Sew a DIY Wristlet Key Fob - fast and easy gift idea!
You can sew a cute wrist strap key fob with my fast and easy sewing tutorial.
Of all the DIY projects I’ve sewn and gifted to people, wristlet keychain fobs are the ones that people ask for again and again! This year the assistant principal at my daughter’s elementary school was not very subtle when she repeated several times that the wrist lanyard I gifted her a couple years ago was getting old.
In addition to the blog post, this sewing tutorial has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here.
So if you are in need of last minute gifts that you can sew really quick and that everyone will love - this is the project!
Here’s what you need to know:
This free sewing tutorial is perfect for scraps because you need just a little bit of fabric. Each key fob uses two different fabrics - one for the inside and one for the outside. These are just 2’’ x 14’’strips. Then you ‘ll need a small scrap for the piece that holds the fob together and keeps the hardware from moving all around. I used a 3’’ x 3 1/2’’ piece that matched the inside of the fob.
My favorite stabilizer to use with them is Decor-Bond 809 from Pellon, but if you have leftover interfacing from another project (any light - to midweight fusible interfacing) you can use it instead. You’ll use a 3 1/2’’ x 14’’ strip of interfacing for each key fob.
The last thing you’ll need is a 1’’ swivel snap clip. You can find them at Joanns or Hobby Lobby if you are in a pinch, but my favorite place to shop for them is Amazon because you can spend a little and get a lot!
I know that other tutorials use a metal clamp to hold the ends of the strap together, but I don’t really trust those little metal clamps to stay on very long. Plus I don’t want to buy another specialty tool to attach them. Everyone loves a swivel snap clip because they can use it to clip their keys to their purse. That’s what I do too!
As I sewed more and more of these little gifts I started to get annoyed by how often I was changing thread colors.
So then I decided to let loose and be adventurous with my thread. I made sure that the thread I used would coordinate with both fabrics. Then for topstitching I was bold and used the triple stitch on my sewing machine. This is the one that goes back and forth so each stitch has 3 layers. It looks great when you lengthen it to a 3 or 4. Now my pink thread looks glamourous on gray, right??? And my yellow thread pops out of the turquoise wristlet.
The best part was that I only used one color of thread on each key fob. If your sewing machine doesn’t have a triple stitch, no worries - you can topstitch with a regular straight stitch. I do recommend that you lengthen the stitch length for topstitching though - it looks so great!
So let’s make Wristlet Key Fobs - here’s the tutorial:
For each key fob, cut:
1 fabric strip 2’’ x 14’’ for the outside of the strap
1 fabric strip 2’’ x 14’’ for the inside of the strip
1 fabric rectangle 3’’ x 3 1/2’’ for the wrap around tab
1 strip of light to medium weight fusible interfacing (Decor-Bond 809 from Pellon suggested)
1 swivel snap or alligator clasp with a 1’’ opening (such as these)
You will also need:
coordinating polyester thread
a heavy duty needle for your sewing machine, such as size 90/14 or 100/16 (my favorite are Superior Topstitch Needles)
an iron and ironing board
1. Place the two 2’’ x 14’’ fabric strips right sides together and sew along one long edge with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.
1. Press the seam open.
2. Fold the strap in half and press to ‘teach’ the fabric to make a nice crisp edge along the seam.
3. Open the piece and place the fusible side of the interfacing strip against the wrong side of the fabric. Press to fuse (press well from the fabric side - you want the interfacing to stick, but the cotton fabric can withstand the heat better than the non-woven interfacing).
4. Fold the long edges of the strip over to the wrong side by 3/4’’. This is just enough so that the long raw edges line up with the seam allowances under the interfacing - you can see that if you look closely at the photo on the left.
5. After you have folded and pressed both long edges to the wrong side by 3/4’’, fold the entire strip in half again along the seam and press flat.
Set this piece aside for topstitching. I like to press my wrap around tab now because I’ll need it in just a quick minute.
6. Fold one of the 3 1/2’’ sides of the tab piece over to the wrong side by about 1’’. Press flat.
Then fold the other side over so that the raw edge is about 1/8’’ away from the other fold and press - this will be the back and you don’t want any raw edges to show.
You’ll have a strip about 1’’ x 3 1/2’’.
Topstitching and Finishing
1. Set your sewing machine to a topstitching length of 3-4. I also switched to the triple stitch so my topstitching would stand out (optional).
Topstitch along both long edges of the 1’’ x 14’’ strip, about 1/8’’ from the edge.
2. Switch to a wide zig zag stitch on your sewing machine (as wide as you can).
Slide the swivel snap clip on the strap and butt the two ends of the strap together. Place the two ends under the sewing machine foot and zig zag back and forth, catching both ends of the strap.
3. Move the zig zagged join on the strap until it is about 1 1/2’’ away from the clasp.
Place the wrap around tab around it with the raw edge against the key fob so it won’t show. Tuck the short raw ends to the inside of the strap.
Fiddle with this piece a bit until it is as tight as you can get it and then secure with a clip.
4. Sew two short lines of topstitching that connect with the topstitching on the strap. Neatly backstitch at each end of the topstitching.
This is enough to secure the tab and key fob, but you can add more topstitching if you wish.
The last time I sewed these key fobs, I topstitched in a square to secure the tab. I think it’s a little more difficult that way because it’s hard to sew in a perfect square.
Which version do you think looks better?
If you sew up wristlet key fobs for yourself or for a gift, I’d love to see! Post a picture to Instagram and tag me @sewcanshe or #sewcanshe so I can take a look.