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ScrapBusters: Reversible Headband Ties or Hair Wraps

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Call them headband ties, hair wraps, or even scarf thingies. Whatever the name, these cute little ties are fast, fun... and reversible. They remind me of the classic 40s and early 50s shots of movie stars relaxing. Still ultra glamorous in the supposedly "candid" publicity photos, casual hairstyles often featured pretty hair ties just like these to hold back their silky curls. Not only is this a delightful way to put some favorite fabric scraps to work, it's also a great trick to extinguish a potential bad hair day. Sew It Up 4 Summer!

We chose scraps that were wide enough to allow for a single cut length for both the front and back of each tie. 

You could certainly also piece together a number of smaller strips to equal the needed length. The resulting patchwork pattern would be a very cute alternative. Simply remember to trim back each vertical seam allowance and press the finished tie very flat to make sure there are no unsightly lumps. You could even stitch in the ditch along each seam to further insure a flat finish.

Three of our four sample ties are reversible. This gives you the flexibility of two looks and adds a twist of contrast in the knotted ends. 

Speaking of those cool knots, we offer a pattern download below for the ends so your tie can gently curve down to a narrower width that is easier and prettier to fasten.

Wouldn't these make great little gifts?! Wrap them around mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner, add a pretty comb, and you have the perfect Good Hair Day gift bundle. 

Our ties are based on a 22" head measurement. Our end tie pattern pieces add 6" in finished length to each end, 12" overall. So our finished ties are 34" long x 2¾" wide, tapering down to just 2" wide at the tie ends. 

To adjust, use a tape measurer to measure around your head at the position where you'd normally wear a head band. If this measurement is larger or smaller than our 22" sample, enlarge or reduce this center measurement. The end ties should remain the same, which means the width remains the same regardless of the length. For your cut, don't forget to add ½" all around to account for the seam allowance. In our sample, that meant our cut strip was 35" x 3¾".  

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • For each tie, you can use scraps or ⅛ yard cuts of fabric. As mentioned above, our sample cut was 35" x 3¾". The ties look best when fussy cut to center the fabric's design motif, so give yourself at least a few extra inches all around. 
    We used scraps for all our ties. If you are curious about any of the pretty fabrics they are as follows:
    • Tie #1 (tie shown in the instructional photos below) uses Tara in Red (the medallions) and Tanaya in Green (the stripe) from the Kumari Garden Holiday collection by Dena Designs for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Originally used in our R&R Gift Bag Sets and R&R Happy Pom Pom Pillows. 
    • Tie #2 uses Edgar's Bouquet in Tea Stained and Bloomers in Tea Stained from the Amelie's Attic collection by Melissa White for Rowan Fabrics. Originally used in our Country Fresh Double Flounce Apron and Shopping Carryall.
    • Tie #3 uses Versailles in Indigo and Sunburst in Indigo from the Heirloom collection by Dear Stella Designs. Originally used in our R&R In The Mood for Indigo Banded Placemats & Napkins.
    • Ties #4 uses just one fabric for both the front and back: Memoir in Leaf (a cotton/linen blend) from the Alchemy Studio collection by Amy Butler for Rowan Fabrics. Originally used in our Vintage Sofa Throw.
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Pattern or graph paper or similar semi-transparent paper
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

The steps and cut sizes below are for our 22" head sample. The steps are the same no matter the size.

  1. Download and print out our ONE template sheet: Headband Tie End
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the two end templates along the solid line.
  3. From your pattern paper (or similar) cut your center pattern strip. We cut ours at 22" x 3¾.
  4. Attach a tie pattern to each end of your paper strip to complete the full pattern. Butt together; do not overlap. Tape in place.
  5. Using your assembled pattern, fussy cut one strip for the front and one strip for the back. As mentioned above, these ties look best when fussy cut to center the fabric's design motif. The semi-transparent paper allows you to center the middle of the tie...
  6. ... all the way down to the ends.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Find your front and back strips. 
  2. Place the two strips right sides together. All the raw edges of both strips should be flush. Pin around all the sides, leaving an approximate 5" opening along the bottom center for turning. 
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around the entire tie. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 5" opening. Go slowly around the ends to maintain a smooth and even curve.
  4. Press the seam allowance open.
  5. At the curved ends, trim the seam allowance back to ¼" and clip the curves. 
    NOTE: If you are new to working with curves, check out our tutorial: Sewing Successful Curves
  6. Turn the tie right side out through the opening. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Insert a long, blunt end tool, such as a knitting needle or chopstick, through the opening to round out the ends so they are nice and smooth. 
  7. Pin the opening closed. 
  8. Edgestitch around the entire tie, keeping your seam about ⅛" from the edge. This is a narrow tie and the tight edgestitching looks best. This seam closes the opening and helps keep the tie flat. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild



Comments (10)

KM E said:
KM E's picture

I tried making this for my little girl, but I forgot to change the inches of the tapered part to cm so it ended up a bit... short. *sheepish* So I overlapped the ends, made sure it would still fit as a headband, and sewed them together, and now she has (and is wearing) a cute little headband. I'll make her a proper scarf-band tomorrow when I'm more with it. :D

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ KM E - Yes  - it kind of "pleats itself" when you make the knot. But of course, as we mentioned in the introduction, you can certainly adjust either the width or length to get the fit you want for the person who will be wearing the headband. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ KM E - oh dear! But the cool thing is that you figured out a solution! 

Kate38 said:
Kate38's picture

Could these be serged all the way up to the 5" opening or would that make it too bulky to topstitch?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Kate38 - We didn't test using a serger, but if you keep your width as narrow as possible, I think you'd be okay - especially if you stay with just the quilting weight cottons. 

Celine05 said:
Celine05's picture

Hello, I really love what you do I wonder how I could have missed your blog

CYNDI said:
CYNDI's picture

These are lots of fun to make. I needed to make a narrower one, so I used some 2 1/2" strips. I just traced the stitch line from the pattern and used 1/4" seam. They turned out great. I needed to make it for my 4 year old niece. I have lots of strips to use.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ CYNDI - they sound adorable. Great way to make them a bit narrower.

iknithappy said:
iknithappy's picture

Thanks! My daughter loves this idea. We think we will add some embroidery to the headband also :)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@iknithappy - embroidery would be a great idea.