THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

September 5, 2007

Prada key leash

Filed under: Accessories,Gigi,Leather sewing — Gigi @ 4:29 pm

When I bought this red Prada hobo last year, I received a great key leash. I only recently started using it and have found it so handy for those of us who like to carry (and fill!) a large bag.



This particular leash is longer than most – about 13″ without the hardware. I really like the length because I can lock up without unhooking the leash. It also allows me to loop it around handles of totes (with the keys dangling inside) or loop it around my wrist if I’m just dashing into the dry cleaners or grocery store. Happily, many bags today already come with an interior ring designed for a key leash (who knows why the Prada ring is on the outside – I would never do it that way!) or you can add one to your home sewn bags.


For this project you will need:

*mid-weight leather scrap the desired length of your leash plus a few scraps
*key ring
*swivel hook
*leather glue or cement
*glover’s needle
*heavy thread (I used 69 bonded nylon)

Making your own leash is easy as I will demonstrate here. First, I selected a scrap of leather in the desired length, cut two strips and glued them together with my favorite Tandy leather cement. This cement is available at Tandy stores or at Michael’s. You can also use contact cement or other glues designed for leather (like Sobo). You’ll also need to reserve a couple of smaller pieces – about 2″ long – for finishing the ends.


Once the cement dries, simply use your rotary cutter to cut a 1/2″ wide strap. This is infinitely easier than trying to evenly glue two 1/2″ wide pieces together. Cut two 2″ long and 1/2″ wide strips from your single layer of leather.


I topstitched my long strap but didn’t bother doing so on the short pieces.


Next comes edge finishing: I really love Fiebing’s Edge Kote to give the edges a more finished look. You can purchase Edge Kote at Tandy or online, it is available in black and brown (I sure wish they’d add more colors). Someone suggested to me that acrylic craft paint would also work but I haven’t tried it yet so I don’t know how durable it is. Simply take a small paint brush and carefully coat the edges. Allow to dry.


Then, I simply added the ring and hook to the ends and secured them with machine stitching. This stitching is really important – you don’t want to lose your keys!



Cover the raw edges with your single layer strips, cutting them to length. Secure with handstitching poking small holes with your awl first. To make sure the finishing strips wouldn’t slide off I added a few drops of leather cement. That shiny stuff you see on the leather is just a little oil from my machine – oops!


That’s it, you’re done! A leash to rival the pricey original.


PS: I used an industrial walking foot machine for this project. If your machine will not handle the thickness of the leather you can omit the decorative edgestitching (although most machines can easily handle those two layers) and then securely handstitch the ends with heavy thread (don’t forget to use an awl to make handsewing easier) or secure with a rivet.



  1. Slick as a button on a shirt! Great tutorial, Gigi. Thanks

    Comment by Mary Beth — September 5, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

  2. Thanks Gigi for sharing this handy tool.

    Comment by Els — September 5, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

  3. Gigi I am not familiar with edge coat so I googled and found out that there are more colors than only black and brown.

    Edge Kote is manufactured in Black, Tan, Light Tan, Brown, Light Brown, Cordovan, Burgundy, Mahogany and Neutral. See

    Comment by Els — September 5, 2007 @ 5:34 pm

  4. What a great idea for holidays Gigi! I’m lusting after that Prada bag too…!

    Comment by phyllisc — September 5, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

  5. Between Phyllis and her Anne Klein shoe advice and now you with your Prada purses, I am going to be one happy gal in the poor house! Assuming I give in of course …

    Comment by lorna — September 5, 2007 @ 7:32 pm

  6. It’s a good thing I love you as much as I do, otherwise I’d come down there, clonk you on the head with your Chanel shoes and steal your Prada bag and key fobs!

    Can you tell I’m wicked jealous? 🙂

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — September 5, 2007 @ 8:11 pm

  7. I am voting for this!I enjoy in large bags but usually have the problem to find my key!Thanks for the idea!

    Comment by Maja — September 6, 2007 @ 1:33 am

  8. What a great tutorial. I’m with Phyllis, great idea for holiday gifts.

    Comment by Cindyann — September 6, 2007 @ 7:13 am

  9. Excellent – your tutes are always clear (and for things I don’t know much about). Thanks.

    Comment by touran — September 6, 2007 @ 11:31 am

  10. You *had* to go and post a *red* Prada bag, didn’t you! Of course it’s gorgeous, but the long key clip is just plain clever. I shall have to make a few of these – I know they will come in super handy. I’ll even make them in different colors for my 3 different sets of keys!

    Comment by Summerset — September 6, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

  11. Great tutorial! I love large bags so I can carry all kinds of stuff with me (I call them “Sport Billy bags”) and finding my keys with this super simple and well made tool will be much easier! Thanks for sharing this!

    Comment by Tany — September 7, 2007 @ 2:30 pm

  12. Whoa – looks just like Prada. thanks for the tutorial!

    Comment by Kelly B — September 8, 2007 @ 12:53 pm

  13. Hey Gigi, I am researching machines right now and would love one with an industrial walking foot… what machine do you use?

    Comment by dbaron — September 18, 2007 @ 12:40 am

  14. Great idea!

    Comment by Steph — October 9, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

  15. Bookmarking.

    Comment by Steph — October 9, 2007 @ 4:30 pm

  16. What kind of machine do you have for heavy duty & leather? I am looking for a portable heavy duty machine & am looking @ machines on

    Great job on the Prada Key Leash. Good idea!

    Comment by Kathy — February 15, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

    • I know this is very late (sorry!) but I use a Consew 206RB-5 for my heavy work. Heavy work requires a compound-feed walking foot machine. To be frank, I have not seen any good-quality portable machine that can handle this type of work. You see lots of portables that say “heavy duty” but, in reality, there is nothing heavy-duty about them. Sailrite does make a portable walking-foot machine but not anything that I would consider buying.

      Comment by Gigi — August 8, 2010 @ 10:30 am

  17. I have to say, I can not agree with you in 100%, but that’s just my opinion, which indeed could be very wrong.
    p.s. You have a very good template for your blog. Where have you got it from?

    Comment by automotive floor jacks — March 14, 2009 @ 7:42 am

  18. […] know all that well. I decided to make a leather key leash as outlined in my 2007 post over at The Sewing Divas. I chose some red leather from my stash and used baby blue #69 bonded nylon thread for the […]

    Pingback by Quick Birthday Gift « Gigi Sews — August 7, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

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