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Saturday, 11 July 2015

Repurposing and Upcycling... Ribbon Key Case

Ribbon Collection crafted by eSheep Designs
My "ribbon collection" is now complete!
From the time I owned my first vehicle, I've carried a small ID wallet/key case to keep my driver's license and keys at the ready. This made sense since I was a student and did not necessarily carry a wallet or a purse (had no money; ha, ha) and being able to grab just a small key case and throw it "wherever" was very convenient.

Over the years, car keys have evolved, to say the least. I now have a push button ignition system, so my car keys are actually permanently inside my purse. But I still keep a few old-fashioned keys, all of those plastic loyalty key tags and my driver's license inside one of those key cases.

But not any old key case will do. I had a heck of a time finding the right one the last time I looked, so when I finally found what I had been searching for, I bought two.

This one I've used for the past I don't know how many years is made out of leather, so it may actually still last for several more "I don't know how many years". But with the wear and tear that's now showing on it, I had been thinking of breaking out the new one.

My faithful leather keycase...

That is, until I decided to follow up on an idea that I had after I made my recent wallet. With enough ribbon still left, I could make myself a key case to match. This would also be another upcyling project as I did not have the necessary hardware and would have to salvage the key hook assembly from the existing key case.

[An aside: I'm calling it a "key hook assembly" here, but what the devil are they actually called so that one could even start searching for them???]

By now quite an expert at the whole ribbon sewing process, I made the main piece and folded the ends back on itself to form the two side pockets.

Ribbon Key Case crafted by eSheep Designs
The easy part is done...

After I removed the middle piece of the key case, it occurred to me that I wanted some way to disguise the leather, since it didn't really "go". Taking a page from my friend Jake's book of sewing secrets, I thought to glue some fabric around it.

Ribbon Key Case crafted by eSheep Designs
My first attempt at gluing fabric!

Since I was being rather unorthodox, I also thought to bind the sides of that piece with white electrical tape.

Ribbon Key Case crafted by eSheep Designs
White electrical tape binds up the raw edges of the middle piece before it's all sewn up...

And then came the hard part. The leather is not exactly thin and I didn't have a proper needle on hand. But I "made do" and with the help of my zipper foot (and generous hand cranking), I managed to attach that salvaged middle piece to my new key case body.

And here it is, all loaded up again...

Ribbon Key Case crafted by eSheep Designs
All done (with some "temporary" hook and loop tape)!

You may have noticed that I did not pause at any point to attach a snap fastener. All of my snaps are too big so I decided to go with some hook and loop tape for now. (I hand sewed it in.) It will be easy enough to go back in at some later date and attach a smaller snap if need be.

Ribbon Key Case crafted by eSheep Designs
Key case closed...

If only I can find myself a source for the required hardware, this might be easy to make from scratch.


  1. It wouldn't have the spacing, but you could use snap hooks/lanyard hooks and a small metal rod - or even a wooden dowel (oak or another hardwood if you can get it). Home Depot or stores like that do have metal rods. You would need to be able to cut it to size.

    1. My unit is still holding up well after many years. I've now found that the hardware ("key case hardware") is widely available on Etsy for a reasonable price. Still, many thanks for your suggestion, but I'm glad I won't need to DIY the solution. :-)


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