All you need for this easy DIY chemo cap is a cotton t-shirt and some t-shirt yarn.
This simple chemo cap is based on the shape of a snood. Not only is this style easy to make, but it’s also fun to say.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, according to Dictionary.com, a snood, is “a netlike hat or part of a hat or fabric that holds or covers the back of a woman’s hair.”
This style is perfect for chemo camps because it has total head coverage and even gets the back of the neck.
Cancer Patients Need These Accessories Too
And since I’ve got you here and you’re already planning on revving up the sewing machine, why not consider making these handmade items for cancer patients as well?
The port pillow is a great scrap buster and the chemo pump pouch will brighten someone’s day.
In fact, all three items – the chemo cap, port pillow, and chemo pump pouch – would make a wonderful addition to a chemo care package.
Chemo Port Pillow
A chemo port pillow is a 4″ x 7″ pillow with hook and loop tape that someone straps to a seat belt (or even a purse or bag strap) to place over the port so it doesn’t get irritated or have too much pressure on it, which would cause discomfort.
Chemo Pump Pouch
A chemo pump pouch is a small fanny pack-like accessory that someone can wear while they have their at-home chemotherapy.
When a patient has a custom pouch, it makes the process a little less impersonal by adding some personal style to their treatment.
How To Make A Chemo Cap Using A Cotton T-shirt
All you need for this easy DIY chemo cap is a 100% cotton tee in size XL, some t-shirt yarn, and the Chemo Cap Curve pattern from Create To Donate.
Truth be told, you don’t really even need the pattern if you are already seasoned and comfortable cutting a soft curve to the fabric.
I know that when I try a new project, I prefer to do the first round exactly how the tutorial explains it so having a pattern (as basic as it may be) let’s me take out some guesswork.
Also, when you’re cutting out the pattern, I always recommend using empty cereal boxes as the base material instead of paper. The thinner cardboard adds more heft which makes it easier to follow the curve. It also extends the lifetime of the pattern.
You’ll also want some sewing clips and a rotary cutter and mat to keep things moving smoothly.
Here is the pattern:
Easy Chemo Cap Tutorial With Pictures
I know that video is often helpful for people who consider themselves visual learners, but for this chemo cap tutorial, I felt still pictures would be easier to follow.
To get this project started, fold the t-shirt in half and line up the sides.
I recommend using an extra large cotton t-shirt, because many of them measure around 18″ from the bottom seam to the armpit seam.
The size of the cotton tee doesn’t matter as much as the 18″ height of the piece.
Use a ruler to cut off the top of the t-shirt (arms and neckline) so that the t-shirt tube is 18″ high and approximately 22″ long.
The shirt I had was 23″ long so I just used that length in order to keep the tube intact.
After cutting off the neckline, turn the t-shirt tube inside out and even out any wrinkles.
If you need a quick visual reminder to determine which is the “wrong side” of the shirt, the stitching that finishes the bottom edge of the shirt is a telltale sign. The woven look of the inside of the jersey knit is also has a more muted look to it.
Now it’s time to finish the bottom edge of the t-shirt. This will become the front of the chemo cap so it needs a finished edge.
You are not sewing purely from edge to edge, however. You need to leave an opening for the casing for the ties of the hat.
To do this, you want to add a marker (using a fabric pencil/pen or a sewing clip) 1.5″ inches from each side edge.
You also need to leave a hole to turn the shirt right sides out., so mark a 3″ – 4″ spot along the edge that you’ll leave open so that you can turn the piece.
Use the edge of the shirt as your guide with a 1/4″ seam allowance to zigzag stitch and sew the bottom of the shirt closed.
Remember to leave the marked areas open.
To form the shape of the chemo hat, grab your chemo cap curve pattern for this step.
Take the left outside edge of the t-shirt tube and fold it over so that it meets the right outside edge.
Place the tip of the pattern 11″ from the bottom edge.
Cut the curve using the pattern.
Unfold the tube so that it’s flat and clip all the way around the sides and curve to prepare for sewing.
Sew around the sides and curve to secure using a 1/8″ – 1/4″ seam allowance and a small zigzag stitch. For anyone unfamiliar with working with jersey knit, the 1/4″ seam allowance will afford some wiggle room for the fabric shifting.
Turn the t-shirt right sides out and press to make the final stitching easier.
There are only two more sewing steps: sewing around the side edges and curves to create the casing for the ties and top stitching the bottom edge to close the turning hole.
If you’ve been sewing fabric face masks, then the idea of a casing or channel for ties is old hat for you (pun intended!).
The casing stitches for the chemo cap needs to be 1″ away from the outside edge and keep using the trusty zigzag stitch.
This spacing allows you to use a variety of thickness for the ties depending on the materials you have available and the aesthetic you want for the final look of the hat.
After you finish the stitching for the casing, clip the turning hole to secure for sewing and use a 1/8″ seam allowance and zigzag stitch to finish the straight bottom edge of the t-shirt.
If you don’t already have t-shirt yarn in your supplies, you can cut of some t-shirt ties very quickly by following the video tutorial below. You will need a total of 57″ of continues t-shirt material.
Video Tutorial: How To Make T-shirt Yarn
After cutting your ties to size, thread them through the casing.
I recommended 57″ of t-shirt yarn because I styled this hat to to have two ties on each side. If you want a single tie, you can thread a long length through and cut to your preference.
This threading is just like re-threading ties on a pair sweatpants or a hoodie. You can use a safety pin to help the tie move through the channel or any threading-specific tool of your choice.
I chose to use a sewing clip.
Fold the tie in half and clip or pin your threading guide to the folded edge then start threading through one of the outside holes of the casing.
Once threaded the ties all the way through the casing, tie a knot at each end to finish them. The back of the chemo cap should look like the picture above.
You’ll likely notice that the hat’s shape looks like a bonnet. The main difference with the snood-styled hat is the back that allows to tuck away hair (if necessary) and how you tie the hat.
The person wearing this chemo cap can tie and style it behind the head or pull the ties to the front. The ties pulled to the front of the head cover can be tucked in a folded brim or be used to create a funky, stylish bow.
Print-friendly Easy DIY Chemo Cap Tutorial
- 100% Cotton t-shirt (size XL)
- 57" of t-shirt yarn
- Sewing machine
- Rotary mat & rotary cutter
- Free Chemo Cap Curve Pattern (from Create To Donate)
- Sewing clips
- Measure the t-shirt to make sure the length is at least 22" and the height of the body at least 18".
- Mark 18" from the bottom edge of the shirt to the armpit seams.
- Cut off the top of the shirt at the 18" mark. This should leave a tube measuring approximately 18" x 22".
- Turn the tube inside out.
- Measure and mark 1.5" from each outside edge toward the inside of the long edge with a fabric pencil or sewing clips.
- Use sewing clips to mark a 3" -4" turning hole.
- Use a zigzag stitch with a 1/4" seam allowances to sew from the 1/5" marker to the first turning hole marker.
- Leave a 3" - 4" gap (turning hole), then zigzag stitch to the other 1.5" mark.
- Fold the tube in half so that the short, outside edges touch.
- Place the point of Create To Donate's Chemo Cap Curve Pattern on the outside edges 11" from the bottom edge.
- Cut out the curved edges of the chemo cap.
- Use sewing clips to secure the edges and curve of the jersey knit so that it doesn't shift while you're sewing.
- Use a 1/8" - 1/4" seam allowance and zigzag stitch to sew around the outside edges and curves.
- Turn the tube right sides out.
- Press to help the seams lay flat if necessary.
- Create the tie casing by using a 1" seam allowance and zigzag stitch around the outside edges and curve of the chemo cap.
- Use a 1/8" seam allowance and zigzag stitch to finish the bottom edge of the shirt and close the turning hole.
- Cut 57" of t-shirt yarn.
- Fold the t-shirt yarn in half and attach a sewing clip or safety pin to the fold to use for threading.
- Thread the t-shirt yarn through the casing.
- Tie a knot at the end of each tie to finish and you're done!
- Upcycle a cereal box to use to cut out your the free chemo cap pattern. It extends the lifetime of the pattern.
- You can easily cut the t-shirt yarn to whatever size you think would be best for the ties.
- You can use other materials for the ties as well, but you'll need to add some elastic in the middle of the ties to get the gathering at the back.
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Looking For More Crafts For A Cause?
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