How to Make a Lanyard

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It lacked any shine or luster and didn’t look at all like I remembered.

When I pulled it out of my school bag the last day of summer vacation, the lanyard I used during the school year looked dirty and dull.

I would have to wear it on the first day of school, but I now needed to add ‘get a lanyard’ to my long list of things to do. I definitely didn’t want to wear the worn-out lanyard from last year longer than necessary.

The Inspiration

Happily, I was able to change ‘get a lanyard’ to ‘make lanyards’ after a short interlude on Facebook during a break on the first day of school.

I belong to a few sewing groups on Facebook. Posts from them are often the first things I see when the app opens on my phone.

In these sewing groups, people frequently post images of what they are sewing. One person posted a picture of a lanyard she had sewn for her son’s teacher.

The light bulb went off in my head. I could make my own lanyard. And not just one, but I could do a different one for each month and use fabric that represented a season or holiday.

One of my personal goals this school year is to make changes to what I wear. The clothes I have are blah and boring and don’t reflect the fun, flirty, colorful style I desire.

While a lanyard isn’t clothes, it is something that is worn. Having a different lanyard for each month with a themed fabric is one small change I could make to add some fun and color to my otherwise currently uninspired wardrobe.

It would take a little longer to sew the lanyards, but sewing the lanyards actually made me more excited than picking out a ready-made one from the store!

How to Sew a Lanyard

After following the directions in this lesson, you’ll know how to make a lanyard long enough to hang around the neck.

Tip: Read all of the steps before you begin.

Note: This is a great project for beginner sewists because it allows you to practice sewing straight when you’re doing the long runs of topstitching.

Preparation

Gather the Supplies

Supplies to sew lanyards

Get Your Sewing Machine Ready

Put the all-purpose presser foot on your sewing machine. Wind thread on the bobbinInsert the bobbin and thread the machineSet the machine to do a straight stitch (a width of 0 and a length of 2-3 for a medium length stitch).

Prepare the Fabric

  • Prewash the 100% cotton fabrics in warm water and dry in the dryer. Press to get the large wrinkles out and square up the fabric.
  • Cut the fabric so it is 3-inches x 40-inches

Construction

Tip: Read all of the steps before you begin.

  1. Fold the length of fabric in half and press. 
Fold strip in half and press

2. Open up the fabric. Fold one long side toward the middle fold line and press.

Fold in one side and press

3. Now fold the other long side toward the middle fold line and press.

Fold in other side and press

4. With both sides pressed in, fold the fabric in half and press. The folded edges should line up.

Fold fabric and press

5. Pin or clip the fabric closed.

Secure fold with clips or pins

6. Sew a straight stitch down the length of the fabric that is being held closed by the pins or clips. You don’t need to backstitch when you start and stop.

Top-stitch the clipped or pinned side.

You’re top-stitching (sewing on the top or right side of the fabric) to hold the lanyard together so you’ll want to get as close to the edge as possible.

Top-stitching is visible so you want to sew as straight as possible, too.

To get my needle as close to the edge, I used the edge of the feed dog hole as my guide.

Some sewing machines have the ability to move the needle position over. Check your sewing machine manual to see if you have the option to move your needle position if you want to get closer to the edge.

7. Next, top-stitch the other long side. No backstitching is necessary.

Top-stitch the other side

8. Add the hook. First, fold the lanyard in half, lining up the short ends. Make sure the lanyard isn’t twisted.

Then, lift the top half and turn it a half twist.

Finally, slide the hook hardware on the lanyard.

9. Sew across the lanyard about 5/8 of an inch from the end. Backstitch when you start and stop.

Secure ends of lanyard

10. Pull the hook to the end and twist so the raw edges are on the inside. Hold the hook firmly and smooth the straps so the raw edges are hidden on the inside.

11. Sew as close to the raw edges. Backstitch when you start and stop.

Stitch to secure hook

That’s It. You’re Done!

A Halloween themed lanyard

A Couple More Lanyard Ideas

Wristlet

If you don’t need a lanyard, but you need to keep up with a set of keys, use your sewing skills to make a wristlet.

A wristlet displayed on a Crayola box.

Just cut the fabric 3-inches x 14-inches and follow the same directions for constructing the lanyard.

You’ll end up with a wristlet that rests comfortably on the wrist so it’s easy to keep up with keys.

Great Gift Idea

Lanyards (and wristlets) make a great gift for anyone who needs to wear an identification badge for work or carry keys.

Lanyard can even be used to hold facemasks when not in use.

Combine a themed fabric that displays something the person loves with the fact the lanyard was handmade by you, and the gift is definitely going to be a big hit!

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning is easy. Because the fabric was prewashed, you don’t have to worry about any shrinking.

To keep the lanyard from tangling up with the clothes, place it in a lingerie bag before putting it in the washing machine.

It can be put in the dryer or hung up to dry.

Note: This post was originally published on August 29, 2019 and updated on October 31, 2020.

Let’s Connect

My main goals are to support, empower, and inspire you to discover the joy of sewing.

Need help or have questions on this project, pattern, or tutorial? Send me an email at nicki@theruffledpurse.com and we can work together to get it figured out!

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2 Comments

  1. I love your newsletter. You have the “real” challenges to sewing and actually completing projects. I loved the article on bobbins. I bought the bobbin buddies a couple of months ago and they are still in the package, this article has motivated me to get them out and organize my threads.
    Thank you!!!

    1. Thank you, Doris, your comment makes my heart happy. 🥰 I’d love to hear how your thread organizing goes!

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