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Adorable Big Bow Headband

Learn to make your own adorable, big bow headband in no time! This sewing tutorial is beginner-friendly and includes step-by-step instructions. There is no need to buy any fabric. Instead, upcycle an old t-shirt, a pair of leggings, or any other cast-off item made from stretchy material.

At 15 months old, my daughter still has very little hair. While I know that based on her genetics she will soon have more hair than she knows what to do with, there are times when I just want to put a giant bow on her head to make up for her current lack of locks.

Thankfully, I have lots of fabric scraps, worn-out t-shirts, and ratty leggings to use up, and it’s super easy to transform these cast-offs into headbands with great big bows. I love finding ways to give old clothes new life, especially garments that are too worn out to go to the thrift store but still nice enough I don’t want to turn them into rags.

Don’t worry, these headbands aren’t just for babies--just follow the instructions and the size can be modified to fit babies, toddlers, older kids, and even adults.

While I definitely recommend using scraps or old t-shirts to make these bows if you can to cut down on waste, if you don’t have any knit fabric on hand, you can find some adorable organic knit prints on Etsy instead.

You will need:

-Two 5 x 8 inch pieces of knit fabric with some stretch (old t-shirts or leggings are great for this)

-One 2 x 5 inch piece of the same knit fabric

-One long piece of fabric that is 3 inches wide (the length will vary based on head size). Cut the fabric the same length as the circumference of the wearer’s head plus 2 cm for the seam allowance

-Rotary cutter or scissors

-Optional: If your fabric is a bit floppy, you can add a 4.5 x 7.5-inch piece of iron-on interfacing to the wrong side of each of the two 5x8 inch rectangles to help your bow hold its shape.


  1. Cut out all of your pieces (I used a rotary cutter for nice clean edges)

  2. Take your two 5x8 pieces of fabric and sew them together, right sides facing. Use a 1 cm seam allowance. Leave a small opening on the last edge you sew.

  3. Use the small opening to turn your rectangle right side out. Then sew the opening shut by hand.

  4. Pinch the center of the rectangle along the long edge and then hand stitch 2-3 stitches right through the center of where the fabric is gathered. This will hold your fabric in the “bow” shape.

  5. Fold your 2x5 inch piece of fabric the long way, right sides together, and sew the long edge to make a narrow tube. Turn the tube right side out.

  6. Fold your long piece of fabric in half the long way and zigzag stitch (or serge) the long edge to form a tube. Turn the tube right side out.

  7. Bring the two ends of the long tube together with the right sides facing. Sew the short edges together with a straight stitch using a 1 cm seam allowance. Then zigzag or serge the ends to reinforce.

  8. Press the Zigzag seam to the headband.

  9. Line up the bow with the front of the headband as shown so it is lined up with the seam. Wrap your small tube of fabric around the center of the bow and the headband. The ends of the small tube should overlap the zigzagged seam of the headband. Make sure the small tube is tight around the bow and the headband, then sew the ends together with a straight seam. . Trim the seam to make it less bulky then sew the seam again with a zigzag stitch to reinforce.

  10. Hand-stitch a couple of stitches through the tube, headband, and the back layer of the bow to keep the bow from sliding.

The photos below will help to demonstrate the steps. I used an extremely ugly old pair of my son's pants for this example!

Cut our your fabric pieces.

Sew your two 5x8 in rectangles with right sides together. Fold and sew your 2 x 5 in. rectangle with the right sides facing along the long edge, and then your long rectangle with right sides together along the long edge.

Turn all pieces right side out. Stitch the opening on your 5 x 8 in. rectangle. Then gather the center by placing a stitch through the middle. This creates the bow.

Assemble the headband by stitching together the ends of the long tube. Zigzag the seam and then turn it to the inside. Line the center of the bow up against the outside of the headband. Next, take your small tube and wrap it around the center of the bow and the headband to hold them together. Make sure the ends of the small tube are on the inside of the headband, then stitch them together as tightly as you can, as shown. Trim the excess fabric from the seam and then zigzag stitch the ends of the seam to reinforce. Run a stitch through the tube, headband, and the back layer of the bow to hold the bow in place.

Voila! You have a Big Bow Headband!

If you're looking for additional easy-sewing, no-waste sewing projects, check out my tutorial on reusable cloth hair rollers.

Be sure to also check out my posts on Sustainable Crafting including:

Happy Crafting!

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