How to Sew Dog Bandannas

Bandannas are cloth scarves worn by people to protect the nose and mouth from dust and flying particles. They are seen in historic photographs of coal miners, cow wranglers and farmers. Made from cloth squares folded into triangles, bandannas were typically bright red with black and white line designs. Traditional patterns included machined dye prints and block-printed paisley, but geometric designs were also used. Dog bandannas became popular in the 1960s. The scarves are tied around the animals’ necks simply for decoration.

Step 1

Measure the dog’s neck and chest. This measurement is necessary to determine the size of the bandanna. The neckerchief should be worn so that it hangs 1 to 2 inches from the center of the animal’s throat.

Step 2

Decide on a single or double-fold bandanna. Single folds are easier to attach and are not as warm as a double-fold. They also require less fabric to construct. Double-fold bandannas have the traditional look with overlapping edges, while also adding extra warmth.

Step 3

Select the fabric for the bandanna. Since it will be worn outdoors, select material that will hold up to frequent washings. Pure cotton is a good choice as it will stand up to washings and will not risk an allergic interaction.

Step 4

Purchase the fabric. Bandannas for large dogs use 1/2-yard of fabric, while medium-sized dog bandanas use 1/4-yard. Tiny dogs may be able to use fabric remnant pieces to make a single-fold-style neckerchief.

Step 5

Make a pattern from newspaper print. Divide the neck measurement in half. This will give the side measure for the pattern piece. Lay the newspaper out and measure along the side. For instance, if the dog’s neck is 12 inches, measure 6 inches up the edge of the newspaper. Make a triangle from the edge to the 6-inch mark. This is half of the bandanna. It will be doubled when the fabric is cut.

Step 6

Cut the newspaper pattern and lay it on fold of the fabric. Pin the pattern piece or use tailor’s chalk to mark the cutting line. (If a single bandanna is desired, lay the pattern piece on a single layer of fabric.)

Step 7

Cut the fabric along the edge of the pattern.

Step 8

Make a 1/8-inch fold along the edge of the bandanna. Sew this seam to finish the edge. If a rough and raw look is appropriate, use pinking shears to cut the fabric and omit finishing the edge.


  • Supervise the dog closely when introducing the bandanna. Dogs feel uncomfortable when new neckwear is introduced. The animal will attempt to remove the bandanna, until it becomes comfortable with the design and the tying process. Thrashing around to remove the neckerchief may endanger the dog or puppy.

  • Dogs should not wear bandannas when they are not under supervision. The loose fabric may become entangled in branches or furniture and can strangle the pet.

Items You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric
  • Fabric pins and scissors
  • Newsprint
  • Sewing machine or needle
  • Thread



About the Author

David B. Ryan has been a professional writer since 1989. His work includes various books, articles for "The Plain Dealer" in Cleveland and essays for Oxford University Press. Ryan holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati and Indiana University and certifications in emergency management and health disaster response.