Free Chemo Headwear Pattern and Tutorial-Special Request

chemo headwear patternHere’s a chemo headwear pattern and tutorial so you can make that essential accessory to help her feel more beautiful during recovery.

Today is Mother's Day in most parts of the world, so Happy Mothers Day!  To all of you that have experienced the privilege of raising children and the immense love and fear of being responsible for a little one, I salute you and my wish for you is that you are remembered today.

chemo headware pattern

Today is also the beginning of a few styles I will be dedicating to the woman that I admire the most.  I should start with my mother and grandmother, but this is not in a particular order.  These are the woman that for some reason or another have touched my heart because their resilience, strength, dedication, sacrifice, and love for the people around them and themselves have let them take the “road less traveled”, the one thing they have in common: they are strong.

I begin with the story of my Aunt Rossi.  My Aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 61.  She thought she would never have to worry about checking her breast anymore, but one morning she rolled on her bed and felt a sharp pain on her side.  She touched the source of the pain and discovered a lump.  Worried booked an appointment and was found to have stage 3 breast cancer.

chemo headware

Recently at her hospital, she rang the bell for those that have finished the treatment and are free from cancer cells.  The amazing part about my Aunt is that no one can say she was upset, depressed or that she complained about the treatment or her bad luck –not even once.  She got out of bed and went about her day as usual working when the treatment allowed her and never giving up.

When I asked her what kept her going, she said it was her children.  “I can't give up.  I want to see them married with children of their own”.   Below is a picture of my aunt ringing the bell and with her children. chemo headwear pattern

Her hair is not out yet, so she is wearing a wig, but wigs are quite warm.  So here is a headscarf to make the wait for her hair to re-grow less difficult.  This headscarf pattern is also been requested by a few other readers that are going through chemo.  We've also seen a lot of readers make these as part of their sewing for charity initiatives.  We hope this free pattern and tutorial will help.



  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • size 70 needle
  • serger or overlocker (optional)
  • loop turner

Pattern download:

We're going to continue to use the new Payhip webstore to distribute our patterns. As most readers know, Craftsy is changing a lot and they have stopped designers like us from publishing new patterns on their site, so we've had to move to another service.

Our patterns are still free, but now you now have the option of making a small contribution if you like our work! We'd really appreciate it and it will help is keep going with new and fun designs like this. Even a dollar or two really goes a long way.

Thanks so much in advance for helping us out.  You can use any credit card and you don't need a Paypal account, although you can use one if you have one.

Download the Pattern HERE

Layout of the easy headscarf pattern:

chemo headwear pattern

How to print your chemo headwear pattern

Print the pattern in Actual Size and Landscape format using the latest Adobe Reader version.

Skill Level:  Intermediate

Although this is a simple chemo headwear pattern, a thorough understanding of pleats is essential and necessary.  IF you have never worked with pleats, and do not know how to follow instructions this is not the project for you. Read all the instructions and watch the video before attempting this project.

Video tutorial:

Subscribe to the YouTube channel:

Cutting the fabric

If you are using silk, the best way is to lay a piece of cotton fabric on your work table then lay out the silk and place the pattern on the silk fabric.  The cotton underneath will prevent the silk fabric from moving around too much.  You can also spray a thin coat of hairspray over the silk, but test this first!   The hairspray will make it easier to hem.  Pin the pattern and cut while marking the pleats with tailor's chalk.  If using cotton or rayon you can mark using a notch.

Step One: Making the pleats

Following the pattern make the pleats from the top to the bottom.  The pleats are very close to each other.  Topstitch on the sides at 1/4″ to keep the pleats from coming apart.

chemo headwear pattern Zigzag or use your serger on both left and right sides of the chemo headwear.

If you are using silk or voile hemming might be a bit more difficult.  Here is a tutorial that will show you a few ways to hem delicates fabrics.

How to Hem Sheer or Lightweight Fabrics

Step Two:  Making the elastic band

Cut the rectangle and sew on the longest side at 3/8″.  I am using a different fabric because it will be easier for you to see but I think it is better to use the same fabric. chemo headwear patternTurn the rectangle inside out using your loop turner. Iron.

Insert the elastic and sew at 1/4″.  Pin the elastic on the other side and sew at 1/4″.  chemo headwear patternYou should now have an elastic band.chemo headwear pattern

Step Three: Attaching the band and thin elastic

Pin this elastic band  2 1/4″ from the 1″ hem side.  chemo headwear pattern Fold over the band until the edge is at the end of the pleats.  chemo headwear patternSew at the 1/2″.chemo headwear patternPull the band across to the other side and line it up in the same spot. chemo headwear pattern

Fold over the band and sew at 1/2″.chemo headwear pattern

Step Four: Sewing the top and bottom edge

Make a small zigzag on the hem fold and iron. chemo headwear pattern

Fold the hem 1″.chemo headwear pattern

Sew at 1/8″.  Iron.

Repeat the zigzag on the lower edge, fold 1/8″ and fold again then sew. chemo headwear pattern

If you are using silk or voile hemming might be a bit more difficult.  Here is a tutorial that will show you a few ways to hem delicates fabrics.

Pin the elastic under the last pleat on both sides about 1/4″ from the stitching line. chemo headwear patternDo the same on the other side.chemo headwear patternPin and pull the elastic in a few places.chemo headwear pattern Sew the elastic using a medium zigzag.  Match the top thread to the elastic, in my case it is white. chemo headwear patternZigzag or use the serger on the sides.  Turn and sew the sides at 1/4″. chemo headwear patternchemo headwear pattern

And you're done!  This is a very easy and functional chemo headwear pattern.  Used with a different type of fabric will become a great accent for any wardrobe and will ease the wait for the hair to come out after chemo and most importantly make her feel more beautiful during recovery.

Hope you make a few for a special someone or make many for charity and donate to hospitals and churches. Do send me a copy of your take on this Chemo headwear pattern I would love to see what fabrics you have chosen.  Until next time, happy sewing!

P.S. IF you pattern pdf sais to cut a 2X22″ strip of fabric that was a typo and what you can do with that is:

A Quick And Easy Headband Project in 15 minutes.

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136 Responses to Free Chemo Headwear Pattern and Tutorial-Special Request

  1. Nancy Wenstrand says:

    My pattern needs to be enlarged by 25 percent but my printer can’t do that. If the basic size was given in inches I think I could figure it out.

  2. J Schulte says:

    Maybe a video for Mother’s Day 2019?? I really need to make some of these and a video would be helpful

  3. Diane says:

    We have found your pattern and in hopes in using it as a mission project at church. We hope to make many to donate to chemo centers and doctor offices. Will you have a YouTube tutorial available soon? Thanks

  4. Shelley says:

    Thanks for the free pattern! I saw above that you were making a video, but I’m not finding it. I’m hoping it’s still available somewhere!

  5. Stacey says:

    Hi, I would like to make this for a friend. I have searched your channel for the video tutorial but I can’t seem to find it. Has it been released yet? Thanks so much for the pattern.

  6. Kathy Noble says:

    Was a video ever made of this.? I have looked and never found it

  7. Roxanne says:

    Hi im trying to make this the test squear is the right size and ive lined up the pattern correctly but one i put the pleats in nothing else seems to fit where it should can you tell me what size rectangle it should be to begin with.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      HI Roxanne, first of all I am hoping you are using Adobe reader to download the pattern. Actual size and portrait. The square test is 2″ X 2″.

  8. Michele T says:

    Thank you for this pattern… I am getting confused with the pleating part… th instructions aren’t clear for me. Do I have the fabric right side up and what is the difference between a fo,d line and crease line? In the comments section there is mention of a video, but I can’t find it. Thanks in advance for your assistance.

  9. Susan says:

    A video of all the steps would be nice. I am having a problem figuring out what you mean. It seems to me like there is missing information. I am glad it was a free pattern as I don’t think I will attempt this again.

  10. Yioula says:

    Hi, it is a very nice hat and mostly kind of you to offer it for free. I am trying to do one for a friend of mine who is going through chemo therapy at the moment.
    The video tutorial would be very helpful though – have you uploaded it?
    I would appreciate an early reply. Thank you

  11. Nella Spanke says:

    Thanks for the pattern! I made it work, but I do not understand the direction in step 6, “Fold over the band until the edge is at the end of the pleats.” The picture looks like it is the scarf is folded around the band, rather than the band folded. My friend loved it and I’d like to make more but I’d rather do it correctly 🙂

  12. Jill Howard says:

    Einstein of pleating, would gathers work . I found the pleating very time consuming

  13. Shirl S says:

    I was told by a friend who went through treatments not to use hairspray (or anything with chemicals!) on the fabric. Patients are very sensitive to chemicals and it could be easily absorbed into the skin this way.

    • Cher Arkens says:

      If you do use hair spray or other sprays during your construction, just be sure to wash thoroughly before gifting it!

  14. Ghia’s_mum says:

    I’ve suffered all my life from alopecia, so have lots of headwear…but when I had to go through Chemo three different times due to different cancers, I really became interested in pretty but still easy. This one fits that bill nicely & I greatly appreciate you putting this up! ❤️

    Thanks so much!

  15. Cher Arkens says:

    Have you made a video of this? I started one on Wednesday but it did not turn out right. Could you give the dimensions of the rectangle AFTER the pleats are in. Mine seems to be too small. I need this soon as my chemo starts next Tuesday and that means the hair will be gone by April 6, if not sooner. I’d like to have a few ready before my hair is gone!

    • Cher Arkens says:

      Took it apart for the 3rd time and finally found my error, I had put the elastic strap in the wrong place.

  16. Barbara Gilkison says:
  17. Mindy Sibley says:

    This looks so perfect and I definitely would be interested in making them for friends going thru chemo as well as a charity donation. Is there any where that anyone knows of that has done a video demo? I am so much more of a visual learner, and the part after making the pleats has me a bit confused.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      HI, Mindy, I am on vacation at the moment, I can tell you it will be the first video we edit and release next. Do keep tuned in so you do not miss it:)

  18. Kathy says:

    what do you think of using gauze? would it be too soft and not hold the pleat? I think it would be cool and comfortable.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      The pleat is only to give shape to the fabric. Do try it and let me now how it goes. Cotton lawn or printed muslim are soft and attractive options as well.

  19. Alicia says:

    Thanks for this! Dedicating time to sewing our own hats is really helping to get through these hard times, thank you!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Alicia, if there anything else you would like me to make for this difficult time, please let me know. Happily, will dedicate it to you.

  20. Barbara Gilkison says:

    If anyone needs one of this hats please email me and I will try to make and send you one. I don’t have anywhere to donate them in my area. If anyone knows of a place to donate in Ohio, My email is

    • Alice says:

      Hi Barbara,
      I volunteer at our American Caner Society. Do you have one in Ohio?
      They give out free sleephats and wigs for cancer patients.

    • Judy says:

      If there is a cancer treatment center (local hospital?) near you they would probably like to have them to pass out to their patients.

  21. Lynda Heines says:

    I guess I am really slow, but don’t understand the pattern at all. I’ve read over the directions several times and cut out the pattern. I’ve looked at the pattern picture here and it’s not the same and I get the 2 inch square. I’m not sure even how to tape it together. What size is the fabric square (not the elastic band one)? I think I can figure out the pleating from the pattern after I have the size of the rectangle. Thanks.

    • Lynda Heines says:

      Oh, I just reread the instructions on the pattern about matching up the gray guides so I think I’m fine. Thanks.

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Lynda, I’ve done a video on this but it is still being edited at the moment. I hope to release it in the near future. Sorry for the delay and kind regards.

  22. Shirene says:

    Thank you for this pattern and tutorial. I don’t know why I never considered looking for one before and just limited myself to what was available ready-made for purchase. I wear wigs when I go out, but I hate them, so not at home and I have so much pain I just don’t go out. I’ve left the house once in more than a month and I consider it a good day if I can get to the bathroom and a great day if I can make it to the craft room. Hahaha While I don’t have cancer I do have a very rare disease that is progressive, so it will win someday, but not today and between my disease and meds, my hair didn’t have a chance. I don’t know if it’s just my wig shop or if its just whats available, but I consider the headwear available to be a bit “old ladyish”, and I’m not that old. LOL So I only have one head-wrap and my poor husband either gets to view that or my head that doesn’t seem to understand that its supposed to keep its hair. Hahaha So now I can choose any fabric I want and that is thrilling, and I don’t get many thrills these days. LOL So, THANK YOU…

  23. Lisa says:

    Cute. Going to make with longer, flowing tail section. gonna look cool riding down the road, channeling my inner Evel Kenieval. lol

  24. CatheeB says:

    Help! My pattern printed out correctly matching the 2″x2″ square. However, I couldn’t get it to fit on a fat quarter. Then I realized that the faint diagram above shows the pleats ending at #6 and a large blank area underneath, but the printed pattern has an extra pleat and the overall size is 20″ long. It will not fit on the straight of the grain for a fat quarter. What is the distance allowed after pleat #6 fold line? Please provide the total overall size of the pattern (length and width).

    Oh, I did realize that the information showing how to print out the pattern which stated “cut two straps at 4 inches by 22 inches, for which no pattern is supplied” is referring to a tote bag and not this pattern.

    I am not new to sewing, but this is confusing.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      HI Cathee, thanks for letting me know about the typo it does belong to a different pattern, The fat quarter is 18″ X 22″. Some companies have began to make it smaller, I have noticed to my dismay. Inflation?… I suppose.

  25. Mary P. says:

    Barb May 14, 2017 at 11:31 pm – I feel the same as you and plan to do this same thing. I love the idea of making these for folks who have to contend with such an awful affliction! My making these would be an expression of love and caring without my feeling like I am upsetting the person or making them feel worse. I am a very very empathetic person and my heart just breaks for those who go through such a terrible situation.

    thank you So Sew Easy for sharing your talents to help others!

  26. Barb says:

    Do you know of any place that I can make and send these. I would love to help someone out who can’t sew but needed one.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      No Barb I don’t, but this is very easy to make.

    • Pat Cantrell says:

      Barb, you might want to check with your local Hospital in your area they might be able to help you find a place.

    • Michelle says:

      Perhaps you could make a couple and drop them off at the oncology department of your nearest hospital – they can then hand them out to any of their female patients who are feeling self-conscious.

      • Jiny says:

        Perfect idea. The oncology depts at the two hospitals I’m being treated at have hats and scarves for cancer patients. It’s just lovely there are people giving of their time and talents. I have made headgear and swapped it for headwear made by others. This has made such a HUGE positive difference to my treatment. THANK YOU ALL SO VERY, VERY MUCH ♥♥♥

    • Sarah Lawn says:

      My friend is sadly waiting for diagnosis but I am sure would love one of these if needed. Are you in England?
      What about donating to a local hospice for them to either sell for their funds, or donate to someone who needs one?

    • Julie O says:

      Barb, I was just reading this, wishing I had a sewing machine and the ability to sew. I’m just through chemo and would love a head covering like this as my hair grows back. If you’d be willing to sew me a couple, I’d be thrilled! Contact me at julieodil at charter dot net

    • nancy says:

      when I was in a hospital rehab unit after a car accident I would have given anything for one of these! Soooo depressing to have to be around other people, all with bed-head, hair straight as a board from the dry air. Every woman there walked with their head down. That’s my suggestions them–hospital rehab unit. that’s what I’m going to do!

    • Sandra Meador says:

      Please contact your local American Cancer Society. They have been wonderful to offer me hats, wigs, etc. since I sew and knit, I would feel guilty taking handmade items. I am sure the ladies in need would feel very blessed with whatever you donate.

    • Rose says:

      Look for a cancer treatment center near you. Mine had a basket of hats in the waiting room. Bless you for making hats to give to others.

  27. Donna says:

    Thank you. I like the idea of using these under hats but I also need something like this to sleep in. My little girl cat likes to groom me while I sleep. I woke up on Christmas morning to find about one inch of bangs chewed off to the scalp. I sure did feel self-conscious during church!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      I am so sorry Donna, never meant to laugh, but I couldn’t stop. What a naughty kitten!

  28. Em says:

    This is absolutely beautiful of you to share – thank you very much indeed

  29. Jean Tanner says:

    Thank you so much for this pattern. I was wondering if there would be h adjustment to make it or a young child. have a close family friend who has an 8 year old daughter just going through chemo at the moment.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Jean, I have not thought of it, But I will grade it for a smaller head, do you happened to know the circumference of the head. Send me an email and I will send you the pattern.

  30. connandvansmom Tammy says:

    Thank you so much. I have been looking for a free pattern. I have stage 4 metastatic Breast Cancer its in my bones. I have to take oral chemo every day in hopes of slowing my Cancers progression. My hair is becoming thinner and thinner and I was trying to find a pattern to hopefully make a couple to have on hand for the dreaded day I wake up and realize its really all coming out.

  31. Karna says:

    Thank you. I discovered my stage 3 breast cancer at age 70 – 7 months after a clear mammo, so never stop checking! Chemo is debilitating, but breast cancer is curable and I’m so thankful for all the support. Blessings to all survivors!

  32. SusanK says:

    Ah, I see- fat quarter is 18X22, not 18X18. My bad.

  33. SusanK says:

    Am I supposed to be able to cut the elastic band piece #7 from the same fat quarter??

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Great question! Thank you Susan for pointing this out! As I lay in bed last night, I realized there might not be enough for from the fat quarter (20″ X 18″) You can, Just make the band big enough to cover the elastic, or use a different fabric as I did. The square is just so you can cover the elastic.

  34. Pat Avila says:

    I’m going to make some that are “slinky & sparkley” for anyone that wants or needs to feel slinkly or sparkley. Maybe it will help someone feel “sparkley” when they don’t.
    My sister-in-law (whom I miss very much) found that head gear was difficult and uncomfortable to wear.
    Thank YOU so much for this pattern but also the inspiration!
    I have found a project!!

  35. mccandlessquilts says:

    Not only for chemo. I think I will make a couple to wear under my hat for gardening. I usually wear a tied bandana over my bun or braid, but I inevitably catch loose hairs that get pulled. This will be more convenient.

  36. GrrannyH says:

    Nice pattern! Uh, what happened to step five?

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Hi, just a typo. Numbering corrected now. Thanks for pointing that out. Kind regards and happy sewing!

  37. Bijoux says:

    So nice of you to offer this pattern. What a nice thought for all these women, that maybe a friend or family member can make them something pretty & useful to wear as they go through this difficult time.

  38. halina2017 says:

    Thank you!

  39. Andrea Letourneau says:

    I never thought of using hairspray on silk to stiffen it. I’ll have to try that. I have some starch that I reserve for delicate fabrics that need to be stiffened for stitching.
    Thanks for providing a nice pattern for a chemo scarf!

  40. Denise Nash says:

    Thanks so much! I don’t know anyone going through chemo currently, but we are all affected, we all know those who have or who will experience this challenge. I will keep the pattern for future use.

What do you think?