How to Make a Reversible Dog Bandana

How to sew simple reversible dog bandanas

If you’re going to party, you should do it in style! Oli and Humphrey have new birthday bandanas in their special occasion wardrobe. Get the details on how to sew a reversible dog bandana, like our cute matching set of DIY double-sided birthday bandanas. 

Ready to Pawty in Style!

This was one of the very first sewing projects we shared here on the blog. In the many years since, I’ve adapted my bandana making approach slightly (see the end of the post for details), but the basics for making a simple double-sided dog bandana are still the same.  Not into sewing? You can make dog bandanas with fusible tape, but they may be less durable. If you want a very quick and easy bandana this simple no-sew dog bandana is a very easy alternative, or you can explore all of our DIY dog bandana posts for other ideas.

Smiling Dalmatian dog wearing a birthday bandana

Many years may have passed, but these bandanas still look doggone great. They’ve been worn by the boys (and occasionally their friends) lots of times since these very first photos. They’re a go to for our dogs’ birthdays and dressing up for people parties, too! So many memories. You’ll see them all over the place in our dog birthday posts here on the blog and our social media. 

Dalmatian dog wearing a birthday bandana

How to Make a Reversible (Double Sided) DIY Dog Bandana

Supplies and Materials

To make a similar basic reversible (double sided) dog bandana, you will need:

  • Fabric (complimentary of contrasting for each side)
  • Complimentary coloured thread
  • Sewing machine 
  • General cutting / sewing supplies
  • Iron and ironing board (optional but recommended)

Bandanas like these can be fully hand sewn, but will be much quicker and easier with a sewing machine. For the best results in ongoing wear and washing, the fabrics should have similar properties and care requirements. Washable fabrics are recommended for dog clothing.

Our bandanas are made with remnants of awesome matching colour-on-white and colour-on-black birthday fabric that I found in the bargain bin of the local craft shop. I troll it regularly for bits to stow away in my craft stash. Check out our handy tips on getting more versatile wear out of a reversible dog bandana for additional ideas on styling.

Sewing a Simple Reversible Dog Bandana (Triangle Cut)

Measuring and sizing:

  • Measure or estimate your pet’s required neck size. If you aren’t comfortable with estimating the size, you can use a collar as a gauge or loosely measure your pet’s neck.  
  • Calculate the required fabric size for your sewing project.

You will two identical fabric triangles, one for each side of the bandana (see the second example at the end of this post for fold-over squares instead). The triangles will need to be sized to suit your pet, plus a little extra around the edges for your seam allowances. The long edge of the finished bandana (after the seams are sewn) will need to be big enough to fit loosely around your pet’s neck plus extra to tie a small knot. Having two similarly sized dogs makes this super easy, as you just cut the correct size square, then halve it on the diagonal. 

I like triangle bandanas that are rolled and tied at the neck. They’re easy, cute, and suit my boys. Depending on the body type of you pet and your preferences for wear, you might prefer a curved neck dog bandana instead. The basic process is similar, but you’ll need to adapt to shape the neck edge.

Diagram for making easy DIY reversible triangle dog bandanas

Preparing the fabric pieces:

  • Prepare fabric for sewing. Wherever possible (fabric permitting), I prewash my fabric and then iron flat prior to cutting or sewing.
  • Measure and cut two identical triangles of fabric (one for each side of the bandana) sized for fit as noted above. 

Joining the pieces of the bandana:

  • Align your triangles, ensuring that the fabric is pattern-side in if single sided.
  • Sew together, leaving a gap large enough for you to reverse the bandana.

For a bandana like this, I prefer to leave my gap somewhere on the top edge. I usually roll the top edges a little (whether sewn or not) to gather an easy edge for tying as well as make the perfect fit. This means that the top edge isn’t readily visible in the finished bandana. If (like me) you hate hand stitching closures, this ensures that the visible areas of your finished bandana are nicely neat and will help hide any boo-boos you might make when hand-sewing. Ditto if there are any slight misalignments if you are folding and top stitching instead of sewing closed.

Sewing to complete the bandana:

  • Trim excess fabric from the seam allowances on the inside corners of your bandana to help things reverse neatly without bunching.
  • Reverse the bandana to pattern-side out. 
  • Sew the gap closed using either hand stitching or machine topstitching.
    • Option 1: Hand sew the gap closed using a blind/ladder stitch to keep things “invisible” without any topstitching.
    • Option 2: Alternatively, fold the gap, iron to match the neighbouring edges, and topstitch a narrow line around the bandana, inset from the edge. See additional example below.
Sewing reversible DIY dog birthday bandanas

In the years since writing this post, I’ve gotten a lot more confident with my sewing. Nowadays, I almost always topstitch. It gives a slightly more finished look if making a similar style of bandana. But it’s still totally optional and the bandanas look great without it. We’re still using these birthday bandanas and they look perfect after several years of celebrations, drool, and washing.

More DIY Reversible Dog Bandana Options and Ideas

Additional DIY Reversible Dog Bandana Step-By-Step Sewing Photos

The collage below was added after we made some reversible Canada Day dog bandanas using some themed fabric gifted from my Canadian family. Thanks, Mom and Dad! I took the extra step-by-step photos for this post while making the bandanas to show the fold-over square method instead of the triangles shown above. The bandanas are made the same way as our birthday bandanas, but with a single folded-over square instead of two separate triangles of fabric. The rest of the DIY is the same, although I topstitched these bandanas as a final finishing step (optional, as noted above).

Sewing a DIY reversible Canada Day dog bandana

Options for Sewing Square Cut Dog Bandanas

The basic process detailed in the DIY above is the same whether you’re cutting and sewing using triangles or squares. A single cut square, folded on the diagonal and then sewn, like the Canada Day bandanas, is very easy to cut and sew. It is reversible (double sided), but both sides will be the same fabric and it may not suit directional patterns. However, it’s easy and there are no offcut triangles leftover if you’re only making one bandana. Prefer a reversible fold-over full square shape instead? Just adapt the DIY with two squares instead of two triangles or a single folded square.

Diagram for making easy fold-over square DIY reversible dog bandanas

DIY Dog Bandana Styling Options and Tips

Reversible dog bandanas can be made with the same fabric, like the Canada Day bandanas, for ease, style, and/or added structure.  They can also be made with different backing fabrics, like our reversible birthday bandanas, for more versatile wear. In fact, you can get clever with your fabric combinations specifically for super styling and versatility. See our post on styling a DIY reversible dog bandana for tips and ideas. Having distinctly different but complimentary sides on a triangle dog bandana lets you mix things up with straight patterns or reverse rolled necks. 

Alternative Seam Finishing Ideas

When it comes to finishing the edges, there are all sorts of options for different sewing skills, equipment, and style preferences. From super simple serging to binding the edges, anything goes! That includes cheating with no-sew dog bandana techniques, too. Check out our archived collection of DIY dog bandanas for more doggone great homemade dog bandana ideas.

How to sew a reversible dog bandana

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