Sew a Scrunchie – Free Tutorial

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Image shows 7 sewed scrunchies in different print fabrics, in a wicker basket with a spray of flowers

Scrunchies are a quick easy projects, perfect for less experienced sewers. Learn to sew a scrunchie with this quick beginners tutorial. If you haven’t used a sewing machine before, this is a great project to start learning with. 

You don’t need a paper pattern, just a rectangle of fabric, and piece of elastic. You can also sew a scrunchie by hand. It will take slightly longer, but work just as well. 

It’s a project that is perfect for using up small scraps. If you have little bits of left over fabric from other projects in those annoying amounts – slightly too much to throw out, too little to know what to do with – then a scrunchie is a perfect way to destash and get use from leftovers. They can also be a great Market Make.

(If you are considering making items for sale, please check the copyright disclaimer at the end, and only do so on a small scale).

This pattern is part of a series of DIY scrunchie techniques. Have you tried the crochet scrunchie, or the knitting scrunchie? Read about which one I thought was best.

A wicker basket full of DIY scrunchies, made from knitting, crochet and sewing


Fabric: Any fabric will do. One jelly roll strip, or one fat quarter, or scraps of fabric measuring approximately 55 cemtimeters long and at least 6 centimeters wide.

  1. Sewing machine or needle and thread.
  2. A strip of elastic about 4 inches or 10 cm long. You can use a slightly longer or shorter piece of elastic depending on the size of scrunchie you wish to make. Check against your favourite hair elastic.
  3. Pins or fabric clips.
  4. Safety pin.
  5. Scissors or rotary cutter and cutting mat.
  6. Iron.
  7. Tape measure or ruler.
Text on the image reads 
'Materials needed:
1. sewing machine of needle and thread
2. Fabric strips approximately 1 m ling by 5-10 cm wide (can be jelly roll strips, fat quarters of other fabric.)
3. 6 inch strip of elastic
4 Pins of fabric clips
5. Safety pin
6. Scissors or rotary cutter
7. Iron
8. Tape measure

Abbreviations and Accessibility

This pattern is written for screen reader accessibility. Abbreviations and tables have been avoided for ease of access. No pattern pieces are included, and nothing needs printed out. This is a basic tutorial.

Time to make: 

1 hours

Sewing skills used:

This is a beginner level tutorial. It assumes you may not have much experience.

Fabric options for sewing a scrunchie:

Option 1: Using a Jelly roll strip or similar shape and size strip. You will need 1 strip of 1 meter 10 centimeters approximately or 2 short strips of about 55 centimetres.

Option 2: Using a Fat Quarter. One fat quarter will give one to three scrunchie, depending on how wide you make them.

Option 3: Using other fabric cut to size. Almost any fabric will do.

What is a Jelly Roll?

Text read 'What is a Jelly Roll Strip?'
Image shows a rolled up roll as it would be purchased, and 2 coordinating strips laid out flat

A jelly roll is a strip of fabric which has been pre cut into a long thin strip of a size and shape often used in quilting. Normally, Jelly rolls are sold in packs of coordinating prints. They are widely available in any fabric or craft shop. Therefore they can be a great way to buy a small amount of fabric in pretty prints for someone who wants to try out a small sewing project for the first time and see if it suits them.

Advantages to using a Jelly Roll for sewing a scrunchie

The fabric is already cut to the right size and shape for you, there is (almost) no fabric cutting involved. So you can get straight to practising sewing without worrying about that weird thing that looks like a pizza cutter yet. (Its called a ‘rotary cutter’ Don’t use it for pizza!!!)

Disadvantages of using a jelly roll for sewing a scrunchie:

You may not have some to hand, and many need to buy a pack. They are inexpensive if you just want a small quality off fabric, but you might need to look for a specialist fabric shop or online supplier to buy some. The narrow size of each strip means you may not have an obvious use for the rest of the pack once you have made your scrunchie. (So why not make 4 or 5 scrunchies?)

What is a Fat Quarter?

Text reads 'What is a fat quarter'
Image shows a pack of 4 fat quarters, the top three still tied together with a ribbon

A fat quarter is a square or rectangle of fabric about 50cm wide, and usually slightly longer than it is wide. Most likely 56cm. Packs of 4 or 5 coordinating colours are usually sold together, mainly for quilters.  There are many projects that can be completed from fat quarters, not just quilting. The wide range of colours and prints they come in can make them a lot of fun to collect and think of uses for. 

But why are they called ‘Fat Quarters’? 

Normally, fabric is sold in lengths from a large bolt.. A half meter length is about the smallest that is reasonable to purchase. A half meter of fabric is usually 50 cm long, and the width of the bolt, which might be 110 cm or 140 cm. 

A fat quarter is a half of one of these half meters of fabric, (half of half is a quarter, obviously) but it’s cut widthwise to be more squarish rather than a 25cm wide long thin strip. – so a fat quarter is a quarter of a meter length of fabric, but cut to be short and fat, not long and thin.

Advantages to using a fat quarter for sewing a scrunchie:

These are easily available everywhere. Even more so than jelly rolls. The ones in the photo I had picked up at some point in the supermarket, as can be seen from the label still attached.

Using a fat quarter gives you more control over what size scrunchie you would like to make, as you can make them almost as skinny or fat as you like. 

Using any other fabric

If you want to use any other fabric for this project, you can do so. You can make a scrunchie to keep use in worn out garments. Have a favourite shirt that’s beyond wear, but want to keep the memories and don’t want to throw it out? Make a scrunchie from each sleeve! You will need to take care when cutting the fabric to size, and this is the only disadvantage of using other fabric. The Jelly roll strips are cut for you, and the fat quarters only need one cut. But after that, you can use any large or small scraps for a scrunchie. They are a great way of avoiding waist in the sewing room.

Text reads 'Step 1. Press fabric' Image shot fabric under an iron

Step 1: Press and cut fabric

Cut your fat quarter lengthwise into 2, 3 or 4 strips. (see pic). Each strip will be folded in half, so remember to choose a width twice as wide as you want your scrunchie to be. The widest scrunchie in the basket shown above was made from half a fat quarter, and I found it was too wide, and therefore wouldn’t sit neatly at the edges. However, some people don’t mind this, and enjoy a giant scrunchie.

The others were made from a fat quarter folded in 3, or 4, and both widths worked really well.

If using a Jelly roll, there is no need to cut to width. A typical jelly roll is 110cm long, you will need to cut it in half. Some strips are short lengths of about 55cm. if so, it needs no cutting, just give 2 strips a good press. They are already cut to the ideal size for you.

If using other fabric, cut strips between 50 or 60 cm long depending how full you want your scrunchie and the fabric you have available, and cut to a width of between 6 and 12 cm, depending on how wide you want it to be.

To cut your fabric, use either a sharp fabric scissors or rotary cutter. You can use a ruler and pencil to mark the cutting line if this helps.

Press the fabric well both before and after cutting.

Secure the fabric using pins places horizontally across the strip, or with sewing clips. Do this so that the ‘good’ side of the fabric is on the inside. We almost always sew on the wrong side of the fabric. Remember: Pretty sides kiss! So press and pin with pretty sides of the print kissing, and the backs of the fabric facing outwards.

Text reads: Secure fabric using pins or clips. Image shows blue strip held with horizontal pins, and a green strip held with sewing clips

Step two: Time to actually Sew a Scrunchie!

Text reads: Time for the actual sewing

Image shows the blue strips being fed through the sewing machine. Painters tape has been put on the machine to help identify a straight line

Sew up the long side, keeping the line of stitching straight. Use the guide on your sewing machine to feed the fabric through in a straight line. You may find it useful to stick masking tape/painters tape along your sewing machine to make sure you are always feeding the fabric in a straight line.

If you are using a jelly roll strip, repeat this step for the other long side. 

You now have a long inside out tube of fabric. Time to turn it the right way out. If there’s kids in the room, maybe ask them to leave. there might be curse words spoken in the next few minutes, depending on how thin your tube is.

Text reads: Turn right way out.
Image shows a green fabric tube, with the top turned over on itself at the start of being turned fully right way out.

Turn your scrunchie the right way out

Just push the fabric though. A spoon handle can help. Pull it up from the right side. This will be super easy with a wide scrunchie, but might be slightly challenging with a narrow one.

Give the scrunchie a final press when it is the right way out. Then, turn a hem of about half a centimetre on one of the short raw sides, and press this so it stays in place.

Text reads 
cut a strip of elastic a little longer than your favourite size hair elastic. Secure one end with a safety pin.
image shows a standard commercial hir elastic, a cut of elastic a little longer, and a pin in a 3rd piece of elastic. This elastic looks blue due to a trick of the light.

Prepare the elastic.

Cut a length of elastic a little longer than your favourite hair elastic. You will be tiring a knot in it, so remember to leave it a little longer. I used lengths of about 12 centimetres. The elastic I used was basic normal elastic, as can be bought in any fabric shop or supermarket. It looks blue in the photo due to some trick of the light, its normal white elastic. Honest!

Text reads Pin end of elastic to one end of your fabric tube.
Push the safety pin through the tube, and pull out the other end.
Image shows a pin holding elastic at the top of a blue fabric tube, then a hand holding the tube which has been gathered up about half way as the pin with elastic moves through it, then the hand holding the pin as it emerges from the bottom of the tube.

Thread elastic through your fabric tube, and tie off.

Keep a large safety pin in one end, and pin the other end of the elastic to the pressed down fold on the top of your fabric tube. Thread the safety pin through the tube. The scrunchie will now start scrunching up!

Text reads Tie a secure knot.
Image shows a hand holding the fabric tube now pulled in a circle, wit the elastic poking out, tied in a knot.

Once the elastic is all the way through, carefully (oh, so carefully!) un-pin the top of the elastic. (Don’t let go, or it will bounce through, and you will need to repeat the previous step).

Now tie a good tight knot in the top of the elastic. you now have a circular scrunchie.

Text reads
Adjust so it lies flat, and tuck the raw edge inside the folded hem edge
Image shows 2 scrunchies, with knots showing, both looking a bit funky as they don't lie flat yet.

Your scrunchie is taking shape, but it probably looks a but bockety. Give it a good pull all around the sides, so the inside seam sits in beside the elastic. If you used jelly roll strips, you have a second seam. Run your fingers around this firmly to make sure its not twisted anywhere, and sitting all around the outside.

Now tuck the raw edge about a half centimetre inside the folded down and pressed edge.

The final seam

Now for the personality test.

Are you a perfectionist? If yes, you will carefully and neatly top stitch this edge closed by hand. You know its the only way to achieve a perfect and professional finish.

Are you a pragmatist? If yes, you will use some hemming web, or a few dots of fabric glue, and seal the opening shut.

Are you an anarchist? if yes, you will run a quick seam up the opening with your machine. It won’t look great, but no one will see it in the folds of the scrunchie, especially not when it’s being worn.

Image shows 6 finished scrunchies in different prints and sizes

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Copyright disclaimer:

This pattern, including the wording and the pictures, are my work and copyright. Please do not distribute them except by using the link to this blog. You may not copy in any way, including by making your own videos, if they are directly based on my work. 

This blog is not intended for commercial use. You may sell finished items based on this tutorial only if you have made them in your own home, with your own hands.

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