How to Make Stretch Headbands

by Joanne Thomas ; Updated July 18, 2017

A woman outside wearing active wear and a headband.

roboriginal/iStock/Getty Images

Stretch headbands are a seemingly unexciting yet essential part of a woman's arsenal of accessories. They're useful for keeping hair off your face when you're hiking up a mountain -- or while you're doing something a little more mundane, like applying lotion before bed. If the headband choices in stores leave you uninspired, consider sewing your own. It's an achievable project for anyone who can sew a straight stitch, and it is so quick to complete that you can make several in a single afternoon. Two different methods allow you to use stretch or non-stretch fabric.

Stretch-Fabric Headband

Cut a rectangle of stretch fabric to measure 24 inches long by 5 inches wide. You can cut the fabric wider or narrower, if you wish.

Fold the headband in half along its length so that the outer sides of the fabric are folded to meet each other. Place pins along the side opposite the fold.

Set your sewing machine to sew a narrow zigzag stitch. Sew along the opposite side of the fold, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance and removing the pins as you go. Backstitch a few times at the beginning and end of the newly sewn seam, and stretch the fabric just slightly as you sew. Alternatively, hand-sew the hem with a needle and thread, keeping your stitches small and neat.

Turn the fabric tube right side out. Flatten the tube so that the seam runs along the center of one side.

Fold the raw edges at one end of the tube to the inside by 1/2 an inch. Tuck the raw edges of the second end of the tube inside the folded edges of the first end of the tube by 1/2 an inch.

Place a pin or two through the six layers of fabric where they overlap, joining the tube to form a flat headband.

Sew along the pinned seam, sewing through all six layers of fabric where they overlap.

Woven (Non-Stretch) Fabric Headband

Measure the circumference of your head with the measuring tape placed in the same position where you would wear a headband. Add 3 1/2 inches to the circumference to get the cut length for the fabric.

Decide how wide you want your finished headband to be. Add 2 1/2 inches to get the cut width for the fabric.

Cut a rectangle of pre-washed and ironed fabric using the dimensions you determined in the previous steps.

Fold the cut rectangle in half along its length and press the fold with a hot iron. Place pins along the long side opposite the fold to hold the two layers together.

Set your sewing machine to sew a straight stitch. Sew along the long side of the rectangle, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Backstitch at the start and end of the newly sewn seam, and remove pins as you sew. If you are not using a sewing machine, sew the seam by hand using a needle and thread.

Press the seam open with the iron. Turn the fabric tube right side out and press it so that the seam runs along the center of one flat side.

Fold the raw edges of both short ends of the tube to the inside by 1/4 inch and press. Topstitch along the ends, sewing as close to the folded edges of the fabric as you can.

Thread one end of the headband through the hair elastic; fold the headband back on itself against the wrong side of the headband to form a loop of about 1-inch diameter. Place a pin or two through the loop to hold it flat. Repeat with the other end of the headband.

Sew the loops together, topstitching along the ends of the fabric rectangle. The hair elastic should be trapped inside the two loops and allow enough stretch to get the headband easily off and on.


  • Cut up old T-shirts instead of buying stretch fabric to make headbands.

    Embellish your headband with a matching fabric flower.

    For a different look, twist the fabric band in the center before sewing the ends.

    Add interfacing to a woven-fabric headband to help it hold its shape.

Photo Credits

  • roboriginal/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Joanne Thomas has worked as a writer and editor for print and online publications since 2004. Her writing specialties include relationships, entertainment and food, and she has penned pieces about subjects from social media tools for Adobe to artists’ biographies for StubHub. Thomas has also written for such names as Disney, Hyundai, Michelob and USA Today, among others. She resides in California and holds a bachelor’s degree in politics from the University of Bristol, U.K.