Tutorial for the Best Scrunchy

Full disclosure: I have short hair. But I am deep in scrunchies, and I am hooked on making these 80s hair accessories! Mainly because I can use scraps from my vintage fabric stash.

This is a new project for me.  I had been thinking about this craft project for a while, and searched the web and Pinterest for ‘best scrunchy tutorial’.  I got some good guidelines, but just like any great recipe, you take a little from here and there and you come up with your own signature dish.  I’ve combined all of the good stuff and adapted various processes, to create the winning tutorial for THE PERFECT SCRUNCHY!


What to look for in a handmade scrunchies:

You need something that is going to stand the test of repeated hair tying and compulsive ponytail re-arranging! That means a strong stitch - and for me, that means using the sewing machine as much of as possible because my hand-stitching is not A1.  I also finished ALL of the edges even though none of them would be visible.You could even use an overlocker if you have one. I also got a great tip here about using the zig zag stitch for sewing the elastic to prevent future breakage.

My proudest contribution to the collective knowledge of handmade scrunchies is my discovery of the zipper sewing foot.  Have I used the zipper foot to sew zippers? No. Was I desperate to find a foot that fit inside the tube? Yes.

Handsewing is not my strength.  But I had to deal with this for at least an inch when I sealed up the tube after the elastic was in.  Do you have any handsewing techniques that would go down well with the scrunchy? I’d love for you to share them with me.

The other thing you’re looking for in a scrunchy? You want a little something that sets it apart from every other scrunchies now sold at Sportsgirl or H&M.  If you’re going to go to the effort of making something, you’ll want to make something special!

I’ve added my own flare by using vintage material.  If you’re reading this sewing tutorial, I reckon you’ve also got a cupboard full of small pieces of material that are too small for a proper garment.  This is the best project to use up what you’ve got, because you’ll end up with scrunchies to match your memade clothes! I also think there’s something very appropriate about using material with vintage patterns for this retro accessory revival (regardless of whether the pattern aligns with the era or not).

But vintage material may not be your thing.  I’ve come across lots of other ideas for craft-based design techniques for detail - such as crochet or beading.


Fabric rectangle: 12 inches by 6 inches


Elastic - wrap the elastic around your wrist to measure, and then add another inch


Sewing Machine

Sewing machine feet: both regular foot and zip foot

Sewing needle



Step 1:

Finish the short ends with the zig zag stitch or with your whizz-bang overlocker (note, I do not own an overlocker).

Step 2:

Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, right facing together, and sew a seam using quarter inch allowance.  Use a zig zag stitch to finish the edges. Using the end of a pencil (or your finger), turn the tube outside-in so that the right side is facing out, and press down with your fingers.

Step 3:

With the seam at the bottom, fold the tube in half crosswise and hold the two middle layers together.

Step 4:

Now use the zipper foot on the sewing machine.  Starting with the two inner pieces, slowly sew the tube together, being careful not to catch the other layers of the tube in the seam! Take this seam as far as you can.  You’ll need at least an inch free to remove the tube from the sewing machine and insert the elastic!

Step 5:

Attach the safety pin to one end of the elastic and use this to guide the elastic through the tube. (Remember to hold onto the other end as you’re doing this).  Switch back to regular sewing foot and use a zig zag stitch to secure the two ends together

Step 6:

Close it all up by hand sewing.  I used whip stitch which I learned here.

What did you think of these instructions?

If you can’t be bothered, you could just buy the ones I’ve made - check out our accessories collection.