collar ends can be tucked in for sewing as an all in-one extension and facing. 

  • Cut the collar in the centre (midpoint, back of collar).
  • Position the extension piece (see above) so that the right-side-out will be the inside and visible fold of the collar. Match patterns if/as you wish.
  • Sew the extension onto the collar. Tip: Since this join will be covered by our facing, consider using a low bulk seam such as a butt seam or lapped seam.
  • Create facing piece(s) by cutting matching (or complimentary/contrasting) material and ironing edges inwards. Optional: Pre-finish the visible wrapped end edge.
  • Wrap facing around the extension/seam, matching patterns if/as you wish, ensuring the visible overlap end is positioned so it will be hidden somewhere either at the bottom edge or under the fold of the collar.
  • Sew into position. Trim threads. Repeat if using two facings.
  • Topstitch extension to match collar (optional).
  • Iron collar back into folded position.

You can see pictures of a facing being applied in our smaller resizing example, below. It’s a really nice finished-looking option for resizing a collar to fit a larger or smaller dog.

DIY recycled dress shirt dog collars

Resizing a Shirt Collar to Fit a Smaller Dog

Sizing smaller can be done using either of the same methods as above for the seam. Instead of cutting and inserting an extension piece, you’re cutting out excess circumference for a smaller fit.

Resizing a Shirt Collar for a Smaller Dog With Visible Seams

Joining and finishing thick collar materials may be tricky. To join the cut down collar without using a covering facing (my preference), you can align the edges with a slight overlap or use a butt seam when sewing. A butt (abutted) seam has less bulk. If overlapping, you can pre-finish the raw edges in your preferred method.

  • Cut the collar in the centre (midpoint, back of collar).
  • Trim to remove excess length from the circumference of the collar, taking half the required about from each cut edge so that the cut remains centred.
  • Position the collar pieces together insides facing, so that the right-side-out will be the inside and visible fold of the collar. 
  • Sew into position, noting method options above. Trim and finish edges if/as needed (optional).
  • Iron to flatten seam, if needed. Sew down the seam allowance to secure bulk if/as needed (optional).
  • Iron collar back into folded position.

Resizing a Shirt Collar for a Smaller Dog With Faced Seams

  • Trim to remove excess length from the circumference of the collar, taking half the required about from each cut edge so that the cut remains centred.
  • Position the collar pieces together insides facing, so that the right-side-out will be the inside and visible fold of the collar. Align edges.
  • Sew the cut edges together. Tip: Since this join will be covered by our facing, consider using a low bulk seam such as a butt (abutted) seam or lapped seam.
  • Create the facing piece by cutting matching (or complimentary/contrasting) material and ironing edges inwards. Optional: Pre-finish the visible wrapped end edge.
  • Wrap facing around the seam, matching patterns if/as you wish, ensuring the visible overlap end is positioned so it will be hidden somewhere either at the bottom edge or under the fold of the collar.
  • Sew into position. Trim threads.
  • Topstitch to match collar (optional).
  • Iron collar back into folded position.
How to resize a recycled shirt collar to fit a smaller dog

Size Limits

Ultimately, there may be a limit to how comfortably a collar can be resized for a smaller fit, depending on the body shape of the pet, as noted in the tips for fitting above.  The circumference can be adjusted as above, but adjusting the folded over collar height requires significantly remaking the collar. The vertical size may be problematic for certain body types or small pets. DIY dress shirt dog collars are cute, but safety and comfort always come first.

DIY recycled dress shirt dog collars including resizing larger or smaller

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