Updated Chemo Cap–Head Scarf Tutorial

One of the very first tutorials I ever wrote was the Chemo- Cap head Scarf Tutorial.
I am overjoyed (and humbled) by the response this tutorial has received! I am grateful for the wonderful people who have taken the time to write to me and share their personal stories.

Cancer affects us all; I feel so blessed to have been presented with this opportunity to help others.
{Please click here to view the original version and read why I create these caps}

Over the last two years, I have had the pleasure of assisting many people in making these caps.
It brings me great joy to help someone create one of these  caps for someone they love.
These caps are very simple to create (even if you’ve never sewn before!) – I encourage you to give it a try!
If you have any questions with any step along the way, please email me!

Here is the updated (hopefully even easier to follow!) Chemo Cap Head Scarf Tutorial:

  • 1/3 Yard Polyester Fabric or light-weight jersey knit for the scarf
  • 1/3 Yard Ribbed Knit Fabric for the band
*This cap will need to be machine sewn. The only tools required are scissors (or rotary cutter) and your sewing equipment. Please sew with a 1/2 in seam.

Cutting Guideline:

Cut 1 for Scarf (LxW)Cut 1 for Band (LxW)
Child Size Cap 33 inches x 10.5 inches 18 inches x 4 inches
Adult Size Cap 44 inches x 12.5 inches 21 inches x 6 inches

{FYI: The photos used for this tutorial were taken while making a child’s size cap, from jersey knit}

1. Cut and prep your scarf piece -
Each cap is made by assembling two pieces; piece “a” is the scarf and piece “b” is the band.

Start by creating your scarf.
Cut one rectangle piece of scarf fabric, according to the chart above. Gently round all four corners.
If you are using jersey knit for your scarf – congrats; your scarf piece is complete! :) If you are using polyester fabric for your scarf; you will next finish the edges of the scarf piece with a rolled hem.

Your scarf piece is complete! :)

2. Cut and prep your band-
Cut one piece of ribbed knit 21 inches x 6 inches.
Create a tube by sewing the two short ends together (right sides touching).
Next, fold the tube in half (long sides touching) and sew closed.

Your band is complete! :)

3. Assembling your cap -
Your silky scarf fabric should be one large rectangle. With the right side of the fabric facing up;  one of the long edges is the "top line" and the opposite long edge is the "bottom line"  - to attach the scarf to the band, you first sew the center 2.5 inches of the bottom line of the scarf fabric to the back center of the band. Attach the fabric so the right side of the fabric is facing the outside of the band. 
Once that is sewn, you are finished with the “bottom” line of the silky fabric.

Next, attach the “top” line of the silky fabric to the remainder of the band. Again, sewing so that the right side of the silky fabric is facing the outside side of the band. You want to make sure the entire band is attached to the silky fabric. The bottom line of silky fabric will only be attached to the back of the band, the remainder of the band is attached to the top line of your silky scarf fabric.

Once the entire band is attached to the scarf, you have created a cap with two long tails.
Gather these tails at the nape of your neck and gently tie them together to finish your cap.

If you make a cap using this tutorial, I’d love to see your work!
This tutorial is for personal use only. Please do not sell caps for profit.
Please DO use this tutorial and make caps for anyone who needs them!
Make scarfs to donate to your local hospitals and clinics!
Make scarfs to give away to patients who would love one, but can't afford one.
Spread the love! :)
If you have any questions with any step along the way, please email me!


  1. Michelle, great job with the new instructions. You helped me a month or so ago and I've since made quite a few for a dear friend. Such a wonderful tutorial and so kind of you to share!

  2. Thank you so much. I was diagnosed in Nov and will start chemo next week and am expecting my hair to fall out on Jan 22! I too searched for scarves and was shocked by the price... If I can't figure it out on my own (I'm still a beginner at sewing) my friend's mom has offered to help me out (she is much more skilled with the sewing machine). Thanks again for sharing!

  3. I just wanted to share how much I LOVE this tutorial. This was the only one I found that was easy, AND had measurements for a child. My 13 year old niece has cancer and I was able to whip up 5 of these to give her at Christmas. She was just starting to lose her hair.

    I blogged about this, and used your button to bring people back to your tutorial. Thanks so much!


    Darci the STEM Mom

  4. Thank you for this - my friend will loose her hair shortly through chemo and mentioned head scarves would love to make her some.


    Thank you

  5. Today I enquired with a company to ask to purchase some of the fabric for the head bands. I asked if it would be suitable for a chemo cap. They immediately said yes and are sending it to me free of charge. The chap I was speaking to had lost his sister to cancer and said he knew how important something like this was. Human kindness at it's very best.


  6. What an excellent idea. Thank you for sharing it with us. xx Maggie #42

  7. Thank you for the tutorial -- I've made one and if my sister likes it and the measurements are right for her -- I will make many more. She starts her chemo in a week and we will be ready! Thanks again!!!

  8. Thank you so much for posting such an easy to follow tutorial. My mother will be going through chemo shortly and I have a 3 year old son that I'm sure will be concerned of her health and appearance. I would love to give her a few of these. Also, I am a beginner sewer, having just started with a small quilting class, so I am excited to understand this tutorial! Thank you again, this means more to me, than you will know!

  9. Thank You Sooo much! What a blessing to find this! My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer last year and since it has progressed to her spine,brain and shoulder so she is undergoing both chemo and radiation. She just started losing her hair. It's really a shame how much they charge for the headscarves for chemo patients! I wanted to gift her some nice suitable scarves. I live way in New Jersey and she is in cold Montana! Thank You again!

  10. Thank you so much for posting these instructions. I lost my hair this week and need a few pretty, easy to style scarves to go with my caps. These are perfect...will make extra to donate to the cancer center as I go along.

  11. Thank you so much for posting this. What an amazing thing to do. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in Dec and am now undergoing chemotherapy. My hair's just starting to fall out. I was shocked at the prices of some of these scarves. I have wanted to give something back to the community so thank you again for this wonderful tutorial. God bless x

  12. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I have made 4 head scarfs for my sister who is battling breast cancer. I posted about it and linked to your tutorial on my blog today.


  13. Can this be done entirely with a serger? I'm thinking about a rolled hem on the scarf. And have any of you gals worn these in warm weather? My girlfriend was complaining today she can't find anything cooler (she's currently wearing fleece). We tramped all over Seattle's Pike Place Market and she was going uptown after! I'd like to surprise her.

    Lastly, any favorite type fabric for the scarf part? Slinky, cotton???? Thanks, Shari in Washington state

  14. < What age is the child size for? I'm looking to make it for an 8 year old girl. Thanks>

  15. I have a friend who just started chemo this week for pancreatic cancer and I wanted to make some chemo caps/scarves for her and couldn't find an easy pattern. I was thrilled to find your tutorial. As I read through it I feel like this is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for creating this and especially for sharing it. Cindy J

  16. Anonymous4/12/2015

    Thanks for the awesome tutorial! It is perfect to wear in the spring or fall time and it seems like it could help keep the hair out of the way! :D

  17. Thank you so much for creating this tutorial. My Mom was just diagnosed and I was looking for a pattern to make her caps/scarves that are fun (and not too trickey).

    I can't wait to see how they turn out!

  18. Thank you so much for sharing this!! I made a few of these for a friend undergoing chemotherapy. They were fast and easy to make, and she loves them. They are perfect!

  19. Thanks for the tutorial I am going to try and make some for myself since I have been diagnosed with breast cancer I have a few sewing friends so hopefully they will help me again thanks when I have one done I will post picture

  20. Michelle, thanks so much for this pattern and measurements. I want to make some for a friend who will start chemo sone. Have you tried using the same stretchy fabric for the band as the scarf is made from? I'm wondering if that would work in place of the cotton knit. Thanks for your help!!

    1. Hello Marie, I am looking to make up some scarves for my son's friend and was wondering if you tried using the same knit as the scarf fabric and if so, how well did it work?

  21. I made a few of these for my mom for Christmas. At that time, she had just started chemotherapy and her hair was falling out in clumps. She cried when she opened the box and wears them all the time. She recently asked me if I could make more for her! I have been buying 1/2 yard for her scarves and noticed that with a 1/2 yard of each color, not only can I make one scarf for my mom, but I can make two child sized scarves (with opposite band/scarf colors). So that's what I will be doing! I can't wait to drop them off at the nearby children's hospital!

  22. Thanks for this pattern. My best friend from high school (30+ years now) just started her chemo last week & has already had to shave her head. This will be such an easy pattern to sew up and will help her self esteem enormously!

  23. I have two questions about the band: 1) Would cotton/lycra be appropriate? 2) With your length x width dimensions, it would seem that the direction of the stretch doesn't go around the head. Is that on purpose? Or is it really width x length? Thank you!

  24. This is really great! However, I'm looking for a pattern that uses woven cotton (like I use for making quilts) for making some head scarves for ladies.

  25. This is really great! However, I'm looking for a pattern that uses woven cotton (like I use for making quilts) for making some head scarves for ladies.

  26. Posted your site on my Fashion page. Thanks for the tutorial! I can't wait to see what we all come up with https://www.facebook.com/TrishaTrixieDesigns

  27. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I made a few for a vriend Who will be starting chemo this week.

  28. I made one for my mother-in-law and a friend of hers. She loved it!! She has other beanies and hats but usually only wears this scarf (besides her wig) because she says it is so comfortable. Now my husband wants me to make one for a coworker who is about to start chemo. Thanks for sharing this tutorial!

  29. I have a dear friend who is undergoing chemo for the second time. I've been looking for a simple pattern so I could make some pretty caps for her. I really like the way this one fits. The knit band to hug the head in the front, yet can use colorful prints also--excellent idea. Thank you.

  30. If anyone has a need for this and is not able to make I would be happy to make and send you one. Just email me your address at 8Luv2Knit8@gmail.com

  31. Could I use cotton material for the main part and then just the ribbing for the front band please?

  32. Anonymous1/05/2018

    My name is Michelle and I am wondering if I could use cotton fabric for the main part and then just ribbing for the band.

  33. My friend loses one breast tomorrow to breast cancer and then back later for the other! I want to make one for her; she has been told chemo next! Thank you for sharing!

  34. Anonymous10/31/2018

    Hi there, I just wanted to say thank you for this tutorial! A colleague knows I sew and asked me to help make one for her mum who has cancer. She was super touched and even asked to pay for it, of course I declined! The only thing I would say is that the length for the adult one could be longer, I'll make another one with a longer length. Other than that, it was great. Thanks again!

  35. Our hospital would really benefit from a donation of these scarves for our women in the Cancer Care Center, if you are interested in donating some please give me a call at 909-685-9668. I would love to tell you more about the great work we do and how a donation like this could change a woman perspective about how she feels today.

  36. Hi, How much fleece fabric is needed for the chemo cap?

  37. Anonymous10/05/2019

    Thankyou for this. I made my first with a stretch fabric. I used the same fabric for the band. I'm looking forward to making one with a woven scarf too. While I was making it I had no idea if I was doing it right or wrong as I couldnt work out what the finished shape was supposed to be. I followed the instructions and once I worked out how to turn it out correctly it was perfect. Thankyou so much. Xx

  38. Anonymous1/30/2020

    Thank you for this tutorial. My best friend will start chemo next week, so I wanted to make her a couple of scarves to wear when her hair falls out. Now that I found this tutorial, I cannot wait to get started.

  39. Thank you for this tutorial! Just whipped one up for a friend who's going to start chemo next week. If she likes it, will make several more. My husband thought they were wonderful and said I should make a bunch to donate!


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