Tutorial: Make a shower cap


Making your own shower cap is fun, easy and relatively quick.  This shower cap comprises an outside layer of decorative fabric and inside layer of Rip-stop nylon.  The nylon is designed to protect your special “do” from humidity and a little water.  Rather than using a casing for the elastic, the elastic is stitched directly to the inside of the cap.  This gives a little frill around the edge, which you also trim with bias binding.

Skills needed

This is an easy project, but assumes that you are able to use your sewing machine confidently. If you are a beginner, you'll need to be aware that rip-stop nylon can be slippery to work with.  Be sure to use plenty of pins when initially pinning the layers of fabric.  It is also useful to use plenty of  pins when attaching your bias binding.

The trickiest part of this project is stitching on the elastic.  Unextended, the elastic is nearly three times shorter than the area of the shower cap that you are stitching it to.  You need to be able to stretch the elastic and gather the shower cap as you stitch the two together.  It requires a bit of care and patience.  If you have never attached elastic like this before, it might be worth having a little practice before sewing on your nice fabric.


·         Printer (for printing template)

·         Sewing machine

·         Iron

·         Tape measure

·         Plenty of pins

·         Water or air soluble marker or chalk

·         Paper and fabric scissors


·         Large piece of tissue paper, newspaper or similar for making a pattern (approximately 50 x 50cm [20” x 20”])

·         50 x 50cm [20” x 20”] cotton or cotton-blend fabric (preferably pre-washed, to avoid shrinkage later)

·         50 x 50cm [20” x 20”] Rip-stop nylon

·         50cm [20”] 1cm-wide [3/8”] elastic – you may wish to alter the amount based on the crown size you are sewing for (there is a 3cm [about 1”] overlap allowance in the measurement here)

·         Thread to match your fabric and trim (read through the tutorial for a suggestion about bobbin colour choice)

·         1.5m [5’] 25mm-wide [1”] bias binding


1.    Take your large piece of “pattern” paper and fold it half, then quarters, then eighths
2.    Print and cut out the template (PDF file) at the end of these instructions.  Match the pattern piece to the point of the paper and cut around the pattern
3.    Open out the paper - you should have (more or less) a circular pattern, of about 44cm [17 ½”] diameter
4.    Using your new paper pattern cut a circle of fabric each from the outer fabric and the nylon
5.    Pin the two pieces together, with the nylon on the wrong side of the outer fabric
6.    Stitch all the way around the two pieces to join them together.  Take care to stitch close to the outside and then this stitching will be hidden by your trim.
7.    If the bias binding is not already folded in half, fold it lengthways, wrong sides together and give it a press with the iron.
8.    Open out the binding on one side and pin with the right side all the way around the cap on the nylon side*. Allow for some overlap where the ends of the binding have to meet.

*The raw edge of the binding and the shower cap should really line up in this picture – you can see that I’ve been a bit lazy!
9.    Stitch in the fold line
10.  Fold the bias binding over to enclose the edge of the shower cap and pin in place on the outside.

Where the ends meet, neatly tuck one into the other.
11.  Starting and finishing at the join, stitch the bias binding in place on the outside.
12.  Backstitch over the join and leave a length of thread suitable for hand-sewing, when you finish machining
13.  Thread a needle with the uncut thread and use it to stitch the join closed. Trim any remaining thread.
14.  Lightly press the trim with a cool iron (you don’t want to melt your nylon!)
15.  Fold the shower cap into quarters
16.  Use the folds as a guide to divide and mark quarters, on the nylon side, with your soluble marker or chalk
17.  Measure and mark a line about 2cm from the outside edge all the way around the cap.  This will be a guide showing you where to stitch the elastic
18.  Make a loop with the elastic – overlapping the ends by 1.5cms [1/2”] each side – taking care to smooth out any twists - and pin. Secure with some stitches.
19.  Fold the elastic to divide it into quarters and mark the division with pins.

Match the elastic to the four corresponding guides on the cap and place and pin on the stitching guide
20.  Before sewing on the elastic, you make like to change your thread before sewing.  For example, I left brown thread in the bobbin and threaded white at the top.  That way the stitching on the outside would be brown to match the fabric, but white on the elastic.
21.  With the nylon side facing up, attach the elastic to the fabric using a 3-step zig-zag stitch (or plain zig-zag, if you don’t have a 3-step stitch on your machine).

Note: There is far more fabric than elastic, so you will need to both gather the fabric a little and stretch the elastic.  Try and keep even tension on the elastic as you stretch it out.  If you pull too hard you might miss stitches. If, as you are completing each quarter, you feel you are running out of elastic, simply bunch the fabric a little more. 
22.  Your shower cap is ready to wear. Go forth and look glamorous, Bathing Beauty!


Liesl Coulthard,
Sep 6, 2008, 6:54 AM
Liesl Coulthard,
Sep 6, 2008, 6:40 AM