Behold, the humble hair scrunchie! This fabric hair accessory has a somewhat contested reputation in fashion history, but there’s no denying its practical use as a gentle hair tie and fun DIY sewing project. Whether you’re planning a 90s throwback party or just want to wear something soft while sleeping, scrunchies whip up quickly and require very little fabric. Practice your skills from the Instructables Machine Sewing Class with a small batch of scrunchies.
For this easy sewing project, you will need:
- Fabric of your choice (I’m using polyester satin and silk dupioni to make extra slippery scrunchies)
- Thread to match your fabric
- Iron and ironing board
- Thin elastic
- Sewing machine with needles & bobbins
- Hand sewing needle
- Straight sewing pins
- Safety pin
- Seam ripper (optional)
- Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler (optional)
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Measure and cut a piece of elastic to match the circumference of your wrist. This does not have to be a very precise measurement; it’s just important that you can comfortably handle the end product, and being able to fit it on your wrist contributes to goal. You may prefer to make smaller scrunchies at some point. Mine measures 6 inches (16cm) long.
Iron & Cut Fabric
Gently iron out any wrinkles in your fabric. Use steam with caution on satin and silk fabrics, as they may discolor.
Cut out a rectangle of fabric measuring about 3.5 inches (9cm) by 14 inches (36cm), or 2-3 times longer than your elastic. The length of the rectangle will affect how much the fabric is gathered in the final piece, so if you want a rufflier scrunchie, make the rectangle longer. If you want a broader scrunchie (navy velvet, anybody?), make the rectangle wider.
You can cut the fabric however you like, but I wanted to experiment with the fabric grain. I cut the orange silk with the grain (perpendicular/parallel to the woven fibers) with scissors, and I cut the cream satin fabric on the bias, or at a diagonal to the fabric’s grain. Bias-cut fabrics, especially flowing ones like satin, drape differently than straight-cut pieces. This makes a huge difference in appearance on long things like dresses, but is also noticeable on a smaller scale in this project. Sewing bias seams can be a bit tricky because the fabric tends to warp, so I wanted practice.
Since the fabric shifts around a lot, I opted to cut the satin with a rotary cutter and ruler to get the most precise shape.
Pin & Sew Long Seam
Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise and pin the raw edges right sides together (if your fabric has a “right” side). Rather than start at one end and pin along the edge in a single direction, pin the ends and center first, then bisect each resulting section for the most even distribution.
Use the sewing machine to sew a straight stitch along the raw edge, leaving a few inches open at each end. Use whatever seam allowance you prefer; I used the edge of the presser foot as a guide for mine.
If you’ve got extra needles for the machine, sewing over the pins is an acceptable risk. You can also take out the pins as you sew.
Fold Tube Into Itself
Attach a safety pin to one end and use it to thread the tube into itself. The fabric will bunch up as you thread the safety pin through, so smooth it out while holding on to both raw ends until it’s essentially folded in half. Remove the safety pin.
Pin & Sew Short Seam
Line up the short ends of the rectangle and pin and sew a seam. Pull out a few of the previous stitches from the long seam with a seam ripper if you need some more space.
Thread Elastic Through
Pull on the inner portion to reveal the right side of the fabric, and thread the elastic through the tube using the safety pin again. Gather the fabric as you go, and be sure to keep the tail end of the elastic out of the tube.
Sew Elastic Together
Attach the elastic to itself either with the sewing machine or by hand. Don’t be concerned with the neatness of these stitches, so long as they’re secure!
Close Final Seam
To close up the remaining seam, fold, pin, and either machine top stitch or invisible stitch it shut.
It’s also called the ladder stitch because of the way you stitch straight across and up to the next rung.
Scrunchies are great for securing your hair while sleeping or just to have around for quickly getting your hair out of the way.
After you’ve made a few scrunchies, a great next project is pajama pants, which are basically just scrunchies with legs.
Thank you for following along! I’d love to hear your feedback and questions in the comments.
If you like this project, you may be interested in some of my others:
- Mini Concrete Planters Using Plastic Bottles
- 5 Tips for Documenting DIY Projects
- Bullet Journal
- Embroidered Patches From Photos