Hi you! I recently made a lot of fabric lanyards for our 40 + Blogger Meet-Up 2015, and thought I’d share a little DIY tutorial. These lanyards are handy to have around…the house and your neck…bwaaahahahaha. I bet they’re pretty awesome for kids too!* Great for ID and badge collecting…and….you can make them right sized for your pint sized! Of course, my very favourite thing about them is that they are lightweight…oh, and that they go with all my outfits. Yeppers…they don’t require much fabric at all; almost every one I made for the meet-up came from my scraps stash. You need as little as a 3″ wide strip of fabric! After stitching about five of them, I was in over-achiever euphoria. You know…the I can do anything frame of mind. After fifteen, I had the system down pat and was in full on assembly mode. After thirty? I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to see, let alone sew, another fabric lanyard again, LOL. But, it was all for fun, and fun for all.

*EDIT: It has been mentioned in the comments section that lanyards should come with a safety breakaway point. The addition of a plastic pull-apart connection will alter the construction method, but what a great feature to have…particularly if you are making one for a child. Unfortunately, none of my ready-made lanyards have a breakaway point, so I was unaware of this feature. A quick google search has confirmed that safety breakaway parts are readily available online.

Okey dokey…you can make your lanyard any ‘ol size you want. You can see by the photograph above, that mine are of differing lengths. But, to give you a helping hand, just measure from the back of your neck to a spot somewhere around your belly button where you want your lanyard to end…now double that number and add 1″. For example, if you want your lanyard to hang 18″, cut your strip of fabric 37″ long. For a 3/4″ wide lanyard, as all mine are, cut your fabric 3″ wide! Now, let’s get at ‘er…

1. After cutting your fabric 37″ x 3″ {or whatever the heck size you want}, lay your strip wrong side up on your ironing board. Fold over one long edge 3/4″, wrong side to wrong side, pressing as you go…..merrily along….
2. Step two is basically a repeat of step one…we’re just working with the other long edge. Fold it 3/4″ towards the centre, again pressing as you go. And, looky dat, the two raw edges now meet at the midpoint and your lanyard in progress is 1 1/2″ wide.
3. Next up…fold your strip in half, yet again, lining up the outside edges carefully. Press in place. Bingo…we’ve got ourselves a 3/4″ wide length of fabric ready for the sewing machine.


4. Machine stitch the long open edge together using a 1/8″ seam allowance. I used the standard stitch length of 2.5 for all my machine sewing.
5. Repeat….stitch the other side 1/8″ from the fold.



6. Okay here goes…this next step, although not difficult, is the one I find just a little tricky to explain. Lanyards lie flat…they are not sewn into a circle. The most reliable way I found to get the lie correct was by placing the fabric around my neck. every. time. I recommend that you do the same. Drape your fabric around the back of your neck, allowing the long ends to hang down over your chest. Now, place the right side of the lanyard so that it lies flat over the top of the left side of the lanyard. Line up the raw edges evenly. Using photo 6 as a guide, turn in the raw edges, pin together.
7. Sew the raw edges together with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Grade the seam allowances {cut one seam allowance narrower than the other} and trim to a point.
8. Using photo 8 as a guideline, turn the raw edges to the inside of the lanyard, aligning them 1/2″ from the folded edge.
9. Top stitch a seam 1/4″ to the left of the folded edge, back stitching to secure. Keep in mind that you are creating a channel through which you will thread your split key ring. Continue stitching, with an 1/8″ seam allowance, through all layers, up one side of the lanyard sandwich for 1″, then turn at right angles and sew across the width of the lanyard, and then back down the other side. Finish with diagonal stitching within the square for extra strength.

10. Assemble your lanyard! Thread your split key ring through the channel, and optionally add your lanyard hook.

And that’s it! Finito, completo! You can attach a plastic sleeve, or simply add your keys to the ring. I purchased plastic sleeves and lanyard hooks at Walmart and the split key rings at a local dollar store.

Turnip Head Artwork courtesy of the inimitable Melanie of Bag and a Beret. Having a bad head day? You can borrow Turnip Head here

{Slight downside to these soft, comfy lanyards is that they tend to twist a little at the bottom, but they’re still fun!}

I hope you’re all having an awesome summer…or winter, if you’re down under. I’ll be back soon…you’ve seen a sneak peak of my latest dress, but I’m looking forward to giving it a post of it’s own!


  • Reply Margo B August 13, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    So cool sue!! I don't use a lanyard but I know many friends that do and this is an awesome idea to make for them! And such a great way to use up those scraps!

  • Reply Flo August 13, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Very nice! I am curious, did you assign the lanyards to specific people or did they pick their own? This puts me in mind of a couple of Christmas' ago when I decided to make a specific style of scarf for just about everyone. Thank heavens for projects that work up quickly!

  • Reply Connie August 13, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    These are great. You always get my wheels turning.

  • Reply Melanie August 13, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Sue, I'm not quite sure I got that. Can you do it again? Bwahahaha!! Your lanyards are fanfreakingtastic. At the meetup they looked great, were very practical for names, held the badges Pao gave out, and were great for clipping on the fabric flowers Suzanne made. Plus they are an excellent souvenir. It's what we in the non-biz call an “all-rounder.”

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 13, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I couldn't quite believe that I admitted to having a scrap stash, but we all do, don't we?

  • Reply Suzanne Carillo August 13, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    I need to reread this…when I learn how to sew! LOL

    I'm sure you can make these in your sleep now. You did such a bang-up professional job. Everyone loved being able to choose their own.


  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 13, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Great question Flo. We made little loot bags and gave them out at the initial dinner. Suzanne designed the bags and packaging. The outside of each bag was decorated with one of her fabric flowers and Melanie's artwork. Inside were a notepad {Suzanne's design and labour} and mechanical pencil. I added a lanyard to each bag, and Melanie added a bracelet that was created from supplies in her art studio. So…totally random who got which one. I invited people to trade if they coveted another, but everyone seemed happy with their unique selection. As the stuffers of the bags, we chose our lanyards beforehand. Ah, privilege, LOL.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 13, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Wheel turning is good, yes?

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 13, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Wot? We're not in the biz? Huh.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 13, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    haha…how 'bout if you need another lanyard, let me know.

  • Reply Eleanor Prout August 14, 2015 at 12:24 am

    Your lanyards are very pretty but I am going to be a wet blanket, sorry. You will find lanyards need to have a break point for safety. This is usually a small plastic clip that will separate when under stress so that nothing untoward happens, such as choking when they are accidentally caught on something. Particularly important for children.

  • Reply Merche Martinez August 14, 2015 at 4:30 am

    I didn't know the English name for these…I don't even know the Spanish name, now that I think of it! But it is a great idea for a little present, and I think that's what my work mates are going to get at the begining of the term. Thank you for the idea and the tutorial…you are the best!!

  • Reply Carley Lee August 14, 2015 at 6:00 am

    Love this tutorial, Sue! What a fun project 🙂

  • Reply Val S August 14, 2015 at 7:07 am

    You tempt me to want to sew, and that's kind of a miracle. These are so cute, and I could probably find all kinds of uses for a pretty lanyard. Now if Melanie will do a drawing tutorial…

  • Reply Anonymous August 14, 2015 at 9:08 am

    What a great idea! Thanks for the tutorial, 'cause I'm going to make several.

  • Reply Anonymous August 14, 2015 at 10:20 am

    I LOVE my lanyard. Thank you so much.
    Billy Collins, the American poet, has written a wonderful poem called The Lanyard. It's absolutely worth seeking out and even better if you can hear him read it. I think there's a video on YouTube of his reading the poem.
    Vancouver Barbara

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 14, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Not a wet blanket…I'll make a mention in the post about this, thanks. It's interesting…I have half a dozen ready-made lanyards and not a one has a breakaway point.

    • Reply Brigitte August 6, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      I made a bunch of these for my daughter’s rock star bday party a few years ago. The kids had backstage vip passes. I thought about a breakaway thingy after I made them. I couldn’t find them in a hurry so I cut them apart on the back and added Velcro. Worked great and I didn’t have to go out and buy anything extra.

      • Reply Sue August 6, 2019 at 4:06 pm

        OH, that’s a brilliant solution. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 14, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Thanks Merche! What a fun giftie for your colleagues!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 14, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Thanks Carley!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 14, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I'd be first in line for a Melanie drawing tutorial, but I fear that Melanie's gift can't be taught.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 14, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Oooh, several….been there, done that!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 14, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I will check this out, thanks Barbara!

    I hope things are progressing on your own blog! Hint Hint!

  • Reply Shirl August 14, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Great tutorial Sue! I am sure that receiving their own personal one of these at the meet up was a hit! And will give them another wonderful memory of that weekend.


  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 14, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks Shirl! I think we all enjoyed our little goodie bags!

  • Reply amy mayen August 14, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Those are the prettiest lanyards I've seen! Great tut, I'm pinning it. I actually need to make one. I keep my keys on a lanyard and mine is pretty ratty looking. I never even thought to MAKE one. *slaps forehead*

  • Reply Louisa August 15, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Your lanyards were so nice it took me awhile to realise that they were handmade! Thanks for my red one, Sue!

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion August 15, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Oh my goodness, I had already guessed it, but now that I see the tutorial, I know for sure: THAT WAS A HELL OF A LOT OF WORK. All those lanyards (I had never heard the word before). I keep mine on my desk. It is sitting next to me with the nametag of the meet-up. I will use it as well, but for now I keep it to look at.
    Thanks again Sue.

  • Reply Heather Gibson August 16, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Such a great way to use up scraps! Thanks for sharing Sue!

  • Reply Sewing Princess August 16, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Cool idea! Thanks for the tutorial…I wanted to replace my work lanyard for a while…this is finally pushing me to do it 😉

  • Reply nimbus nim August 16, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Great tutorial, thanks! :))))

  • Reply MIS PAPELICOS -Mis P August 19, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh so jealous not to be there, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    Will you come to Spain at all?

  • Reply Rebecca Harasym August 20, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    You lanyards are beautiful and what a sweet and special thing to give to all of the ladies! I am sure they felt special! I love the patterns you chose. I had no idea that they should have a breakaway point. The stuff you learn.


  • Reply Anne M Bray August 21, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Best lanyards ever (and, being a girlfriend to a rock star, I've experienced many a lanyard)! Mine is the blue ground/white polkadots model up there in the photo. I used it again on my trip to NYC last week. We stayed at a Euro-style hotel with common bathrooms — used the lanyard + badge holder to carry my keycard. SO GLAD you made us these! Thanks again!!!!!

  • Reply Anne M Bray August 21, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Most music event lanyards don't either. And I'm sure there are lots of musicians that could use break points! Thanks for the intel, Eleanor.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 22, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    Haha…I do the forehead slap frequently!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 22, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Why, you're very welcome Louisa! Hope you're feeling well again and enjoying holiday time.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 22, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    LOL…you are so worth the effort, although I'm sure you'd rather I had sewn you a haute couture dress. I still can't figure out how Suzanne whipped up all those flower brooches.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 22, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    LOL…now, I will be keeping even a 3″ wide piece of scrap….sigh…

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 22, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    You're welcome Silvia! I'm betting you will whip up a classy lanyard!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 23, 2015 at 12:00 am

    And thank you bunches for taking the time to comment! 🙂

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 23, 2015 at 12:00 am

    I would LOVE to visit Spain!!!! And absolutely to visit you! Hopefully!!!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 23, 2015 at 12:02 am

    'tis true….I still have yet to see a lanyard that has the break points, but I'm sure proper safety lanyards have them. I think I only see the *freebie* types that are handed out at events.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 23, 2015 at 12:03 am

    Aw…thanks for your kind words Anne! You are in possession of my Spring For Cotton Dress lanyard, LOL.

  • Reply Heather N February 5, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    Thank you for this tutorial! Super easy to follow. I have a big chest and found 44″ strip to start, ended up 20″ with the ring (19″ without) hit me in the right spot.

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