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How to Make a Mourning Armband

Black armbands are often worn by groups to show a solidarity of respect for the deceased.
Guang Niu/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Mourning armbands have a history for men but are increasingly worn by all members of law enforcement, fire departments and sports teams as they pay homage to a deceased member. Historically, in the United States, widowed men wore them for months to a year. They could remarry when the black armband period was over. Mourning armbands are also referred to as sleeve garters and are constructed of fabric-encased elastic. They can be made in various widths with meaningful symbols or colors attached to them.

Measure the bicep area of the arm with a measuring tape.

Cut 3-inch-wide black fabric so it is the length of your arm measurement plus half again.

Fold the right sides together lengthwise and stitch a seam, with a 1/4-inch-wide seam allowance. Use a sewing machine or hand stitch this seam.

Turn this tube inside out so the seam is on the inside.

Cut a piece of 1/2-inch elastic to the bicep measurement.

Attach a safety pin to the end of the elastic.

Feed the elastic into the black tube, using the pin as a guide.

Sew the ends of the elastic together.

Use hand stitching to attach the two ends of the black tube together, totally encasing the elastic .

Things You'll Need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Black fabric strip
  • Black thread
  • Sewing machine
  • 1/2-inch elastic
  • Needle
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