The day our family gathered to bury my Grandmother, I needed an easy solution for a baby girl headband that I could make myself out of an abundant selection of tights I had on hand. And I wanted it to be fabulous, to go with the precious vintage dress my grandmother had tucked away, until moving to Georgia just in time for my baby shower where I pulled its crisp folds of white cotton/linen from a bag of tissue paper propped on my burgeoning belly (…and wondered how in the world whatever was in my belly would ever be big enough to fit it).
I’m not wondering anymore because my Muffin is not only big enough to fit the dress, she’s pushing 19 months and throws fits. I hoped and over-the-top hair accessory to match her dress (I was going for something more like this) might distract from the inevitable babbling and shrieking during the pavilion service; throw-down, back arching tantrums; liberal reassigning of grave flowers and memorabilia; mommy pummeling; beeline escaping; banana smearing; sipee cup throwing; and hiding (which did occur) before making it back to the car seat and air conditioning.
And since I didn’t plan ahead…and my little fit-thrower was sound asleep…I made this headband with a needle and thread and pair of scissors…and only one cup of coffee…in about ten minutes start to finish.
Working with what I had on hand: I sorted through the dozens of pairs of little girl tights I’ve ended up with during the last several rounds of hand-me-downs. Some pushing vintage but still pristine, having been passed from baby to baby, whose chubby little thighs always seemed the perfect size right in the middle of summer.
Others a little worse for the wear with holes in the toes, or in just one knee. Kept around because the hole won’t be noticeable under a pair of pants, they’re good for tying up tomato plants, the next mother can decide whether to toss them, children in Iceland would be happy to have them, or some other rationalization for not permanently committing them to the Goodwill pile.
Then there’s the dozens of tights, in a separate stash, that I obsessively snatch up at end-of-season clearance sales because $8 tights for less than a dollar are
irresistible perfect “fluff” gifts/package adornment for baby showers (should they all be girls).
But what I never seem to have enough of are baby hair bows!
I used old tights, that seemed almost identical to the fabric of some of Muffin’s other (not white) headbands, and a piece of tulle salvaged from a gift box.
I didn’t want to have any unraveled ends, so I used a pair that seemed long enough to fit snug (but not tight) around the baby’s head without cutting the leg of the tights, which I left as a tube (measuring on my own head, the tights I went with seemed about the right fit for an 18 month old).
I brought the toe of the tights (which may be in worse shape than other parts of the tights but will be hidden by stitching and the hair bow decoration) around to the inseam and began hand-stitching a seam using the existing seams for durability and as a guide for my stitching.
I hooked a loop on every stitch for the first pass then turned the tights over and did a quick back stitch to firm up the seam and catch any gaps.
Where the toe curves, and the thigh of the tights is wider than the toe, I worked with it and made tiny pinches in the thigh of the tights to pull in the extra fabric so I would end up with one solid tube and no cut-ends that could eventually unravel.
I pulled on the seam to check my work and stitched up any place I missed.
I cut the new head band free from the tights.
I turned the new headband right side out.
I started on the decorative part of the headband by wrapping about two feet of white tulle around my hand a few times until I had a loose roll.
I made a running stitch through the tulle to stabilize it before attaching to the headband .
I attached the stitched tulle to the headband with another quick running stitch and stitched it down firmly at both ends (to baby proof). (The outside edges at this point are still folded over on themselves – to be cut in the next step.)
I used big scissors to separate and cut each fold, one at a time, and at varying lengths, starting from the inside and working outward. I adjusted where I cut each time, so that when the fabric fell free the longer piece of the fold would fall open on the bottom (closer to the headband) and the shorter length would stay near the front. This helped the bow “poof” into a nice shape.
You could stop here but I didn’t (and had to go in the sunlight for this because my eyes were going insane, all the white-on-white). I used sharp schoolhouse scissors with a blunt tip (so I could slide the scissors into the tulle without catching the fabric) and cut down into the tulle (opposite the direction I already cut the folds). I kept cutting until there was a bunch of fluff – no exact science here (and it varies anyway, depending on the amount of tulle you started with).
The finished bow. Ready for my sleeping princess…in about ten minutes, made with materials already on hand, and minimal cleanup, and a whole ‘nother leg for another headband on another day (one pair of tights = two headbands).
And it’s as simple as that! Tights we wouldn’t have used anyway were re-purposed, I didn’t have to wake a sleeping baby to make a run to the store, and we had a cute bow for these pictures of flushed little Muffin resting after running around at the sun-blazing graveside service…
So there you have it! A simple sewing project: Tights + Tulle + Ten Minutes = Little Girl Headband! So put those old tights with a hole in one knee to good use, or start with intact ones and get two headbands out of each pair!
What other good uses have you found for extra tights? I’d love to hear your ideas!