Today I’m practicing what I preach and fixing up an important hair tool! Specifically, I will repair a shower cap where the elastic has stretched out, making the caps unusable. Repairing what you own rather than tossing them out and buying new things is super important for sustainability, especially with a plastic item like these shower caps. #RepairDontRebuy
The effort needed to repair a shower cap might seem like a lot compared to the small amount of plastic saved. However, when you consider the fossil fuels needed to create plastic, ship it to a factory, power the factory machines, package the item, and ship the item to a store, it really adds up. Every time we can choose to not buy something, regardless of whether or not the item is itself plastic, we’re saving lots of fossil fuels behind the scenes. And you’re keeping things out of the landfill where they would either (a) sit underground for millenia, or (b) leach microplastics and other toxins into the surrounding ecosystems.
Now that the why is out of the way, let’s get into how to repair a shower cap.
To fix up these shower caps we need a few things:
- Old shower cap
- Seam ripper or small pair of scissors
- ½” braided elastic tape (thinner would work too)
- Pen/permanent marker
- Sewing machine
Step 1: Remove the old elastic
The first step to repair these shower caps is to remove the old elastic. Depending on how the shower cap is made and what tools you have, you can use either a a seam ripper or scissors to separate the elastic from the plastic cap.
Step 2: Prep the new elastic
Cut the length of elastic needed for your head. For me, this was 22 inches. I lightly stretched the plastic around my head, and then added about 1cm for seam allowance. If you’re worried about size, I’d go tighter than you think you need. Mine ended up a bit loose, but they’re still usable.
Sew the ends of the elastic together to form a single loop. The stitch doesn’t particularly matter here.
Use the pen or permanent marker to mark the equidistant points along the edge of the shower cap. Start by laying the circle flat and folding it in half to make a semi-circle. Mark the two side points. Bring those points together to create another semi-circle. Mark the new side points. You should now have a circle with 4 points marked (basically a unit circle from geometry class). Between each set of marks, add another point so you have 8 total around the cap. I went on to do another round of marks, splitting the circle in 1/16ths, but this is optional.
Similarly, mark 8 (or 16) equidistant points along the elastic band. Your elastic band should be smaller than the shower cap. You’ll stretch the elastic as you sew so they match up and the plastic gathers. Pin each point on the elastic to a mark on shower cap, keeping the cap inside out so the elastic is on the outside.
I also had to add pleats along the cap because I couldn’t stretch the elastic enough to match the diameter of the cap. I added two pleats per 1/16 section of the cap. I did this after I started sewing which was not great. Do it before you sew.
Step 3: Sew, baby, sew!
Here’s the exciting and possibly frustrating part! Sew down that elastic! I used a Z stitch. Sew all the way around the shower cap, pulling the elastic to match the flat or pleated plastic of the cap. You might have to pull the sewed part from the back in order to get the needle moving along the elastic. Getting it moving might be tough, but once you get it down, I promise it’s so satisfying to see it come together!
And voila! You’re all done! Use your fixed up shower cap for years to come 🙂
Are you going to try fixing up an old shower cap? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to answer any questions about the process!