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Handmade Sweatband, Wristband tutorial (and chance to win free entry into a triathlon)

I’d like to wish you all a belated Happy New Year. I’ve been so busy working on some exciting projects that I have not had time to blog. I’ll update you on all the activity here at the CraftSanity headquarters soon. But right now I want to focus on sweatbands and giving away a free entry to one of three upcoming competitions in the Second Annual Indoor Triathlon Series at the David D. Hunting YMCA in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In case you haven’t noticed sweatbands are making a comeback. Says who? Uh, well, me.

Sweatbands are so popular in fact that I could not find a good tutorial on the web on how to make the little buggers out of terry cloth yardage. (Please, somebody, correct me if there’s a whole community of DIY sweatband makers out there that I don’t know about.) And what’s up with that? How come no one is making their own sweatbands?

As a matter of self-awareness, I do realize this sweatband thing could be on par with my apron addiction because I’m pretty sure that I’m going to run a race sporting an apron AND a sweatband sometime soon.

Anyway, I’ve decided that the terry cloth sweatbands that I once dismissed as completely dorky are in fact quite effective and essential to my triathlon training that I just ramped back up as best a busy mother of two small children can. (Keep reading to find out how you can win a free one-event entry. I will eventually get to that.) I participated in my first indoor triathlon series last year and had a blast, so the plan is to participate again. And I decided that handmade sweatbands are key because the simple act of putting one one sends a signal to everyone else at the gym that you plan to do some serious sweating. Or, it can also mean you just arrived in a time machine from the year 1980.

But whatever. It’s my belief that when you put on a sweatband it’s Go Time and the band signals to everyone around that something serious is about to happen.

I didn’t feel like buying my sweatbands in bulk at the dollar store. So I made them myself. I made some out of of terry cloth and others out of jersey knit, but I prefer the terry cloth variety.

Here’s what you do if you want to make your own:


Stretchy terry cloth fabric (You can make several out of a quarter yard)

Thread to match fabric

Sewing machine

1) Measure around your head and subtract about 5 inches to determine the length of your sweatband. The unfolded width of the band will be 5″ for everyone. I cut 5″ by 16 1/2″ pieces of terry cloth to make my sweatbands. (Note: Make sure the fabric will stretch around your head before you start cutting because fabric stretches at different rates and you may need to adjust the measurement.)

This is not required, but I cut a second piece of terry cloth measuring 3 1/2″ by 16 1/2″ to insert into my sweatbands and make them more absorbent.

2) Fold the main sweatband fabrics in half length-wise with right sides together and zigzag stitch the longest seam. (I set my stitch length to 3.5 to maintain optimal fabric stretch.) Repeat this process if you decided to add an insert.

3) Turn the main sweat sweatband fabric you just sewed into a tube right side out and adjust the tube so the seam is positioned in the inside back of the band. If you decided to made an insert secure a safety pin to one end of it and feed it through the interior of the main sweatband fabric tube.

4) Tuck one end of the sweatband into the other and zigzag to secure.

5) You can embellish the sweatbands with patches or fancy machine embroidery, but I decided to leave mine plain because I’d rather spend time embellishing things I’m not going to sweat on.

If you would like wristbands like the one above, cut two 6″x7″ pieces of terry cloth for the wristbands and two 5″x7″  pieces for the inserts. (Again, stretch the fabric around your wrist before you cut it to make sure the measurement is correct for you. Men will probably want to add about an inch to the length.) Then follow the same process described above to make the sweat bands.

ENTER TO WIN!! Leave a comment below about your 2011 fitness goals or your thoughts about sweatbands and click over here to enter for a chance to win a free entry into one of the three indoor triathlon events that will be held Jan. 30, Feb. 27 and March 27 at the David D. Hunting YMCA in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Proceeds from the YMCA’s indoor triathlon series go to support the Strong Kids  Campaign which provides Y memberships to children and families who would not otherwise be able to participate. The cost to participate in the indoor series at the Y is $30 for members and $40 for non-members for a single event, or $75 for members and $105 for non-members for all three competitions. Download an entry form here.

This indoor series is open to racers of all experience levels and a great starting point for rookies and great prep for the June 5 Grand Rapids Triathlon, too.

A winner will be picked Jan. 15 and will have his or her choice of the three race dates. Good luck!


Comment from Erin-Joi
Time: January 7, 2011, 11:01 pm

Love the idea! My husband and father wear sweatbands whenever they do something exerting because they both sweat buckets and do not want it in their eyes.
The three of us participate in marathon walks for breast cancer. I would love to make them pink ribbon sweatbands for the walks. Guess I will have to look for the right fabric now.
In the past two years I have lost 25 pounds and regained 5. I hit a plateau and have not managed to move the scale for a while. I ordered Leslie Sansone’s Walk off the pounds dvds and cannot wait to try them. I hope that they will not only help with the weight but also feed into my training for marathon walks.
Good luck in the triathlon! I’m not that ambitious yet. Maybe in another 25 pounds.

Comment from Elizabeth
Time: January 8, 2011, 10:11 am

Hello! :) It’s a little Royal Tenenbaums for me, but I love it! And your bit about the DIY sweatband makers community and self-awareness had me cracking up. :)

Comment from Sara
Time: January 9, 2011, 11:37 pm

I couldn’t find any tutorials for sweatbands either! So, I made my own too. Then I found yours. Great tutorial!

Comment from jennifer
Time: January 12, 2011, 8:28 am

Awesome, Sara! Thanks for posting your link. I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees a need for DIY sweatbands. : )

Comment from christine
Time: January 23, 2011, 9:24 pm

Aspiring triathlete and craftaholic mom of 3 here…

I found last year while learning to run – bondibands. They have some really great ideas. I started making my headbands like those – with a small pinched spot on the back and out of a single layer of microfleece or other absorbant material. the pinched spot in the back helps it to be anchored in the back of your head – I find the tube type to always slip off.

Made some for my daughters out of swimming suit material – in the same design as the bondibands. lightweight, cool designs and colours.

Comment from john fournier
Time: February 1, 2012, 4:11 pm

That’s how we got started too. Good creative stuff ya’ll!

Pingback from Make Your Own… Sweatbands! | Healthy Women
Time: March 14, 2012, 2:51 pm

[…] Make Your Own Sweatband […]

Comment from Leanne
Time: April 22, 2012, 3:12 pm

Yay! Now….living in Ottawa, Canada, I am haveign a HARD HARD HARD time finding fabric!! Where have you found yours?? I’m trying to find fun colours too!

Pingback from My Long Running Aversion « agirla4wdandatrailer
Time: July 21, 2012, 9:12 pm

[…] I’ve been on ebay for a sweat band, found they were to expensive so I’ve decided to make my own out of old shirts […]

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Time: August 13, 2012, 5:15 pm

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Comment from elise zheng
Time: October 14, 2012, 11:55 pm

I am Elise from JoinTop China Enterprise Co.,Ltd.

We specialized in all type of wristbands for many years. Wish our products will be helpful for your business and find a way to cooperate with you.

Look forward for your reply.FREE SAMPLES can be sent to you if needed

Comment from Becca
Time: April 6, 2013, 12:16 pm

After no luck searching for stretch terry cloth, I plan to deconstruct hooded towels (designed for infants) and make sweatbands for my son’s tennis team.

Comment from Kate Reese
Time: July 3, 2013, 6:16 pm

I couldn’t source any stretch terry cloth, so have opted to use stretch panne velvet fabric instead (lime green!). The sweatbands will form part of a group costume for a local fun run.
Thanks for the tips!

Comment from Kim Allen
Time: March 7, 2014, 8:01 am

Thank you so much for the Sweatband Tutorial.

Comment from sarah
Time: April 25, 2014, 2:15 pm

hi! thanks for the idea. i’m having trouble with step 4 for wrist bands. how do you get your sewing machine to sew through such a small area? appreciate any suggestions!

Pingback from 18 Gifts for Runners of All Types | Dodo Burd
Time: November 12, 2014, 6:08 pm

[…] Handmade Sweatbands […]

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