How to Make a Chemo Scarf

Updated February 21, 2017

Chemo scarves allow patients undergoing chemo a comfortable and easy to wear option to cover hair loss. Wigs can be hot and itchy, so many women opt for hats and scarves. If you are looking for a charity project, or have a friend or family member going through chemotherapy, consider making some chemo scarves. You can make scarves in different shapes and styles and they can be tied in several different ways, making them a versatile choice. Since sizing is not an issue, scarves are an ideal donation to your local cancer centre.

Decide on the size and shape of chemo scarf you would like to make. A headscarf can be made triangular, rectangular or square, like a bandanna. A square scarf can start with a simple 22-by-22 inch square for a bandanna style or you can opt for a 30 to 36-inch square for a more formal scarf. Cut the fabric in half on a diagonal; you can make two triangular scarves from a square of at least 22 inches. Rectangular headscarves can range from as small as 15-by-60 inches to substantially larger for finer or lighter fabrics.

Allow 1 inch for each width and length seam allowances when cutting your chemo scarf. Cotton fabrics are ideal, but silks and silk blends may work well, particularly for dressier occasions. Do choose washable fabrics for ease of care.

Press hems into your chemo scarves. Fold each edge under 1/4-inch and then 1/4-inch again. This will create a neat and narrow hem on each edge. Be especially careful pressing the corners. Pin your hems into place if you prefer. You can also mitre the corners if you prefer.

Stitch near the fold line using coordinating thread and a short stitch length on your sewing machine. Be certain to reverse the stitch at the corners for additional security. You may embellish with a bit of fringe, beading or other details if you would like, but do keep laundering ease in mind when making a headscarf.

Launder your chemo scarves in a gentle, hypoallergenic detergent and press. They are now ready to wear, gift or donate as you prefer.


Choose bright colours and lovely prints for chemo scarves.


Avoid fabrics that might be scratchy, itchy or irritating.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft, breathable fabrics
  • Coordinating thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Ruler or measuring tape
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About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.