Easy Turban Headband – Sewing 101

August 16, 2012 separator DIY Tutorial


Thanks to Valerie Bryant for another wonderful Sewing 101 session. You can find more great sewing inspiration and shopping by visiting her blog Threads Thoughts Things and Dottie Adele on Etsy! Oh, and if the thought of making your own turban headband intimidates you (or you’re just as instant-gratification as I am!), I happen to know just where you can get one already made for a ridiculously great price…!

Today’s tutorial is a mega-adorable turban headband.  So easy to throw on over dirty hair and still look stylish, or to keep your crazy strands off your face!  I love to add these to an outfit for that extra oomph, and I’m always rocking them at the pool.  This is a perfect less-than-one-hour project for a beginner!

DIY Turban Headband

A note on sewing with knits:  Today’s project requires sewing with stretchy fabric, which is called knit.  Because of the nature of the fabric, it must be sewn a little differently than wovens, which don’t stretch (Super Simple Skirt Tutorial required a woven fabric!).  First of all, you’ll want to make sure you have a ballpoint needle for your machine.  These needles are gold on the top and rounded at the tip (although they’re so tiny, you can’t really tell!).  Sewing machine needle packs often come with at least one of these.  Follow your instruction manual to learn how to switch out your regular needle with this one.  Secondly, any seams that need to be able to stretch need to be sewn with a different stitch.  If you have a serger, you’re good to go; if you have a regular sewing machine (like me!), you’ll want to use a zigzag stitch.  In this tutorial, I’ve used bright blue thread that is super visible to show you which type of stitch I use on the different steps – hope that helps!




(Read this post for more information on creating a complete sewing kit with all the essential tools.)



First things first:  measuring, of course!  Using your measuring tape, measure the circumference of your head, around the part of your noggin you plan to wear your headband.  I like mine to sit right at the top of my forehead, so that’s where I measured.  My head measurement is 23.5″.


Fold your fabric in half.  Make sure that your fabric stretches along the fold.


Measure up 8 inches from the fold and mark with your pencil.  Also be sure to mark at the fold from where you measured up.



Subtract 2 inches from your head measurement (mine was 23.5″, so I am using 21.5″ here), and measure along the fold from your first mark.  Mark this place as well, and then 8 inches up from the fold.


Cut out the rectangle you have measured.  Do not unfold your fabric.


Now, cut off just the folded edge.  Cut off the smallest amount possible, just a thin strip.



This will give you two identically sized rectangles.



Pin two of the short ends together, right sides facing in.  (The “right” side of your fabric is the side you want to be on the outside of your garment.  Your fabric may be identical on both sides, or it may have a slightly different texture or coloring on one side.  You pick which you want to be shown, and put those two side together when you pin.)




Using a straight stitch on your sewing machine (and your ballpoint needle!), sew along the pinned edge.



Lay your headband out flat, with the seam you just sewed in the middle and right sides facing up.



Fold the bottom edge up to meet the top edge and pin together.  Start at the middle and match the seam together, then pin the two ends.  Work your way to the center from the ends, to make sure your edges match up correctly.



Using a zigzag stitch, sew the entire long edge together.



Put your arm through the middle of your long tube, and grab the end on the other side.  Then pull the far side back through the middle of the tube, flipping it right side out as you go.



Lay out your freshly turned tube with the long seam up facing you.  Bring the two ends to the bottom.



Take the two ends and place them together, matching the seam.  Pin together at the seam.




Working your way up, continue to pin the edges of the ends together.  You will not be able to pin it all the way around, and that is perfectly fine!  We want to sew on the inside of the headband, but since it is currently right side out, we won’t be able to sew the whole edge.  Pin as far as you can, and when you can no longer make the edges meet at the top, take it to the sewing machine.




Starting at the pin where the seams meet, use a straight stitch to sew around the edges, taking the pins out as you go. 



Keep sewing until you are in danger of running back over the rest of the tube.  Eventually, your headband will look like the picture above – kind of like a lollipop, with the circle of the ends of the tube sewn together at the top, and the rest of the tube sticking out the bottom.




Remove from the sewing machine, and pull on the bottom part of the tube until the ends flip back right side out.  There will be a 1-2″ hole at the seam.






Thread a needle as shown – put the thread through the eye of the needle, and double it back.  Knot both threads at the end.  Then sew up the hole in the headband by hand, pricking just the edges of the hole on both ends to bring them together.  This doesn’t need to look neat or pretty – it’s getting covered up later!  Once you reach the end, make one more loop with the thread, wrap it around your needle twice, and then pull your needle tight to knot it.  Clip off near the knot.



Now you have one big circle!  Hold it with the long seam to the inside of the headband, and the two shorter (circular) seams at your right and left hands.



Lay it down flat, and then make one twist in the center.



Twist it again, in the same direction as your first twist.



Check and see which end has your hand sewn hole in it.  Mine is on my left side.




Bring the two ends together and overlap them, with the hand sewn end closest to you.  Pin together along the seams.  The hand sewn hole will be on the inside layer and won’t be seen!




At your sewing machine, use a zigzag stitch to sew all layers of the headband together along the pinned seam.  This is several layers of fabric, so your machine will probably need a little bit of help getting it all through.  As you press down on the pedal, gently push your headband along.  Go slowly and gently!  Be sure to leave 3-4″ tails of thread at each end of your stitching.



Tie the thread on each end in a double knot, then trim down as close to the knot as possible.



You may need to rearrange the center twist toward the middle with your hand.  When you are happy with the way it is arranged, you are finished!

Dottie Adele on Etsy

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  3. Hi there!
    What number for the zigzag stitch did you use? The width number? I hope I’m making sense!

    1. Hi Christina! Your question makes perfect sense 🙂 This post was written by a guest blogger, so I’m not actually sure what settings she used. The best advice I can give is to start in the middle of your machine’s dial and then run a short test stitch. That’ll give you an idea if you need to go up or down from there. Hope that helps! 🙂

  4. When the circle with the words, “Pin It,” appear in the exact center of each picture, the pertinent information is covered. I can mostly figure out what is going on, but it shouldn’t be that hard. Please, Pinterest, can you alter this somehow for reasonable visibility?

    1. Hi Carla! So sorry that’s been getting in your way! Quick tip – that should only pop up when you’re hovering over the picture. So if you keep your mouse off the image, you should be fine. 🙂

      You can also right-click and then click ‘open image in new tab.’ Hope that helps!

  5. You are so cute! I never liked the turban head band until I saw you wearing one. Love it! Off to make my own.

    Not sure about this step? Why do we need to SUBTRACT the 2 inches?
    Subtract 2 inches from your head measurement (mine was 23.5″, so I am using 21.5″ here), and measure along the fold from your first mark. Mark this place as well, and then 8 inches up from the fold.

  7. I agree, I cannot figure out the twisting or the last step. Looked easy but in practice, not so much.

  8. The last step is not very clear. I tried making this head band and followed up until the last step

  9. Soooo cute, I really want one! I haven’t used a sewing machine in like 10 years though, but this might be a nice project to start with:)

  10. Cute! I’ll definitely have to make this. It seems like it’d be comfy 🙂


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