How To Make A Malleable Wire-Lined Head Scarf

Instead of tying on a scarf really tightly or sticking a million bobby pins into your skull to stop it from sliding off, let's make one that you can twist and turn however you like--and it stays put with zero effort.
Publish date:
October 10, 2013
hair, DIY, fall, hair accessories, crafts, scarves, hair scarves, sewing

It’s fall now. I know--maybe you haven’t noticed yet? As I write this, it’s freaking 80 degrees outside and I’m in shorts and a t-shirt. Come on, Chicago weather. Get with the program so we can complain about you properly.


My favourite thing about fall is scarves. I love a good scarf. But why just wear them around your neck, you know? I also love to tie them around my head, as has been demonstrated a couple times.

But I know: tying head scarves can be a fiddly business that not everyone likes to mess with. Plus, sometimes you have to tie them really tightly to keep them on (which can hurt your head) or stick a million bobby pins into your skull to stop them sliding off.

Which is why I’m going to show you how to make an awesome, wire-lined head scarf that you can twist and turn however you like--and it stays put with zero effort.

You will need:

  • Some material. I’m using some spare from one of my favourite photography backgrounds.

  • A measuring tape.
  • Fabric scissors.
  • Pins.
  • Duct tape. Or duck tape, if you'd rather--apparently either is correct.
  • Thin wire. I'm using 22 gauge floral wire.
  • Wire cutters. I could have SWORN my wire cutters were yellow.
  • A needle and thread.
  • OPTIONAL: Sewing machine.

First, decide how wide you want your scarf to be. I am all about never having to do more work than absolutely necessary, so instead of cutting two individual strips and sewing them together along both sides, I cut one long strip that is twice as wide as I want the finished scarf to be. That way I can fold it in half and only need to sew down one open side.

Now decide how long you want your scarf to be. I’m sure you could be dreadfully exact about this, but I just picked up my material and held it around my head to get a rough idea of how long I wanted it to be. Then I cut the excess off, leaving me with a strip of fabric 32 inches long.

Next, cut your ends. Pin the fabric together if it helps you keep it even. I wanted mine to come to a triangle point, but you can also have them totally straight or like a roof. However you want to roll is fine!

Flip your fabric inside out so that the “wrong” side is on the outside. Pin all the way down the open side and get ready to sew.

A word on sewing: You don’t need a sewing machine to do this. You don’t even need to be super-awesome at sewing. All you need is to be able to do a quick in-out-in-out running stitch, which is what I’m doing. I am weirdly confident in my hand-sewing abilities. Thanks, Girl Guides!

Let's also talk seam allowance. Because of my aforementioned weird sewing confidence, I’ve allowed myself very little spare material--like 1/8 of an inch--on the outside of the stitch I'm going to sew. I know, I'm such a rebel. You don't have to do this. Half an inch is probably more realistic, especially if you’re using a sewing machine.

OK, back to instructions.

Starting about a quarter inch from the beginning of the open edge--leaving the first pointy part open--sew all the way down the seam and around the other pointy end. Here’s what I mean by where to start sewing:

And here’s what you should be heading towards. Marilla would be so proud of my sewing.

Turn everything right-ways out. Be gentle so you don’t rip any stitches.

Hooray! You’re almost done! Now let’s play with wire.

While it’s still on the spool, twist the end of the wire into a loop. This is going to go at the end of your scarf.

You can use a tape measurer to measure out how much wire you’ll need, but I prefer to use the scarf as a guide and run it down the length, twisting another loop at the other end, then cutting it. This makes sure I don’t come up short.

Grab your duct tape/duck tape/whatever and wrap some around the twisted-up bits of the wire loops. This means you won’t get poked.

Now feed the wire through your scarf until the loop bumps against your sealed pointy-part. Do a few little hand-stitches to keep the loop (and therefore the wire) in place inside the fabric.

At the open end, turn your raw edges under (this makes a really neat seam, rather than having the frayed edges everywhere) then stitch it shut. Once that’s done, a couple more little hand stitches keeps the second wire loop in place.

And you’re done!

Put it on your head, twist the ends however you like, and TAH-DAH! The easiest way to look awesome in autumn (and hide a bad hair day).

My favourite thing about these wire scarves is that because the wire bends and holds its shape, you’ll never get a headache from it being tied too tight or from bobby pins pressing into your brains.

These are also AWESOME if you wear glasses--it sucks unbelievably to have a scarf that puts pressure on the arms, digging them into your temples.

Plus there's like a billion ways to wear them.

Hooray! So what do you guys think? Are you going to try to make one of these? Should I start an Etsy store and sell my gorgeous wire headscarves to the world? Do you guys have sewing machines or are you stubbornly hand stitching everything forever, like yours truly?