At the request of a few readers, I’ve put together this tutorial for the ever-popular wristlet key fob. These key fobs are so simple to make, and they are a great assembly-line craft. You can quickly and easily attach fabric or ribbon to several pieces of webbing in one step, then attach the hardware as your second step. They make great gifts that not only require a minimal amount of your time (very important these days!), but fit into a small budget as well.
For this project, you will need 1-1/4″ key fob hardware, a 10″ length of 1-1/4″ wide webbing, a 10″ length of 1″ wide ribbon, coordinating thread, a towel or soft cloth, and pliers. For my key fob, I substituted a strip of fabric for the ribbon. I also suggest using an edge-stitch foot to sew your project. Now, I know I go on and on about the edge-stitch foot, but it really is a great investment if you don’t already have one. Believe me, it will make your sewing life so much easier! Check your machine manual for the appropriate part for your model number. Of course, you can still make this project without an edge-stitch foot or attachment.
My finished key fob is approximately 5″ in length. If you want it longer or shorter, adjust the length of your webbing and ribbon accordingly.
1. First, I’ll talk about how to use a fabric strip instead of ribbon. (If you’re using ribbon, you can skip directly to step 2. ) I used a 2″-wide by 10″ long strip of fabric. It’s not necessary to cut this on the bias — it’s fine to cut it on either the lengthwise or the crosswise grain. Now you’ll need to turn the raw edges to the inside to create a 1″-wide strip. The easiest way to do this is to use a 1″ bias tape maker. Simply run your fabric strip through the tape maker, with the wrong side up as pictured below, and press the strip as it emerges from the tape maker. Remember, just because it’s a “bias” tape maker doesn’t mean you have to use a bias-cut strip. If you don’t have a tape maker, you’ll need to press both edges of your strip to meet in the center, wrong sides together.
2. Next, you’ll sew your ribbon or fabric strip to the webbing. But first, I’ll lecture you a little bit more on the edge-stitch foot! See that little metal guide in the center of the foot pictured below? That’s the part that will simplify your sewing life. You’ll be running the edge of your ribbon along that metal guide in order to stay in a straight line. It’s important to note here that on my machine, I can adjust the needle left or right of center. If your machine doesn’t have that feature, your edge-stitch attachment will likely look and operate much different from mine. Again, consult your manual for instructions. For the sake of this tutorial, I’ll have to assume that you can move your needle left or right. If you don’t have an edge-stitch foot or attachment, you can still make this project, as long as you sew slowly and carefully in order to keep your lines of stitching as straight as possible.
3. Now, layer your ribbon or fabric on top of the webbing, centering it the best you can. Place the right edge of the ribbon or fabric against the guide on your foot. The webbing will be beneath the guide. Move your needle to the left, as if you’re topstitching along the edge of the ribbon, and sew the ribbon to the webbing. How far you move the needle is up to you, but be sure it’s far enough to the left to securely attach the ribbon or fabric.
4. Next, you’ll attach the other edge of the fabric or ribbon. At this point, you can simply flip your key fob around and stitch along the remaining edge exactly as you did with the first edge, with everything to the left of the needle. If I’m using a soft fabric strip, I prefer to work the second side to the right of needle, so that I’m starting at the same end I started with before. I find that I can avoid any “creeping” of the fabric this way, and it sits a little flatter on the webbing (but maybe it’s just me!). If you decide to sew this edge to the right of the needle, don’t forget to move your needle to the right as well.
5. Trim any stray threads that may be sticking off the ends of your key fob. Now all you need to do is attach the hardware. You should have what I’ll call an end-cap, and a key ring. You’ll notice that one side of the end-cap has two prongs on the inside. These will help keep your webbing in place. Fold the webbing in half, wrong sides together, and place the raw ends inside the end-cap, making sure all your edges are even and nothing is sticking out the sides that you don’t want hanging out. While holding everything together with one hand, cover the metal parts with a cloth or towel, and squeeze the jaws of your end-cap together with your pliers. Take your time with this. It may take a few squeezes. I usually squeeze each end of the end-cap, alternating back and forth until I’m satisfied. The cloth or towel will protect your hardware from being scratched or dented by the pliers. Finally, attach the key ring to the end cap.
That’s it! You’re done! You’ll find that once you make one of these, you’ll be able to make your next one very quickly. If you have trouble understanding any of the instructions, just leave a comment here and I’ll try to clarify.
If you don’t already have supplies for your wristlet key fobs, you can find them at Crafters Vision.