Follow this quick tutorial to learn how to make a knotted bow headband with woven cotton fabric. You can make your headband in any size you want in less than 30 minutes.
These knotted headbands are made of cotton fabric and have a small elasticated piece in the back. They are soft and comfortable to wear, and perfect for any occasion.
I made a few for my daughter because we’re in the process of growing out her bangs and I’m trying to keep the hair out of her eyes (she does not wear clips!). I figured out that a pretty headband should do the trick. One can only hope!
DIY knotted headband tutorial
Cute headbands make great gifts for girls, especially since you get to choose the fabric! You can make them even if you don’t know the measurements of the recipient.
Besides, this pattern doesn’t require much fabric (you’ll get away with 1/4 yard), and you might be able to use some of your fabric scraps – all the more if you’re making a reversible version.
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It’s simple and easy – the head circumference is the one and only measurement that counts here, the only thing that determines if a headband will fit.
Ideally, you want to make sure your headband is not too snug or tight – just comfortable enough. In my experience with these woven knotted headbands, the ideal finished size is close to (less than or equal to) the head circumference.
If you’re wondering why it’s because the elastic piece at the back adds some grip but not too much so that it won’t hurt your head.
Anyway, the beauty of these knotted headbands is that you have wiggle room. You can retie the knot to make them longer or shorter and therefore get a better fit.
How to make the knotted headband in any size you want
In this tutorial, I’ve included a free PDF pattern for the knotted bow headband in size 4 (19″ head circumference).
However, you can easily resize the pattern and make the headband longer or shorter, as you need.
For instance, the finished size of the headband presented here is 1 5/8 inches in width and 19 inches in circumference (when not stretched).
I made it for my almost 4-year-old daughter who has a head circumference of 19.6 inches. This is the headband that she likes and uses the most, so I use it as a reference for all future headbands.
As I said earlier, the finished size of the headband should generally be equal to the head circumference.
So, if I want to make a headband for my 11-year-old daughter (21.6 inches head circumference) all I have to do is add 1.3 inches to the pattern (i.e. to the length of each of the 4 larger fabric pieces). The 10” by 1 3/4” rectangle that we use for the elastic part in the back remains unchanged.
This is how I came to this result:
- 21.6 – 19 = 2.6 inches – the difference between the desired headband length and the existing headband pattern (no need to add seam allowances, they are included in the original pattern)
- 2.6 / 2 = 1.3 inches – measurement to add to each of the larger headband pieces
Similarly, if I want to make the headband for me (head circumference 22.8 inches), I’ll just add 1.9 inches to the pattern.
But what if I want to make this headband for a baby?
Well, it’s still simple. Instead of adding inches, you’ll have to subtract some. Check the headband size chart guide, and let’s pretend you need to make the knotted headband for a 17” head circumference. You’ll have to subtract 1” from each of the longer pattern pieces of the headband – the rest remains the same.
Here is a DIY headband size chart for your reference below.
Related: How to sew tulle scrunchies
Sewing supplies – free knotted bow headband pattern
- Knotted headband pattern – free PDF download (size 4 or 19″ head circumference)
- Cotton fabric
- 1” wide elastic
- Safety pin
- Matching thread
- Sewing Pins
Information about the free PDF pattern
The first page of the pattern (size 4) contains two pattern pieces – you have to join them on the dotted line to obtain one pattern piece that is 13 inches long. After that, you have to cut two pairs – these will be the fixed part of the headband that ties with a bow.
The second page of the pattern contains one pattern piece that will become the elasticated part in the back. I’ve written on the second page that this piece is 10” x 1 ¾” – however, when you print it at 100%, it is slightly smaller than that (9 ¾” long) because I made a mistake in measuring. You can still use the pattern piece as-is – the error does not affect the final result.
Learn how to sew this cute headband in 5 simple steps.
Step 1 – Cut the fabric pieces
Put the long pattern piece on the fold of the fabric and cut around it. Do this twice, so you end up with 4 mirrored pattern pieces. Then cut 2 rectangles, each measuring 1 3/4 inches x 10 inches.
You’ll also need a 5” piece of 1-inch wide elastic.
Step 2 – Sew the long headband pieces
Put two of the long pieces right sides together and sew all the way around, using a 1/4” seam allowance. Leave the short ends unsewn to turn the headband right side out. Repeat for the other two long pieces.
Next, sew the long edges of the rectangle piece. Always backstitch to reinforce the seams.
After this step, you should have three headband pieces as shown in the photo above.
Step 3 – Turn the headband pieces right side out
For the long pieces, I successfully use a chopstick to push the fabric out, for the small rectangle a safety pin will work.
Use that purple thang (or a chopstick, or a dull pencil) to push out the corners and smooth the curves around the bows’ ends.
Next, iron the headband pieces to make the edge seams lay flat and nice.
Step 4 – Prepare the elastic section
Cut a 5″ long piece of elastic. I used 1-inch wide elastic here.
The goal is to make an elasticated fabric tube. So, use a safety pin to insert the elastic inside the tube, then sew the elastic across both ends of the fabric piece.
Step 5 – Finish the headband
Enclose the raw edges of the long headband pieces by turning the ends in approx. 1/2 inches.
After that, tuck one end of the elasticated tube into the opening of one of the larger headband pieces.
Because the opening of the latter is a bit wider, you’ll have to make a small pleat in its middle so the two edges match up (see the photo below).
Pin and sew across the overlapped ends to secure the headband – remember to backstitch at the beginning and end. Now repeat for the other side.
Good to know: use a longer stitch length (think 3.5) in case you’ll need to adjust the headband’s size – it will be much easier to unpick the seam.
Finally, tie the headband into a knot, and that’s all! This is such a cute fashion hair accessory that you can whip up in no time. I hope you enjoyed this fun little project!