Friday, April 15, 2011

Tutorial: Red Bow Headband

Hello there! 

As it's the school holidays in Australia, I've had quite a lot of spare time. There was one particular project I had always wanted to make and that was a headband. Specifically, it was the red bow headband on Gossip Girl's Blair Waldorf from "Victor, Victrola" in the first season. It's one of my favourite headbands worn on the show. (The other one being the 'Queen Bee' headband given to Jenny: the Swarovski crystal headband by Jennifer Behr, which she hardly wore.) 

This is actually the first tutorial I have ever written and I really do hope I don't spare any important details. In that case, I had taken heaps of pictures of the process and yet I haven't used all of them.

The measurements I give out are only approximate and you may alter it for a bigger bow or a smaller bow. You may also alter it to make your own design, if you wish.

Level of Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
Skills: Hand-sewing and machine sewing

What you need: 

  • Fabric: About 1/2 m or 1/2 yard (That's more than enough). You may use any kind of fabric you wish but in this case, I'm using silk dupioni, in red as I'm making my own replica of the headband.
  • Plastic Headband
  • Thread (preferably same colour as the fabric)
  • Needle (for hand-sewing)
  • Tape Measure
  • Thread clipper/scissors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine
What you might need:

  •  Pins
  • Tailor chalk/ Dressmaker's pencil
  • Seam ripper
  • Hot glue gun (I used a low temp hot glue gun)
  • Tweezers
Measure your headband's length and width as shown. Calculate those measurement with some seam allowance (accurate measurement + seam allowance) and cut a strip of fabric with those dimensions. 

For the bow, you will need to cut:
2 strips of 4 ½ inch x 12” fabric (approximate 12 x 30 cm)
2 strips of 4 ½” x 10”(12 x 25 cm)

Also for the knot of the bow, 2 strips of 3 ½” x 1 ¾”(9 x
4 ½ cm)

Confused? I drew a diagram. The measurements in inches are in black. The centimetre measurements are in red while the amount of pieces you need to cut out are in blue.

 On the sewing machine, use the zig zag stitch on the edges of your pieces of cloth. Alternatively, you may use the overlock sewing machine to do this. (If you're using silk dupioni, you know it frays easily, so you must do this step!)

For the headband, fold the cloth in half lengthwise and sew the ends together to make a tube. Alternatively, you may hot glue the cloth onto the headband. Anyway, if you're sewing the cloth, turn it inside out and you may use a safety pin or a pair of tweezers to help you.

 Slide the tube into the headband. The tighter you make your tube, the smoother it will look. However, if the tube is too tight, you cannot slide the headband through it. Make it just right for the fit of the headband.

Once you have make the tube fitted to your headband, you will need to stitch up the ends of the tube onto the headband. You can hot-glue it if you want. 
 For the bow, sew the two pieces with similar measurements together, edge by edge, leaving an open seam in the middle of one of the longer edges and flip them inside out. Once you've flipped them, you will need to close the opening by sewing it. 

You must leave that open seam in the middle on one of the lengths or else this will happen:

As you can see, the stitching in the middle of the rectangles would be less noticeable as you're going to put a knot over it. 

Once you've finished the steps for both rectangles, you will need to cinch the middle of the pieces by folding it like a paper fan with 2 mountain and 2 valley folds - like shown on the diagram below. If you're doing the same bow as I am, the double bow, you will need to lay the smaller rectangle over the larger one before folding.

Once you've cinched the middle, you'll need to hand-sew the folds together in order to keep that cinch.

Now you'll need to sew the strips together that create the knot. You will also need to flip them inside out so at least one of the widths should be open, in order to do so. Wrap the rectangle around the cinched middle of the bow. You will then need to hand-sew the two widths together to form a loop.

 You should end up with a bow and a headband wrapped in cloth. To attach the bow to the headband, you can stitch the bow onto the headband or you can hot glue the bow onto the headband. I had used both in order to secure it properly.

 Enjoy your headband à la Blair Waldorf. (Yes, that's a Legal Studies handout underneath the headband but it suits it, doesn't it? I mean... red for blood and genocide? It also channels that Intelligent Schoolgirl thing that Blair has) 

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