DIY Knotted Headband Tutorial + Free Pattern Download

DIY Knotted Headband (with free pattern download)

Howdy, y’all!

Ever since buying my woodland print tunic, I have been a little obsessed with the matching headband. Alright then, a lot obsessed. It’s so comfy and it adds cuteness to every outfit you wear it with, as well as helping to tame unruly or slightly greasy locks on bad hair days.

However, as a lover of boldly patterned clothes (I’m sure you’ve noticed that already!) the busy little woodland print doesn’t go with the majority of my wardrobe, so I decided to have a go at making my own knotted headbands from plainer fabrics and different patterns.

I drafted my original pattern by hand onto some card stock before creating a digital pattern. I wanted to have a back-up in case my hand drafted template gets beaten up from overuse – what can I say, I’m intending to make a lot of headbands! I’m sharing the pattern with you today – you can click to download the PDF below.

Click here to download my Knotted Headband Pattern.

Note: the pattern already includes a 1cm seam allowance, which is marked by the dotted line.

The pattern includes a 3cm x 3cm test square so that you can make sure your print-out is the right size. Make sure your printer is printing to 100% scale before you waste too many trees! This pattern is drafted to fit my head, which according to the hats in Forever 21 is a Medium/Large sized head, but you can simply adjust the size of the headband by changing how much fabric you fold up at the end, and how much elastic you use to connect the fabric pieces at the back. If you’re making the band for a child it may be worth experimenting with the scale of the pattern when printing to get the best fit.

This is a brilliant scrap busting project and including photography, mine only took 45 minutes to make. I’m sure I could get that time down to 15 minutes if I wasn’t messing around with my camera between steps!

You will need

The Knotted Headband Pattern, cut out and stuck together

Sewing machine, or a needle and lots of patience

Scrap of fabric, at least 47cm x 32cm in size (fat quarters of quilting cotton work well)

~10-15cm of 18mm or 25mm wide elastic (whatever you have to hand) in a coordinating colour

Coordinating thread


Fabric scissors and a disappearing marker, or whatever equipment is required for your preferred method of cutting

Flexible tape measure


1. Cut out the fabric according to the pattern. There are lots of methods of doing this, but since I don’t own a cutting mat, a rotary cutter or pinking shears I simply draw around the pattern onto the wrong side of the fabric using a disappearing marker and cut it out using regular fabric scissors. You should cut out two fabric pieces, both on the fold.

DIY Knotted Headband Tutorial + Free Pattern Download - Step 1

A quick word about those unsightly creases – you should really iron your fabric before you cut out your pieces. However, I was in a rush and I couldn’t find the iron (student accommodation probz) so I just went for it. This is a classic case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ and for the best results, ironing is key.

2. Take one of the fabric pieces, fold it in half along the long edge (i.e. the folded edge when you were cutting it out) and pin the fabric together, right sides facing.

DIY Knotted Headband Tutorial + Free Pattern Download - Step 2

Your pins don’t need to be this cutesy and girly, but it helps!

3. Sew along the top tapered edge and the open long side edge using a 1cm seam allowance, backstitching a centimetre or so at the beginning and end. Turn the headband right sides out – the easiest way of doing this is by using something long to help you, such as a chopstick, a butter knife or a pair of scissors.

DIY Knotted Headband Tutorial + Free Pattern Download - Step 3

Don’t forget to trim your thread tails!

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the other headband piece you cut out.

DIY Knotted Headband Tutorial + Free Pattern Download - Step 4

This is another point at which you should iron, because your tubes of headband material will resemble weird fabric snakes. Also, don’t worry about the points at the end looking off-centre, I found that they made the final result look better than when they were perfectly symmetrical.

5. Tie a knot in the headband as you would like the knot to sit and measure it against your head, or the head of whoever you are making the headband for – it’s advisable to have a friend help you with this step, it can be quite tricky to do on your own. Measure how big the gap is between each end of the fabric at the back of your head using a flexible tape measure, and cut a piece of 18mm wide or 25mm wide flat elastic (whatever you have to hand) that is 4cm longer than that measurement. Make a note of the measurement in case you want to make more headbands in the future – mine was 14cm.

DIY Knotted Headband Tutorial + Free Pattern Download - Step 5

Make sure to use nice, soft elastic for this headband, you don’t want rough elastic scratching the back of your head every time you wear it.

6. Fold 1cm of the open end of the headband inwards to conceal the raw edge. Repeat on the other side of the headband.

DIY Knotted Headband Tutorial + Free Pattern Download - Step 6

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of this step before slotting the elastic in, but can you see that the raw edge is nicely folded inside the headband? That’s what you’re aiming for.

7. Slide 2cm of the elastic into the folded-up end, and fold the fabric around the elastic. Pin in place. Note: the fold should be on the inside of the headband, i.e. the side that will make contact with your head. That way you will achieve a more clean finish on the outside.

DIY Knotted Headband Tutorial + Free Pattern Download - Step 7

Fabric origami time!

8. Topstitch the headband fabric down onto the elastic. I made a box with a cross in it to secure my elastic to the fabric, but two lines should suffice if they are backstitched at the ends. Do this for both sides.

DIY Knotted Headband Tutorial + Free Pattern Download - Step 8

On the right side I tried using my sewing machine’s triple reinforced stitch, but the thick layers meant that the machine kept jamming, hence the blobs of thread. On the left side I used a standard stitch and it turned out much neater, yet just as strong.

9. Try on your new headband and admire your handiwork! If the sizing isn’t quite right, you can always unpick the stitching that is holding the elastic to the fabric, cut the elastic shorter or add a longer piece of elastic, and sew it back together. Or you could adjust it the lazy way and retie the knot a little bit tighter or looser – I won’t tell anyone!

DIY Knotted Headband Tutorial + Free Pattern Download - Step 9

Pulling a stupid face totally makes up for my lack of eye make-up, right? Also, my skin looks kind of terrifying when you use the skin smoothing setting on my camera, it seems to eradicate every shadow on your face… my nose does actually exist, I promise!

10. Whip up ten or so more to go with every outfit you can think of!

DIY Knotted Headband Tutorial + Free Pattern Download - Step 10

So, when I said ten, I kind of meant two. Oh well, I’ll get there eventually…

This is a great beginner project to get started with sewing; because nearly all the sewing is concealed, your stitching doesn’t have to be perfect and if your cutting was slightly off, the elastic will still ensure a good fit. However, there are plenty of adaptations you could try if you’re a more advanced sewer looking for a bit of a challenge. A lacy headband with a contrasting lining would look amazing, or you could experiment with contrasting fabrics on different parts of the headband. Personally, my next headband will feature piped edges – I’m OBSESSED with piping but I’ve never tried sewing it myself, this simple pattern will be the perfect thing to experiment on!

Finally, I just want to thank my Super Super Awesome Boyfriend Matt who completely out-of-the-blue offered his modelling services for the first photo when I was struggling to create a good Pinterest-friendly image. Isn’t he a star?

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial, please feel free to comment with any questions you may have. If you do decide to have a go at making a headband I’d love to see what you come up with, tag me on TwitterInstagram or simply post a link in the comments.

Don’t forget to follow Poppy alla Norma on Bloglovin’ so you never miss a post.

Until next time,