Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sewing DIY: the Perfect Non-Slip, No-Headache, Sweatyband Inspired Headband

If you have a Sweatyband brand headband, you know how terrific they are at staying put all day and not causing headaches. And that they are amazing for athletic activities!  You also know how pricey the little buggers can be, retailing for about $15 each band. I used my best reverse engineering skills to make my own version and wanted to share the "how to steps" because they really turned out to be just as great as the original version.

On the left in the photos below is my version for about $4 and the $15 Sweatyband version on the right.  Twinsies, right?  My favorite glitter ribbon headband only cost about $2 each to make.  What a great gift to slip into someone's stocking this holiday!  And did I mention you can toss them in with your regular wash?

Instructions below the fold.


1/2 yard of decorative ribbon (16.5" cut)
1/2 yard of Velvet Ribbon that is the same *width* as your decorative ribbon (16.5" cut)
0.25" wide elastic (cut to 6.5")
mono-filament thread (clear top thread)
coordinating thread for bobbin (black for me since my velvet ribbon is black)

My original Sweatyband was made from a woven ribbon, so I bought a few 1/2 yards of those even if the options were limited at my local store.  And on whim, I bought an inexpensive spool of glitter ribbon that actually turned out to be a favorite.

How Wide?  These photos may help you decide.  
The width of available velvet may dictate what size ribbon you purchase since they need to identical. And by the way, cutting a velvet ribbon down the center and melting the raw edges with flame isn't the best way to get the velvet width you want, because it'll still fray a bit in the wash and it just looks a big mangy compared to the others.  Not that I would know.  =P

Skinny Black & White at bottom is 3/8" wide ribbon
Purple Glitter at top is 5/8" wide ribbon
The purple & black zebra is 7/8" wide ribbon

Hint: Ribbons are sold by the yard or by the spool.  This chart might help.  
I gave a bunch away, so I did a combination of inexpensive spools and picked up a few by the yard selections from my craft store (if you are more patient, you can order online from etsy shops for a bigger selection).

I want to make X amount of headbands, about how much will it cost:
Cost Estimate
(buying ribbon by yard)
Cost Estimate
(buying ribbon by roll)
Decorative ribbon*
$3.29 pkg of 8 yd
$5.00 /spool
$5.00 /spool
$11.04 to make 1 headband
$13.74 for 2 ($6.87/each)
$21.92 for 5 ($4.38/each)
$26.27 for 6 ($4.38/headband)
+ additional $3 roll
$29.27 for 12 ($2.44/headband)

* Prices estimated to match a local shop or account for shipping when using cheaper online options.

  1. Cut the ribbons & elastic to appropriate lengths.
    16.5" for both the decorative and the velvet ribbons
    6.5" for the elastic 


  2. Sew the elastic to the right side (soft side) of the velvet about 3/4" from the cut ends. This needs to be strong, so go crazy sewing back and forth, as it will all be hidden later.
    Remember to back stitch at the start and stop of your stitching.
  3. Repeat this step to the opposite ends of velvet and elastic. Take care that you don't sew any twists into your headband. The elastic and velvet should make a weird "8" shape.
    It should look like the photo below. 
  4. Now, in your hand, with both the ribbons right sides together; line up the end of your decorative ribbon with one end of the velvet/elastic edge you just sewed.
    Sew across the entire width, 3/4" from edge, remembering to back stitch (the soft side of velvet is face up in the photo below).
  5. Using the seam you just stitched as a guide; fold back both ribbons (wrong sides together) away from the elastic (so that it now looks like one end of the finished headband).  In the photo below, I still need to fold under the zebra ribbon to align with the velvet one.
    Stitch about 1/8" from the edge (or as close to the edge while still catching both ribbons) down the length of your headband.  We will now sew a rectangle around the headband's outer edges.
    * REMEMBER: Since your clear thread is your top thread, your decorative ribbon should be face up on this step to make the stitches nearly invisible.

  6. When you reach the other end, fold about 3/4" of the elastic/velvet ends towards the needle (you should use the stitches made to attach the elastic to determine the stopping point, this will make sure they will be hidden inside the headband).
    Then fold the decorative ribbon to match (shown in photo below).

    Align the edges and continue your sewing to the ribbon corner, then with needle down, pivot the headband to sew across the width.  Then with needle down, pivot and sew down the opposite side of the headband back to your starting point.  

  7. Viola!  Your headband is finished!

Not affiliated with Sweatyband brand in any way.  Just an admirer of their products.
Only Amazon links are affiliated links, all others were chosen as based on my own opinions.

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