Sew a headband from fabric with this simple beginners’ sewing tutorial including video
Hey y’all, today I’m going to share how to make a fabric headband. This is quick sewing project and I have a free pattern for these DIY fabric headbands to share with you. A simple headband is a good sewing project to use up a small piece of fabric and scraps of elastic. Fabric headbands also make great last minute gifts. You can even make them reversible! Keep reading for details to get the pattern and a video tutorial to sew a DIY headband.
Sewing A Headband
As you can see in the images above and below, there is a little shaping to these hair accessories. They are wider in the middle and narrower toward the back where they connect to elastic. The top part of the headband is made with woven fabric, not stretchy knit fabric, so it can be easier for a beginner to sew. And the elastic in the back keeps them snug on your head and allows for some wiggle room in the fit. The pattern I’m sharing for them includes sizes for babies, toddlers, kids and women.
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Want to sew a woven fabric headband? You’ll need:
- The pattern. See below for details to get it
- Scraps of fabric at least 3 inches wide by 18 inches long. Quilting cotton is perfect for this.
- 6 inches of elastic
- Optional: tube turner (affiliate link) If you don’t have a tube turner you can use a safety pin
- Thread that coordinates with your fabric.
A note about elastic: In the video tutorial I’ll show you how to use 3/8 inch elastic with a fabric casing, fold over elastic, and lace elastic. Widthwise, 3/8 width elastic works best for this project. However, you can go down to 1/4 wide elastic it will still work. And you can go up to 1/2 inch fold over elastic; since this type of elastic is softer it’s easy to squish it a bit to work in the headband ends. For the same reason, you can go up to even 1 inch wide lace elastic, it will scrunch into the ends of the headband nicely. Clear elastic is not recommended for these as it will pull at hair and it’s really too firm for these headbands. For more on types of elastic, see this post.
I drafted a simple template for cutting out this stylish headband. You can print it on one sheet of letter or A4 size paper and then use it as a guide to cup your fabric scraps. In general you want to cut with the grainline of the fabric running lengthwise down the headband, but you can also cut these on the cross grain. This project is so small grainline doesn’t really matter. For more about fabric grain, see this post.
To get this pattern, you must either be a free newsletter subscriber or have purchased a gallery access pass. Then click your preferred option from the buttons below. Existing newsletter subscribers should look at the bottom of the most recent Friday newsletter for the current free pattern gallery password. If you purchased the all access pass you’ll log in to your shop account to download the pattern. Note that the free version of the pattern does not have printable instructions so you’ll need to refer to this post for instructions.
Putting The Headband Together
To sew your headband, watch the video below or on YouTube here if you prefer or if it won’t load for some reason. A summary of the sewing steps is below the video.
Time needed: 15 minutes.
How to Make a Fabric Headband with a Sewing Machine
- Print your pattern
See the pattern section above for instructions to get your pattern.
- Cut your fabric
Cut two pieces of fabric on the fold. You can cut these from the same fabric as I did, or from two different fabrics so that the headband is reversible.
- Fold the short ends of your fabric strips 3/8 inch to the wrong side and press
This will make it easier to enclose the raw edges after you sew the long edges. Make sure the two pieces of fabric are the exact same length. You can check this when you place them right sides together.
- Stitch down the long edges, including over the folds
Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance to stitch down the long edges. Since you’re stitching over the folds, the raw edges will end up inside in the next step.
- Turn the tube right side out.
Using a tube turner or safety pin, turn the tube right side out. For demonstrations of different tube turning techniques, see this post.
- Press the headband and topstitch the edges (optional)
If you topstitch the edges, I suggest moving your needle to the edge of the presser foot so you can sew close to the edge while the fabric still fully covers the feed dogs on your sewing machine.
- Insert elastic ends into short open ends of the headband
The wood stick from the quick turn tool can be helpful for this step.
- Topstitch across short ends to secure elastic
I also backstitch to make sure this is really secure.