My sister is an ICU nurse, working directly with COVID-19 patients. She mentioned that a lot of wonderful people are making and donating much needed masks, but at her hospital, they also really needed scrub caps to help supplement and extent the life of disposable ones they are using.
I looked at several patterns online and even tested out a couple, but many had problems. They were too small—unable to accommodate different hairstyles; they needed elastic and/or bias tape which are both scarce due to mask making; and/or they were not well suited for bulk/quick sewing. So, I came up with my own design.
This is a bouffant-style scrub cap that requires no currently scarce materials, and is a quick and easy sew. Please feel free to use this pattern for personal use or to make for the medical staff in your community. My only request is that you do not attempt to sell your caps or use them for profit.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photos below, and that I did not bother to tidy up my sewing room. I felt speed was better in this case than well-lit, edited photos and a space free of thread bunnies.
- Paper for creating pattern
- You can use taped together copy paper, brown kraft paper (or paper grocery bags), or, like I’m using below, poster board.
- 1 yard of cotton woven fabric, like a high quality quilting cotton, with little to no stretch. This amount will make at least two caps.
- Prewash in hot water to allow for any shrinkage before the caps are made, then tumble dry and iron before cutting.
- One yard of ribbon, bias tape, cording, or a tie you sew yourself (I like the flat strap method at the end of this post.)
- Cord lock (optional)
Creating the Pattern
There are only two pattern pieces. Easy peasy.
Note: I designed this pattern with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. If you prefer to use a standard 5/8, be sure to adjust your pattern.
For the first piece, the band:
- Create a rectangle 20-3/4 x 5 inches.
- Mark the center point.
For the second, the top, you’ll need a piece of paper at least 14-1/4 x 7-1/2 inches. Taped together copy paper is fine.
- Measure down one side making marks at 7-1/8 and 14-1/4 inches.
- At your 7-1/8 mark, draw a perpendicular line straight out, measuring 7-1/4 inches. This is going to be your pattern’s center point.
- Draw a curved line connecting the straight line you just made to your mark at 14-1/4 inches. Eyeballing the curve is fine.
- Cut along your curved line and fold over at the center line.
- Trace curve on other side of your paper to make symmetrical half-oval shape.
- Cut out.
- From center line measure out 1-3/4 inches to the right and make a mark along the top of the curve.
- Make a second mark 1-3/4 inches to the left of the center line. (If this is confusing, see photo of completed pattern in next step.)
- The marks you just made should be 3-1/2 inches apart and equal distance from the center line.
- Add a circle mark to the center line. You will transfer these three marks to your fabric.
Cutting Your Fabric
- Multiple layers fabric can be cut at once. I like to use a mat and ruler, with a sharp rotary cutter, but good, sharp fabric scissors will also do.
- Cut one of the circular pattern pieces (the top) on the fold, transferring marks to one layer of fabric only.
- Cut two of the rectangular pattern pieces (the band), transferring center mark to one piece of fabric only.
- Make a box pleat on top piece:
- With your circular pattern piece right side up, pinch one of the side marks you made.
- Fold inward, matching your side mark to the circle in the center.
- Repeat with other side and pin in place.
- Baste stitch within seam allowance (I’m using a dark thread so you can easily see)
- Set top piece aside and turn attention to the band pieces. With right sides together, sew short sides, joining both pieces into one large loop.
- Note: I am using a serger, but that is not necessary. However, if you do use a regular sewing machine, please be sure to finish seams by sewing them together with a zigzag or three-step zigzag on the seam allowance side of your joining stitch. This will keep the fabric from fraying as it is worn and washed.
- We are going to create a casing along one of the long edges by turning the raw edge up 1/4″ and pressing, then another 1/2″ (total of 3/4) and pressing again.
- Tip: I find it quicker to let my machine do the measuring by sewing lines at 1/4 and 3/4, then pressing up at the stitch lines.
- While you are pressing up to create the casing, find that mark you made at the center point of one piece. I put a pin there to help keep track of this spot. Once your casing is pressed, add two more pins, each about a quarter inch from that center mark. This is to signify an area that you will not sew, so that you can insert your tie into the casing.
- Starting at one pin, stitch the casing down, about 1/8 inch from the edge. Stop when you come around again and read the other pin, leaving an opening for your tie. Reinforce with some additional stitches at either side of the opening for strength. This open area will become your center back.
- Join band to top
- Align pieces so center back of the band lines up with the center of the pleat you made on the top.
- With right sides together, pin raw edges all the way around.
- Sew or serge with 1/4 inch seam allowance.
- Use a safety pin to guide tie through casing.
- To avoid tie from being pulled out with use, stitch a line though casing, catching the tie, at center front of hat.
- If your tie is a ribbon or something that may unravel, hit cut ends with fray check.
When wearing, the ends can be pulled to tighten then tied in a bow. Alternately, you can purchase cord locks like these on Amazon, to make for greater ease in adjusting.
I hope this helps! Happy sewing and thank you for doing all you can to help the medical personnel in your area.
If you have questions, please let me know in the comments below.