2019_Pincushion_new logo
Janome General-Leaderboard right

Facebook Twitter Sew4Home RSS Feed Follow Me on Pinterest Instagram


Lip Balm Key Ring Mini Case

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

When the temperature dips or the wind flies, can chapped lips be far behind? This time of year, it can be difficult to keep your lips moist and protected from the elements. Your best defense is a good offense: constant swipes from your trusty tube of lip balm. I don't know about you, but I have tons of tubes of lip balm, however, there's never one nearby when I need it. So I end up buying another! Our mini key ring pouches are a Sew4Home Classic, and they make a perfect fast and easy gift for yourself as well as all your chap-lipped friends. They're also an awesome ScrapBusters project. Make several of these adorable key ring lip balm holders so you always have your favorite tubes on hand... and can stop buying more than you need.

Slip this little fob-with-a-pocket onto your key chain or add a swivel clip and hook it onto a purse buckle, gym bag or anywhere you need a handy holder for your emergency tube of lip balm. 

These cutie-pies make a great gift. Do you know someone whose lips should be kissably smooth?!

So quick and fun, and they need such tiny bits of fabric; you could make dozens just from the faves already in your stash. One thing to remember is that the motif will be upside down on one side if you choose a directional fabric, such as we did with our typewriter keys motif. This is because the front and back panels are each a single piece, so the fold creates the direction change. It's not a life-altering problem, just a heads-up when picking your scraps.


Each fob finishes at approximately 1¾" wide (at the base) x 3¾" high, excluding the D-ring.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • Scraps or Layer Cake Squares (10" x 10") - each mini case uses two coordinating fabrics and a small piece of interfacing; we used layer cake squares from Sunkissed by Sweetwater for Moda Fabrics, scraps from the Soho Bandana collection by Amy Barickman, and a single scrap from Just My Type by Michael Miller Fabrics
  • Scraps or ⅛ yard of lightweight fusible interfacing; we used 950F ShirTailor® by Pellon
  • ONE 1" D-ring for each
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out our one pattern sheet: Lip Balm Key Ring Mini Case
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
  3. Using the pattern, cut ONE from EACH of the TWO coordinating fabrics.
  4. Using the pattern, cut TWO from the lightweight fusible interfacing. 
    NOTE: We stacked all four layers and cut them all at once. In addition, we trimmed our interfacing pieces ¼" all around (ie. cutting on the seam line rather along the outer edge). This is not mandatory if you are using standard quilting cotton. However, if you choose a heavier-weight fabric, we recommend this step in order to keep the interfacing out of the seam allowance for as smooth a turned seam as possible. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, center the interfacing one the wrong side of each fabric piece and fuse in place.
  2. Pin the two fabric pieces right sides together, running your pins down the center.
  3. Place the pattern piece over the top and transfer the two "side dots" from the pattern to the fabric. You can simply use pins (as we did) or mark with a fabric pen or pencil. These dots are the start and end points for your outer seam. This is the opening that will be left for turning. 
  4. Using a ¼" seam, sew around the entire perimeter, pivoting at the corners, going slowly around each curve, and locking your seam at each dot on either side of the opening. 

    NOTE: The stitching method listed above is perfectly acceptable. However, with such a small item, you may want to try the alternative method listed below to maintain sharper corners.

Alternate seam method

  1. Using ¼" seams throughout, first stitch straight across the top and then straight across the bottom. 
  2. Next, stitch from the bottom edge up to the bottom of the curve.
  3. Then, stitch from the top of the curve to the top edge of fabric, but do not stitch the curve.
  4. When both sides are done (remembering to leave the opening on the one side with the dots), stitch each curve. Your curved seams will cross over the straight seams.

Turning and folding to finish

  1. Press the seam open. Trim the corners and clip the curves.

  2. Turn right side out through the side opening. Use a long, blunt end tool, such as a long knitting needle, chopstick or point turner to gently push out the corners until they are nice and square. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges along the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  3. Thread a hand sewing needle and hand stitch the opening closed. 
  4. Using the top fold line on the pattern piece as a guide, fold the top down. You are folding the front down over the back. Press in place.
  5. Slip the D-ring into place against the fold and pin.
  6. Attach a Zipper foot.
  7. Run one seam straight across as close to the D-ring as possible.
  8. Run a second seam straight across as close as possible to the bottom edge of the folded over tab.
  9. Again using the fold line on the pattern piece as a guide (the bottom line this time), fold the bottom up into place. You are folding the back up over the front. The bottom of the panel will end up just below the seam line of the top tab (but, of course, on the opposite side of the fob). 
  10. Press in place, then pin in place.
    NOTE: This is a good time to slip an actual tube of lip balm into the pocket to insure it fits as you'd like. You can adjust your seam allowance smaller or larger if need be.
  11. Using a ¼" or smaller seam allowance, stitch each side to secure the lip balm pocket.

    NOTE: If possible, use a lock stitch to secure your seam at the bottom and top of the pocket. This will give you a cleaner finish to your seam. If your machine does not have this feature, you can leave the thread tails long and hand knot. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild


Comments (4)

IRC said:
IRC's picture

These were the perfect gift for co-workers.  And, your post arrived just before I started a more time consuming (& less appreciated) gift project.  Thank you so much!

BTW, they were a hit!  Everyone loved them in the fabrics I picked just for them.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@IRC - We're so glad to hear that not only did you enjoy making them – your co-workers enjoyed getting them. High fives all around. Thanks for letting us know!!

Barbara said:
Barbara 's picture

I love these! What a handy gift idea, especially for teachers, aides, therapists, bus drivers, etc.  :-)

Maybe made a little longer they could carry a Sharpie pen?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

Barbara - Thank you so much! We like to post this project every year if we can ... it's always so popular. You could certainly make it a little longer. Also ... they make mini Sharpies now that could be just the right size.