August 21, 2017

Back to School- Fabric Key Fob Tutorial

Today I am sharing a fun back to school project tutorial as a part of the Sew Much Fun Blog Hop. 

School has just started here in Sacramento, and that means I get to spend a lot of time driving back and forth and to and fro. I am not the most organized person around, but two things have saved me from not always searching for my keys- hooks just inside the garage door, and these key fobs!

I love them for three reasons. Keeping them around my wrist during drop off/pick up has been a life saver for me. I can hold the baby and a million papers and still not wonder where the keys are. They are much easier to find on a colorful strap. And lastly, being able to use something pretty always adds a bit of cheer to the task. Today I'm going to share exactly how I make them.


The hardware for the keychain part can be purchased many places, but I buy mine at Everything Ribbon on Etsy. You need the 1.25" wide key fob hardware. I like to buy them in several different colors/finishes.

I start with coordinating strips from my 2.5" wide bin. These are mostly leftover binding pieces (notice the center creases) and stray Jelly Roll strips.


You will need one for the outside and one for the inside, here are the sizes you will need:

Large hands (like me): 11" x 2.5"
Medium: 10.5" x 2.5"
Tiny hands: 10" x 2.5"

From scrap batting, cut a piece 1.25" wide and just a tad longer than your fabric. Mine is Warm and White brand.


Next, using the "inside" piece of fabric, press the two sides lengthwise toward the middle with a hot iron. Don't worry about hitting the exact middle mark, worry about the new width being uniform.

Place the batting on the wrong side of the "outside" fabric, and press the sides up around it. They won't quite meet in the middle, making this piece a bit wider than the "inside" one, which is what you want.

Place the two pieces wrong sides together, and stitch (with a walking foot!) 1/4" from the edges.


  I start with the "inside" facing up, and follow the center line of the right toe on my walking foot. I usually use a 2.5 to 3 stitch length for these, 3 in this case.


Do this for both sides, then flip it over and sew between that line and the edge of the strap (1/8"). For this part I move it to the left and let the previous stitches follow the inner lip of the left toe of the walking foot. This is all highly unscientific as you can see :) You will have to find your own system/guide since we obviously don't all have the same walking foot.



Trim up your ends and fold the strap in half. Using a zig zag stitch, sew the two ends together, going down, and back, and down again (3 passes) to make sure it's nice and sturdy. Trim threads.


Next is my least favorite part, it can get a bit finicky. Practice makes perfect! Using pliers and an old rag to cover the hardware so it won't get scratched, gently close the clamp part-way. Once it's mostly shut, slide the end of the strap in and clamp down all the way from both sides, still covering with a rag. I have big strong hands and can clamp down super tight, but you may need to get some manly assistance on this part. Some key chains are large and heavy, and you want this to be really snug.


And, you've done it! I find, like most things, it's easy to do a bunch of these at once while I have all the stuff out.


Just in case, when hanging my keys up at night, I hang them by the metal circle, not the fabric strap, so the weight of the keys isn't on the clamp.

They make wonderful gifts- I have given them to teachers, ladies I visit at church, and every time one of my sisters or my mom visit, I give them a new one. It makes me happy when I see floppy old dirty ones they've used to death and I have them pick fabric for a fresh new one!

Whether you're driving kids around, starting school yourself, or looking forward to a new season, I hope these give you a fresh start and you enjoy making them.

Check out the back to school projects these other wonderful crafters have posted!


Jen at Faith Fabric
Emma at Emkie Designs
Christ at Made by ChrissyD
Carissa at Faith and Felt Obsession
Kathy at Kathy Kwilts
Karen at Tu-Na Quilts
Michelle at Pretty Practical

5 comments :

  1. Thank you, this looks so easy thanks for the step by step. Can't wait to make then.

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  2. Alison, I have never seen how simple it is to use a clamp before. Perhaps I can incorporate one or two into my quiet books somehow. Thanks for the tutorial!

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  3. I just found my Christmas gift idea for family, friends, and co-workers. I knew there was a reason I saved all those leftover binding pieces!! Wonderful!!

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  4. Do you think serging the ends will work just as well zig-zagging the ends?

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    1. For sure! Probably even better, I just don't have a serger :)

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