Learn how to make a lanyard with this easy sewing tutorial. A laniere, or lanyard originated as part of the French military attire as a strap to hold a weapon in place. Nowadays we find lanyards serve the purpose of holding bags or purses and other attachments such as cards around our neck or wrist.
How to Make a Lanyard Tutorial
Uses of Lanyards
In military circles, lanyards are still used with military braid and signs of distinction. Lanyards used to be made out of braid, or decorative cord and were a series of sophisticated knots. The lanyard was a functional piece of artwork denoting rank and importance.
In our modern world, a lanyard is a very useful piece of equipment. It will save you from scratching in your bag for your car keys. You can wear a lanyard with a whistle to call up the team or to keep a work swipe or identification card handy. A lanyard is also a great way to keep track of your scissors if you are a busy dressmaker! Lanyards are useful, practical, and decorative.
DIY Lanyard Materials List
The homemade fabric lanyard needs the following items:
- FABRIC - A piece of fabric 2.5x36.5 inches (6.5x73cm) (Adjust this length to suit your requirements. The lanyard will fold in half so be sure to adjust the length to be sure the lanyard will fit over your head or around your wrist. I used quilting cotton which is a 100% cotton, light to medium weight fabric.
- OPTIONAL - Fusible interfacing if you are using thin fabric. For the quilting cotton sample, I didn't use interfacing. By the time the fabric was folded in quarters, it was sturdy and had the required stiffness.
- CLIP - A lobster clasp (also called swivel clasp, metal clasp or swivel hook) ½ inch (12mm) wide
- SEWING BASICS - Sewing machine, needles, thread, scissors, iron, ruler
How to Make a Lanyard Step by Step Instructions
QUICK OPTION - If you are looking to save some time, you could use ½ inch (12mm) double-sided bias tape for your lanyard. This would mean you could skip straight to step 4.
Step 1 - Cut the Fabric
Cut the fabric and optional interfacing making sure you cut on the straight grain of the fabric, not a cross-grain as that will make your lanyard stretch. A rotary cutter and mat can be used to ensure you have nice, straight and clean edges.
Lanyards can be a practical way to use up your scraps. If you need to join 2 strips of fabric to get the length needed:
- Place your 2 strips at right angles.
- Sew across on the diagonal as shown.
- Trim the seam to ¼ inch (6mm).
- Press open the seam.
Step 2 - Optional: Add Interfacing
If your fabric is thin, you may need interfacing to give it some body. The quilting fabric I used did not need interfacing.
On the wrong side of the fabric, press the fusible interfacing.
Step 3 - Press the Fabric Lengthwise
On the wrong side of the fabric, press the raw edges of the fabric so they meet in the middle.
Press the fabric in half again so the raw edges are encased. Use clips or pins to hold the pressed fabric in place. You are not stitching down the sides at this stage.
Step 4 - Thread on the Clip
Thread the lobster clip onto the lanyard. This is an important phase because once the loop is closed you will NOT be able to thread anything onto the end.
Step 5 - Sew the Ends
Unfold the pressed ends of the fabric. With the right sides together, sew the two ends of the lanyard together to create a closed-loop. Use a ¼ inch seam allowance (6mm).
Press the seam open. This is at the end of the loop -you have not sewn the sides of the lanyard yet.
Fold the fabric in quarters again so it is a continuous loop. You may need to re-iron the creases at the join. Pin in place.
Step 6 - Sew the Sides
Sew along both edges of the lanyard, moving the lobster clip out of the way as you sew.
Step 7 - Stitch the Clip in Place
Fold the lanyard in half with the lobster clip at the end. The seam should be at the end through the loop of the clip.
Stitch a small seam across the lanyard with the lobster clip inside the seam. Stitch several times back and forth over this end piece to secure the clip and finish off the end of the lanyard.
There you have a beautiful handmade fabric lanyard! Use the clip to attach your badge, card, keys or anything you want.
How to Make a Lanyard for Your Wrist
A wrist lanyard is just a shorter version of the original neck lanyard and can be made out of the same fabrics. Wrist lanyards are short little attachments to make sure you do not lose a grip on your clutch purse or keys and are a useful addition to your handbag.
How to Make a Lanyard for Your Wrist:
- Cut the fabric 2 x13 inches (5x33cm) and follow the same how to make a lanyard instruction above.
HOW TO MAKE A WRIST STRAP - VIDEO
Here is a video showing you how to make a wrist strap. Subscribe to my Youtube channel for more weekly sewing videos.
How to Make a Lanyard from Ribbons or Cords
Instead of fabric, you can use ribbon and fabric tape to make strong and neat lanyards. Try plaiting or weaving cords together. Beads strung on strong thread make good lanyards and try your hand at a crocheted strip to create a lanyard.
How to Make a Lanyard from Ribbon:
- Cut ½ inch (12mm) wide ribbon 36.5" (93cm) in length.
- Thread on the lobster clasp.
- Stitch the ends of the ribbon together. See you have a ribbon that frays, read my article on how to stop ribbon fraying.
- Put the lobster clasp over the join.
- Fold the lanyard in half and stitch just above the clip to hold it in place.
How to Make a Lanyard - In Conclusion
Now you know how to make a lanyard you can color coordinate them with your outfits! A lanyard clips on a purse or a key chain or even just displays a badge. They are useful to hold a tag at a conference or in the office environment and are a useful addition to your office security. Keep your keys safe in just the right place, next to you!
How To Make a Lanyard
- ½" (12mm) lobster clip
- Sewing Basics Sewing machine, scissors, thread, iron
- Quilting Cotton Fabric
- Cut a strip of fabric - Neck Lanyard 2.5x36.5" (6.3x93cm) or wrist lanyard 2x13" (5x33cm).
- On the wrong side, press the fabric so the edges meet in the middle.
- Press the fabric in half so the raw edges are enclosed.
- Thread on the clip.
- Open the ends of the fabric and sew them right sides together with a ¼" (6mm) seam allowance.
- Press open the seam and fold the fabric in quarters again. Pin.
- Stitch along both sides of the loop, moving the clip out of the way as you sew.
- Fold the lanyard in half and stitch the clip in place.
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