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.
Model, I am not
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.
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.
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.
Those guide lines work a lot better if you don’t forget that you had your needle moved away from center position. Oops!
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.
Need some piratey things to say? I’ve got you covered!
Aboveboard You didn’t know that was a pirate phrase? It is! When a pirate ship was sneaking up on a merchant vessel, the pirates would hide “below board” or below deck. If everyone was above board, all was honest and fair. I don’t mind if you eat the last ice cream bar as long as you don’t sneak it. Be honest and aboveboard and we’ll be fine. Just kidding, if you eat the last ice cream, I will gut you.
Bilge (Also: Bilge water, bilge rat) The bilge was the lowest part of a ship. It was filthy, disgusting, and filled with stagnant water and rats. The bad news: In a flat bottomed ship it was difficult to pump the stinking bilge-water out. The good news: Bilge rats were a good source of fresh meat at sea. I’d sooner drink bilge water than this rot-gut grog but go ahead and pour me another glass.
Cackle Farts Eggs. Those were eggs. Charming, no? Wakey, wakey! Cackle farts and bakey!
Galleypepper Soot, ashes, and other bits of debris that found its way from the cook’s fire into the food. These cackle farts are rather bland. If only they had a bit more galleypepper.
Holy Mackerel Another surprising term. Mackerel was caught in large quantities, but went bad quickly. Therefore, in the 17th century, it was the only fish allowed to be sold on the Sabbath. Holy Mackerel! This fish has gone bad!
Kiss the Wooden Lady A minor pirate punishment where a sailor was forced to stand, facing the mast, with his hands tied around it. Other sailors were encouraged to kick him in the hind-quarters as they passed by. If you don’t stop picking on your sister, I’ll make you kiss the wooden lady, young man!
Shiver Me Timbers I was recently asked about the meaning of this one on twitter and was happy to give a definition. Ships were made of wood. Large waves or cannon fire could cause the timbers to vibrate, shudder, pitch, or shiver. Used as an exclamation of surprise. Shiver me timbers! Did pirates really call eggs “cackle farts?” That’s…gross.
Shake a Cloth in the Wind To be just a little bit drunk. Shiver me timbers! Black-Hearted Jim shook a cloth in the the wind this afternoon. He covered all the holy mackerel and cackle farts with extra galleypepper and kissed the wooden lady–on purpose! That is not aboveboard behavior! Let’s put him in the bilge until he’s sober.
There ye have it, a few words to get you conversating like one o’ the dark brotherhood today. If you be still stuck for somethin’ t’ say, try out this English t’ pirate translator. Have fun. Celebrate. But keep yer filthy hands off me ice cream bars. I mean what I say about the gutting. Aaargh!
Sometimes I like to pretend that my life is a musical.
I often bust out into whatever song I feel is appropriate, much to the embarrassmentadmiration of my friends and family. Even when I’m not singing out loud, there is almost always a song running in the back of my mind. When I pay attention to it, I find that the words usually relate to whatever I am experiencing at the time. For example: a couple of months ago, smack in the middle of my personal winter, I spent several days with The Lion King’s The Circle of Life running through my head. I had no idea why, and frankly, I was beginning to get a little annoyed by it. However, when I took the time to pay attention, I realized that the predominate lyrics I was thinking on were: There’s more to see than can ever be seen/More to do than can ever be done, Lightbulb: I was silently belting out my feelings of anxiety and stress. Realizing that did absolutely nothing to relieve my stress, but at least I understood the soundtrack.
On a happier note (Ha! See what I did there? Song? Note? … Hello?), I’m pleased to report that for the last three days in a row, I have awakened to this song in my head:
Go ahead and listen. You can’t help but love it.
Here are a few things that are making me smile today.
one The flood water is receding. Note: It took me three tries to type w-a-t-e-r. My fingers kept wanting to type w-a-l-t-e-r. Walt is not receding. Thinning a bit, yes, but definitely not receding. Not only is the water level going down, but we have had honest to goodness sunshine in patches over the weekend. Me, suddenly bursting into song: I’m walkin’ on sunshine, yeah, yeah and don’t it feel good? This is the kind of thing that people who know me well have to put up with all the time.
two The slug slime came up off my couch. All I had to do was wait for it to dry, then scrape it off and then seal off and fumigate the entire area with napalm. Now it’s gone, gone, gone, whoa-oh-oh-oh-whoa…
three Things are getting done. Hurray! Our remodeling/repair job feels like it is taking for-ev-er, but progress is being made. For example, we once again have two (count ’em: one, two!) functioning bathrooms. The hall bath has received a complete makeover, including new tile flooring, new cabinets and sink, granite counter top, and a brand new no overflow toilet. Haaaallelujah, haaaaallelujah, hallalujah-hallalujah, hall-ayyyy-ay-lu-yah! We’ve still got some finishing touches to do; I’ll share pictures soon.
three-and-a-half Remember this? We found that old window at a garage sale back in September and I had such big plans for it. On Saturday, I batted my eyelashes and sweet talked Walt into finally helping me bring those plans to fruition. The following horror was our entry when we first moved into our house. If you have small children on your lap, you may wish to cover their eyes. We have done a fair amount of work there: replacing the front and closet doors, tiling over the ugly vinyl (not pictured) with a pretty matte black granite, replacing and painting the wood trim, and utterly demolishing those terrible prison bars spindles. Still the area didn’t look finished. Without the spindles, we had a hole in the wall that looked to me like a walk up ice-cream counter. Enter new-old window: Please note the new curtains too. Love. Them. Here is another peek at my window: This afternoon Newt told me: “Mama- I love that she calls me that… “Mama, if we sit right here on the couch and look at the front window and the entryway our house looks done. Let’s just not turn around briiiight eyes.” Agreed. I’m not going to turn around and see my plywood and 70’s vinyl flooring (now with more asbestos!). …but the view I love the most is on my front porch lookin’ iiiin!
four Our church has multiple congregations that meet in the same building. Every year we trade meeting times around. Last year, we went to church at 8:30. AM. Twice a month I had early morning meetings. At 7:00. AM. As in, in-the-morning. Aye-yi-yi, that’s early. This year, we meet at 12:30. Sunday mornings are slow and relaxed again. We stay in our pjs for awhile, walk the dog together, make breakfast… It’s heavenly. That’s why I’m eeeasy, easy like Sunday mornin’…
four and three-quarters Newt made breakfast for us yesterday. I found her a recipe for pumpkin muffins and she went to work. They’re whole-wheat with no refined sugar, using honey instead, and oh-my-yum. The only modification she made (she is my daughter, after all) was adding some pumpkin seeds and walnuts to the batter. Want some? The recipe is right here. Why are there so many songs about muffins, and what’s on the other side? Oh yeah, I also make up my own lyrics. Why not? It’s my show life.
It really is Wednesday, in case you were wondering. Normally on Wednesday you’d be reading something about our homeschool in this space. Just like on a normal Tuesday, you’d have read a recipe. Clearly, I’m not normal right now. With all the moving out and then moving back in and construction chaos going on around here, we haven’t gone far beyond the basics in either meals or educational pursuits. Know what we have been doing this week though? Christmas decorating! We may not have baseboards. We may not have flooring. Heck, one of our bathrooms doesn’t even have a toilet, but we have got a tree! Only one problem: I did what I usually do when I encounter a problem. I asked my friend google. There were several suggestions. None were all that helpful.
Get a tiny tree and put it on a table. I can just see it: Christmas morning we each pull up a chair and gather ’round the tiny tree. Newt, take your elbows off the table while you open that gift!
Put your tree in a playpen. Remember, even contained in a playpen, your tree could still injure itself. It might try to climb out, fall, and break its limbs. Never leave a young tree unattended.
Forget the tree and just make a tree shaped outline on the wall with ribbon or lights. Great idea. While you’re at it, go ahead and make present shaped outlines on the floor and food shaped outlines on the table. All the fun of the real thing with no mess or hassle!
Hang your tree upside down from the ceiling. Wha-? How is that even possible?
Okay, so the internets didn’t have a great solution, but it did get me thinking. What I needed was a fence of some sort. I imagined putting a fence around my tree; what kind would I use? Chicken wire? Too rural. Chain link? Too urban. Privacy fence? Too expensive. Too tall . Too, uh, private. Picket fence? Hmmm… cute, inexpensive, easy to work with – I like it. I bought a roll of wired picket fence in the garden center at Lowes for under $20. Walt and I circled it around the tree and zip tied the end pickets together. Here is the result:
I think it looks pretty good. Far better than a giant evergreen stalactite. So far it seems to be working. Pepper has sniffed at it, but has not attempted any sort of breach. The tree, ornaments and presents are all safe. I might have to get another roll of picket fence for my shoes.
Yesterday, I shared with you thrift store shopping tips taught to me by a true second-hand guru. Today, I’ll show you how I put those tips to good use.
Are you ready for this? Newt and I had a little photo shoot in the yard. It’s always nice to put on a show for neighbors and random passersby.
Look #1 The “Modeling in Your Front Yard is Awkward” Pose The first pair of skinny jeans I have owned since the 8th grade l.e.i. skinny Cost: $6.99 Here’s a close up of the… ah… pocket details. Chocolate brown cardigan West and Vine Cost: $6.99 cotton blend, looks new – no pilling (not even under the arms) The white tank, necklace and boots came from my own closet.
Look #2 – The “I’m So Casually Leaning Against My Truck” Pose Gray button up t-shirt Mossimo cotton-poly blend, great condition Cost: $3.99 I love the sleeve detail. I paired this with the same jeans and boots, because I was too lazy to put something else together for my photo shoot.
Look #3 The “Yes, I Know I Needed to Pull My Shirt Down” Pose I was just trying to keep Newt from documenting all the weeds. Looks like I failed there too. Black jersey knit shirt with blue embroidery detail I.N.C. Cost: $6.99 Jeans Old Navy Sweetheart cut Cost: $6.99
Look #4 The “Using This Chair to Support my Leg Pop” Pose Cotton skirt with ribbon detail Merona Cost: $4.99 Oatmeal colored sweater twin-set Lands End cotton blend, again looks brand new – no pilling Cost: $9.99 This was my big ticket item, but it’s a twofer. Look at it without the cardigan in my “Just Hanging Out on My Wall and Newt is Making Me Laugh” Pose:
I didn’t leave Newt out of the thrifty-fun. Newt Look #1: The “Just Climbing the Fence” Pose: Jeans She’s wearing them right now and doesn’t want to tell me the brand Cost: $6.99 Here they are from another angle in the “Holy Cow, Newt Has Long Legs” Pose The sweater came from her own floor closet.
Newt Look #2: The “Now Be a Tiger” Pose Purple striped sweater Same as the jeans cotton blend, looks new, and bonus: it’s same size I wear so there may be some borrowing potential Cost: $4.99
Newt also got a canvas belt ($2.99) and a pair of embroidered jean capris ($6.99). They are not pictured because the photo session got boring and the model refused to cooperate. Models! [eyeroll accompanied by exasperated sigh]
Call my hometown bookstore, The Book Bin at 503-361-1235, and place an order!
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