There are lots of ways to make scrunchies, but which ones are professional?
I bought & deconstructed 13 scrunchies (worth $65). Here’s exactly how to create professional scrunchies like stores! I even made free sewing patterns based on them (download here).
- How do stores make scrunchies? (materials, elastic, sewing methods).
- What supplies you need.
- Download my free sewing pattern.
- Sewing tutorial: how to make professional scrunchies using elastic.
How do stores make scrunchies?
I bought and deconstructed 13 scrunchies to find out.
What fabrics they use
- Lightweight fabrics with no stretch. Cotton and polyester were common fibers.
- Medium weight velvet (no stretch) and velour (stretchy).
- Lightweight organza for a structured and see-through scrunchie. Polyester organza was used by budget stores and silk organza by high-end stores.
- Light to medium weight silky fabrics. Polyester satin was used by budget stores and silk satin by high-end stores.
I think some of the fabrics were laser-cut. I think this because some of the cut edges felt hard, which suggests melting, and there was zero fraying.
What elastics they use
- Braid elastic. It’s flat with ribs running along the length. When you stretch it, it narrows. Common width’s used for scrunchies were: 1/8″ to 2/8″ (3mm – 6mm). The elastics were either knotted by hand or sewn together.
- Cord elastic. It has a round shape. 1 store used a cord elastic that was 1/8″ (6mm) thick.
- These special hair bands. They’re circles of thick stretchy fabric (some type of knit ribbing) that curl in on themselves.
The stores used elastic lengths of 6 1/2″ – 7 1/2″ (16.5cm – 19cm). However, I recommend adding an extra 1/2″ (1.3cm). This will allow you to knot your scrunchies and cut off the excess elastic.
What sewing methods they use
The sewing method written below is directly from the 13 scrunchies I studied. This method creates a really neat scrunchie with a small hole at the end.
High-end stores hand sew the hole closed so the stitching is invisible. Big stores like H&M topstitch the hole closed on a sewing machine. It’s more efficient when you’re mass manufacturing, but also less neat because the stitching is visible.
What you need
- My free scrunchie pattern.
- Light to medium weight fabric. Cotton broadcloth is great for beginners. 1/4 yard or meter is enough for a few scrunchies.
- 1/8″ – 2/8″ (3mm – 6mm) wide elastic.
- Big safety pin for inserting the elastic.
- Matching thread. I use Gutermann’s ‘sew-all’ polyester thread. It’s strong and lint-free.
- Sewing machine needles. You need Universal needles in size 80/12 for light/medium weight fabrics with no stretch. And get Ballpoint needles in size 80/12 for light/medium weight stretchy fabrics. I use and recommend the Schmetz brand.
- (Optional) hand sewing needle.
Basic sewing supplies:
- Fabric scissors OR a rotary cutter and mat. I prefer using the rotary cutter when I need to be precise.
- A steam iron and ironing board.
- Measuring tape.
- Seam ripper for undoing mistakes.
- (Optional) Small scissors for cutting short threads close to the fabric.
- Sewing pins.
- Sewing machine.
Download the free scrunchie sewing pattern
My sewing pattern comes in 4 sizes: mini, regular, large, and extra large. The design is inspired by the professional scrunchies I studied. 1 bow is also included.
Download it for free. It’s a print-at-home PDF file for A4 and US letter paper.
Sewing tutorial for professional scrunchies (using elastic)
1. Cut 1 rectangle of fabric
I’m assuming you’ve already prepared your fabric for sewing (pre-wash, dry, and iron it).
You can use my free sewing pattern to cut around. It includes 4 scrunchie sizes: mini, regular, large, and extra large. Plus 1 ‘bunny ear’ bow. (I’m not using the bow in this tutorial).
If you don’t have a printer, here are the cutting measurements:
- Mini: 4.6cm x 49cm | 1 6/8″ x 19 1/4″
- Regular: 7.5cm x 49cm | 3″ x 19 1/4″
- Large: 10cm x 49cm | 4″ x 19 1/4″
- Extra large: 14.5cm x 49cm | 5 6/8″ x 19 1/4″
Tip: if you’re a beginner or doing this method for the first time, I highly recommend making size regular, large, or extra large. The mini scrunchie is a bit awkward at first, so save it for last.
Place the scrunchie pattern on your fabric like this. The arrow on the sewing pattern should be going in the same direction as the selvage edges. (Selvage edges = the left and right sides of fabric. They’re finished edges with no fraying. Sometimes they have writing on them or a row of tiny holes).
2. Sew the short ends of the rectangle together
Fold the fabric in half along the width.
The ‘right sides’ of the fabric should be facing each other. This means the side of the fabric that looks better. If both sides look identical then it doesn’t matter.
Sew the short ends of the rectangle together.
Use a 1/4″ (0.6cm) seam allowance. (A ‘seam allowance’ is the distance between the fabric edge and stitching line). When sewing, if you match the edge of the fabric with the edge of your sewing machine’s presser foot, that’s about the right distance (it’s just a tiny bit bigger than 1/4″ but that’s fine).
Backstitch at the beginning and end to stop the stitches from unraveling. (‘Backstitch’ = sew backward by 3-5 stitches and then start sewing forwards).
Suggested sewing machine settings:
- Stitch type: straight
- Stitch length: 2.5
- Tension: 4
- Seam allowance: 1/4″ | 0.6cm
You have just created a ‘seam’. This is a line of stitching that joins fabric together.
Trim any excess threads at the beginning and end of your line of stitching.
3. Press the seam allowance open
Use your iron to press the seam allowance open.
(‘Pressing’ means placing your iron on fabric and removing it when enough heat has been applied. You don’t move the iron much so it’s not like normal ironing).
4. Fold the fabric like this…
You now have a wide tube of fabric. Place it on a flat surface.
Shift the seam towards the left, so it’s about 1/3rd of the way there.
Flip the tube upside down. The side with the seam should be touching the table, and the side with no seam should be facing up. See the photos below…
Fold the top layer of fabric (that’s facing you) multiple times until it becomes a small tube. Wrap the bottom layer (with the seam) over the small tube so the raw edges match. Make sure the seams match up too. See the video below.
Use a few pins to hold the raw edges together, especially at the seam.
Hold the fabric so the small inner tube doesn’t unravel. I pinch it so it doesn’t move about. Take it to your sewing machine.
5. Sew the long edge and keep pulling out the tube as you sew
Start sewing just before the pressed seam starts.
Use a 1/4″ (0.6cm) seam allowance. (A ‘seam allowance’ is the distance between the fabric edge and stitching line).
Backstitch at the beginning and end to stop the stitches unravelling. (‘Backstitch’ = sew backward by 3-5 stitches and then start sewing forwards).
IMPORTANT: Don’t let the inner tube get near the needle. You don’t want to accidentally sew it.
When you’re about 1″ (2.5cm) away from the end of the tube, STOP with the needle down in the fabric.
Pull out more of the inner tube and keep sewing.
Repeat this until you’ve nearly sewn the whole seam. Then STOP before you reach the start of your stitching and leave a 1/2″ – 6/8″ gap (1.5cm – 2cm). You’ll need this hole to turn the tube inside out later.
Backstitch at the end to secure the stitching. Raise the needle and presser foot, and take the project out of your sewing machine.
Trim any excess threads at the beginning and end of your line of stitching.
6. Turn the scrunchie inside out through the hole
Grab the inner tube (through the hole) and keep pulling it until the entire scrunchie has been turned inside out.
If you’re struggling to pinch the inner tube through the small hole, use something ‘stick-like’ to push the inner tube out of the hole. I used one of my sewing machine screwdrivers with a rounded edge.
If you’re using a slippy fabric, pulling the scrunchie through the small hole will be easy. If you’re using a fabric with a ‘dry’ feel, like cotton, there will be some resistance at first. But once you’ve got the first bit out, the rest will come out easily.
7. (Optional) Iron the scrunchie along the seam line
(A seam is the line of stitching that joins fabric together).
This will give it a crisp and neat look.
I didn’t bother ironing my velour (stretchy velvet) scrunchies though. Furry fabrics don’t like being ironed.
8. Cut your elastic
Cut your elastic so it’s 7″ – 8″ long (18cm – 20cm).
9. Feed the elastic through the scrunchie & knot/sew the ends
Place a large safety pin on one end of the elastic and feed it through the scrunchie (via the hole).
Don’t forget to hold onto the other end of the elastic so it doesn’t get lost inside.
Knot the ends of the elastic together.
Or you can sew the ends together for a flatter finish. Just backstitch multiple times over the whole elastic so it’s secure. A straight stitch is fine (that’s what the stores I studied do).
Cut the excess elastic off.
10. Close the hole
For a premium-looking scrunchie, hand sew it closed with an invisible stitch. This is how the expensive scrunchies I studied are made.
Big brands like H&M just use their sewing machine to topstitch close to the edge. (‘Topstitching’ is when your line of stitching can be seen on the outside of the item). It’s quick but the stitching is visible which can look distracting.
I’m going to show you the topstitching method.
I like to pin before and after the hole so I know where to start and stop sewing.
Sew close to the edge.
Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching.
And pull out the pins just before your sewing machine needle hits them.
Cut the excess threads off.
Congratulations, your scrunchie is done! Once you’ve done this method a few times the process becomes automatic.
This article was originally published on 30 December 2021. It has since been updated.