Friday, November 27, 2015

DIY: Turkey Sweatband

During last year’s Thanksgiving, I came up with the idea to make turkey sweatbands to wear during the annual 5K Turkey Trot and amazingly, my friends agreed to wear them! Scouring the web for inspiration and possible tutorials, I only saw a variety of turkey hats, but no turkey sweatbands…. So I made my own tutorial!

This year, we are running it again and recruited some new friends into the group and they wanted to wear them too! A tradition has been born! Based on a few people’s comments about our sweatbands looking like Princess Leia hair (LOL), I made a few modifications to last year’s design, specifically around the placement of the drumsticks on the sweatband. Hopefully, this year people will be able to tell we are turkeys! ... although being mistaken for Princess Leia would be rather applicable this time of year…

  • White Towel (for the bones) 
  • Brown Towel (for the turkey body)
  • Brown Elastic (1” thick)
  • Brown Thread
  • Poly-Fil Supreme Fiberfill 
  • Measuring Tape
  • Walking Foot (optional, but extremely helpful) 
  • Fabric Scissors 
  • Paper (to make your stencils)
  • Sewing Needle
  • Lint Roller!


1. Measure your head.
Using a measuring tape, measure the circumference of your head to determine how long your sweatband should be. My head circumference was 21", so I subtracted a few inches to make room for the elastic making the sweatband piece 17” long.

2. Measure and cut out your stencils.
For the sweatband stencil, I measured out 17”x5” using two pieces of paper and taped them together. For the drumsticks, I drew the drumstick meat and drumstick bone pieces on paper and cut them out. Your stencils should look something like this:

3. Cut your fabric. 
Pin or weigh down your stencil onto the appropriate towels and cut out your pieces. Brown towel for the sweatband and meat part of the drumsticks. White towel for the drumstick bones. For each person, you will need to cut 1 sweatband piece, 4 drumstick pieces, and 4 bone pieces. Warning: Once you start cutting the towels, they WILL leave behind lots and lots and lots of towel lint/tiny shreds of fabric. This is where the lint roller comes into play!

4. Cut your elastic band.
Mine was 5” long.

5. Sew the sweatband piece.
Fold it in half hotdog style and sew along the edge. You should end up with a tube. I’m sure you could probably use a straight stitch, but I just kept my machine in zigzag stitch the whole time. Using a walking foot is super helpful especially since we are working with thick fabrics that can be difficult to move through the machine evenly. The walking foot grabs onto the top layer of the fabric and works with the feed dogs beneath the fabric to move it along.

6. Flip the sweatband inside out.
I used a chopstick and small pliers to help me do this.
7. Sew the elastic to the sweatband.
Place the tip of one end of the elastic into the sweatband tube and sew the tube shut. Then stick the tip of the other end of the elastic into the other sweatband tube opening and sew that shut. You should now have a sweatband tube!

8. Sew your drumstick pieces together.
Lay 2 drumstick pieces on top of each other, and sew along the edge. When you are about half way around, stuff Poly-Fil into the drumstick using the chopstick to stuff it in and sew all the way around. Repeat with the other 2 drumstick pieces.
9. Sew your bone pieces together.
Lay 2 bone pieces on top of each other and sew along the edge leaving just the straight part unsewn. Once taken off the machine, you can stuff that with Poly-Fil. Don't worry about it not being a fully closed shape, that'll get taken care of when attached to the drumstick piece. Repeat with the other 2 bone pieces.

10. Sew the bone to the drumstick.
Lay the bone piece onto the drumstick piece and sew them together. Repeat with the other drumstick and bone pieces.

11. Hand-sew the drumsticks to the sweatband.
This was probably the hardest part - figuring out where to place the drumsticks! Too far back and you risk looking like Princess Leia. Too far forward and it looks a little strange. If it helps you, each of my drumsticks was about 2.5” from the center of the sweatband and angled with the bone upwards. I anchored each drumstick to the sweatband in 3 places that I felt kept it in place and ensured proper placement.
You're done!

Now you're ready to sweat in festive style! 

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