Making a Collar for Sam

This post is by Kim Holowatiuk of Sleepy Holow Leather. Learn more about Kim, her business and her work by reading her customer feature post on our blog here.
The first most asked question I get is why only one “L” in Holow? You miss spelled it! Ha ha! My last name is Holowatiuk so Sleepy Holow Leather is just a play on words! The SECOND most asked question is if can share where I get my bracelet or collar “blanks” from!!! I make everything from scratch starting with a hide of leather. There are no short cuts here!
Here is the basic process of how a dog collar is made. I decided that this had to be a collar for Sam! He is such a cutie and I wanted to make something special for him and Elena and with Elena’s permission and input, I made him a customized collar! 
Editor's Note: Sam is the official Mirrix studio dog. He lives in Seattle, WA with his dad and mom (Mirrix CMO, Elena)
Most of my leather products are made from leather called veg tanned leather. It can be dyed and stamped and carved. It comes in various thicknesses/ounces and grades.
First I take a hide of veg tan leather and trace out my pattern on it. This is a pattern that I have made.
Then I trace out my pattern on the leather with a stylus and cut out the piece leaving a bit of a working edge. I use a head knife also known as a round knife.
2.jpg2a.jpgNext I use a swivel knife to cut out the pattern that has been traced on the leather.
Then I center and measure the width of the bead inlay and create a cut out that the beads will show through.
Once it is traced out I use an exacto knife to cut out the window.
Make sure the beading fits properly.
7-1.jpg8.jpgTo make the edges smooth I use an edger to take off some excess leather. This gives a nice finished appearance. Pictured is a vintage round bottom edger. I love using the vintage tools! Such great quality.
IMG_7726.jpgNext I will dye the front. I am using Fiebings USMC Black. I prefer using the oil dye but I was out so this works just as well. It takes few more coats as it does not penetrate as well as the oil-based dye. I like to leave 12-24 hours between coats.
IMG_3192.jpgI had a phone malfunction and lost a couple pictures of Sam’s collar but the process is the same. :) I back the beaded piece with pig suede and sew it down. This piece will be attached to the back piece of leather to the collar.
I then glue the front leather piece with the window to the back piece with the beading on it and line it up. Once they are dry, I move to my Cobra Class 4 and sew along the seam lines.
IMG_0042.jpgOnce sewn, I use my head knife to trim to the proper shape using my lines I had traced with my stylus and lightly cut with my swivel knife.
I use my edger to take some leather off the edges which will help make a smooth edge and not only look nice but will be comfortable for Sam! 
IMG_0045-1.jpgOnce the I have edged the piece I need to re-dye the edges again as I have removed leather.
IMG_0060.jpgI am about 50/50 between doing edging using a dremmel with a cocobola edger or doing it by hand with canvas.
Today, I did the edges for Sam with a cocobola edger on my dremmel to smooth the edges and get a glass-like finish.
IMG_0058-1.jpgNext is hardware and the last few steps.
I picked out this nice triple floral buckle set for Sam. It consists of the actual buckle, a keeper and a tip.
IMG_0055-1.jpgYou will need an oblong punch for the buckle and a round punch for the Chicago screws (or rivets) and as well as for the tongue holes.
I use eyelets where the buckle tongue will go to alleviate wear and tear plus I think it makes a nice looking finish for the collar. Each one is set by hand using an eyelet setter and anvil.
IMG_0062.jpgIMG_0061.jpgHere I attached the Buckle and keeper using Chicago Screws. I use some medium Loctite to prevent them from coming apart without some effort. I also use Rivets as well but I used the Chicago Screws on Sam’s Collar!
Lastly I screw on the tip.
AND here is the finished collar! I am really excited to see Sam sporting his new collar!
I really like the buckle sets as I think they look so nice! You can find more of my work at or follow me on Facebook at Sleepy Holow Leather!
Update from Elena: Sam got his collar! He loves it (as do his mom and dad).
Thank you, Kim
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Topics: leather dog collar, Sleepy Holow Leather, dog collar, Bead Weaving, bead loom, beading

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