Maybe Matilda: T-Shirt Sleeve Refashioned to a Cute, Easy Headband

Sunday, November 13, 2011

T-Shirt Sleeve Refashioned to a Cute, Easy Headband

My sewing machine is having problems. Who could have predicted that the ultra-bargain machine I bought 4 years ago on clearance at Walmart wouldn't last forever? I couldn't. I feel very betrayed by this unexpected turn of events--we've always gotten along so nicely. I'm torn between my love for it (the sweet memories! the quilts we've made together! the refashions! the home decor!) and deep anger toward it (how dare it rebel against me! I raised it and taught it everything it knows! I'm going to drop it off a building!). While we sort out our issues (rather, while I decide whether or not I can afford a new machine), I made a simple no-sew headband (originally posted a few weeks ago on A Little Tipsy).

My husband left a few t-shirt sleeves lying around the other day after cutting them off to make tank tops for working out (yes, he's that guy at the gym . . . I'm sorry), and I remembered a quick craft I used to do as a teenager:
Turn a cut off t-shirt sleeve into a headband! I remember making these when I was in a pinch in high school . . . headed to school, but suffering an awful hair day? Cut off a sleeve. Bam. Bad hair hidden. Going for a jog and need to keep your bangs off your face? Sleeve. Boom. Problem solved. I used to leave them plain and just wear them as simple knit headbands, but now that I've grown a little craftier (and am armed with a glue gun), I like to add a little embellishment to this simple headband.
And the best part is, there's no sewing involved (take that, ornery sewing machine!). There is one teensy stitch that you can feel free to skip if you don't want to bother with any sewing, and no one's the wiser. Since knit fabrics don't really fray, you don't have to worry about any hemming at all. Just cut and go!

Want to make one yourself?

Start with a sleeve cut off from one of the many big, worn out t-shirts you probably have in your closet. Make sure the sleeve isn't from a smaller size t-shirt, or it won't fit over your head. My sleeve was from a men's large shirt, and it's a perfect fit for me. Just cut it away from the body:
Then cut off the hemmed cuff of the sleeve and the end that was connected to the body of the shirt, leaving a 2-4 inch loop with straight edges:
Since the sleeve is sewn at an angle (which you can see at the bottom of the sleeve in the picture above), you may want to trim the point down a bit--just open up the loop and trim off any odd points or straggly ends. It doesn't have to be perfect--the ends will curl in and hide any imperfections, so don't worry about making it exactly right.

Now for the optional sewing--you can certainly skip this part if you prefer, but it's very quick and easy and, I think, adds a little extra interest to your headband. Thread a needle (with thread that matches your sleeve--I used pink so you can see the stitches better), tie a knot in one end, and sew a few loose, wide stitches across the headband. Don't tie off the end just yet.
Cinch up the sleeve fabric by pulling snugly on the thread. You can decide how loose or tight you want your fabric to be . . . when you like the look, just tie a knot and trim the thread.
You could also stop here and sport your simple cinched headband. I wanted a little extra embellishment (I can hardly help myself), so I got out my glue gun and made a few little felt flowers (there are quite a few tutorials to make these out there, so I'm not going to repeat one here . . . but here's a great example) and a few little leaves:
Just hot glue the embellishments right over the cinched portion of the headband:
And there you have it! A super quick and easy--not to mention really cute--headband.
You can also make sleeve headbands from a smaller size t-shirt for younger girls . . . bet you never thought you'd have a use for your husband's icky discarded gym shirt sleeves, did you?

26 comments :

  1. I love this headband! Can't wait to make my own!

    always-a-project.com

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  2. the headband is soo cute! esp. w/ those rosettes!!

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  3. Super cute! I need to learn how to sew :)

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  4. Sew cute! I wish I could pull off headbands as adorable as you : )

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  5. What a great idea! Will be trying soon!

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  6. How simple and cute. Thanks for the easy tute! (I make a rhyme every time.)

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  7. This headband is so cute. i love it. The best place to find sewing machines cheap is craigs list. There are always so many. I wish I had looked there before I paid full price for mine.
    Good luck.

    Ruth

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  8. I really like this! I should try making one for my girls! Thanks for the adorable tutorial!

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  9. I think I'll make one. I'll call it my ombre pit stained headband. Ombre makes it fancy.

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  10. Hey! I voted for you today! http://www.blogguidebook.com/2010/11/round-one-vote-now-elimination-round.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BlogGuidebook+%28Blog+Guidebook%29

    :)

    ~ Sarah

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  11. I love reading your blog. You're just so darn funny...sorry about your machine. That's the pits!

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  12. So cute! I would love to feature this on Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle. Feel free to stop by and grab a featured button. Thanks!

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  13. I love this!!! Thanks Rachel!!

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  14. Nice idea!
    I want to make one for me, for sure!
    Thanks for share.

    bas
    http://bas-redesign.blogspot.com

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  15. This is georgeous! Thank you for sharing your talent!

    http://craftmenot.blogspot.com/

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  16. Awesome idea! I recently cut my hair just like yours and have been looking for different headbands and such. And after having 4 boys I finally have a girl to sew/crochet matching things. Thanks for sharing, I would have never thought of using a sleeve!

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  17. Oh, how cute! Almost as cute as you! I need to do a couple of these for my granddaughters.

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  18. This is awesome! I've been unable to find a cute, affordable headband, and this should do the trick.

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  19. Your headband is so cute, love, love it. The little flowers really set it off. So glad you shared this project today.
    I just might wear something like that. My head gets cold (we live in Western CO where it's finally gotten cold) but when I wear a hat I look dumb,just not a hat person darn it. On top of that I get hat hair, yuk.
    Several of my hubs t-shirts are in bad shape, need replacing, so I'll have to give the sleeves a look.
    Know how you feel about your sewing machine. I have two machines but both were on the fritz and I wanted to sew dadgumit. The one that's working now (after hubs worked on it so I wouldn't throw machine thru the window) I could sew, just not burlap. Every time I tried to sew burlap it jammed so had to sew ruffles on table runner by hand. Took longer but at least it got done. Just couldn't sew a pillow cover with the burlap. Best laid plans. Hope you get your machine going. Good luck and Happy Week/weekend.

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  20. I think the headband is such a bomb idea.It kind of reminds me of the sock monkey idea with the socks.GOOD JOB I LOVE IT.

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  21. I love this idea. I will make them for all ages. Thanks for the idea.

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  22. I have a stack of about 20 t shirt sleeves in my closet from shirts I've refashioned. I've always thought "I'll find something to do with them" you have no idea how happy this made me!

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  23. What a quick and adorable headband. Thanks for sharing

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Thanks for commenting!