How to Sew Bow Headbands for girls & tweens: sewing tutorial


Learn how to sew easy headbands using fabric and fold over elastic (FOE). This sewing project is perfect for scraps too. I used 1” FOE in the back to make them comfortable and soft. You could substitute regular 1” elastic too.

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I have a 6 year old and a 10 year old (who I think qualifies as a ‘tween’ – she acts 17 sometimes) and they both love to wear headbands. A couple years ago I wrote a series of tutorials for making headbands with FOE (fold over elastic) and ribbon, but this time I wanted to use fabric.

headband sewing tutorial

it’s easy to leave off the bow for a more simple headband – perfect to show off your favorite fabric.

As I said, these headbands fit my 6 and 10 year old girls and me too (I guess our head are all close to the same size, lol). I’ll give cutting instructions also to make it toddler size too. Keep in mind that there is elastic in the back to make the sizing more forgiving.

Little Bow Headband Sewing Tutorial

Fabric and notions:

  • 1/4 yd (or less) main fabric

  • 1/4 yd (or less) coordinating fabric

  • 4’’ piece of fold over elastic, 1’’ wide (or other 1’’ wide elastic)

  • 2 safety pins for turning – 1 large and 1 small

  • needle and thread for hand sewing


From the main fabric, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 3 1/2’’ x 12’’

  • 1 rectangle 3 1/2’’ x 8’’

Tip: for a small child, cut the elastic 1’’ shorter.

From the coordinating fabric, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 3 1/2’’ x 7’’

  • 1 rectangle 1 1/2’’ x 3’’ (tab)

Variation: To make a plain headband with no bow, cut one rectangle of fabric 3 1/2’’ x 19’’. Sew using Steps 2-5 and 8.


Use a 1/2’’ seam allowance except where noted.

1. Sew the three 3 1/2’’ wide rectangles together along the short ends with the coordinating fabric rectangle in the middle to make one long strip. Press the seams open. 

2. Fold the long strip in half lengthwise right sides together and sew along the long edge. Center the seam along the tube and press it open.


3.  Attach the large safety pin 1/4’’ from the end of the elastic and use it to insert the elastic into the fabric tube. (image) The right side of the elastic should face the side of the tube with no seam. Insert the elastic until the free end is even with the raw edges of the fabric tube.

4. Sew across the short end of the fabric tube, catching the elastic free end in the seam. Backstitch to reinforce. 

5. Use the safety pin that is attached to the elastic toturn the tube right side out. Press the headband flat with the seam centered along the bottom of the headband.

6. Fold the coordinating fabric (bow) portion of the headband in half, matching the seams. Sew the headband together at the seam. Backstitch to reinforce.

7. Open the headband and flatten the bow portion so that both sides of the bow are the same size. Backstitch a couple times in the center of the bow to hold it in place.

8. Press the raw edges of at the end of the headband to the inside 1/2’’. Insert the raw edge of the elastic into the end of the headband by 1/2’’ and stitch across the headband 1/8’’ from the fold. Backstitch to reinforce.

9. Fold the tab piece lengthwise right sides together and sew along the 3’’ edge with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Use the small safety pincushion to turn the tab right side out. Press it flat.

10. Wrap the tab around the center of the bow. Use the needle and thread to catch both ends and baste them together with just a few stitches. (image)

11. Pinch the headband in half at the center of the bow, enclosing the raw edges of the tab. Hand sew the edges together firmly along the tab. Knot the thread and hide the thread ends inside the headband. 

If you make some of these headbands, come show me and everyone else in our SewCanShe Sewcialites facebook group!

Happy sewing!

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