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!

Look at that smiling barkday boy! These bandanas were made for Oli’s 10th birthday celebration, but will be in our wardrobe for future party wear.  When this post was reformatted for the new website, we added some extra notes on our (well worn, well loved, still wearing) birthday bandanas as well as lots of other doggone great DIY dog bandana ideas to help you pawty in style for any occasion. Woofs!

Oli the Dalmatian dog's 10th birthday party celebrations

Doggone Dapper Doggos!

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’re usually less durable. If you want a quick bandana, this simple no-sew dog bandana is very basic no-sew option, or you can explore our DIY dog bandana posts for ideas.

Many years may have passed, but these birthday bandanas still look doggone great. They’ve been worn by the boys (and occasionally furfriends) 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. 

Smiling Dalmatian dog wearing a birthday bandana
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 (affiliate link). For the best results in ongoing wear and washing, the fabrics should have similar properties and care requirements. Washable fabrics are recommended for dog clothingOur 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.

For a triangle cut, you’ll need 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. See below for a square cut or fold over alternative.

I like triangle bandanas that are rolled and tied at the neck. They’re easy, cute, and suit my boys. They’re also fun for styling in different ways depending on how they’re rolled and tied. 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. The visible areas of your finished bandana are all nicely neat. A top closure will help hide any boo-boos if hand-sewing. Ditto if there are any slight misalignments if you are folding and top stitching instead of just sewing closed.

Sewing to complete the bandana:

  • Trim excess fabric from the seam allowances on the inside corners to help things reverse neatly and pointed 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 all around. 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 reversible Canada Day dog bandanas using some Canadian-themed fabric gifted from my Canadian family. Thanks, Mom and Dad! The granddogs are looking very puptriotic! While sewing, I took the extra step-by-step photos for this post 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 each is made with a single diagional folded 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 in the DIY above is the same whether you’re cutting and sewing using triangles or using 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’s also reversible (double sided), but both sides will be the same fabric so it may not suit directional fabric patterns. However, it’s really easy and there are no offcut triangles leftover if you’re only making one bandana. Prefer a reversible fold-over full square bandana shape instead? Just adapt the DIY with two full squares instead of the 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 versatility. In fact, you can get clever with 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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