"The Hummingbird" Classic scrub hat with elastic

This is a classic style of scrub hat. It has elastic in the back which makes it quick and easy to put on. It is fairly form fitting but not tight. If you have medium or medium/long hair you can still fit a ponytail in the back of this hat. I have a very medium size head and this feels just right for me. I took a tape measure and put it around my head just above my eyebrows, over the tops of my ears and around the back of my head. The measurement was 22 inches. If your head is a similar circumference then this hat should fit you too. At the end of the tutorial I will tell you how to adjust the fit if it doesn't feel perfect when you try it on. I would say this hat is fairly easy to make if you have some sewing experience.

Supplies needed for "The Hummingbird" classic scrub hat with elastic:
printer to print pattern out
tape to tape pattern sheets together
paper scissors to cut pattern out
cutting mat and rotary cutter for fabric or fabric scissors
sewing machine
1/2 yard of fabric. (Cotton fabric is my favorite)
ruler to measure elastic
Five inches of 1/2" elastic (I like to use an elastic that is fairly thick because it is stronger)
some sort of fabric marking tool. (I use a water soluble fabric marking pen)

Here are some more views of the classic scrub hat with elastic. Notice the front of the hat looks like it has a separate strip of fabric sewn on for the brim. Actually is is just folded up an sewn down. I think this is a nice added touch. It is one extra step but I think it improves the overall look of the hat. If you look closely at the fabric I used for this hat you will see there are hummingbirds on it. That is how I chose the name for this hat.

 Rear view: The middle section which is gathered is separate from the band. This allows for the brim to get flipped up while leaving the back unflipped. The gathered section would be too bulky if flipped up like the rest.

Although there are two small openings at the back which keep the middle section from flipping up when you create the brim they do not show. They get hidden in the gathers. (These small openings have finished edges)

Here are step by step directions that should help you to sew your own classic scrub hat with elastic. This hat is composed of two pieces. The long narrow piece is what I refer to as the "front". The large circular piece is what I refer to as the "top".

First download the pattern and print it off. Tape the pages together as directed on the pattern pages.
Cut the pattern out on the solid lines.

Step 1: Place pattern pieces onto fabric pieces as directed and cut out.
Step 2: Follow directions as on "top" pattern piece by folding edge over 1/4" and pressing with an iron.
Step 3: Double fold this over another 1/4" and press again with an iron.
Step 4: Now stitch these folds down stitching close to the edge (seen in picture below)
Step 5: Fold the bottom edge of the "Front piece B" up 1/4" and press with an iron. Now double fold this up another 3/4" and press. Do not sew this down at this time. Next unfold again. Now it is time to make  lines where you want to anchor down the elastic.  Make a line 3 1/2" in from the Left hand edge and 3 1/2" in from the Right hand edge of  "Front  piece B".  (I use a fabric marking pen that erases with water).

Step 6.  Do steps 6 and 7 on one side only for now. Place elastic on fabric overlapping the line a little. As you can see I chose to do it on the Left side.

Step 7. Fold back up encasing the elastic. Be careful not to let the elastic move as you do this. Now put a pin in to hold the elastic in place or hold on tight making sure it doesn't shift as position it into your sewing machine.
Using a zig zag stitch sew at the marked line as seen above.

Step 8: Place the front and the top piece together. THE RIGHT SIDES OF THE FABRIC NEED TO BE FACING EACH OTHER. (wrong side facing you) The front piece should be on top. Place several pins to hold in place. You may need to pull on the front piece a little to ease it around the circular shape of the top piece. The fabric has a little give and stretch to it so this is not difficult to do.  Now stitch the two pieces together using a straight stitch and a 1/4" seam allowance. Go back now and zig zag stitch the edge to prevent fraying. (Or if you are lucky enough to have a serger just serge the two pieces together)

Step 9: Repeat steps 6 and 7 but on the other side.  (note I do not have a picture of this). At this point the bottom edge of "Front piece B" is connected by the elastic. The "tail" of "Top piece A" is still flapping loose.

Step 10: Sew all the way around the bottom edge of the hat close to the edge.

Step 11: Now it is time to create the brim. Flip the bottom edge up towards the front of the hat. I like to give it a press with the iron at this point. Now top stitch down in place close to the edge.
 Step 12:  Time to work on the bottom edge of "Top piece A" First iron this edge up 1/4". Then fold up another 3/4" and iron again. (This is exactly how you ironed the bottom edge of  "Front piece B" in step 5) Time to sew the little flap at the bottom of "Top piece A" with the elastic encased in it. You really need to pull on the elastic to stretch in out so that you can get it in the machine to sew it.

 Note: When I sewed this hat I did step 12 before I did step 11. It does work but you have to work the elastic a little to flip it because it is already encased in the middle portion. I realized later it would make more sense to do it in the order I described.

Now you are finished. Try on the hat. How does it feel? If it feels a little bit loose go to one of the openings at the back, pull on the elastic. Pinch it together until it feels like a good fit. Remove hat while keeping your fingers pinched on the elastic. Look how much elastic is in your pinched fingers. Put the elastic in the sewing machine and sew it in a little. Try it on again. Hopefully you have achieved the perfect fit.  Remember, you do not want it to fit too tight. I have made this mistake a couple of times and I just get headaches from wearing a hat that is too tight.


  1. Hi,
    I'm sorry to ask this question, but I'm a bit of a novice at sewing :-) I'm just wondering how the pieces are supposed to go together in step 8, I have two pieces of fabric and for the life of me can't figure out how they are supposed to sit to be pinned in place.

    1. I hope I can explain this so you can understand. Take the piece that is shaped like a mushroom. Place it in front of you like a mushroom growing up out of the ground with the RIGHT SIDE OF THE FABRIC FACING UP TOWARDS YOU. I like to put a small crease right in the middle at the very top of the mushroom. Now take the other piece. Fold it in half and put a little crease right in the middle. This piece must be facing down. The ride sides of the fabrics will be facing each other. The top edge of the front piece is slightly curved. This is the edge that gets sewn to the round mushroom shape. Line up your middle creases. Place your first pin holding these middle points together. Now you can work your way around and pin the rest. Be strategic with pin placement. You want to think about placing them with the pinheads facing you as you sew so that they are easy to pull out as you go.

    2. Great, thanks for that, I get it now :-)

  2. I really appreciate your sharing these 3 different patterns. Your patterns are easy and your step by step intructions are great. I am a beginner with some knowledge from helping my mom, pin, cut out and trace patterns. These were pretty easy for my very 1st sewing project. Thank you very much, there aren't too many people that are willing to offer free patterns with instructions. I had a lot of fun making these.

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  4. Thank you for making these patterns available. You are very generous!

  5. Gloria, thank your for sharing your three patterns with us sewers. I am looking forward to making some for my friend.

    1. Your welcome. If you have questions along the way feel free to contact me.

  6. wow! we bought a pattern off an Etsy site, and the instructions were quite literally crap. so....the cap turned out very poorly. You are very generous to share your patterns and share your tutorial. kudos to you!

  7. Can you make this elastic back adjustable? My daughter likes hers to have a toggle to adjust how tight she wants hers. Could you do one with the adjustable elastic back? Thank You!!

    1. Yes, I have made some with toggles before. I used quite a thin cording. I think that cording similar to what you would find on a hoodie jacket would feel better. Perhaps elastic would even work with a toggle. Measure the back of her head between her ears. You want to make the attachment points of the cording just behind her ears. If attached at a point that is touching the ears it feels uncomfortable. If you attach too close together it seems impossible to cinch it up enough to feel right. It is surprising how very small details can make a big difference and affect the comfort of the hat. I like to sew two button holes at the back. Just through one layer of fabric On the part that gets folded under. Put the button holes fairly close to the centre at the back. Make sure you attach the cording first, then sew the edge of the brim down after you position the cording in place, and through the button holes. Be careful not to catch the cording in your seam as you sew the hem of the brim. I hope this is helpful. Good luck!

  8. Could you pretty please help me with the step about the brim?? I got the elastic part figured out, but I can't get the brim to sit correctly without the seam showing from sewing around the original 3/4" from step 10. How big is the brim supposed to be? How many layers will there end up being? Is the elastic casing included in this step? Thanks in advance!

  9. Try to think of it this way. You fold it towards the inside of the hat twice. The first fold you make is about 1/4". This first fold is so you hide the raw edge. The second fold is about 3/4". (Also toward the inside of the hat) sew along the folded edge. At this point you have the inside of the hat facing you as you are sewing this seam.The last fold is flipping it out towards the outside of the hat. (Like rolling up the edge of your sleeve or jeans) Then you sew it down along the top edge to give it a nice neat look. When you are making this seam The right side of the hat should be facing you. You want to sew it neatly along the edge. The width of the brim is 3/4". The edge will be three layers of fabric.

  10. Hi Gloria,

    I just made the Hummingbird and Dragonfly caps last night and love them! My colleagues at work loved them too and want some for themselves! I appreciated your generosity in sharing all the detailed instructions and patterns to us. You are a kind soul ! God Bless :) Kim

  11. Thank-you for your comment. Glad the patterns and instructions worked out for you! I have had many comments from patients that enjoy seeing staff wearing hats with interesting or pretty fabric. I just heard the latest stats show no increased risk of infection from staff wearing cloth hats compared with disposable hats. That is good news for those who like cloth hats! At our hospital we still wear a disposable hat on top of our cloth hats when we scrub. Enjoy making hats. You can never have too many!

  12. THANK YOU!!!! Thank you for sharing your patterns and the really nice styles. I am not a nurse, but a friend of a woman who is so sick in the hospital. Even so she is concerned about her hair showing and wanted something to help uplift her spirits and cover her head as well. Your styles do the job! I intend to make her two (at least) and all the while will be thanking you for sharing!

  13. Hello I am having trouble with part of step 9. I am at a loss from there...i cant figure how to sew the elastic from there..i have a friend who just made it thru cancer treatment and this hat will be perfect for her...thanks...

  14. I think I just figured it out...i sewed the elastic to the wrong piece..i will know try and resew and then the instructions make since..sorry...had a brain fart...