How to Make a Headband from an Old T-Shirtcomments (15) April 21st, 2009
I am a designer and maker of hats and I wear one whenever the weather allows, which means every day for months in a row here in the Pacific northwest, so when it starts getting too warm for wool on my head, I feel naked! I need something on up there, so I break out the silk scarves and headbands. I love making these simple, recycled T-shirt headbands, made to tie in back so they're one-size-fits-all, and of course you can do whatever you want for embellishments!
- A T-shirt
- Sewing machine with zigzag stitch
- Optional embellishment materials (different-colored thread for topstitching, fabric paint for printing, etc.)
Start out by cutting twice straight across the tee, all the way around to form a loop, double the width that you want your headband to be plus a little extra for seam allowance. The shirt can be any adult size, and the bigger the shirt, the longer your headband will be (but you can always cut it shorter if you want). This loop will have to be under the arms and above the shirt's seam, but you can choose exactly where, so if there is an image on the shirt, place it in the middle of the loop.
Next, choose where in the loop you want the ends of the headband to be, so the opposite side will be the top, the part you see on your head. Cut a V shape in the loop, which will form the pointed ends, making sure it's symmetrical.
Fold the strip lengthwise, inside out, and start sewing a zigzag stitch from the pointed tip down the whole length of the strip, leaving the other end open.
Use the open end to turn the whole thing right side out—if the strip is wide enough, you should be able to do this using just your hands, but if it's too narrow, you can use a safety pin to guide the closed end through.
Now you have a long loop with one open point that should look like this:
Turn in the edges, starting with the point, and sew across the seam.
Your basic headband is done! Now it's time to personalize! I added machine topstitching to this brown one, in four different thread colors, to add some pop to the plain brown base. The only important thing to keep in mind when adding topstitching to your headband is never to sew a straight stitch horizontally across the fabric, which would keep it from stretching or would break the thread if you try to stretch it. You'll need to use either a zigzag stitch or always sew diagonal angles like you see I did here:
When you're done embellishing, tie it on and admire your new look!
You can style the headband either to hold all your hair back out of your face, or just keep your bangs in place, however you like. (My bangs are currently growing out and constantly in need of adjustment!)
This green tie-dye headband was stamped with a linoleum block print before sewing the seam.
The green shirt was huge, making a superlong strip, so the ends hang long in the back when tied on normally...
...or I can double wrap it around my head for a thicker, wider headband look:
This shirt, on the other hand, had an image I wanted on the headband that was up where the arms were on the shirt, so I couldn't cut a loop. So I made a shorter headband and added buttons for closure since it was too short to tie closed.
The button closure is a good backup option if you want to use a small kid's shirt or any recycled knit fabric that's too short to make a long enough strip to tie.
Another option, if you want to use a T-shirt image up by the arms but you want your headband to tie, would be to cut multiple strip pieces and sew them together into a longer strip. Recycled T-shirts are such a fun material to work with—be creative and have fun with it!
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery