Scrub cap tutorial: Make a scrub cap from a 6 inch width of fabric, plus a piece of elastic.

28 December 2020 Coombabah QLD 4216, Australia

Making a scrub cap is such an easy way to say, "Thank you!" to health care workers who have toiled so hard in this year of Covid 19. A six inch width of fabric, a tiny piece of elastic and about half an hour's sewing will bring a smile to a tired health care worker's face. 

Earlier this year, while we were all confined to our homes by Covid 19, I started making scrub caps to donate to exhausted and terrified health care workers. Not only were the scrub caps fun to make, but also, they used up my overflowing scrap fabric bins and kept me busy, and I built friendships with some amazing health care workers along the way. 

So, let's start making scrub caps and send a huge THANK YOU to our frontline workers.

They're simple enough for a relative beginner to make and, although I use my overlocker for some of this tutorial, zig zag stitch will do just as good a job.

What do you need?

Scraps of fabric that are 6 inches (15cm) wide and some ¼ inch (6mm) elastic.

Make the pattern and cut your fabric.

Make a very simple pattern by creating an oval which is based around a 6 by 7 inch (15 x 18cm) rectangle.  

To do this, fold a 6 inch by 7 inch rectangle (15 x 18cm) of paper into half and then into quarters. Cut a smooth, rounded curve from edge to edge through all layers of paper.

Unfold and you have the pattern for the crown of the scrub cap. 

Cut one crown piece from your fabric.

The side band strip of the scrub cap is made by cutting a 6 inch (15cm) by 25 inch (63.5cm) strip of fabric. 

I make the side band strip of my scrub caps by joining 6 inch (15cm) wide scraps of fabric until I have a total length of 25 inches (63.5cm). I usually use a piece of fabric matching the crown in the centre of the 25 inch strip.

Now, let's start sewing.

1. Turn and stitch ¼ inch (6mm) hem at either end of the side band strip.

2. OPTIONAL: Overlock or zig zag around the bottom edge of the side band strip.

3. On the top edge of the side band strip, place a pin to mark the centre front and then place pins to mark 5 inches (12.5cm) either side of this centre front pin.

4. Fold oval crown piece in half lengthways, press to mark centre front and centre back.

5. With right sides together, pin the centre front of the side band strip to the centre front of the crown.

If your fabric has a one way design, think about which direction you want the design to run on the top of the scrub cap.

I find it best if the fabric design runs from back to front, so that when the wearer's head is bent forward, the fabric design is right way up.

Continue pinning the crown to the side band strip until you reach the 5 inch marker pins.

6. Slightly overlap the two hemmed end pieces of the side band strip and pin to the centre back of the crown.

7. With the remaining side band strip fabric between the marker pin and the centre back pin, make three rough pleats on either side and pin into place.

There will be lots of pins!

8. With the crown side of the scrub cap facing up, starting at the centre back, using ¼ inch seam (6mm), slowly stitch the crown to the side band strip. Stop and lift side band strip out of the way regularly.

9. Turn so that side band strip is facing up, overlock or zig zag raw seam edges together.

10. Press seam towards side band strip.

11. Turn scrub cap right side out, topstitch around crown on the side band strip edge, push the seam towards the side band strip as you go so that the seam is caught under the topstitching. 

This is a bit fiddly, but go slowly and use your hands to pull the crown and side band strip flat under the machine foot.

I use my topstitching foot with my needle positioned on the right, but this can be done with a normal stitching foot.

12. At the bottom edge of the side band strip, turn and press a ¼ inch (6mm) hem, 

then turn and press a further ½ inch (12mm) hem and pin in place. This will form the casing for the elastic as well as the hem of the scrub cap.

13. Place a marker pin 4 inches (10cm) from each hemmed end of the side band strip.

This section can be a little tricky to understand, so I'll include a very unprofessional YouTube clip I made which may make it easier to understand.

14. With wrong side of scrub cap facing up, at the left side marker pin, place elastic (do not cut elastic, keep it in a long piece) inside the ½ inch (12mm) casing/hem. Extend the elastic about ½ inch (12mm) to the left beyond the marker pin 

and secure in place with three rows of stitching across the elastic inside the hem casing.

bring stitches to the top edge of the casing/hem and, with needle down, pivot and stitch towards the hemmed edge.  Be sure to keep elastic inside the casing and not caught by the topstitching.

When you reach the hemmed edge of the side band strip, do a couple of back stitches to secure then, with elastic inside the casing/ hem, begin stitching on the right hand end of side band strip. Again do a couple of back stitches to secure.

Take care not to twist the elastic or catch it in the topstitching.

Continue topstitching until you reach the second marker pin.

With needle down, pivot towards the bottom edge of the scrub cap.

Pull the end of the elastic until the distance between the two marker points is approximately 3 inches (7.5cm).

Hold elastic gently and stitch across 4 times through elastic and casing/hem to secure in place.

Cut excess elastic about ½ inch (12mm) from stitching.

MY YOUTUBE VIDEO for those of you who prefer a demonstration.

Those of you who are eagle eyed will notice that the scrub cap in the video does not have an open back, but, regardless, the process of inserting the elastic is the same.

I find the open back version of the scrub cap more versatile.

15. With needle down, pivot, slide small excess piece of elastic inside casing/hem and continue topstitching around the remainder of the hem.

16. Press scrub cap and you are done!

I have found this size scrub cap fits both male and female heads. The gap at the back of the hat allows extra space for longer hair and pony tails.

Now, use up your scraps 
and make heaps and heaps
of scrub caps,
write a lovely THANK YOU note
and send off to your local hospital or clinic.

Look at these happy smiles.
Such a simple way to say THANKS.

And with my Christmas scraps
I made Christmas scrub caps,
of course.

"And how's Kennie?" I hear you ask.
Well, he's grown into the sweetest boy who loves sleeping on his back
with his legs in the air

and watching birds 
from his favourite window ledge.

I'd love to see your scrub caps, if you make some.

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