Friday, November 4, 2011

Lanyards for Fabric Fashionistas!

I'm hoping to get a series going here of quick, fun and small projects that you can make for your sewing (or non-sewing) friends and family.

One gift idea is a lanyard for holding scissors or thread snips. Here's the cautionary disclaimer.  Don't give to children who may eat and choke on them or accidentally strangle themselves. Don't wear them near machinery where they can get caught and pull you in; e.g. your antique washing machine with the rollers. If your scissors are pointy and you hang them on your lanyard and bend over while sitting, you could stick yourself. And there's probably many other unpleasant things that could happen while wearing a lanyard around your neck. Same goes for necklaces and scarves. Just be careful!

Step One:  I started with some printed cotton that was cut in full lengths across the width.  Quilter's fat quarters won't work unless you cut and piece them so you have 45" straight across. I used my Simplicity Rotary Cutting Machine that I purchased some time ago from Joanne's Creative Notions. Trim off an edge of your fabric so it is perfectly straight (on the cross grain). Set the cutting width on the Rotary Cutting Machine to 1-7/8" (same as my bias tape maker--more on that later) and start cutting following the instructions.  Because it is on the cross grain, this machine cuts pretty neatly and is easy to control. I used a print with buttons on it. I like the sewing theme and the fact that the print is still recognizable as buttons when cut into strips. Cut as many as you want to make lanyards of, ensuring you have one or two for yourself. Of course you can just usie a quilter's ruler and rotary cutter to achieve the same thing but I wanted to play.

Step Two:  Next I set up my Simplicity Bias Take Maker machine. Don't let the name fool you. It folds and presses fabric cut on the cross grain too. While the machine was warming up, I stitched three strips together at the selvedges so I would only have to roll them and put them through the machine once. Then I followed the directions and out came three strips with a fold on either side. Watch to ensure the rollers don't catch where you stitched the strips together. This is fun. There are tape makers that you use with your iron if you don't have this machine.

Step Three:  Take the strips to the ironing board and press in half so the raw edges are to the inside. If you have joined several strips together cut them apart now, snipping off the selvedges.

Step Four:  Slip a lanyard clip onto one strip and then stitch the ends together with a 1/4" seam, right sides together, being careful not to twist the strip.

Step Five: While continuing to move the clip out of the way, edgestitch the folded edges together encasing the raw edges. Then edgestitch the other side of the strip.

Step Six: Slide the clip to the opposite side to the 1/4" seam and hold in place.  Using a zipper foot, carefully stitch a square with an "x" inside to keep the clip in place.

Clip on your snips or scissors and put it over your head. I find that using the 45" width of the fabric makes a nice length for scissor as I can reach the threads at the sewing machine.

Look in your stash for bright prints, holiday themed prints and so forth. Your sewing friends will appreciate this gift.

You can purchase the lanyard clips from my website at

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