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
*leather glue or cement
*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.