13 April 2010

t-shirt headbands

I quite like headbands. 

Unfortunately, I have a really big head, so storebought headbands fit so tightly they give me headaches.  And simply tying a scarf around my head has never worked too well either...probably I have my grandmother’s Finnish hair…super fine and soft…it’s so easy for the weight of the dangling scarf to pull the rest of the scarf off of my head.

As a result, I’ve made myself a few headbands over the years and my favorites are those that I’ve stitched from old t-shirts.  I made one this weekend and I photographed the process.
Here’s the t-shirt I was cutting up. 
It’s a tissue-weight t-shirt. The fabric is a little bit stretchy. If you have thick hair or coarse hair or curly hair, I imagine you could use a standard-weight t-shirt, but if you have very fine or thin hair, definitely go for the lighter t-shirts.

Step One: if the t-shirt has a hem, cut it off and discard.

Step Two: Line up the bottom of the t-shirt with a line on your cutting mat, then use a ruler and rotary cutter to cut a 5-inch width of the t-shirt off.  This is going to be your headband.
Step Three: Try on the headband.  Depending on the size of the t-shirt and of your head, it will likely go around your head twice with a little room to spare. If it fits perfectly as is and you like the way it looks, you are done!  If not, proceed to step four.

Step Four: Cut open your headband.  If your t-shirt had seams on the sides, that's where you should cut; take out the seam.  Now, instead of one big loop you should have a single length of fabric.
Step Five:  Make the fabric back into a loop, this time with double-thickness.  To accomplish this, take the ends of your fabric and put them on either side of the remaining seam (or, if your tee had no seams, the middle point of your fabric loop).  You may find it useful to use a book to wrap the headband around.  Pin.
Step Six: Sew the headband back into a loop.  I use a simple straight stitch with back-stitching at the start and finish.
Your headband should now look like this:  one double-thickness loop.
Step Seven: Try the headband on, putting the seam at the back.  If it is still too big, cut and resew or add a small pleat. 

Step Eight:  Once the headband is the right size around, you can adjust the width of the headband with scissors or a rotary cutter.  A scrunched up 5-inch width of tissue tee works perfectly on my head, but you may want a skinnier headband.

Step Nine: Have a cup of tea.

I hope this was clear enough, let me know if you try it and have any questions!


  1. Thanks for the tutorial!

    I have a big head and get headaches from headbands too...maybe it's because they're too small for my head?1

  2. I get headaches too - and have fine hair - so these sound perfect :-)

  3. I too have a giant head, but I've also decided that headbands just aren't a look I can rock. I'll leave it to those more stylish.

  4. U R too funny....reward..beer...my kind of girl


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