I’ve finally finished the silver dog collar for challenge 10 of the Historical Sew Monthly! 😀
Antique dog collars had slots in the metal and an eye plate, and were closed with a matching padlock.
My main inspiration was this pretty brass dog collar on an equally pretty black Labrador. At first I also wanted to use brass but then I thought silver would look even better with the black fur of my dog. But as real silver is so expensive I decided to use nickel silver which was also used for antique dog collars.
My other inspirations were this 1860s silver dog collar and this 1850s silver dog collar. And here’s an antique painting of a dog with silver dog collar lined with red leather, and a ca. 1840-50s painting of two dogs: the beige-colored dog wears a brass and leather dog collar.
I used a 4 x 60cm nickel silver sheet. The holes and the slot are bored with a drill. Then I filed the edges and the slot smooth with metal files, sandpaper and steel wool; and bent the nickel silver sheet with a rubber mallet and a tree log, and later by hand.
At first I wanted to engrave the dog collar with my dog’s name – antique dog collars often have the dog’s name, owner’s name and address or a saying engraved – and lines along the edges, but I’m not skilled enough yet with my new metal graver. And I didn’t want to ruin the dog collar. 😉
Antique dog collars usually had leather on the inside to protect the dog’s neck. The leather and metal was joined together with rivets.
I used scraps of vegetable tanned leather which I dyed black naturally. Then I sewed the leather pieces together …
… and punched holes for the book screws.
But the leather was too thick at the closure of the dog collar so I had to cut off the thick leather …
… and attach a piece of thin black leather.
Because the DIY dyed leather is hidden behind the metal, the dog collar is my entry for challenge 10 – sewing secrets of the Historical Sew Monthly.
It took so long to make the dog collar because I hadn’t the right tools. With the right tools I think it would just take a couple of hours. And the collar is really heavy, much heavier than modern dog collars. So the silver dog collar isn’t an everyday dog collar; my dog wore it just once for the photos.
The dog collar is closed with a stainless steel shackle instead of the usual padlock because I couldn’t find a silver padlock in the right size.
I even found Edwardian instructions for making metal dog collars! 😀 ‘Cut a strip of brass 1 1/2 in. wide, and equal in length to the circumference of the dog’s neck, with an additional allowance for lap at the end, as shown at A B (Fig. 1). Punch two small holes at the opposite end, into which the ends of the wire staple (Fig. 2) will fit, and also punch out the slots at the end AB […] the collar could be fastened with a small padlock.’ (Cassell’s Cyclopaedia Of Mechanics, 1900)
Challenge: 10 – sewing secrets
Fabric: nickel silver sheet, black leather
Pattern: my own
Year: Victorian or Edwardian
Notions: stainless steel eye plate, dog collar terret, shackle and book screws; black linen and cotton thread
How historically accurate is it? Very accurate (apart from the book screws – I don’t know if they were used for dog collars)
Hours to complete: much more than I thought 😉
First worn: today for the photos
Total cost: 43,50$ / 39,99€