How to Make Surgical Hats

Written by catherine sullivan | 13/05/2017
How to Make Surgical Hats
Make your own scrub head wear. (Nurse in Scrubs image by Mary Beth Granger from

Surgical hats, or scrub caps, have crossed the line from a necessary article of clothing for infection prevention, to a fashion statement. Surgical caps, as well as scrubs themselves, have over the past few years gradually developed into items with as much fashion statement potential as any piece of clothing. When a "uniform" must be worn, having a variety of colours or styles is important to the wearer. For those who want to save money on the purchase, or just want more choice in colours and patterns, it is relatively easy to make these scrub caps.

How to Make Surgical Hats
Cotton fabric (store display of fabric image by Joyce Wilkes from

Purchase a good quality pure cotton or poly/cotton material, such as would be used in making a quilt. There should be no embossed areas, or attached sequins, etc. The material should be totally washer safe and pre-shrunk, as it will be used for a piece of clothing that will be washed after every use in hot water. Thread should be made of the same materials as the fabric itself, and elastic should be garment quality, and non-roll.

How to Make Surgical Hats
Cut fabric to measure (cutting image by Dušan Zidar from

Cut out a circle from the fabric that is about 29" in circumference. Cut two bands about 19" long and 1 1/2" wide. Cut a piece of interfacing the same size. Cut a piece of elastic about 4" long. These measurements are for an average woman's head, so they may need to be larger or smaller if the head is a larger one.

How to Make Surgical Hats
Iron on the interfacing. (ironing image by jovica antoski from

Line up one piece of the band with the interfacing. Place the side that will bond with the back side of the fabric, and with a steam iron, iron the two together until the facing is completely adhered to the fabric.

Place right sides of band together and line up the sides of the pieces, with the elastic band centred between, lining up the end of elastic and the end of the fabric pieces at each end. Stitch the end of the band to the end of the elastic, leaving at least 1/4" at the top of the band.

Making sure the elastic does not get stitched at the same time, stitch across the top of the band, with right sides still together. This will leave the bottom of the banding open. Snip the corners of the sewn area, and turn so that the right side is out. Press with the steam iron.

How to Make Surgical Hats
Sew Around the Edges and Finish (Sewing machine image by Susanne Karlsson from

With the sewing machine set at zigzag, sew all around the circle piece. Then set the machine stitch at its longest straight stitch setting. Sew around the edges of the piece, about 1/4" from the edge. Backstitch at the beginning to hold the stitch line in place. Do not do so at the end. Gently pull on the bottom thread of the loose end of stitching, and gather the fabric along the edge until it measures your band plus the length of elastic.

Pin the wrong side of the fabric circle to the right side of one side of band, and to the elastic portion. Sew the gathered fabric edges of the main piece to the band and elastic. When pinning and sewing the elastic, pull the elastic to its full length, and attach it as is, backstitching to anchor at the end.

Turn under the edge of the band not sewn in about 1/4", and slip stitch in place. Press.


Be sure to measure the head cap is intended for before cutting fabric.


Choose only hot water safe fabrics that will not shrink. Avoid fabric that will not wear or wash well.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to measure the head cap is intended for before cutting fabric.
  • Choose only hot water safe fabrics that will not shrink. Avoid fabric that will not wear or wash well.

Things you need

  • Sewing machine
  • 3/4 yard of cotton material (weight used for quilting)
  • Matching thread
  • 4" of 1/2" elastic
  • 1/4 yard medium weight iron-on interfacing (one sided)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Steam iron

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