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Chemo hats - with pattern!

12 August 2009, 17:56

It was inevitable, but still I hoped I could avoid the hair loss that comes with the chemo in my bone marrow transplant… I was expecting it to be instantaneous, but in reality, my hair didn’t start falling out until 3 weeks after the first dose of chemo, so I’m really glad I thought ahead and made myself some comfortable knit caps before I went into hospital, based on my own design.

I know there’s tons of chemo hat patterns out there, but IMHO, most just scream “old lady chemo” to me, and as I’m neither old nor wishing to particularly associated with chemo, I wanted something a bit cleaner and less, err, wacky/zany. I mean, if I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that hat when I’m well, why would I want to put it on my head when I’m feeling crappy, fat, and unattractive already??

So I came up with this method for making what’s essentially a swimming cap made from stretchy knit materials. I knew I definitely want the back of my head covered, though, so you’ll see that my pattern dips down in the back to cover every last bit of Homer Simpson-esque wisps. If you’re a sewer, it’s a great use of scraps, and if you’re not, it’s a great way to recycle old teeshirts! Even if you’ve got some great wigs like I do, I find these absolutely indespensible for wearing around the house and sleeping in! Think of the wigs like your heels, and these like those comfy slippers…

The finished photo here is quite grainy and this one’s looking more baggy than it does in real life (honestly!), but you can get the idea of what we’re aiming towards here!

Photo tutorial


(Right-click here to save)

Editors: please link to this post, not directly to the image!

Step 1
Measure around the head and from ear to ear, and cut the fabric according to the pattern above. Using either the zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine or an overlocker/serger, stitch the longer seam, creating a tube.

Step 2
Rotate that seam to the underside, and place the straight edge along the top. Starting 2-3 inches from the bottom edge, sew a curved top seam.

Step 3
Fold under the bottom edge, and either using a twin needle on your sewing machine or a coverstitch finish the bottom edge.

All done!

I hope this helps some other baldies out there!

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  1. Great idea and the colour suits you. Mme Alix Gres, the haute couture designer, wore an angora jersey turban when WWII ended and it became her signature. She exclaimed that she simply didn’t have time to go to the hairdresser

    velosewer    Aug 13, 12:51 AM    #
  2. very cute!!

    — Sharon    Aug 13, 03:21 AM    #
  3. OOOh they look good on you too! If you need more, I have some fun knit prints for you – how about some silver lame skulls?

    stacy    Aug 13, 03:58 AM    #
  4. I like the swimcap approach :-). When you get sick of it, simply make them longer all around, and gather up one side. Can be adorned with a vintage button, a rhinestone brooch, or fashionable crochet flower, can be worn in dozens of different directions. More Simone de Beauvoir-like (another notorious French woman allergic to shampoo and water).

    And I don’t mean to be heavy-handed, but fat is an excellent quality in a chemo patient, the one that guarantees the best survival. Eat away, please! We know you have great pjs to wear till it all passes..

    — Marie-Christine    Aug 13, 10:40 AM    #
  5. Sweet hat. I may make some for winter in fleece for when I have to clean the field after my horse.
    Take care of yourself.

    — Kim Hood    Aug 14, 09:04 PM    #
  6. Your indomitable spirit is an inspiration. Obviously you are a woman who when faced with lemons makes lemonade.
    The hat is adorable, and yeah, a great broach would be a nice touch.
    A short funky do as your hair grows in will be lovely on you!

    Nancy K    Aug 14, 11:01 PM    #
  7. Brilliant idea! Thank you from the rest of the world. You have such a good heart to share this with the world, and I admire your creativity in coming up with it! It’s good for a lycra swimming cap too, maybe a skosh tighter to make up for the added stretch.

    — Katharine in Brussels    Aug 17, 09:02 PM    #
  8. Thanks so much for sharing this simple idea!!! How clever!! I begin chemotherapy, tomorrow, and a friend of mine just told me about your idea! I don’t see myself wearing a wig, so I’d like a variety of scarves/caps to wear! And I agree with you about having an advantage when you have some meat on your bones if you get cancer and have to go through chemo! Thanks and be well!!! Diane

    — Diane    Jul 8, 03:23 AM    #
  9. great, and simple! I start 6 cycles of preventative chemo for follow up of breast ca. Was looking for a pattern just like this- just like the lycra swim caps I love, will be great for wearing alone, under other hats, or to accessorize. Blessings and thanks for sharing it!

    — Alison    Jan 10, 09:27 PM    #

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