How to Machine Embroider Headbands

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Things You'll Need

  • Tailor's chalk
  • Flexible tape measure
  • Clear graph ruler
  • Water-soluble disappearing ink pen
  • Tracing paper
  • Paper scissors
  • Sticky stabilizer
  • Fabric scissors
  • Iron
  • Nonstick protective sheet
  • Sewing machine

Create trendy accessories to jazz up your hairstyle. Hair accessories such as headbands require less than one yard of fabric, making it an economical craft. Adding embroidery transforms leftover solid-color fabrics into a trendy look. Choose knit fabrics with natural stretch such as jersey or Spandex blends for comfort or select woven cotton textiles, adding an elastic insert for ease. Take time to sketch a design and mark the headband within the embroidery field parameters directly on the fabric to reduce the risk of overlapping stitches onto seam allowances or the backside of the headband.

Mark the selected fabric with your headband dimensions using tailor’s chalk. For example, make a rectangle shape measuring 4 inch width by 21 inches length for a size small headband. Change the length dimension to 22 inches for size medium or 23 inches for size large. If you are making a headband with longer tails, use a flexible tape measure to measure around the crown of your head to the nape of your neck, adding the desired tail-length dimension.

Add ½-inch seam allowance around the marked headband from Step 1 by placing a clear graph ruler on the markings.

Transfer the embroidery design to the fabric with a water-soluble disappearing ink pen or tailor’s chalk. If you sketched the embroidery pattern on tracing paper, cut out the design using paper scissors. Place it directly on the fabric to trace around the outline. If you are transferring a centered design, divide the headband length in half to mark the headband's mid-point. If you are choosing a premade embroidery pattern installed in your machine, skip this step.

Position a sheet of sticky stabilizer on the backside of the fabric. This tacky sheet, commonly used for floating embroideries, firms and stabilizes the fabric for multiple needle punctures from the machine. The floating technique uses the top hoop frame attachment as the embroidery guide by setting it over the transferred design.

Lift the presser foot and insert the stabilized fabric within your machine's embroidery parameters. Lower the top hoop frame over the design, ensuring the stitches do not pass over the markings made in Steps 1 and 2.

Embroider the headband design, avoiding the edges along the length or seam allowance.

Remove the embroidered fabric from the machine and cut out the headband along the seam allowance markings made in Step 2. Use fabric scissors to avoid jagged edges around the raw edges.

Turn the raw edges under to create a hem and iron. Place a nonstick protective sheet over the embroidered design to protect the embroidery thread from heat or steam.

Choose a decorative stitch such as a zigzag or topstitch from your sewing machine stitch selector wheel and stitch the headband hems. Cut away all loose threads prior to wearing the embroidered headband.


  • Heavy fabrics require lightweight stabilizer sheets. The same applies for lightweight fabrics, which require heavier weight stabilizer sheets.


  • UrbanThreads:Hip Headbands
  • “Sublime Stitching Embroidered Effects: Projects and Patterns to Inspire Your Stitching”; Jenny Hart; 2009

About the Author

Mercedes Valladares is the founder of M721Organics and has been an independent designer for over 15 years. Her work experience commenced during college with manufacturers based in New York and Hong Kong. Her education includes LIM College, International Fine Arts College and design certification from the Paris Fashion Institute. She produces eco-crafting videos and writes recycling articles online.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images