Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Operation Summer Hair Rescue Part 1 - How To Make Scrunchies

Since we are on the groove of simple sewing projects,
I thought we'd do a couple more. Remember these?

Such a rage in the 80s and 90s. So easy to make and
so many possibilities for variations. Each time a friend
picked up sewing as a new hobby, these were one of
their very first projects. And now that summer is finally
(and vengefully) upon us, I find I am reaching for my
old ones (I haven't made any new ones since I was in my
early twenties!) and leaving them all over the house
as the children pull them off my hair.

Perhaps it is because everyone knows how to make
them that I haven't been seeing tutorials for these on
blogs. I see a lot of hair clip and hair band tutorials,
though, but not many on scrunchies. Then the crazy
thought occurred to me that maybe people don't make
them much nowadays, or (shudder) they've gone out of
fashion and I'm the only one on the planet
that didn't get that memo.

So in the off-chance that maybe there are some folks
out there who haven't made these, and who might
want to, here's a tutorial!

Here's what you need:

  • Scrap fabric 16" x 4"
  • Elastic 7" long - I used the 3/8" kind
  • Safety pin
  • Sewing machine and thread

Step 1
  • Fold fabric in half lengthwise, right sides facing.
  • Using a 1/2" seam allowance, sew along the cut edge, leaving 2" at each end unsewn, to make a tube. Remember to backstitch!

Step 2
  • Turn tube right side out and spread out the ends.

Step 3
  • Fold one end up to meet the other

  • pin the ends together, right sides facing and sew a 1/2" seam. Remember to backstitch!
You will now have made a loop of
fabric like a deflated donut.

Step 4
  • Pull on the rest of the loop to pop the seam inside.

Step 5
  • Using the safety pin, thread the elastic through the opening and all around the loop.
  • Overlap 1/2" of each end (i.e. using up a total of 1" of elastic).
  • Stitch the ends of the elastic together.

Step 6
  • Fold in the seam allowance of the opening and topstitch the opening shut. Try to sew as close to the edge as possible.


Make a ponytail!

Here's another way of making it if you
don't want the topstitched opening.


This is one way to class it up a little:

Use two strips of fabric 16" x 2.5" each and sew them
together with piping.Then begin with Step 1
to make the scrunchie as usual.

The piping and coordinating fabrics add something to it, no?

Here's a child-sized one for littler ponytails.
They turn out smaller than the adult one on the left.
Use a piece of fabric 12" x 3" and
elastic 5.5" long and 1/4" or 1/8" wide.

Tune in next time for Operation Summer Hair Rescue Part 2 -
another very fun hair accessory from my bizarre past
(no, neither hair band nor hair clip-
I could never get those to tame my hair).


  1. I just needed this tutorial! I usually wear a scrunch, but I have only one and I wanted some more to sew by my self.
    Thank you very much!
    (I hope my English is not so bad ad I think)

  2. Hooray! I've NEVER known how to make a scrunchie - it was that whole loop making business that confused me! Thanks so much for the tutorial!

    Lucy x

  3. Great job on the tut. Sadly, I do feel that obligation to tell you that yes, these have gone out of style and in some areas they make fun of the hair scrunchie. BUT, I'm totally with you and up until about two weeks ago when I cut all my hair very short, I had them all around the house as well. I've never been one to follow style trends so I could care less that I see snarky comments about these. I'm thrilled that you have done this wonderful tutorial because in all honesty, I've never known how to make them either. Gosh, I'm sure that's something one should be embarrassed of too considering all my kids are over 20yrs old so that's telling my age a bit. LOL

    Thank you! I can't wait to see what this other summer rescue tut will be.

  4. I was so ALL about these in high school. Lived in them. Every color. I still have a couple that I use for showers and working out. Thanks so much for the tute, I'll be linking.

  5. I love scrunchies! They are so much nicer to your hair than plain elastic ponytail holders. I'm down to one, myself, and I wear it about three days a week. I'll be whipping some of these beauties up for myself this weekend.

  6. Eh, so what if they are out of style.

    My hair is medium length and baby fine. Scrunchies are gentle and practical for swooping my hair up n these hot, hot days.

    Thanks, this is the best, clearest tutorial on scrunchies i have ever read!

  7. Few hair accessories are as comfortable as a scrunchie! And it adds a lot to an outfit when the accessories go perfectly with the outfit (which is easy to do now that we know how to actually make them!).

  8. The scrunchy will never gasp its last fashion breath, especially when you can create beautiful ones like yours. I used your photo (of course with full credit and plenty o' links to Ikat Bag) in my (mostly) Handmade Holidays blog for today's gift idea. Who wouldn't love getting hair accessories made with beautiful fabric? Please let me know if you'd like me to remove the photo or change anything with my post.

  9. Just wondering how one might modify this to include ribbons, like the kind they use at Christmas that have bells on the end? I'm wanting to make some of these for a parade our troop is going to participate in at Christmas and thought it might be fun to add little bells.

    1. Just tuck in a red and a green narrow ribbon before whipping the seam closed, Add a jingle bell beforehand. StA.

  10. DawnO: I don't know if I've seen those ribbons with bells on the ends. If you sewed them on a scrunchie, would they stick outwards and hang loose, with a dangling bell? Sort of like the rays of a sun? If so, then you could attach them in the middle seam of the scrunchie where the piping is (in the Variations photo, 3rd last in the post). Have most of the ribbon point inwards, including the bell end, sandwiched between RIGHT sides of the two fabric strips. When you are sewing up the final long seam (Step 1), all the ribbons and bells will be inside the tube, so make sure you push them away from your sewing line so you don't stitch over them. Then sew up the ends, turn inside out (all the ribbons should pop outwards) and stitch the opening up. Hope this helps!

  11. THANK YOU!!!!! I have a small sewing business and I had customers order some! I thought they would be a cinch but had problems! :) You helped me out of a bind!!! :)


  12. Thanks for taking the time to show this! Easy like pie and a perfect quickie way to use scrap fabrics ^_^

  13. Hi I just made a child size scrunchie. Thank you for this tutorial. I can now teach my children how to make them instead of buying them.

    1. Thank you sooo much for this post !

  14. What?! The scrunchy can't be dead or I'll have to shave my hair off (it's a gentler method than letting my monsters pull me bald headed). My soccer/basketball/track involved girls will be getting a few of these in their stockings this year. Thanks

  15. Thanks so much for this tutorial! I'm a moderately experienced seamstress but I'm also a very visual learner and this has helped me. I like to wear two low buns in my hair and since it's kinda short, scrunchies add a bit of volume and color. I'll be making many pairs for summer when I'll need my hair up!

  16. Hmmm, I also have long hair and obviously did not get the memo re scrunchies going out of fashion, I wear them EVERY DAY! I have heaps of different ones, some with small roses on them and some with flirty ribbons, and I like to mix and match them to suit my colour schemes. My hair is fine but never breaks when I wear scrunchies, so who cares about fashion? ;)

  17. And I am yet another scrunchy fan...long curly hair and hot days = find scrunchy. Don't care if they are out of fashion. Better to be out of fashion than hair breakage!

  18. Thanks so much for this wonderful tutorial. I just got a sewing machine for Christmas, and this is my second project, but my first *successful* one! I made two little scrunchies for my daughter using hair bands she had lying around (I didn't have the proper elastic. It worked out great and she's going to love them!

  19. Thank you soo much for posting this tutorial. I have long, fine, knot prone hair, and need to braid my hair at night to keep it from becoming a rat's nest. Thanks for the "smaller" version too, as these will be better for the ends of my hair. I was lying awake trying to figure out how to make scrunchies,since I'm down to two mis-matched, stretched out ones. Thank you again : )

  20. very very handy and finally a tutorial i can manage to work with. thank you

  21. awesome i would make one right now but my dads on an important phone call so i cant now luv the tutorial

  22. I have been wanting to make one for some adorable Christmas skirts I made for my daughter...I know I wore them ALL the time as a kid, but wasn't sure exactly how to do it, so thanks!

  23. I love scrunchies! They're so comfortable - I throw my hair up with them when I'm hanging around the house or going to the gym.

  24. I did it and it came out perfectly. Thank you.

  25. Thank you for these directions! I just made three in a few minutes and they turned out great!

  26. Thank you for the tutorial. My teenage daughter wanted to make a hair scrunchie, (must be back in fashion again!) and your photographs, and directions helped her make her first one...did I mention she has now made them for her friends as well.
    Thank you
    Ruth, in New Zealand

  27. I think the scrunchie died its in-public death when Carrie Bradshaw declared in a 2003 "Sex and the City" ep that no fashionable Manhattan woman would wear one. But I still buy scrunchies to wear around the house and especially to sleep in -- I can't stand to sleep with my hair down and scrunchies are much more comfortable (and seem less damaging to hair) than the skinny ponytail holders. I wear the skinny ones in public. =.) Thanks for the tutorial! I do plan to make some so I can have a huge stash on hand.

  28. scrunchies are never outta fashion in my opinion! i sure have a lot of scrap fabric i can make scrunchy out of!! thanks for d tute! its inspiring!!! n m sure as hell gonna make some tomorrow!

  29. Thanks so much for this great tutorial. My daughter & I use a lot of ponytail holders all the time. My hair is extremely thick & now has grown to the middle of my back & needless to say the store bought ones don't hold up well with my hair. So this will help out ALOT, great way to customize to our wardrobe & make them to the size & strength needed. Thanks Again :)

  30. Since when are scrunchies out of style? I work in a hospital so my long hair is ALWAYS tied back and I have really cute quilting fabric leftovers from another project so I am so doing this tonight. The whole loop thing had me stumped as well!

  31. Thank-you so much for the tutorial, my mum always made them for me and my sister, so we never needed to learn how! My daughter is now grown up and needs her own supply for work....she is very impressed with my new found skill!!

  32. Love this! Thanks! I'm also making a bunch as my kids will pull them out of my hair, too.

  33. My sister made me one of these way back when, but wouldn't tell me how to make them. (not that I knew how to sew back then. I was a walking sewing disaster...) Now that I DO know how to sew them, I want to make them for my daughter, since regular elastics seem to hurt her and she loves new things. I'm upcycling one of my husband's old t-shirts, so I thought I'd make her a matching scrunchy at the same time. Now I know how to do it, thanks to your clear instructions. ^.^ (and yes, they're back in fashion now, at least here in Europe. ^.^)

  34. Thank you for the great tutorial. I love hair scrunchies! I don't care if they aren't part of today's fashion. I've seen some fashion that most people wouldn't be caught dead in anyway, including myself! :) The only thing I'm not liking when I make these is how it looks when the opening is sewn up. I've done it by machine and hand and hate both. Anyone have any suggestions?

    1. Ladder-stitch (hand-stitch). It's invisible and, if done fine enough, cannot be distinguished from the RS of a finished machine-sewn seam.

  35. Well, I'm 68 with longish white, very fine, but plenty of it scrunchy wearer. As far as I'm concerned 'fashion' is a load of rubbish, wear what you like and what feels comfortable and most importantly, what suits you. I have heaps of material and have been meaning to make some scrunchies (I only have one). Now I have been enthused. Thank you for your tutorial, brilliant.

  36. I finally feel like i'm part of the 80's. With a scrunchy My sixth grade class has some grovie style.

  37. I have never allowed the scrunchies to go out of style. These made it easy to twist my mid-back length hair up into a bun and get my hair out of my way when needed. Thank you for your tutorial; I will make some for my outfits and for my daughter and granddaughters as well.

  38. 2017... scrunchies are back and I'm googling tutorials so I can make them for my daughters. woohoo! :)

  39. So thankful to find this! I haven't made one in about 20yrs, and needed to make some with bows for my Pre-K girly girl. I couldn't remember how we did it, so this popped up on Pinterest just in time!

  40. April 10, 1918 Thank you fir this tute. I just read that scrunchies are back this spring snd summer. Proving, wear what you want and like.

  41. Sorry about the 100 yrs. mistake obviously it shd be 2018. Wish I cd locate my 80s & 90s brain.

    1. JoJo Sewist: You're too funny! No worries - I knew what you meant. And yes, I'm finding there is less of a stigma now regarding scrunchies. I say Ha to the fashion police of the last decade. Slightly related, I've unearthed my bun-makers (see the companion part 2 tutorial) which my youngest calls "hair noodles" to use while I was vacationing in Singapore (read: equator, very humid, cannot have hair touching neck, etc.). Did I care that no one else was using them? No. Did I wonder if people were snapping photos of me and uploading them to the internet for shaming? No. Did I feel amazing and non-sweaty and composed? Yes. Yes. Yes.

  42. Thank you for this tutorial... I am using with my students in FACS who are obsessed with making scrunchies. We use scrap fabric up from our pillowcase projects and then the kid sell them at our school store (we make pillowcases to donate to area agencies). I have utilized your good work, given you props and did NOT include any photos of kids...I get it). I just wanted to say thanks because it's so well done and you saved be ooodles of TIME....much appreciated :) Amy


Thank you for talking to me! If you have a question, I might reply to it here in the comments or in an email.