How to Make a Turban for a Chemo Patient

Follow our step-by-step instructions for sewing an easy-to-make head covering.

By Marjorie Kinney

The turbans that Marjorie Kinney and her fellow Turban Ladies make are simple enough that even a novice sewer can stitch one together in about 30 minutes. They are an encouraging gift for anyone dealing with hair loss following chemo or radiation therapy. Many cancer centers and hospitals accept turbans on behalf of their patients, too. Find out if yours does and get stitchin’!

Turban pattern, diagram 1 
  1. Cut one piece of knit fabric 24″ x 13″ with the stretch on the 24″ length.
  2. Cut one 4″ x 13″ strip from the first piece. This will become the tab for the front of the turban. (See diagram 1)
  3. Fold the remaining 20″ x 13″ piece of fabric in half to 10″ x 13″.
  4. Machine stitch seam by rounding seam to form a crown, leaving a 1″ opening for inserting tab. (See diagram 2)
  5. Form a 2″ hem and stitch in place with zigzag stitch.
  6. Use double thread in needle. With even basting stitches (about a quarter inch in length), stitch on both sides of seam from base of hem to where the hole for the tab begins.
  7. Secure the thread at the bottom with several knots. Then gather fabric along the basting stitch by pulling on the threads to form the gentle folds of the turban. Secure the threads at the top with several knots.
  8. Take the 4″ x 13″ strip and stitch along the 13″ side to create the tab.
  9. Turn the hat and tab right side out.
  10. Insert the tab through the opening, around the hem. Inside the turban, form tab to hold folds in place. Cut away any excess length of tab before stitching the ends together.
Turban pattern, diagram 2


Download these instructions in PDF format.


Try Marjorie's recipe for Corn Bread Cake from Servings from the Heart, a cookbook she helped create that raised funds for outreach programs.

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Your Comments (21)

I'm with Sally- which side do you hem? And do you turn the whole turban through the one inch opening? I've been sewing for years and the directions are a little vague.

My printer also just printed the diagrams but not the directions. I tried 2 times and even put new ink in my printer.It still won't print the directions.Please send them to me also. thanks

Carol, use the link above to download the PDF file to your computer. You'll need Adobe Reader (which is a free download, if you don't already have it) or another PDF reader, but you should able to easily print the PDF file.

The directions do not print. Please send me the directons. Thank you.

I'm sorry, I can't guess what might be going wrong with the printing process for you, Joyce, as I don't know your computer set-up and I can't replicate the problem on this end -- everything's printing fine for us. You might, perhaps, try a different web browser. There's nothing about the above text and images that should prevent them from being printed -- they're just like the text and images found on any web page, and they should print just fine. However, I've converted the instructions to a PDF file and added a download link above. You'll need Adobe Reader (which is a free download, if you don't already have it) or another PDF reader, but you should able to easily print the PDF file.

I find the directions ok except the hem. I dont see
which side to hem.

I get the picture when I print and the diagram but no
Thank You

I read about the turbans in Guidepost's; I'm interested in making them, but reading your "simple" directions isn't simple for me! Please don't be offended by that- I'm sure the directions are simple for those who know even the basics of sewing! I was thinking that maybe you would make a video for YouTube?



My printer only printed th 1st and last page. not the instructions

Our printer printed the whole thing first time!! Thanks for
putting that in Guideposts. We all learn so many things from your magazine. I'm going to make the "cornbread cake"
Some of us make comfort quilts for Hospice and wouldn't it be a good idea to make turbans to match the quilts we give!!

Is there any way to purchase the cookbook "Servings from the Heart?"

I just finished reading my January 2012 Guideposts magazine and I've been trying to think of a project for our J.O.Y.(Jesus Others and You)Ladies group at our church. I'm going to present this idea to them and let God take care of where it goes.

I thought the turbans were something to knit. Do you have a knit pattern?
Madeline Peters

Madeline and Betty, we don't know of a knitting pattern for a turban, though there are patterns to create knit caps that can be found online through a web search for “knit cap patterns.” They can serve a similar purpose to the turban, though such caps, which would certainly be good for cold weather, might be too warm when worn inside.

If there is a knit pattern for the turbans, would like to receivee it.

What kind of material is best suited to make these?

Hi Homer, we're told that jersey is good or another fabric with a little give to it.

All mine would print was Diagram #1 and a blank
square where the directions are located.

I'm sorry you're having trouble printing, Barbara. You might try using a different web browser. You can also do a screen grab (use the Print Scrn button on your keyboard, if you're on a Windows machine) and print that. You can also use your mouse to highlight the two images and the directions and then copy and paste them into a Word document, which should print for you.
There was a technical mixup, Carole; you should see it now.

I could not obtain diagram 2 for the turban on How to Make a Turban for a Chemo patient. Diagram 1 is there with the instructions but not diagram 2.