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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Free Pattern: The Loopy Lanyard

I'm a college professor who possesses quite a collection of keys. My office is in one building and I teach in two other buildings - and I have keys to the buildings and the rooms. The easiest and safest way for me to transport them is on a lanyard. My first one was ugly - black and red (school colors) - and I mean ugly because I wear neither black nor read. I lean toward the pinks and pastels. So I made my own. And you can, too. 

This isn't your typical lanyard. I've created a simple technique for joining the ends that creates a loop and reduces bulking seams. Follow along!

Cut various pieces/scraps that are 2 1/2" wide. Cut enough to make the lanyard long enough: when you sew these together, the total length will be about 42" - but, it will depend on how long you like your lanyard. I'm almost 5'9" and prefer them a little longer.

Using a 1/4" seam, sew them RST along the 2 1/2" ends.

Do a quick test to see if you like the length. Add more if necessary.

Press in half, wrong sides together. You can see the crease here where I pressed.

If you are stretching the fabric a bit, try some spray starch to stiffen the fabric. It really helped mine!

Open back up and fold outer edge into the crease. Press. Do this for both outer edges.

Fold together and press. The raw edges should be tucked inside.

Open up one end, wrong side up. Fold back the end about 1/2" and press (WST).

Refold the entire lanyard.

Slide on a swivel hook (3/4") and a key ring.

Place the fabric flat on a table (wrong side up) and open up the ends.

Take the end that is unfinished and place it on top of the end that is folded over. Make sure the lanyard isn't twisted. This is the joining seam (well, I'm calling it that!)

Refold and flatten. Use your fingers to hold this in place.

Head to your machine.

Place the lanyard in your machine so the needle is about 1/2" before the opening/fold that you just created. The open edge should be sewn first (so it's to the right).

I'm using an edgestitch foot with the needle moved over.

Sew all the way around the open/right edge of your lanyard until you've reached your starting point. Stop there with your needle down.

Lift your foot, turn the lanyard. and sew across the fold/joining seam.

Then lift your foot, pivot and sew along the other side of the lanyard.


Take your lanyard out and find the joining seam. Move your hook and key ring down to the seam. 

You are now going to sew across the lanyard to hold the swivel hook and key ring in place. The secret to doing this well is to run the right side of your foot up along the ring/hook, move your needle to the right (if you can), and start sewing IN THE MIDDLE. Sew forward to the edge, then in reverse, then back to the middle. Starting and stopping in the middle hides the thread tails .

Repeat for the key ring.

And here is what it looks like! The Loopy Lanyard.

I've used this loopy technique for detachable handles on little clutches. It works great.

Good luck and have fun! This is a fast and fun project.

And here's a free pattern for a zippered coin purse! It's easy to cutting circles!


  1. cute tutorial--I think I'll try it! My friend is about 5'9" or 10" so how long would you suggest my fabric piece be?

    1. Thanks! I made mine 41" long. It's the perfect length for me - I don't feel like I'm being choked! Have fun using up all your scraps!

  2. Great idea! Perfect for a teacher gift, and a perfect way to use up all those teensy scraps of favorite fabric. I just made one in oranges and reds with one square of turquoise (30 minutes, tops). The edge stitch foot made the sewing fast, mistake proof and beautiful. Thank you!

    1. It is a great teacher gift! I may have to come up with some other fast projects (from a teacher's perspective!). And love my edge stitch foot, too. Everyone wonders how I get the seams so straight!

    2. I'm a teacher and I've been making tote bag handles using a similar technique, now I think I need to make a few of these for myself and some teacher friends.


  3. I love the "joining seam" technique. Much smoother than other methods.

    1. Thanks. I came up with this technique because I felt the same way. And it looks so much better!

  4. Great Technique! Thanks for sharing. I'm making these for our upcoming Disney trip for each of the family members to hold their tickets and other necessities. (in a small zipper pouch that will be attached) I have 2 questions.

    1. Where did you get your clips?
    2. What is the purpose of the sewn in ring?


    1. Thanks Andrea!

      I purchased my clips in bulk at Purse Supply Depot -

      And the ring is to slip keys in or clip a name badge on to. I figured that it didn't hurt to add it! When I attend conferences, I'm given a plastic name tag holder and I just slip the pin through the ring. And like you mentioned, I keep everything in there - my name hotel room "key" ...notes...


  5. Nice Pictures ! Thanks for sharing.......

  6. These are cute! Hmmm... This would be a great way to use up my fabric scraps from other projects. Thank you for linking up at Submarine Sunday!

  7. Great joining seam- I was trying to figure out "in my head" how to reduce the bulk- and I happened on your pattern....perfect!!

    I teach at a community college and we are now required to wear our ID badges (and I have the same key collection as you!)...I'll be making several of these.

  8. Thank you so much! I just got a teaching position and want a pretty lanyard. I'm a quilter and crafter and wanted something that reflected me, or fun events at school or the holidays, etc. Thanks!

  9. Thanks for this great tutorial!! I learned a new skill and made great end of the year teacher gifts in the process! I love the edge stitching foot. It might just be my new best friend when I'm sewing!!!! :) ps. I found this tutorial on pinterest.

    1. Thanks! I LOVE that foot, too! When I taught sewing lessons to kids, they all called it the "cool" foot. =)

  10. Thanks for the great tutorial. I especially liked your method of joining the ends. I have already made one lanyard.

    1. Thanks! I knew that there had to be a way to remove the bulk, so that's what I did. I use this technique quite a bit in other projects like loopy purse handles/straps.

  11. I just made 4 of these! First I made one for my teacher friend who loves Hawaii using all old scraps of Hawaiian fabrics. It was so easy and beautiful, I kept on making others! I also teach, don't wear jewelry, but found these to be practical and will dress up my outfits. I used a variety of rings and fasteners from my old, ugly lanyards provided by my district. Will keep an eye out for other clips.

  12. I really appreciated your tutorial. The explanation and photos made the project simple and easy. I think my friend is going to love her new lanyard and I now have a new foot to buy. :)


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