Finally, as promised, the english translation of my tutorial for hairbands for CI's. I would like to explicitly thank my friend Margaret who, as a native speaker, translated the most of it in much more fluent english than I could, or than our friend google translate ;) Please feel free to share this tutorial with all who might benefit from this!
You may (or may not) have noticed, but our youngest is always wearing a hairband in the pictures, always (if you can't resist, feel free to scroll through the blog J).
If you don't know us personally, you may have wondered what I find so amazingly beautiful about it: I'm the first to admit that I have a secret giggle at the sight of a virtually hairless baby dressed up as an Easter egg, but there's no accounting for taste.
The point it, those hairbands are not there for aesthetic reasons, they are purely functional. Janne was born deaf and hears by means of cochlear implants (or C.I.s). An amazing invention, really, but try to keep those things in place on a baby less than a year old. The idea is that the speech processor, like an ordinary hearing aid, should be worn behind the ear. All very well for a teenager or adult, but baby ears are still very flexible, the devices are relatively large and heavy – and try to explain to a baby that he or she should move carefully, so that the devices stay in place. It's a serious challenge, I can assure you.
It is naturally the intention to maximize the sound input so that the deaf children have the greatest possible advantage from the C.I.s. The manufacturers themselves have come up with a number of solutions, but I wasn't very satisfied with any of them. That’s why I found my own solution to keep the devices in place: hairbands! No ordinary hairbands of course, but hairbands into which the devices can be inserted at the level of the ear: an elegant solution for girls, don't you think?
Meanwhile, our daughter possesses hairbands of every colour. Yes indeed, a matching hairband for every outfit. For bilateral implanted kids, the band can be used reversible, and if you use a different fabric for each side, you have 2 for the price of 1!
I have to admit that the design of the bands was a painstaking work: a lot of calculations and fittings were needed to get the pockets in the right place relative to the ears, to make the band just wide enough to allow the devices to fit inside, to make sure that the warning light is visible and the microphones preferably not covered etc. I've written a tutorial to share all that calculating and fitting with those of you who might benefit from it. Luckily that's for a select public, just as the title indicates.
Well of course, if you want to make a hairband for your hearing children, you can always use the pattern and leave out the pockets!
- This tutorial and pattern is for private use only. It cannot be used for commercial goals. If you intend to sell hairbands using this tutorial, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The tutorial is based on devices on both sides. Naturally it can be adapted for a C.I on one side only. Make sure you place the pocket on the correct side then! The band can only be used reversible when two pockets are included. Of course, also if your child has only one implant (yet), you can simply make 2 pockets anyway – this won't be a problem when wearing it.
- You won't need the plastic earhooks and you can just take them off (at least for Cochlear, consult the device instructions or your audiologist if necessary – remark: Medel’s microphone is placed right behind the plastic earhook. It might be necessary to protect the microphone by means of a plastic cap that seems to be available for the babyBTE/activewear option).
- The pattern is drawn up for a head circumference of approximately 48 cms (c.19,2 ins.). This is for a child of about 2½ years. For other head sizes, you can alter the pattern by adding or subtracting the difference at the fabric fold. Naturally there is some flexibility from the elastic at the back. But beware, too tight is not comfortable, but too loose is also useless because it won’t keep the device in place.
- If you want to use the pattern more than once, it's a good idea to stiffen it by sticking it on to cardboard and cutting it out.
- The pattern allows for a seam of 1cm (3/8 inch). If you are less lazy than I, serge or zig-zag the edges of the pieces (except the tricot) before sewing the band together.
<<Click here to download pdf-pattern-part 1>>: print it in true size, with the paper in landscape orientation. (Note: I did not translate the notes on the pattern piece - "stofvouw" = "on fold")
Only for users of Cochlear Nucleus Freedom:<<Click here to download pdf-pattern-part 2 >>: print in true size.
For other types or models, make your own pattern part 2 as follows:
Medel C.I.s are slightly narrower, but a bit longer. You probably have to adapt the pattern by making the hairband a bit wider (higher). I don't know about other types. The 2nd pattern piece is used to make a pocket to fit. (Note: I'm working on a pattern piece to fit Medel CI's, this should be available at short notice)
- For the band:
- 2 x material (cotton) cut to Pattern part 1. Copy the marks too (these are the blue vertical lines, the short ones for the elastic, the long ones for the pockets)
- For the elastic casing:
- 1 x material (cotton) Cut to a rectangle 17 x 6 cm
- 15 mm wide elastic: 10.2 cm long
- For the pockets:
- 4 x material (tricot/jersey – an old t-shirt is perfect): cut to a rectangle 6 x 6.5 cm
- 2 x 5 mm wide elastic, 4.6 cm long
- Pin the short pieces of elastic between the (short) marks on the right side of the material (these are marked on the other side of the pattern, so that you can easily copy them in mirror image on the right side of the material). Pin a pocket piece (tricot) on this (right side to right side), using the marks to find the correct position.
- Stitch with a 1 cm seam, turn right side out so that the elastic sticks out and iron the rest of the 1 cm seam allowance.
- Pin the exposed pieces of elastic between the marks on the other piece, with the right side up. Pin the remaining pockets pieces (see pictures below).
- Stitch pocket piece and elastic at 1 cm. Iron the tricot out towards the right side. The result looks like the picture below.
- Pin the 2 hairband pieces together, right sides facing, and pin the pocket pieces together as well.
- Use pattern piece 2 to draw the shape of the CI. The horizontal line should be positioned exactly at the stitch line (see picture). Use the marks for the elastic to determine the right posistion.
- Sew both parts of the tricot together on the line you have drawn. This forms a pocket.
- Cut away excess material
- Now join the pieces together at the bottom, but leave an opening of about 6 cms (see the black line on the photo). Sew the pockets into the seam at the bottom of the hairband. Make sure that the edge of the pockets exactly match the edge of the hairband. This is to ensure that the device can slide into the band slightly diagonally.
- Now make a tunnel from the rectangle. Fold lengthwise with the right side inside. Stich with a 1cm seam. You can tack a string or bias tape to one short side to make turning easier – make sure that you don't sew it into the long side seam!
- Thread wide elastic through the tunnel and pin it into place at one end.
- Thread the elastic casing through one of the short sides of the hairband and pin it in place. (the casing should be in the hairband now, not visible from the outside). Use the safety pin to push the tunnel through to the other end. Pin it to the hairband. It looks like a crumpled mess now, but don't worry, it'll turn out all right! Stich the tunnel on both sides of the hairband at 1 cm.