I love how easy it was to learn how to sew a headband with t-shirt scraps. Such a simple project, and a great way to repurpose an old t-shirt. One of the best things about trying to live zero-waste is finding creative ways to make new things from old. I can’t tell you how fun it is to try to think creatively. I seem to find the best items when I challenge myself this way.
Lately, because it’s been so warm out, I have been craving a headband. And when I tore a hole in an old shirt (got it caught on a tree branch–it was tragic), I knew a fun new challenge was in the works.
I was very lucky that the hole wasn’t in the bottom quadrant of the shirt, because the top is much more narrow. But, even if the hole had only been on one side of the shirt, I could have used the fabric that was whole on the other, because the actual amount of fabric necessary to make this scrap-fabric headband is very small.
So, if you’ve got a hole in your shirt and you’re ready to figure out how to sew a headband with t-shirt scraps, let’s get started.
How to Sew a Headband with T-Shirt Scraps
Basically, you’re going to need the bottom ¼ of a t-shirt. I recommend your stretchiest shirt if you have a few to choose from. My torn shirt was an old lycra workout shirt, which is what I made this headband with, but you could use regular t-shirt material, too. I had fun with this zero waste sewing project and made several from different old shirts. It just needs to be stretchy so that it fits snugly without cutting off circulation. While it’s probably not going to be as comfortable, you CAN make this scrap-fabric headband from a less-stretchy fabric, but you’ll need to be a lot more forgiving on the seams and make sure to measure your own head.
You’ll also need matching thread, although contrasting thread would be fine because all of the seams are pretty well hidden. If you want to add accents on the side (which might be fun), definitely use some contrasting thread, that way everyone can see it.
Making a Headband with T-Shirt Scraps
To get started on sewing your t-shirt scrap headband, cut a single piece of fabric from the bottom of your shirt about 6-inches wide. For a kid’s size t-shirt scrap headband, you’ll want to cut a length of 19 1/2-inches. For an adult size t-shirt scrap headband, you’ll want to ut a length of 22-inches. These lengths include a seam allowance of ¼-inch on each seam. However, I will note that if you are a kid, or whoever you’re making this headband for, has an abnormally large head, you might want to measure them. Just remember to add seam allowances to what you measure.
Don’t set aside your old t-shirt yet, though! You’re also going to need to cut the second piece of fabric about 4-inches long by 6-inches wide for the little “bow” in the center. But you can just set that aside for later, you don’t need it quite yet.
To get back to the main headband piece, you need to fold the fabric in half lengthwise with the right sides facing. Pin this in place and hem the edges together. Remember not to stretch the fabric while you’re sewing. You need to let it be relaxed on the sewing machine or in your hands as you’re sewing. You will end up with a large tube. Don’t forget to remove your pins as you go, too, to keep the fabric from stretching.
Once the line is sewed, turn the tube right side out. Set this aside for a moment.
Now you’re ready for the second piece of fabric about 4-inches long by 6-inches wide.
Fold the edges on each side over about ¼-inch and pin in place. Hem the edges of this smaller piece of fabric, all the way around. You should now have a small rectangle of fabric with 4 hemmed sides.
Fold this smaller, hemmed fabric in half widthwise and pin together. Sew this edge, creating a smaller tube.
Slide the larger tube of fabric into the tube created with the smaller piece of fabric. It should slide over very freely. If it’s tough to pull it over, you need to check the sizing on the smaller tube–you may have cut it too small.
Fold the larger piece of fabric in half widthwise and pin the two sides overlapping. Yes, just overlap them about ¼-inch and pin in place. Don’t worry about making it fancy–you’re going to cover it. Pin this in place then sew the two sides together.
Slip the smaller tube over this sewn edge where the two ends of the large loop meet. Fold in all of the hemlines on the smaller tube, then tack them down, if desired.
Then you’re all done and the headband is done.
I couldn’t wait to wear my t-shirt scrap headband. It was warm in the sewing room and I just needed a little something to keep the hair off my face. So, it was great timing that, well, I had just made a headband.
And, to be super honest, this was an easy enough project that I truly feel like this would be considered a beginner’s sewing project. It would make a perfect gift, too. Especially for a little girl who needs a headband in her life.
As soon as I had made my own, I had two little girls ask me to make them some! It was quite a fun time making three of these zero-waste headbands. And I still had some fabric leftover from my old t-shirt. Now you know how to sew a headband with t-shirt scraps for your loved ones. Probably enough to make a couple more headbands, although these might have to be for dolls.
And, if all you have left is the sleeves (my shirt didn’t start out life with sleeves, so I don’t have any), you can make a cool drawstring bag with them–maybe another tutorial? Who knows?!
If you loved this easy tutorial for how to sew a headband with t-shirt scraps, be sure to pin this to your favorite easy sewing crafts board on Pinterest.
- Old T-shirt or 1/4 yd Lycra Fabric
- Matching Color Thread
- Cut a single piece of fabric the full width of the ¼ yard of fabric and the length necessary for the wearer.
- Fold the fabric in half lengthwise with the right-side facing.
- Pin and hem the edges together.
- Turn the fabric right side out.
- Cut a second piece of fabric about 4-inches long by 6-inches wide.
- Fold edges over and pin in place.
- Hem the edges of this smaller piece of fabric.
- Fold the smaller, hemmed fabric in half widthwise and pin together.
- Sew this edge, creating a tube.
- Slide the larger piece of fabric into the tube created with the smaller piece of fabric.
- Fold the larger piece of fabric in half widthwise and pin the two sides overlapping.
- Pin this in place.
- Sew the two sides together.
- Slide the smaller loop over this sewn edge and fold in all hemlines.
- Tack the hemlines down, if desired.
- Enjoy your new Headband
- Use 19-inch length for youth size
- Use 22-inch length for adult size
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