Last Updated on 05/24/22 by quiltripping
My daughter-in-law is a nurse at a large city hospital, and she asked me to make her a few surgical scrub caps for work. I tried the patterns I found on-line and eventually combined elements till I came up with a scrub cap pattern design that she liked and fitted her long hair well.
I am sharing this free, printable scrub cap pattern and tutorial with detailed instructions for making a reversible scrub hat or scrub cap.
My sewing these days consists of quilting, which is a totally different skill set when compared to sewing clothing. My last foray into following any kind of tailored pattern was making Halloween costumes for my kids many years ago.
Still, the scrub cap patterns that I came across on the web seemed pretty straight forward, so I gave them a try. Indeed, they turned out to be quite easy, and combining and modifying elements till I came up with a pleasing style that was both functional and pretty was not hard.
Here are the step-by-step instructions for the easy scrub cap pattern design that I developed, including photos, for making a versatile and reversible scrub cap that works for most hair lengths.
Materials for a Reversible Scrub Cap
- Two “fat quarters” of fabric each measuring 22 inches wide by 18 inches long – prewash
- Scissors (or rotary cutter)
- Sewing machine
- Coordinating thread
- Straight pins
- 3.5 inch long piece of ¼ in. wide elastic
- Pencil, fine point sharpie marker or other fabric marking tool
- Scotch tape
- Iron and ironing board
My free printable scrub cap pattern:
Download and print the 5 free scrub cap pattern pdf pages. Make sure you use a printer setting that uses the full 8.5″ x 11″ page size. Check the included scale on each page to make sure it measures 2 inches.
Note that all seams are sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Putting together the fat quarter scrub cap pattern:
1. Cut out the pattern pieces labelled A1 and A2. Tape the two dashed line edges together. You will now have one 21.5” long pattern for the brim and ties (Pattern A).
2. Tape together B1 and B2 at the dashed lines – this will be the top half of the cap. Tape together B3 and B4 at the dashed lines to form the bottom half of the cap. Tape together the top half and the bottom half and cut out the mushroom shaped pattern for the cap. (Pattern B).
Making the brim and ties:
3. From each fabric, cut one 3” x 18” strip, and two 2” strips as shown in Figure 1 below. You will be left with a roughly 16” by 17” squarish piece.
4. On the wrong side of the 3” strip, mark the middle – this will mark the middle of the brim.
5. With right sides together, sew one 2” strip to each end of the 3” strip. Line up the same long edges of each 2” strip to the same long edge of the 3” strip. Press seams open.
6. Fold this long strip of fabric in half at the mark you made on the 3” strip, right sides together. One tie will be longer than the other.
7. Place Pattern A on the strip aligning it with the folded 3″ edge of the fabric. Trace the pattern to the wrong side of the fabric and then cut it out. On the wrong side of the fabric, transfer mark 10 to each side of the ties. If you want, you can choose to make the ties longer.
8. Repeat steps 3-7 for the second fabric. You now have two brim and tie pieces.
Making the cap:
9. Lay Pattern B on the wrong side of your fabric square, trace the outline and then cut out. Make sure to take account the directionality of the fabric design. in the example below, I have the flowers pointing up toward the brim.
10. Transfer the pleat marks 1,2,3,4,5,6, 7 and sewing mark 10 onto the back of the circle of fabric.
11.Fold over 1/4 “ at line 11 and press in place.
12. Sew seam lines 8a and 8b with right sides of fabric together to make an “L” seam. Make sure the folded fabric on line 11 is up when you sew. Repeat with seam lines 9a and 9b.
13. Make a 1/2 “ wide pleat at each of the pleat marks 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and hold each in place with a straight pin.
14. Repeat steps 9-13 for the second fabric. You now have two caps.
Attaching the cap to the brim and ties:
15. With right sides together, match up the middle of the brim and ties piece to the center of the top of the cap. The middle of the cap should be near or on top of pleat mark.
16. Pin together the mark 10 on the brim and tie to the mark 10 on each side of the cap.
17. Adjust the pleats as needed so that the brim and ties fit well with the cap. Pin the two pieces together as needed.
18. Sew the brim and ties to the cap. Start at one of the mark 10 spots with the pleats up toward the sewing needle. This lets you adjust the pleats if you need to as you are sewing the curve. Remember to remove the straight pins as you approach each pleat. Stop sewing when you get to the other mark 10. Back stitch a few times at the beginning and end of the stitching to ensure a tight seam at these intersection points. Press the seam toward the brim.
19. Repeat steps 15-18 with the second cap and brim-tie combination. You now have two caps with the brim and ties attached.
Attaching the two scrub caps to each other:
20. With right sides together, match up the top center of each cap and pin in place. Match up the corresponding mark 10 on each cap and pin together. Pin together the ties as well.
21. Sew the two caps together. Start sewing at the middle top and sew along the edge of the cap and along the sides of the ties to mark 10. Back stitch a few times to insure a strong seam. Starting in the middle again, sew the other side of the curve, along the ties and to the other mark.
22. Snip off the corners of the ties being careful not to cut through the seams.
23. Using the end of a pencil, (or a pen or a chop stick), turn the ties inside out and turn the rest of the cap inside out through the line 11 opening at the end of the cap.
Making the Elastic sleeve and attaching the elastic:
24. Match up and pin together the two line 11 edges of the cap. Also match up and pin together the corresponding two “L” seams of the two caps.
25. Starting at one “L” seam sew a line about 1 inch away from the edge.
26. Sew one end of the elastic inside the cap near “L” seam 8 and next to the seam you just sewed. Tack the elastic in place with a few stitches and back stitches.
27. Stretch the elastic and sew it to the other end near “L” seam 9 and next to the seam you just sewed. Again, tack the elastic in place with a few stitches and back stitches.
28. Match up and pin together the open line 11 edges and pin in place – you will have to stretch the elastic to do this.
29. Sew the two line 11 edges together with a 1/8” seam, stretching the elastic to do this. Be careful not to catch the elastic under the sewing foot and needle.
All done – you now have a beautiful, reversible, slightly bouffant scrub cap that can easily be tied tight to any head size and that is roomy enough to hold long hair if needed.
Now that you have the hang of making this slightly bouffant scrub cap pattern, you can apply your creative design juices to the next one.
You can use the same color brim fabric as the cap as seen in the two sides of one cap below.
Or you can use two fabrics for the cap and a third complimentary fabric for the brim and ties on both sides.
A third option is to use four different fabrics – two for the caps and two different ones for the brim and ties.
Another fun alternative is to use smaller fabric scraps to make a large piece of fabric (like a mini quilt) and then use that for the cap. In this example, I put together a four patch using two different fabrics.
I appreciate all that our medical workers do for us and I am happy to share my free patterns for these surgical caps. I hope you find this DIY scrub cap tutorial to be a helpful design for all the health care workers in your life.
Find fun fat quarter fabrics for your scrub caps at The Fat Quarter Shop.
Please note that I am sharing these free scrub cap pattern and instructions with the intention that they are meant for personal use only. Profiting financially in any way from either the pattern or the instructions constitutes copyright infringement and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
If you like to quilt, you may also enjoy these other sewing related posts:
A gallery of 25 travel inspired quilts: Around the World in 25 Travel Quilts
An easy free Quilt Block of the Month project: Triangle Fourplay – An Easy Quilt Block of the Month
Spice up your quilt back with these ideas: 18 Ideas for a Unique Pieced Quilt Back
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