Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lanyards-Step by Step Tutorial

First,  I do intend to get caught up with pictures.  The original intent of this blog was for me to keep track of what I've completed, and I need to do better at that.

Today I decided to make some new lanyards for work.  I have been using the same one for the past year.  I have been intending to make more, and decided today was the day.  They sell on etsy from about $8.00 up, and the Vera Bradley ones are $16.00 on her website.  I was able to make 4 of them for just over $8.00 all on sale from Hobby Lobby, not including thread and velcro, and under 2 hours, including clean up.  You may have the things needed on hand, which would make them 'free' :)

These are made to my preference in size (width and length).  There is no correct dimensions, just what you prefer.  Mine are 1/2" wide, by about 40" in length overall.


  • Sewing machine w/ straight stitch
  • Steam Iron
  • Thread and bobbin to match
  • 2" wide strip of fabric, cut selvage to selvage or 40" long, if purchasing I buy 1/6 yard, so I can trim it up straight.  It amazes me how crooked fabric is cut at times. If making wider, fabric width is 4 times finished width of lanyard
  • Appropriate size swivel hook, and/or split key ring.  This is personal preference.  I like just a swivel hook, keeping my ID and keys on separate rings, making them easy to move.
  • Scrap of Velcro, each piece approx 1/2" X 1/2", or breakaway clasp-optional.  This allows them to 'breakaway' if pulled on.  If your work environment doesn't require this, you can just stitch the edges together.  If anyone knows of a reliable cheap source of small quantity break-away clasps let me know.
  • Rotary cutter, mat and ruler, or scissors, marking pencil and ruler

Fabric Selection-Keep in mind you will only be seeing 1/2" wide strip of the fabric.  While fabric is a personal choice, some fabrics will not look good, or be identifiable on that narrow of a strip.  I would recommend something with an all over print, a quilting weight 100% cotton. If you look at the edge of the bolt between two solid fabrics, it will help you visualize how it will look in a small width.  This is still wider than the finished lanyard, but can help in decision making.  For mine today, I found a smallish fall leaf print, orange with white dots for Halloween, and 2 larger geometrics.  For the larger geometrics, I prefer those that are busier, without a lot of solid space.  Here you can see the fabric and swivel hooks I chose to use today.    Everything was on sale at Hobby Lobby.    I purchased 1/6 yard (6") but could have probably gotten by with 1/8 yard (4 1/2").

 Cutting Fabric-Cut fabric 2" wide by the width of the fabric.  Cut length to 40" or length desired plus 1" for folding over edges.  I stacked my fabric and used a rotary cutter.  If you do not have a rotary cutter, mark cutting lines and cut carefully.  These were all cut pretty straight, but we've all had that one piece that was just wonky.  One of the reasons I buy extra fabric.  Since I was using the rotary cutter, I was able to cut all pieces at one time.

First Pressing-Fold fabric in half lengthwise, making sure edges are even, and press a sharp crease along entire length.  Use as hot an iron as the fabric will tolerate, press hard, and use lots of steam.  Watch your fingers as you don't want to burn them.  The iron is hot, and so is the steam and the fabric as the iron moves over it.

 Second pressing-Carefully bring one cut edge to center fold, and press, taking care not to press away center fold.
 Third pressing-Bring second cut edge to fold line and press.  Again, taking care not to press away center fold line.
 Fourth pressing-Fold back in half, pressing heavily to make sure everything is pressed down, and center fold is in place.  This is the width of the final lanyard.  Take care to make sure folded edges are as even as possible.

 Stitching sides down-I like tto use my edge stitching foot on this one.  I set the needle position on 2.0 from the left.  This is for Babylock machines.  Using the guide, stitch as close to the open edge as possible, while making sure to catch both layers of fabric, making tiny adjustments to edge alignment as necessary. The more accurate your pressing, the less adjusting will be necessary.  Stitch down the entire length, then stitch down the entire length of the folded edge, using same spacing from edge.

 Adding Swivel Hook/Keyring/Connector of choice-Slide swivel hook or other hardware on lanyard, fold in half.
 Using zipper foot, and allowing enough clearance for hardware on side of foot, stitch lanyard together, keeping edges even.  I end up stitching about 4 times to keep it secure.
 Not the straightest stitching, I had the hardware to close to the zipper foot on this one.  Also ignore need for manicure.  I worked in yard this morning, and hadn't redone my nails yet.
 Attatching closure-I use velcro.  I cut it about 1/2" x 3/4"-1".  For first end, fold edge over, and stitch velcro on all 4 edges, making sure to secure so it doesn't pull off.  For second end, line up sides, and determine which side velcro will go on.  Fold end under velcro.  For other styles follow manufacturers dirctions.  If you do not wish to use a breakaway clasp, stitch edges together in your preferred method.

 Finished Lanyards, and a sample of when I just used a key ring instead of the swivel clip.

My current top five to work on would be:

  1. Silk shirt for me
  2. Another pair of pjs for DH
  3. Twirly dress for Mini Axelgirl
  4. Robe for Axelgirl
  5. Finish 5 weecare items completely

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