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How to make a mourning armband

Updated April 17, 2017

Mourning armbands have a history for men but are increasingly worn by all members of the armed services, police, fire brigades and sports teams as they pay homage to a deceased colleague. Historically, widowed men wore them for months to a year. They could remarry when the black armband period was over. Mourning armbands are also referred to as sleeve garters and are constructed of fabric-encased elastic. They can be made in various widths with meaningful symbols or colours attached to them.

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  1. Measure the bicep area of the arm with a tape measure.

  2. Cut 7.5 cm (3 inch) wide black fabric so it is the length of your arm measurement plus half again.

  3. Fold the right sides together lengthwise and stitch a seam, with a 6.5 mm (1/4 inch) wide seam allowance. Use a sewing machine or hand stitch this seam.

  4. Turn this tube inside out so the seam is on the inside.

  5. Cut a piece of 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) elastic to the bicep measurement.

  6. Attach a safety pin to the end of the elastic.

  7. Feed the elastic into the black tube, using the pin as a guide.

  8. Sew the ends of the elastic together.

  9. Use hand stitching to attach the two ends of the black tube together, totally encasing the elastic .

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Black fabric strip
  • Black thread
  • Sewing machine
  • 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) elastic
  • Needle

About the Author

Patti Perry is currently attending West Virginia University and expanding her knowledge base. She has worked as a freelance visual artist for 30 years, with specialties in watercolor and scherenschnitte. Originality of creation is her motivation and she continues to pursue this avenue in her writing. Perry is currently contributing articles to eHow.

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