A Headscarf for Granny

Most of you know my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer this past summer. She had a lumpectomy and is currently in chemotherapy.

After her first treatment, she got the tell-tale signs of hair loss…head tingling and tiny, loose hairs showing up on her arms and pillowcase. A head scratch here and another there and before she knew it small clumps were falling out like crazy. So instead of being annoyed by all that hair all over the house, she chose to shave it off! You. Go. Girl!!

After getting a sort of “high and tight” from her hair dresser, she attempted to razor-shave it on her own (fail!). Finally she resorted to a full-blown buzz cut…by my dad! Man, do I wish I could have been a fly on the wall that night! Can’t imagine my dad gathering the nerve to make that first guard-free pass through her partially shorn scalp. Not to mention mom tensing up when he finally did make contact. LOL!

Last week, during my follow-up visit to the doctor, I happened upon the UNC Comprehensive Cancer Center information library, which also houses the “gift shop” (the Mary Ann Long Brighter Image Boutique) selling wigs and a wide variety of head wraps and scarves. I ventured in, prepared to buy an item or two to send to baldy mom, only to learn the shop is only open by appointment for cancer patients. To my surprise, after a brief conversation about my mom and what I was hoping to do, Tina, the very kind and knowledgable attendant, invited me in and graciously gifted me a soft, red head cap, a burgundy head scarf and a “port pillow” (like the ones in this tutorial) for me to send to my mom.

And after learning I could sew, Tina also gave me a tutorial on how to make a turban-type head wrap. Unfortunately, I don’t have a serger, so I set off to make a more simple head scarf my mom could tie on to keep warm inside and out this winter. The color options most of the cancer centers offer are pretty plain so I wanted to make something colorful to match my mom’s personality and let her beautiful face shine through over the winter and spring months in Illinois (and hopefully Florida, if she can swing down for a visit).

Here’s Winnie the Pooh, modeling the headscarf I made for my mom.

blue headscarf front 2  blue headscarf back 2

Here’s a brief tutorial on how to make a super easy headscarf.

Step 1. Select your fabric. Since I wanted to make this one reversible, I chose two complimentary cotton fabrics I already had in my stash at home. You’ll need at least 1.5 yards of each fabric (or 3 yards of a single fabric if making single color piece).  Make sure to pre-wash your fabric to avoid puckering after laundering later.

headscarf prep 1

Step 2. I made a simple pattern using freezer paper. Be sure to iron your fabric to ensure straight cuts. Your triangle should be 32 inches on the short sides and 45 on the long side. Pin your pattern to the fabric and cut two triangles. A rotary cutter is best for cutting fabric to a pattern…the fabric stays flat while you cut straight lines.

headscarft prep 2

headscarf prep 3

Step 3. Place the two pieces together (good/patterned sides facing in…i.e. your backside/reverse sides will be facing out). Unfortunately I didn’t take photos during this process. Sorry, folks! Feel free to email me and I can walk you through it, if you need help. Make sure your sides line up, then pin the pieces together (roughly one pin per 6 inches). You’ll need to maintain a 3-4 inch opening (so you can turn the fabric right side out before closing it fully. I typically use a special color pin or change the direction of my pins where I want to leave the opening so I have a signal while I’m zipping this through my machine.)

Step 4. Using your sewing machine, sew the two pieces together using a straight stitch. (When I made my pattern, I accounted for a 1/2 inch seam around all edges.) Before you turn your piece right side out, snip the extra corner fabric a bit so you’ll get a nice pointed corner on the outside.

Step 5. Use your 3-4 inch opening to push your fabric through and turn the piece right side out. Use the eraser end of a pencil to push corners out so they point nicely.

Step 6. Now you need to close your opening. To get a nice, tight close, fold the fabric under/inside so that the seams are even on the inside edge of the opening (i.e. the frayed/cut edge of the fabric should not be visible). Pin your fabric together and then sew it as close to the edge as you can to ensure a nice aesthetic. Trim your thread strings and you’re done!

flower side headscarf flat

blue side headscarf flat

Special thanks to Gemma’s friend, Winnie the Pooh, for modeling the finished product!

blue headscarf front 2

blue headscarf front 1

blue headscarf back 1

After some practice and tweaking, mom was able to roll up that back flap to cover the knot and keep the “tail” under wraps.

And here’s the burgundy headscarf I picked up at the Cancer Center. I’d like to think the one I made will give mom some style, boost her skin color and remind her how much she’s loved every time she looks in the mirror!!!

burgundy head scarf front

Special Notes:

2 thoughts on “A Headscarf for Granny

  1. I received these head garments and love them all. Especially because a very dear daughter, Jill, took the time to talk to a specialist and proceed with making a head scarf. I love being able to change colors and styles, and not be stuck with the ‘old’ turban style head cover that, in my opinion, is kind of depressing. I am much more comfortable in these types of covers than a wig, even though I did purchase one but will likely never wear.
    Thank you, Jill, for thinking of me and knowing how special this makes me feel. See you soon!

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