Easy Wrist Strap Sewing Tutorial
Hi! I’ve seen a lot of posts in the group asking how to make wrist straps for bags if you don’t have a machine with a large hoop. With the holidays coming, a wrist strap makes a great addition to any POP bag or just a great keychain! As a mom of 4, I use mine all the time because it’s easy to find and grab in my purse and it keeps my hands free. Unfortunately there’s no great way to make one on a small embroidery hoop but they’re quick and easy to make on your sewing machine!
Interfacing (SF 101 or equivalent)
Iron and board
Scissors or rotary cutter and ruler
Matching top and bobbin thread
Clips or pins (optional but helpful)
The first step is to measure your keychain hardware and be sure of what size you have! I used 1” and 1.25” for this tutorial but they come in many different sizes. It’s important to know which one you have before you get started. Please measure if you aren’t sure!
If you haven’t made a wrist strap this way before, we’re basically going to make a double fold bias tape with our fabric, so the width we cut will depend on the final width we need to fit our keychain hardware.
For a 1” wrist strap, we’ll need 4” of fabric. For a 1.25” we’ll cut 5” of fabric width. My preferred length for this project is 12” but that’s just me. Experiment and see what you prefer!
1” hardware: cut one 4x12 fabric and one interfacing
1.25” hardware: cut one 5x12 fabric and one interfacing
I cut my fabrics with a ruler and rotary cutter. If these are not available to you, you can use a pencil or disappearing marker to draw your lines onto your fabric, or you can cut a piece of cardboard to your measurements and use that as a cutting template.
No matter how you cut, please note that it is very important to cut your pieces on the straight grain. It doesn’t matter as much which direction the grain is going but it absolutely needs to be straight. If you cut these off grain, they will twist and warp while sewing and your final product won’t be as nice. Ask me how I know. 😅
Here are my cut pieces. The dotted fabric is a little wider since that’s going to be my 1.25” finished one.
After you have your pieces cut out, iron on your interfacing according to the manufacturer's directions. They all work a little differently so be sure to use whichever method yours requires. The interfacing will aid in sewing your wrist strap and will also greatly improve its lifespan. It’s not a step you want to skip.
After your interfacing is on and ready to go, we’re going to fold the wrist strap in half along the wider side and press. This creates the center line so we know where to fold in our top and bottom.
When you open up your fabric, it will look like this:
Now we’re going to fold the top and bottom edges into the center and press really well. I do the bottom first, but it doesn’t really matter.
After you’ve done one edge, continue with the other one, folding so the edges meet in the middle and pressing well. The better you press here, the easier it will be to sew.
Now that we have both the top and bottom edges folded in, we will now fold the entire thing in half and press:
At this point, I pick them up and take a look. Are the edges even? Is my pressing crisp? If so, carry on! If it’s uneven or needs a little tweaking, now is the time to correct that.
Once you’re happy with how everything looks, it’s time to sew! I clip mine together, but that’s optional. If you’re not an experienced seamstress, I would recommend clips or pins to keep everything in line as it should be.
Head over to your sewing machine and we’ll start sewing. There’s a lot of creative wiggle room here with your seam allowance, so take a look and see what you like best. I mostly use about ⅛” but I’ve seen ones made with ¼” and they look great too.
For a wrist strap made with standard quilting cotton and SF 101 (or equivalent), I use a straight stitch and set my stitch length to 3. Having too short of a stitch length will cause warping in your wrist strap but you don’t want it too long either. 3 works best on my machine but a 3.25 or 3.5 would also work well. If you’re using a knit material, you’ll want a longer stitch length. At least 3.5 and I usually use 4. Either way, be sure your top and bobbin threads are the same, as this won’t have a true front and back.
Sew down the first side of your strap, remembering to backstitch at both ends.
Next we’ll sew down the other side. Flip your wrist strap over completely and we’ll sew down the other side in the same direction as you sewed the first side. Sewing in the same direction here reduces the warping and waving that the fabric will want to do.
Sew your second side, in the same direction as the first, backstitching at both ends:
Finish and clip your thread tails in your preferred method and we are just about finished! We will now fold the strap in half and make sure everything looks good. You can choose your front and inside at this point. Sometimes one side will look a little better than the other so I do a quick check to see and choose.
Now it’s time to add the hardware! I clipped mine together here for the photo but joining the ends before adding the hardware can be helpful when you’re just getting started. You could use glue, seam tape, or just baste the bottom edges together so they don’t separate while you’re attaching the hardware. It can be fiddly with the pliers when you’re new.
Place the ends into the hardware and use the pliers to clamp down the hardware into the fabric. I do it multiple times and then tug on it to be sure it’s secure.
If you have the wrist strap hardware but not the special pliers, that’s okay too. You can use regular pliers to clamp down the hardware. Just be sure to put something in between the pliers and the hardware to keep from getting scratches. For this method, I start in the middle and then clamp down both sides. Ensure your fabric doesn’t slip out of one side while you’re clamping the other. If you enjoy making these and will make several, the specific pliers are inexpensive and totally worth the money. They really do make it much quicker and easier.
And now we are done! Add a split ring if you’d like and you’re all set to go!
This wrist strap makes a great addition to any POP bag or just a nice little gift in general. Thanks for joining me!