Remember how you used to not have kids? (ok, did I just lose everyone? You either don't have kids or you're in so deep you can't even fathom what a quiet evening, mess-free house, and stretch-mark-free stomach look like?) Well, let's use our imaginations.
You're walking through a crowded grocery store/airport/zoo and you see someone walking their child. On a leash. And though you would normally never judge, you instantly become Ms. Judgy McJudgerson. Really? A leash? On a kid? Isn't that a form of torture? Someone call CPS!
Well, I don't know about you, but that was definitely me.
But now I have kids.
One in particular.
I don't know if she is just trying to escape our family, or perhaps she thinks I need more (read: any) exercise and wants to give me a good chase, or maybe she just heard we were having vegetarian lasagna for dinner. For any or all of these reasons, she's a runner.
Cue scene one: A few weeks ago, at the zoo. She decides to make a break for it at the very moment that a large school group, at least 50 students strong, comes in between us. And as I'm pushing little sister around in the Hummer of strollers, I can't exactly bypass the crowd quickly. I reach the point where my daughter disappeared, and it's a T-stop. Left or right? Apparently I chose un-wisely, because after 15 minutes of searching along with all my very kind and non-judgemental mom friends, I had to alert zoo security who eventually tracked her down via radio. She, of course, was miserable. As she should be. I thought to myself, "Well, that wasn't the most fun I've ever had, but now she's learned her lesson in a big bad way."
Hmph. Cue the very next day: We are in the basement of a large department store when she suddenly disappears. After 5 minutes of searching that level of the store, a security guard makes eye contact with me and says (not in English), "little girl?" To which I roll my eyes and say (not in English), "WHERE?!" She had left the basement, gone up 2 flights of stairs, found the entrance to the store, walked outside, and gone into the electronics store next door where my husband was shopping.
That's all I have to say about that.
When we got home from that outing, I sat down in my sewing area and immediately constructed myself a LEASH. And I felt darn good about it too. Best invention ever, in my book!
So, now the tutorial, in case you've made it this far. It'll give you 1 leash, and when/if you're done using the leash, you can detach the parts and have a belt for your child and a key fob for yourself. Let's hear it for multi-purpose items!
Here's what you'll need:
Twill Tape (2 yards is plenty)
Key Fob hardware (1 of these and 2 of these)
Cotton Webbing (enough to slip on around your wrist)
Leash Fabric (optional if you're just making torture, mandatory for "fashionable" torture)
Key Fob Fabric (something that you like, as this will be for you later)
Step 1: Cut a length of twill tape to your desired leash length. Press twill tape in half length-wise and sew down the open edge so you have a long tube. Cut a strip of fabric 1.5 - 2 times longer than your strip of twill tape and ruffle it down the center so it is the same length as your tape (I roll-hem serged the edges to prevent fraying, but you could skip this step or cut the fabric wider, sew it inside out into a tube, and turn it so there wouldn't be any raw edges):
Step 2: Sew fabric to twill tape by sewing directly over your ruffling stitch, right down the middle. At one end, make a loop with the twill tape before sewing it down, on the other end, apply a metal key fob clamp. I'm not sure of the "correct" procedure, but I used a rubber mallet to clamp it down. Probably some kind of wrench would work too (though not as therapeutic as pounding that sucker down with a hammer):
Step 3: Cut cotton webbing to a length that will comfortably slip on your wrist + 1 inch. Cut a rectangle of fabric to the length of your webbing. The width will be twice the width of the webbing plus half an inch. Sew the fabric, right sides together, along the length using a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance:
Step 4: Turn fabric tube right side out, thread the cotton webbing through, form a bracelet, then clamp both ends together in the other metal clamp:
Step 5: Make the child's belt. Cut a length of twill tape to fit around your child's waist + 7 inches. Finish one end by folding the twill tape down and sewing across. On the other side, thread the twill tape through both D-rings and sew down to secure. If you enlarge this picture, you can see I sewed the twill tape down using a square with an "x" in the middle to make it extra secure:
Step 6: Assemble the leash. Slip the belt through the loop of twill tape on your leash. Use the metal key ring to attach the two key fob clamps:
And you're done!
If you plan to use the belt portion as an actual belt for your child, you could embellish it with fabric, stamps, stitching, or use colored or custom printed twill tape for that part.
And of course you have a lovely new key fob for yourself (perhaps with your very favorite discontinued Amy Butler fabric?):
We put the leash to use the next time we went to the zoo. Was it a tad embarrassing? Yes. Did we get some strange looks? Oh yeah. Was it better than spending 15 minutes wondering if I'd ever see my 3 year old again? Heck YES!