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Scrunchie Tutorial

Sew a hair scrunchie with unused fabric

If you’re digging the oversized scrunchie trend as much as I am, you’ll be pleased to know that if you have 30 minutes, an unwanted garment, and a sewing machine (or a needle, thread, and some patience), you can whip up your own! Go dig up Grandma’s old Singer from the back of the closet and read on to learn how to sew a scrunchie with whatever fabric scraps you have lying around.

pink hair scrunchie made sustainably with fabric scraps
pink hair scrunchie made sustainably with fabric scraps

Upcycle an unused garment

The scarf I used for this tutorial had been hanging from a hook, buried by more-loved pieces, for literally a decade. I love the color and texture of it but a long thin scarf that doesn’t function for warmth just isn’t my thing. I decided to cut it up and upcycle it into something I would wear: scrunchies! I LOVE that scrunchies are back. They give a little flare to a no-fuss pony and are far less damaging than regular hair elastics. I thought the shades of mustard and shiny bits would work well against my dark hair. The small scale also prevents the shiny bits from feeling too cheesy. Mustard yellow seems to work well in a lot of contexts but is so much more exciting than beige or black on black on black. Do you have a garment that you never wear but are holding onto because you love the fabric it’s made from? This may be it’s perfect application! Pretty much any fabric will do but generally (and  for this technique in particular), I recommend something on the thinner side. Denim, for example, probably wouldn’t work so well.

How sustainable is this project?

I wasn’t being hyperbolic when I said this scarf has been hanging around for a decade so I’m actually not 100% sure where I got it from. But I think I purchased it when I travelled to India in 2010. Since I did my shopping at small vendors, I’m assuming (but cannot guarantee) the production conditions were less abhorrent than those in the sub-sub-contracted operations used in fast fashion. Because it was made by a small shop, it doesn’t have a tag so I don’t know what the fiber content is but it feels like some sort of natural blend to me, meaning at the very end of its life it won’t pollute the soil it decomposes in. Finally, turning something that isn’t being used into something that can be used is a sustainable act.

How to sew a scrunchie

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What you’ll need:

  • Fabric that is at least 10” x 16” increasing the first number will lead to a bigger scrunchie, increasing the second number will lead to a more scrunchie scrunchie
  • 9” of ¼” elastic or a regular hair elastic

What you’ll do:

  1. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise (so it’s 5” x 16”)
  2. Sew along the side opposite the folded edge (so it becomes a long tube)
  3. Press the seam open
  4. Turn the tube right side out
  5. Press the seam again (from the right side now)
  6. Fold the tube in half widthwise (so it’s approximately 5” x 8”)
  7. Sew along the side opposite the folded edge (so it becomes a smaller tube)
  8. Press the seam open
  9. Sew two ends of the elastic together (so you have a loop) 
  10. Open up the tube and fold it lengthwise (so you have a new tube that is about 2” in height and 8” in circumference) 
  11. Lay the elastic loop in between the fold (you’ll have to scrunch up the fabric a little to do this)
  12. Pin and then sew the edges of the tube together, encasing the elastic

Share photos of your scrunchie! #mendthriftmake