Costumecrazed Scrub Hat: Bouffant Pattern & Tutorial

Well, here we are again with another Covid oriented post.  This time it’s scrub hats.  At my work we are all required to wear face shields with all patient contact within 6 feet (no complaining here).  The hats are heavy, and they make your face sweat.  We are also sharing them shift to shift, and even though we clean them, it’s nice to keep the foam part off your forehead.  We are also allowed to use cloth hats in place of the blue disposable hats for procedures like tubing changes, which saves PPE.  And . . . . if I do have to take care of a covid suspect patient, I’d like to keep my hair as clean as possible.

I looked at a number of patterns online and ended up modifying one (Doodabug Dreamer) to better suit my needs.  I have made about 50 of these hats so far.  Once I have them cut and marked, I can get one done in about 15″.  The first one will take the longest . . then you’ll be on a roll.  I have shared hats with many coworkers, and used them myself this past weekend, and I think this pattern is good to go.

You will need:

  • Fabric:  25″ long x 20″ wide
  • Lining:  18″ long x 5″ wide
  • 40″ of tie (ribbon, bias tape, shoestring, fabric etc)
  • thread

Pattern:  Costumecrazed Hat pattern

Written instructions:  Costumecrazed Hat written instructions

Cut out “hat” and the “brim” on the fold as indicated by the pattern.  Cut out one lining.  Cut the lining piece a little bit shorter, as indicated by the dashed line.

Pin the lining to the wrong side of the brim.  Press the ends in 1/4″ and stitch.

Baste end of brim, hat

Mark the center (fold line) and 3″ to either side.  Set aside.

Take the body of the hat.  At the top, mark the center (fold line) and then 5″ on either side.

We are going to start by making the back pouch of the hat (the “stem” of the mushroom shaped pattern–henceforth call the “flap”).  The “dot” on the pattern is stitched to the side of the flap.  How you do this is up to you.  I’ve done it about 10+ different ways trying to figure out “THE” way.  I’ve described four different ways to do it, a couple that have raw edges on the inside, and then some modified french/flat felled seams.  Basically, in the end you want the piece connected and a narrow hem on what will-be the casing (the bottom portion of the flap).  How you get there is up to you–don’t let the variations stress you out.  It’s not that hard–and different sewing levels can do it different ways.


  1.  Easiest way:  Press the side of the flap in 1/4″.  Lay the corner on top.  Press & pin.  Stitch in place. I start at the open end, stitch up to the end of the seam, turn, and stitch back down, forming two rows of parallel stitching.

  2. Another easy way:  Stitch the “base” to the flap 1/4″ right sides together.  Press seam flat facing the inside of the hat, extending down into flap to form a narrow hem on the casing.  Stitch down. (If you are serging–this works great).

    3.  If you don’t like raw edges, sew the flap wrong sides together.  Turn right side out and press.  Fold stitched edge over 1/4″ (making a narrow hem on the flap).  Fold the hat over the 1/4″ hem (picture #3) and pin.  Topstich in place.  My stitching line usually looks like an “s” . . at the top I’m stitching next to the fold to make a modified french/flat felled seam, and then I move over to make a better hem on the side of the casing (keep in mind this is a functional garment, not a work of art).  **The picture shows this stitching line is straight, but I have since changed to shift it over to catch more of the casing hem**

3.  I also did a modified french seam, and rolled the casing edge . . . and just “fudged” where it came together.  This is on the bottom of the hat–no one sees it.  Do whatever makes you happy.


Next we will attach the brim to the hat.  Place the center mark of the brim to the center mark of the hat, with the WRONG side of the hat facing the RIGHT side of the brim.

Pin right side of brim, to wrong side of hat, hat

Pin the 3″ marks on the brim to the 5″ marks on the hat.  I like to pin from the hat side, so the pins are ready for sewing. (Watch directional prints–you’ll get it once you read through the directions)

match center mark and 3" and 5" marks, costumecrazed. me hat

Next, pin the STITCHED end of the brim up against the seam of the flap. (shown here from the right side in the first picture, and then once it had been sewn on in the second picture)

Next we will pin the rest of the hat to the brim.  If you want to gather it, that’s fine–put the bulk of the gathers at the bottom of the hat.  I prefer to pleat it.  Make two small pleats with the pleats facing DOWN the hat in the inch or so below the pin (shown below is the RIGHT-hand side of the hat as you are pinning it)

two small pleats under 2nd pin, hat

Then, I move to the bottom of the hat, and make three larger pleats, which may end up stacking over each other.  Here shown pinned (on the LEFT-hand side of the hat) and then stitched so you get the idea.

This is what you are targeting on the finished hat:

two small and 3 larger pleats, hat

Don’t stress it.  They don’t have to be completely even.  This is a functional garment, not a work of art.  Here the hat is all pinned together.

brim pinned to hat, hat

Beginning at the end of one side, stitch the pleats in place.  When you come to the pinned 3″ & 5″ portions, squish gather the fabric in place.

Press the seam toward the brim.

press seam toward brim, hat

Press the edge of the brim under 1/4″

press raw edges of brim 1/4", hat

Move any pins holding the lining to the brim to the RIGHT side brim,  and fold the brim to the front of the hat.  Pin the brim along the stitching line.  It’s easiest to start center front and go down either side.

Take a 20″ tie and tuck it into the end of the brim, stitch securely in place, and then top stitch the brim to the hat, following the previous stitching line, you may need to stretch the  brim a bit to fit along the curve, flatten and easy as you go.  When you get to the other end, tuck the second tie in place (it’s pre-pinned in the picture, but I usually do it as I go now) and finish stitching.

Next, press a 1/4″ hem on the long end of the flap.

Fold the long edge under, press. hat

Fold the the pressed edge up to the end of the brim to form a casing.  Press if you want, and then stitch.  Try to make sure the ends are secured to the seams for strength.  Keep the ties away from the stitching.

stitching the casing, hat

Here you are at this point:

ties before stringing through casing, hat

Last step:  threading the ties through the hat.  Using a pin pull each tie through the casing to the opposite side.  And that’s it.  Add a bit of anti-fray stuff to the ends of your tie if needed, or heat seal if applicable.

I’ve found 1/4″ grosgrain ribbon works great for the ties.  The hat can be tied under or over.

My favorite ties are the grosgrain ribbon ones.  And my co-workers really like the polka dot ribbon.

I will try to get a video tutorial up . . but we’ll see. . . . I’ll be sewing lots more hats between now and when I go back to work.  If something isn’t clear, or you have troubles making your hat, don’t hesitate to reach out and I’ll try to clarify.

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