Sew a Headband in 7 Simple Steps

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This basic headband wins our prize for cutest stash-buster EVER. We recommend making one to match every outfit, because why not?

Step 1: Cut the fabric and elastic

For this tutorial, we're making a headband with a finished width of 2" (the pattern uses a 3/8" seam allowance), but this is easy to adjust if you'd like something different. I used quilting cotton, but any cotton fabric would work, including lightweight denim and even knits.

Cut out two fabric pieces:

  • A larger piece, cut to 18" x 4¾"
  • A smaller piece, cut to 9" x 1¾"

The larger piece will make up the main portion of the headband, and the small piece will cover the elastic.

If you'd like your headband to be reversible, cut:

  • Two larger pieces, cut to 18" x 2¾" (one from each of two different fabrics)
  • Two smaller pieces, cut to 9" x 1¾" (one from each of two different fabrics)

The construction is the same for the reversible headband, except that instead of folding over the one piece of fabric, you'll have a second seam to join the two fabrics together on both sections. 

Finally, cut a piece of elastic 6" long. I used ¾" wide elastic, but anything from ½" to 1" works great, depending on what you have in your stash.

How to adjust the size

You can adjust the width of the headband by changing the size of the large rectangle, making it wider or narrower as you like. Just make sure to include the 3/8" seam allowance.

For the same look in a child's version, measure around their head. The main headband part should be about two thirds of this measurement, and the elastic part should be about one third. 

Step 2: Fold and press

 

Fold both fabric pieces lengthwise in half, then press along the folded edge. Pressing the crease at this point makes it easier to press when the seam is finished and you turn it right-side out again.

Step 3: Stitch edges together

 

Stitch the long edge together on both fabric pieces using a 3/8" seam allowance.

On the smaller piece, trim the seam allowance down to about 1/8" so it'll be less bulky when it covers the elastic.

Turn both pieces right side out. 

Step 4: Press the headband pieces

Press both headband pieces flat, making sure to get the stitched seam up to the edge. 

Step 5: Press ends of long piece

On both ends of the longer headband piece, tuck the edge in about ½" and press it inside. Set this piece aside. 

Step 6: Make the elastic portion

Attach a safety pin to the end of your piece of elastic. Thread it through the shorter piece, making sure the other end of the elastic stays even with the edge of the fabric. Put a pin there to hold it in place, then scrunch the fabric down around the elastic and pin it at the other end.

Stitch through all layers of fabric and elastic on both ends to secure the elastic. 

Step 7: Attach the elastic to headband

Tuck one end of the elastic into the opening in the larger headband piece and pin it in place. The larger piece side will be a bit wider, so match up the edges and then fold over the extra fabric in the middle to make a small pleat.

Pin the other side in the same way. Make sure that your headband and elastic parts are both flat (not twisted in the middle).

Stitch back and forth across the pinned sections a few times to secure. If your headband is bit too loose you can shorten one side of the headband piece. Voila: A great hair day, guaranteed, in just seven steps!

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Sew a Headband in 7 Simple Steps