A Review of Three Common “Chemo Cap” Free Patterns

I took a break from toiling at the sewing machine for the Japanese Hippie Doomsday Cult to do some sewing for my mother-in-law’s friend. She’s undergoing chemotherapy and needs some caps or kerchiefs to cover her head, since she’s losing her hair.

She was upset that at the hospital she was given two very ugly caps from a church charity sewing group that makes them for people. (One cap was orange and green. The other was a print of vegetables and fruits.)  I’d just say that it you want to make some of these caps for strangers, please consider the fabric you choose. Not everyone wants to wear goofy colors and prints.

There are lots of free patterns on the Internet but I could not find a comparison of the caps for fit and style. So I made up these three:


In the picture, from left to right:

Hancock Fabrics Store Sewn Chemo Cap by Hancock Fabrics Home Economists (gray cap in picture)
Milly’s Reversible Tie Hat Pattern by Milly Ransky for Brimming with Love (green cap in picture)
Reversible Chemo Hat by Judy Danz (blue and white gingham cap in picture)

*Hancock Fabrics Store Sewn Chemo Cap*
IMG_20150616_183325947This cap is the easiest and simplest of the three designs, with two pattern pieces. It’s also the only one made of interlock knit fabric.

You can get two caps from a half-yard of fabric. You cut a rectangle and two circles. Sew the rectangle into a tube, fold it over for a cuff and sew the circles to one end for the top. There’s little ease for the top, so it’s a good project for a beginning sewist.

I made this out of a remnant of rayon jersey. It’s very soft and I think it would be very comfortable to wear. The stretch jersey makes it one-size-fits-all.

*Milly’s Reversible Tie Hat Pattern*
IMG_20150616_183247329This is the fanciest of the three cap styles I tried and the most professional-looking. It was also the hardest to make, although still pretty easy for anyone with some experience sewing curves.

It also has two pattern pieces, out of 1 1/3 yards of woven fabric. You can make this out of two fabrics if you’d like a reversible look. You make the band and turn it out and then sew it to the curved top piece. I basted the pieces since it’s hard to sew four layers cleanly with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Also, I needed to sew a gathering stitch like you’d do for a set-in sleeve to get the ease just right. Then you clip the curves and turn the top piece out.

The ties in back allow the wearer to adjust the size. It seemed to be the biggest of the three caps I made. I used a remnant of Irish linen.

*Reversible Chemo Hat*
IMG_20150616_183415833_TOPThis cap has three pattern pieces – a band, a top and ties. It uses 2/3 yard of woven fabric. It was easier to make than the cap mentioned above, but was not as professional looking.

The construction is similar to the cap mentioned above, except that this one has separate tie pieces, while the other one had integrated tie pieces. The construction method is simpler than the above cap. There was no need to ease in the curved seam between the band and the top – fit perfectly on the first try. This pattern calls for topstitching along the ties and edge of the cap. You can make the ties short or long.

I made it out of a cotton gingham remnant. The finished cap seems quite a bit smaller than the cap mentioned above. Again, you use the ties to adjust the size.

My mother-in-law’s friend uses the gray knit cap for sleeping, since it’s so soft. She uses the other caps for when she leaves the house. The green cap is a bit big and the gingham cap is the perfect size (she’s a petite lady).


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