How to Sew an Elastic Headband

Hello! It’s Stephanie from Stephie B’s Designs here again today to walk you through another super fun and easy project, because, who doesn’t love super fun and easy projects?!

Today’s project is how to sew an elastic headband. Sounds fun, right?! I love teaching you all how to make cute headbands (like this Twist Top Headband and this Big Bow Headband) and this is no exception. What is also great about this style is that it’s made from woven cotton, like this Woven Tie Headband, rather than knits as used in most headbands. That means you have a lot more options, especially if you have a huge cotton stash!

As I always like to say… Let’s get started!

Step 1. Gather your materials

  • Fabric. I’ll cover the measurements below.
    • Big piece for the top portion of the headband
    • Smaller piece for the elastic casing
  • Elastic. I recommend 1/2in to 1in, depending on your preference. I’ll cover the length below.
  • Acrylic Quilter’s Ruler or your favorite household ruler
  • Rotary Cutter or fabric scissors
  • Bodkin or safety pin
  • Thread, pins, and sewing machine

Step 2. Determine your lengths and widths

Length

If you are able to measure the child or adult to get the exact head circumference, awesome! But if not, below is a generalized head circumference chart you can use for reference when making this headband. 

Newborn: 14″
Up to 1 Year: 17″
Toddler: 19″
Child: 20″
Teen: 23″
Adults: 24″

Once you know the circumference you’ll be using – in my case, I am making a toddler sized one, so will use 19in – you need to do a little math… but don’t let math scare you!

The length of the headband will be split into two parts. 1. the top portion, which is the larger piece of fabric, and 2. the elastic and it’s casing, which is the smaller piece.

The top portion will be 3/4 (.75) the length of the circumference and the elastic will be 1/4 (.25).

You will need to add in an additional 1/2in on each side of the top portion that will be tucked inside itself, and that same amount to each end of the elastic because it will also be tucked into the headband.

This sounds like a lot, but you got this. Bear with me! Lets take this step by step.

Top portion: circumference x .75 + 1in (in my case, 19in x .75 = 14 1/4in + 1in = 15 1/4in)

Elastic: circumference x .25 + 1in (in my case, 19in x .25 + 1in = 5 3/4in)

For the elastic casing, you’ll want to add an extra 3in or so to the length of the elastic to allow for the elastic to stretch.

Elastic casing: elastic + 3in (in my case, 4 3/4in + 3in = 7 3/4in)

My elastic will be 5 3/4in long, and the two lengths of fabric will be 15 1/4in and 7 3/4in.

Width

Wait, there’s more??!! But this was supposed to be EASY!

This is much easier to figure out… you’re almost there. 🙂

Top portion. This measurement is somewhat up to you, how wide you want your headband to be. You can make it really wide to fold it or scrunch it, or you can leave it somewhat thin. I opted for a 1 1/2in width.

Whatever width you’d like, double that since the two sides will be sewn together.

Additionally, you will also need to add in the 1/4in seam allowance, so an extra 1/2in on top of your preferred width.

Top portion: preferred width x 2 + 1/2in (in my case, 1 1/2in x 2 = 3in + 1/2in = 3 1/2in)

Elastic casing. This depends on the width of the elastic you opt to use. I like 1/2in, especially for little kids, but you can use large width if you’d prefer. It’s up to you! You’ll double the width of the elastic, and add the 1/2in as you did before for 1/4 seam allowance.

Elastic casing: elastic width x 2 + 1/2in (in my case, 1/2in x 2 = 1in + 1/2in = 1 1/2in)

The width of my two fabric pieces will be 3 1/2in and 1 1/2in.

Sooooooo! If my public math is correct, my two pieces will be 15 1/4in x 3 1/2in and 7 3/4in x 1 1/2in

Still tracking?!? I hope so! It’s all downhill from here!

Step 3. Cut your pieces

Easiest step yet!

Step 4. Sew the two pieces of fabric

Fold your two pieces in half long ways (like a hot dog bun) and sew, using the 1/4in seam allowance.

Side note… it’s always a good idea to make sure your bobbin is full enough to make it through your project……. (doh!)

Back in business,. Repeat with the elastic casing.

Trim your seam allowances to reduce bulk.

Want to learn some additional ways to reduce bulk? Check out this tutorial on Reducing Bulk; How to Trim, Grade, Notch, and Clip Seam Allowances.

Step 5. Flip and press

Turn your tubes right-side-out using a bodkin or safety pin.

Press, with the seam along one of the long sides.

Step 6. Tuck and press

Tuck inside and press 1/2in of each side of the top portion (the longer piece of fabric).

Step 7. Put the elastic into the elastic casing

Attach a bodkin or safety pin to the end of the elastic and slide it into the casing.

Stop pulling the elastic through the casing when the end of the elastic without the bodkin/safety pin is even with the raw edge of the fabric.

Sew in place, backstitching and sewing back over the stitches several times to strengthen.

Repeat with the other side, pulling the bodkin/safety pin out just enough to hold it in place as you sew. You don’t want the elastic springing back into the casing before you can sew it in place!

The casing is finished! Almost done!

Step 8. Attach the two pieces together

Slide one end of the elastic/casing into one end of the headband 1/2in. I recommend making sure the sides with the seams are both facing the same direction.

Fold the extra fabric over…

…and pin in place.

Repeat with the other side.

Before you sew, make sure the headband isn’t twisted or folded the wrong way.

Step 9. Sew

Sew across the pinned sections several times to ensure they have a good, strong hold. Be sure you catch the elastic/casing as you sew!

And there you have it! Your headband is finished!

If its too small, you can unstitch the last part and created a longer elastic/casing part. and if it’s too big, you can shorten that part as needed. Super easy!

Thank you for reading through this project, and I hope you come back for more! There are tons of blogs, projects, and tutorials here on Peek-a-Boo Pages, so take a look around and enjoy.

See you all next month!

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