Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Easiest Scrunchie Ever -- Sewing Tutorial

Scrunchies have slowly been coming back into vogue -- at least among the elementary school set.  (I have actually found sewing tutorials for scrunchies dating back to 2009, so maybe things were slow to reach us here in Michigan?)  Charlotte (my eight-year-old) was assigned the task of reading a "how to" book and doing a demonstration based upon a project in the book.  We checked out a kids' sewing book and Charlotte INSTANTLY fell in love with a scrunchie project.  I gritted my teeth and agreed to help her sew one of those abominable things.

Good grief.  The instructions were terrible and the finished product was unusable.  It was way too small, too stiff, had too much bulk, and included what I considered to be questionable and sloppy sewing techniques.  I am completely aware of my inherent sewing snobbery, and I own it.  I decided I needed to redesign this project to correct this sewing injustice.  Nothing like a little sewing melodrama to get me pumped up.

First of all, quilting weight woven fabric is not a great choice for this project.  Second, sewing together elastic into a loop sounds good in theory, but a lot of the garment elastic you get in fabric stores doesn't have the right amount of stretch.  I rummaged through the bathroom drawers and found a plain covered elastic band to use instead.  After a bit of thought, I came up with a way to sew it without any hand stitching or any threading of elastic through a fabric tube (a step that always drives me crazy and is difficult for Charlotte to manage by herself).  Here it is!

The Easiest Scrunchie Ever -- Sewing Tutorial

Materials needed:

  • 18" x 4" knit fabric*
  • 1 covered elastic hair band (the large, thick ones that can hold a whole ponytail)

* NOTE: If you're using knit fabric with 4-way stretch, you can cut the 18" x 4" rectangle any way you want.  If you're using knit fabric with only a 2-way stretch, make sure the rectangle stretches lengthwise, i.e. along the 18" length.  Old t-shirts would be perfect for this project, but I used a bit of knit fabric I had purchased off the bolt.

STEP ONE: Pressing the fabric

Press under (toward the wrong side) both long sides of the rectangle about 1/3" inch.  This is not a precision project by any means, so don't worry too much about it.

STEP TWO: Sewing the loop

Fold the rectangle in half with the right sides facing and pin.

Stitch across the raw edge with about a 1/4" seam allowance.

STEP THREE: Inserting the hair band

Open up the rectangle so it looks like a loop.  Then fold the pressed edges together with the wrong sides facing so it looks like this:

Grab your hair band and slide one side of it between the layers of fabric and pin.  Make sure the hair band is not pinned between the fabric -- it should be below that, pushed toward the fold of the fabric.

Repeat all the way around, so that the hair band becomes encased between the layers of fabric, close to the fold.  just scrunch the pinned fabric parts together to get all the fabric to fit together inside the circumference of the hair band.

 Now it's starting to look like a scrunchie!

STEP FOUR: Finishing up

With a 1/8" seam allowance, stitch around the outer pinned edge of the fabric.  Make sure the hairband doesn't get stitched into the seam.  It's unlikely that it would happen, but the whole point of the scrunchie is that the hair band is sort of floating freely inside the knit fabric.

Now interrupt your daughter's elaborate pretend game involving 498 animal figurines and bribe her to model your latest creation!  I only wrapped it around twice here, but three times held it in her hair better.  It would be cute around a bun, too.

Wasn't that so much easier than tutorials that involve elastic threading and hand sewing openings shut?  The stretchy knit fabric is a lot easier to manage than stiff woven material, and it's probably easier on the hair.  Now I can go shudder in horror at these infernal things coming back into style.  I'm not sure if I can bring myself to wear one in my hair, but I'm happy to make a bunch more of these for my daughter and her friends.  Charlotte is still petrified of the iron, but she can definitely manage all of the other steps involved in sewing this project.


Linking up to: Creating My Way to Success, Sugar Bee Crafts


  1. This is awesome Niki! I made a whole bunch of scrunchies for my girls a few years ago, but never thought to use regular hair ties in them! So obvious - rather than finding bits of elastic to use!

  2. Hi there
    Just stopped by to let you know that I featured this on my Round Tuit post this week!
    Round Tuit
    Thanks again for linking up to A Round Tuit Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  3. Back to the 80s and 90s - if only your tutorial had been around then. Clever way to make them, Niki!