How To Make a Headband, Version 5: Stretch Jersey Headband

Stretch Jersey Headband - 1
Stretch Jersey Headband - 2

Jersey/spandex fabric headband 2" (51 mm) wide by 17" (43 cm) in circumference.

You can find a simple jersey headband in stores for pretty cheap, like this American Apparel headband for $8. But if you have some scrap fabric or a t-shirt that you don’t wear lying around, you easily can sew one yourself.

Materials: Jersey knit/spandex blend fabric

Instructions

  1. For a 2" (51 mm) wide headband, cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1.
  2. Note for the length: You’ll need a length of approximately 17-19" (43-48 cm), but it depends on the stretchiness of your fabric and the size of your head. Try wrapping a folded piece of your fabric around your head to figure out the exact length, adding in an extra 0.5" (13 mm) for seam allowances.

    Note for the width: If you want a different width for your headband, multiply your desired finished headband width by two and add 0.5" (13 mm) to determine the width of fabric to cut.

    Diagram 1

    Diagram 1
  3. Fold the short sides of the headband in half with right sides together. With a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance and using a stretch stitch, sew the long raw edges together to create a tube, stopping and starting about 1.5" (38 mm) away from each end. See Diagram 2.
  4. Diagram 2

    Diagram 2
  5. Turn the tube right side out.
  6. With right sides together and using a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance, sew the short ends of the headband together as shown in Diagram 3. It will be tricky to get the short ends to lay flat to sew them together, so you may have to pin and sew a portion at a time.
  7. Diagram 3

    Diagram 3
  8. Fold the seam back into the inside of the tube. Tuck the raw edges at the opening to the inside of the tube and slipstitch the opening closed.
  9. Press the headband so that the seams lay flat.

How to Make a Headband, Version 4: Headband with Ties

Headband with Ties - 1
Headband with Ties - 2

Silk headband measuring 2" (51 mm) wide by 17" (43 cm) long with 13" (33 cm) long ties. The headband is connected at the back with covered elastic measuring 0.5" (13 mm) wide by 4" (10 cm) long.

Materials

  • Woven fabric, like lightweight cotton or silk
  • 0.5" (13 mm) wide elastic–you’ll need a length of about 4.5" (11 cm), but you can wait to cut it until the fitting stage
  • Safety pin or loop turner

Instructions

Measuring and Cutting

  • Main Piece (including ties): Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1. The 44" (112 cm) length creates ties about 13" (33 cm) long; adjust the length if you want longer or shorter ties. The width range of 3.5" (89 mm) to 8.5" (22 cm) results in finished headband widths ranging from 1.5" (38 mm) to 4" (10 cm), respectively. To determine the exact fabric width to cut, multiply your desired finished headband width by two and add 0.5" (13 mm).
  • Connector Piece: Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1.
  • Note: Any grainline orientation should be fine, but laying the long sides of the rectangles crosswise (i.e., perpendicular to the selvage) will use the least fabric yardage.

    Diagram 1

    Diagram 1

Sewing

  1. Fold the short sides of the main piece in half with right sides together and, using a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance, sew the long raw edges together to create a tube, as shown in Diagram 2. Repeat with the connector piece.
  2. Diagram 2

    Diagram 2
  3. Turn the main piece right side out and press so that the seam is positioned at center back (CB). Repeat with the connector piece. (Use a safety pin or loop turner to turn the pieces right side out if needed.)
  4. Insert the elastic inside the connector piece using a safety pin or loop turner.
  5. Sew the elastic and connector piece together at one end with a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance, as shown in Diagram 3. (On the other end, just leave the end of the elastic sticking out for now; you can pin the end of the connector piece to the elastic to keep it in place if needed).
  6. Diagram 3

    Diagram 3
  7. Fold the main piece in half lengthwise and mark it with chalk or a fabric marker 8.5" (22 cm) away from the fold in both directions, as shown in Diagram 4.
  8. Diagram 4

    Diagram 4
  9. If your headband is wider than 1.5" (38 mm), pleat the main piece at each mark to make it about 1.5" (38 mm) wide, as shown in Diagram 5. Pin or baste stitch the pleats to secure them.
  10. Diagram 5

    Diagram 5
  11. Lay the connector piece down on top of the main piece, both with CB seams facing up. Align the stitchline at the end of the connector piece (Step 4) with one of the marks on the main piece, as shown in Diagram 6. At the mark, fold the sides of the main piece over the connector piece (the folded sides will overlap a little), and sew all layers together.
  12. Diagram 6

    Diagram 6
  13. Test the fit by trying on the headband while stretching the free end of the elastic to the other mark on the main piece. Cut elastic to desired length, including an extra 0.25" (6 mm) for a seam allowance.
  14. Repeat Step 4 with the other ends of the elastic and connector piece.
  15. Repeat Step 7 with the other ends of the connector piece and main piece, making sure the headband is not twisted.
  16. Remove the basting stitches made in Step 6, if any.
  17. (Optional) Cut the ends of the ties at an angle as shown in Diagram 7.
  18. Diagram 7

    Diagram 7
  19. Tuck the ends of the ties 0.25" (6 mm) to the inside and edgestitch the openings closed.

How To Make a Headband, Version 3: Easy Ribbon Headband

Easy Ribbon Headband - 1
Easy Ribbon Headband - 2

Ribbon headbands secured to elastic ponytail holders.

I’ve seen many headbands lately which use a loop of cord elastic that is cinched at the center, usually by a metal crimp, to form a figure eight (like Anthropologie’s Oxford headband, Anthropologie’s Fairytale Theater headband, Banana Republic’s double ribbon headband, and Santi’s metallic headband). This inspired me to use two ponytail holders to achieve a similar effect–because I do not have any metal crimps and neither do you, I presume, and, while we’re at it, maybe you don’t even have cord elastic. So here it is, an easy headband using minimal supplies that you probably already have at home.

Materials

  • Ribbon, approximately 15-20" (38-51 cm) in length (the length will depend on the size of the ponytail holders you use)
  • 2 elastic ponytail holders

Instructions

  1. Interlace the 2 ponytail holders together as shown in Diagram 1 and pull on them to form a knot.
  2. Diagram 1

    Diagram 1
  3. Fold one end of your ribbon 0.25-0.5" (6-13 mm) to the wrong side twice, slipping one of the ponytail holders inside the second fold. Without sewing over the ponytail holder, sew the folded end of the ribbon with a rectangle of stitching as shown in Diagram 2.
  4. Tip: If your ribbon is wider than 0.75" (19 mm), you may want to fold or pleat the ribbon at the ends so that it is narrow enough to attach easily to the ponytail holders.

    Diagram 2

    Diagram 2
  5. Test the fit by trying on the headband while stretching the ponytail holders to the unattached end of the ribbon. Cut the ribbon to the desired length, adding in extra length for the seam allowance.
  6. Repeat Step 2 with the other end of the ribbon and the other ponytail holder, making sure the ribbon is not twisted.

Retail Roundup: Wide Headbands

Wide Headband with Covered Elastic - 1

Links to Retail Examples of the DIY Wide Headband

Echo headband, in nylon mesh with colorful embroidery.

Anthropologie Strata headband, 4.5" wide in a brightly-striped open knit, made from cotton and polyester.

Anthropologie Gardening headband, 3" wide in floral silk.

Ann Taylor headband, about 3-4" wide in white cotton with brown floral embroidery. And a similar Ann Taylor headband in black with white pindots.

Retail Roundup: Head Scarves

Head Scarf with Covered Elastic - 1

Links to Retail Examples of the DIY Head Scarf

Juicy Couture cherry print head wrap, 13" wide by 15.5" long; gathered at the ends and attached to 1.5" wide by 6.5" long elastic; in printed voile.

J. Crew No-Hassle head scarf, 9.5" wide by 16" long; pleated at the ends and attached to 1.25" wide by 6" long covered elastic; in lightweight printed cotton.

Plus, several from Anthropologie: Blocks & Blooms headband, Cafe Au Lait headband, and Links headwrap, all in either silk or cotton, ranging from 6-7.5" wide and attached to covered elastic.

And finally, Intuition’s multi-print elastic back headband (no details given but you can see some photos).

How to Make a Headband, Version 1: The Head Scarf

Head Scarf with Covered Elastic - 1
Head Scarf with Covered Elastic - 2

Silk head scarf measuring 10" (25 cm) wide by 15.5" (39 cm) long with covered elastic measuring 1" (25 mm) wide by 6" (15 cm) long.

Materials

  • Woven fabric, like lightweight cotton, linen, silk chiffon, or silk charmeuse
  • 1" (25 mm) wide elastic–you’ll need a length of about 6" (15 cm), but you can wait to cut it until the fitting stage
  • Safety pin or loop turner

Instructions

Measuring and Cutting

  • Main Piece: Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1. You can vary the width quite a bit depending on how much of your head you want covered; I’d say 6" (15 cm) to 13" (33 cm) is the general range for this style.
  • Connector Piece: Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1. The 2.75" (70 mm) dimension is sized for 1" (25 mm) wide elastic. If you choose a different width for your elastic, update this dimension by multiplying the width of your elastic by 2 and adding 0.75" (19 mm).
  • Note: Any grainline orientation should be fine, but laying the long sides of the rectangles crosswise (i.e., perpendicular to the selvage) will use the least fabric yardage.

    Diagram 1

    Diagram 1

Sewing

  1. Hem the long raw edges of the main piece by folding each raw edge 0.25" (6 mm) to the wrong side twice, as shown in Diagram 2. Sew along the upper edge of the hem. If you are using a very lightweight material like chiffon and/or using a rolled hem presser foot, you can sew a narrower 0.125" (3 mm) hem.
  2. Diagram 2

    Diagram 2
  3. Pleat or gather the short, raw edges of the main piece so that they are the same width as the elastic, 1" (25 mm) in this case. See Diagram 3. To gather, sew a gathering stitch (i.e., a long, straight stitch with the tension loosened) within the 0.5" (13 mm) seam allowance, leaving long thread ends; pull the thread ends to gather the edge to the width of the elastic and then tie the threads. To pleat, try using overlapping knife pleats and sew a basting stitch within the 0.5" (13 mm) seam allowance to hold down the pleats.
  4. Diagram 3

    Diagram 3
  5. Fold the short sides of the connector piece in half with right sides together and, using a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance, sew the long raw edges together to create a tube as shown in Diagram 4.
  6. Diagram 4

    Diagram 4
  7. Turn the connector piece right side out with a safety pin or loop turner and press so that the seam is positioned at center back (CB).
  8. Fold and press the raw edges of the connector piece 0.25" (6 mm) to the inside of the tube.
  9. Insert the elastic inside the connector piece tube and pin the connector piece onto the elastic so that the elastic sticks out on both ends.
  10. Overlap one end of the elastic 0.5" (13 mm) onto one of the raw ends of the main piece and sew them together as shown in Diagram 5. Test the fit by trying on the headband while stretching the elastic to the unattached end of the main piece. Cut elastic to desired length. Overlap and sew the unattached ends of the elastic and main piece like you did on the other side.
  11. Diagram 5

    Diagram 5
  12. Slide the ends of the connector piece just past the elastic ends, keeping the raw edges of the connector piece folded inside the tube. Topstitch next to the folded edge of one of the connector pieces. Topstitch again about 0.25" (6 mm) further down the connector piece. See Diagram 6. Repeat the topstitching on the other side.
  13. Diagram 6

    Diagram 6

whipup