I have been making scrub caps for hospital nurses and doctors, and thought that I’d share my pattern. I’ve refined this pattern from these two Youtube videos: DIY Scrub Cap by Lea Goes Green and Scrub Cap by Larissa Fontenot. I have improved on the two above patterns, to:
- adjust the sizing
- add a little more bulk in the rear to tuck away long hair
- get rid of the tricky to sew area in the back of the cap side
- add two buttons for hooking face mask elastic ear loops
- improve fabric cutting efficiency (by having the tie straps separate from the sides
- allow for optional french seam for a more finished, professional look
This is a quick design that requires no ribbons and consists of only three details. I prefer this single-layer design to double-layer reversible ones because it is lighter, more breathable, and quicker to make. Finally, the design features two buttons on either side to attach the elastics from a face mask.
I have delivered 20 caps to one of the hospitals, and the feedback I got was very positive. The size fits everyone and the button placement was described as just right. The nurses preferred lighter-weight to medium-weight cotton fabric.
Print out the pattern
Download the PDF file with the pattern and print it on four Letter size pages. Make sure you print without any scaling. Measure the two 10 cm scale reference markers to ensure that the scale was correct. Tape the four pages overlapping by 1-1/2″. Here is how the pages were taped (click on the image to see it bigger):
Cut the fabric
Decide whether you are going to sew a french seam for the seam between the top and the side. French seam adds a nice finished look, but it’s slightly harder to do and takes a little more time. If you have a serger, then you should probably choose the option without French seam. You can definitely use zigzag, but it won’t look quite as finished. Here’s what the two options look like (caps turned inside out):
Cut out the three details of the pattern. Cut along the solid lines. Note that the top and the side have two solid lines – outer for pattern with french seam, and the inner for pattern without french seam. Note that the Side and the Strap/Border are cut out over folded fabric, so the resulting detail is twice as large.
Create casing for elastic
Create casing for elastic in the top by pressing two folds in the bottom of the Top detail, shown as two dotted lines, then sew a straight stitch on the edge of the casing.
Cut 3″ of elastic (I’m using 3/8″ wide (1cm) elastic) and insert it into the casing using your favorite method (e.g. using a safety pin). Sew a stitch on either side of the elastic to hold it in place. If doing a french seam, make sure there is 3/8″ of distance from the end of the elastic in the casing and the edge of the detail.
Sew the top to the side
Sew the side to the top. You can pin it in place, but I sew without pinning, just start about 3/8″ (1cm) from the end of the side detail. If not sewing a French seam, sew right sides together with a 3/8″ (1cm) allowance, if sewing a french seam, sew wrong sides together at 3/8″ (1cm) allowance, then trim, turn out, and sew a french seam at 1/4″ (6mm) from the edge.
The pattern is designed for the bottom edge of the elastic casing to stop about 3/8″ (1cm) short of the bottom of the side detail. This is to allow for variance in fabric stretch and to accommodate sewing errors. If the bottom of the elastic ends up a bit short of the corner of the side, this is very easy to hide inside the border. However, if it overshoots the corner of the side, hiding that mistake would be a lot more difficult. This is why I designed the pattern for the two details to not meet exactly on point:
Sew the strap/border
Fold and press 3/8″ (1cm) on each of the four sides of the strap/border detail. Then fold it in half and press.
Sew the border/strap to the side, inserting the side into the band by 3/8″ (1cm). Again, you can pin in place, but I sew without pinning, using the folded over edge of the border as a reference for the depth of insertion of the cap into the band. I start at 7-1/2″ (19cm) from the end of the strap, and sew all around the bottom edge of the side, continue to the end of the strap, then make a second pass along the bottom edge of the border/strap.
Push the cap a little bit deeper into the border around the area where the french seam ends, so that the top stitch along the border seam catches the the corner of the elastic.
Sew two buttons, at 7″ (17.8cm) from the center of the forehead, on the border. I use 30L buttons, which are 3/4″ (19mm) diameter. Use a hand sewing needle to bring the threads to the inside, tie a knot, and hide the ends into the border.
Here are some measurements of the finished cap, for your reference:
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to post them in the comments section below. If you find my design useful, you can buy me a coffee.