Friday, 7 September 2018

Free Pattern Friday: Women's Knit Headband



Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes a women's one. I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those of you who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

So I've taken a slightly different tack for this month's free pattern project. It's not an entire garment, like usual, but a quicker accessory make that may appeal to A) beginners, B) sewers looking for useful ways to use up some fabric scraps, or C) a time-poor sewer who would like to make something from beginning to end in a very short amount of time. Thanks to Caroline Hulse via Janome for sharing her work on this pattern for free.  


Pattern type:

If truth be told, it probably wouldn't be a complete stretch for most sewers to figure out how to make a halfway decent headband. However, why not let someone else figure out the dimensions and method for us?! In case you were in any doubt, lemme tell you that there are about 300,000 headband tutorials and patterns available on the interwebs that people are generously sharing for free. I picked the Knit Headband pattern by Sew Caroline, which is actually downloadable via the Janome website here. I liked the width of the band, and the knot detail, which I hoped would help attract attention away from my greasy hair on days that I didn't get to wash it!

Sizing info:

This is billed as a 'one-size-fits-most' pattern. I'd say my head is on the large end of medium, and this fits me fine, however I'd be tempted to make it a bit shorter for future versions so that the tie ends don't stick out quite as much. Of course, the final size will also depend on the properties of your chosen fabric. 

(image source: Caroline Hulse)

Fabric info:

The good news is you only need ¼ metre/yard or less of fabric for this project, so if you've been sewing with knits for a while, it's possible that you've already got something suitable in your stash or fabric scraps collection. The bad news is that the only guidance given for what to use is 'knit fabric'. I would very much urge you to pick a jersey knit that isn't too thin, and has a sizeable (at least 5%) elastane/lycra/spandex content with very good recovery. 

For my first attempt at this pattern, I used a leopard print off cut from a refashioned garment, and it was a total flop (literally). The jersey was too thin, and despite a noticeable elastane content, the recovery was weak. Second time round, I used some jersey that was more substantial (this one from Girl Charlee UK) and it's perfect. I think anything you'd be happy to make leggings from would be fine for this project. 

Findings:

The pattern and tutorial take the form of a nicely designed four page PDF doc: two of those pages containing the pattern piece that you stick together. As mentioned, more info should have been given for choosing suitable fabric, particularly for beginners (and me, evidently!). Plus, there are no images or illustrations for the construction steps, which might have been helpful for a sewing novice, and I reckon the additional step of trimming away some of the seam allowance would lead to a slightly more polished headband. 

That said, it really was a fun and super-quick project, and the finished headband turned out much nicer than I thought it would. I'm sure I'll get a lot of use from it, on worse-than-usual hair days, and to keep my hair out of the way whilst I'm washing my face. 



Customisation ideas:

  • You could try adding some contrast top stitching around the edge of the headband with a lightning or zigzag stitch, or a cool decorative stretch stitch, if your machine has any.
  • To copy Caroline's headband (third from the top in her image above), you could try mixing two different fabrics in the same headband. 
  • Monkey around with the dimensions, making the band wider or thinner for different looks.
  • I saw on a different online headband tutorial (sorry can't recall now where), someone added some squiggles of hot glue from a glue gun to the underside towards the back of their headband. Apparently, this makes them much less likely to slip off, which is especially helpful whilst exercising (so I hear).

Would I make it again?

If I came across a scrap of the right type of knit, I would be very tempted to bust out some more of these, for myself or as gifts. If you've got lots of suitable pieces of knit to use up, these could make great stocking fillers for Christmas. Trying this pattern/tutorial has also inspired me to scale down the pattern and make my little girl some headbands too. 

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