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.

Tights + Tulle + Ten Minutes = Little Girl Headbands Galore…even if it is blazing hot outside! Air conditioning was on the agenda 14 seconds after this photo…and then a backyard sprinkler in the shade!

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.

Little Girl Tights

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).

The toe of an old pair of baby tights.
I turned the tights inside out because it seemed like that would show the least amount of dirt and wear.

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.

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.

Making Hair Bows out of tights!
This was fast, honestly, it takes longer to write this paragraph! And if you had a sewing machine already set up and/or were going to do several at a time…my you could get your time’s worth out of this project!

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.

Stitching the seam of little girl tights into a head band for a hair bow.

I pulled on the seam to check my work and stitched up any place I missed.

(Of course, this step would be completely unnecessary with a sewing machine, sigh!)
(Of course, this step would be completely unnecessary with a sewing machine, sigh!)

I cut the new head band free from the tights.

Cutting a headband out of tights

I turned the new headband right side out.

it looks good! And the “crooked” part from where I followed the inseam and the curve of the toe won't show when the headband is stretched.
The “crooked” part, from where I followed the inseam and the curve of the toe, disappears when the headband is stretched.

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.

Wrapped Tulle

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.

A longer pair of scissors made this step easier…so that each cut in the tulle was made with one cut. But jagged edges actually add to the look of this bow!

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 shorter (and sharper!) scissors were best for this because you need to cut straight into the little pieces (not at an angle) or you'll end of cutting them off.
I cut straight into the little pieces of tulle (not at an angle) because otherwise I ended up cutting off pieces of tulle that fluttered to the floor and reduced the overall “poof” of my bow. The more fluff the better.

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).

Looks more like a wedding, I know, but my Grandma would be honored to know the baby wore the dress she'd saved for her...and wasn't in all black like her momma!!
The finished hair bow/headband (showcased on my apparently multi-functional Young Living essential oils diffuser).

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…

Baby with white headband.
Great-Grandma would be tickled to know the baby wore the dress from her and that she wasn’t in all-black, on this hottest of days, like her momma!

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!