Freestanding Lace Headband DIY Tutorial

Freestanding Lace Headband DIY Tutorial - Melly Sews

Hey y’all – today I have a metallic freestandling lace heandband DIY for you.

Ever since high school (and that was a longer time ago that I’ll admit to) I have been fascinated with 1920s fashion. Whether I have short hair at the time or not (because the length of my hair is constantly varying), I always love the gorgeous headpieces – I think the fashion of that era perfectly captures the spirit of burgeoning freedoms and pushing the envelope of Victorian mores still lingering in the older generation while also paying homage to some of those same Victorian trends. So I’ve had this idea for a while since my hair is currently short – I wanted to use freestanding lace embroidery for a headband for myself, kind of like I did with this one for my niece. 

Love the 1920s vibe on this lace headband! Freestanding Lace Headband DIY Tutorial - Melly Sews

So, here’s how I did it. First, you’ll need metallic thread, embroidery needles for it, and water soluble stabilizer. I used   this stabilizer(affiliate link) and Madeira Metallic Silver/Gold thread and Madeira Titanium machine embroidery needles.

In addition you need to designs you’re going to embroider. I used some designs I bought and downloaded – this feather, this flower, and this flower.

Finally, for FSL embroidery make sure your bobbin thread is the same thread as your top thread.

And for the headband I used a piece of fold-over elastic (affiliate link) in black – you want to get a color close to your hair color so it will blend in – cut to my head circumference minus 1 inch.

Materials - Freestanding Lace Headband DIY Tutorial - Melly Sews

To make the FSL pieces, you put the water soluble stabilizer in your hoop, then attach to your machine and stitch out your designs. Note the unfinished feather on my hoop – my needle wasn’t in tightly and yeah, that design was not salvageable. I also recommend standing near your machine as it sews – metallic thread can break (this happened once while stitching out my designs). I also found myself holding the hoop flat against the machine bed toward the end of each design, because the final stitches were going through so much of the metallic thread that the hoop would pull up a little with each stitch and I didn’t like the noise of it clunking back down. Though it didn’t seem to be doing any kind of harm (other than to my ears).

Step 1 - Freestanding Lace Headband DIY Tutorial - Melly Sews

Cut the pieces out of the stabilizer, then put in water to dissolve the stabilizer. This part is my favorite – I even stuck a video of it on my Instagram account. 

Step 2 - Freestanding Lace Headband DIY Tutorial - Melly Sews

Let your pieces dry before continuing to the next step. First, again using the metallic thread, I hand sewed each pointed flower to each feather with a few stitches.

Step 3 - Freestanding Lace Headband DIY Tutorial - Melly Sews

Then I hand sewed the flower/feather combos to the elastic, near one end. Sew the combinations closer together than you think you need to or the center flower will have gaps around it when you the headband stretches around your head. Don’t se the ends of the feathers yet; just do a few stitches in the center of each flower.

Step 4 - Freestanding Lace Headband DIY Tutorial - Melly Sews

After you stitch in the center flower, overlap the ends of the elastic into a loop and use a wide zig-zag stitch with a short stitch length to stitch them together. This will be hidden under the lace pieces.

Step 5- Freestanding Lace Headband DIY Tutorial - Melly Sews

Try your headband on, then hold the feathers flat to it while it’s on your head. Stitch the ends of the feathers into place (you’ll probably have to try the headband on twice to do this). Notice in the picture above that they don’t lay flat when the headband is unstretched.

Another use for an embroidery machine - Freestanding Lace Headband DIY Tutorial - Melly Sews

And you’re done! Styling tips so that this doesn’t look too costume-y when you wear it. Keep the outfit you wear with it simple with modern lines, and keep your lipstick nude. If you pop on red lipstick or a heavily ornamented top, you’re more likely to look like you just left rehearsal for the historic play you’re in.

Love the 1920s headband vibe this has - so pretty! Freestanding Lace Headband DIY Tutorial - Melly Sews


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  1. yvonne says

    Very, very cute. I have an embroidery feature on my sewing machine, and I’ve been wanting to do some projects with FSL, this is an excellent way to exercise my skills. It’s very simple yet elegant, you could add a few pearls or rhinestones and really dress it up–it’s just a great idea! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. says

    That’s beautiful. Do you know if lace embroidery pieces similar to that are available at, say, a typical fabric store? (I don’t usually rummage around the lace section so I can’t remember if I’ve seen things like that before). My machine’s skewed towards quilting, rather than embroidery, so doing the whole myself would be a little bit impossible unless I take up needle lace.

  3. brenda says

    clever headband and it could be used in so many different occasions.

    will expect to see those first day of school photos next week. happy sewing weekend.
    just as a ps from one who has been there, take special care to give yourself some breaks that encourage circulation and extension of extremities from sitting at that sewing machine. I really cannot stress this enough !

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