DIY Step in Dog Harness
2 yards of nylon webbing
2 yards of coordinating ribbon (jacquard or grosgrain work best, and this is OPTIONAL)
Note: You NEED to customize the hardware to the size of nylon webbing you are using! IF you use 1” webbing, you need to get 1” hardware. The most common sizes for webbing and hardware are: ½”, 5/8”, ¾”, and 1”. 1 ½” is also available for larger dogs and can be found fairly easily, but remember that the larger the size, the more it weighs. For strength purposes, I recommend metal WELDED hardware.
1 side release buckle
2 D rings
2 round rings
2-3 tri-glide slides
Additional items needed:
Measuring tape or grid
Sewing machine and matching thread or matching bobbin thread and clear thread for the top.
PLEASE excuse the bruise on my finger. I smashed it in the door after successfully using a hammer ALL DAY LONG with no problems. GEEZ…
Now we are ready to begin. You need to first choose a size. At the end of the tutorial, I will make a list of the sizes you will need to cut the pieces. You will need to decide the size you are going to make, and cut the webbing accordingly.
First, IF you plan to put any type of ribbon on your webbing, sew that on first. THEN cut the webbing to the sizes you are going to need. Use the lighter to secure the ends by LIGHTLY melting the webbing so it will not fray. NOTE that I said LIGHTLY. I don’t want any burnt fingers and/or houses.
You will be cutting 1 bottom piece, 2 side pieces, and 2 top pieces.
The tri-glide slide on the bottom piece is OPTIONAL. I don’t like it, because it creates a lot of extra bulk that I don’t feel is necessary. Besides, when out on a walk with my dog, I want her to be able to lay down a bit. Laying ON the additional slide doesn’t look comfortable.
Start by taking the bottom piece and sewing the end back on itself. IMPORTANT!! Make sure you leave enough of a gap to thread your side pieces through it! . I like to use a zig zag stitch to make sure it is nice and secure. I sometimes put 2 rows, and allow one row to overlap the edge to give it additional protecting from fraying. Do this every time you are sewing on an “end”.
Next loop your side pieces around a tri-glide slide and sew them down.
Here comes the tricky part! Take ONE of the O rings, and slide the end of your side pieces that does not have the tri-glide slide on it through the O ring. Come from what you will designate as the INSIDE of the O ring.
Then loop your end around the O ring and go up, through, and over the tri-glide slide. (Step 1)
Now take your bottom piece and thread the free end through that. (Step 2)
And DON’T FORGET to put the first piece we made through the free end before threading it through the next O ring. (Step 3)
Repeat with the other side (Step 4.)
Next, take the second O ring, and coming from what you will designate as the OUTSIDE of the O ring, loop the side pieces through the O ring and secure it with the zig zag stitching. It is starting to look like a harness!
Next, take your two top pieces and your 2 D rings and your side release buckle. Loop your top pieces through the O rings, and secure with zig zag stitches. Make sure that your design, if you have one, is facing OUT!
Then take your D ring and slide it on one of the top pieces. Secure it at the top with your zig zag stitches, leaving room at the bottom for your side release buckle. ALMOST DONE! Repeat for the other side.
Lastly, put the side release buckle on the webbing and secure it. Make sure that the buckle parts are facing the correct direction!!! Repeat with the other side.
TA DA!!!! You have a harness and you did it ALL BY YOURSELF!
For a printable version, click the link below!
DJ is wearing an XXS, for dogs 4 pounds and under. (He weighs 4 pounds, and it is fully extended. These measurements are just a guideline. For best results, measure your dog and put the measurements you come up with in the middle. These numbers are what you cut the webbing to be, NOT the finished size. Fold overs are approximately 1″ each.
Size Top *cut 2 Sides *cut 2 Bottom piece Hardware
XXS 5” 12” 5 1/2” ½”
XS 6” 20” 7” ½” or 5/8”
S 7” 27” 8” ¾”
M 8” 33” 9 ½” ¾” or 1”
L 8” 40” 11” 1”
XL 9” 45” 13” 1” or 1 ½”
If you DON’T want to do it by yourself, drop me a message, email me, or stop by my Etsy store wagswagpetsupplies to get one that I made for you!
UPDATE September 2020. I am SO SORRY but I can’t find what “size” fits into a S, M, L, XL, etc and I have received several inquiries. Now that I look at this post, I am not sure that there ever was a definitive answer. I would use the measurement of the “bottom piece.” If you measure you dog’s width of space between their front legs, and make sure you consider that you don’t want it to rub their leg AND that there is a 1″ fold over on each side. So, if my Ridgeback measures 8 inches between their legs, I want to use the one in the chart that is closest to 10″, considering that there are 1″ fold overs on either side. That is the best I can come up with until I get time to sit down and make some and I haven’t done this in a LONG time. They take so much longer than collars and I have so many collar orders that it is hard to keep up and work, plus try to find time to shower, because (let’s face it) showers are really important. Happy sewing and I hope this helps!