Rhinestic's Knick Knacks

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Last Minute Gifts #1 - Basic Chou Chou


In my opinion, chou chou (scrunchie) is a good way to show off fabric with interesting prints like Nani Iro fabrics or expensive high-end fabric like Liberty Tana Lawn cottons. Chou chous have made quite a comeback in Japan and one can easily find the use of chou chous in hair arrangement magazines and books like this, this and this. Unexpectedly cute, isn't it? I think custom-made chou chous make great gifts for girls of all ages with long hair. =)

For this tutorial, I'm going to use hand-sewing. Feel free to use a sewing machine if you have one. The materials and tools we need are the following:


1. Fabric - 40cm(width) by 10cm(height). For a puffier chou chou, increase the width. For a taller chou chou, increase the height.

2. 1cm wide elastic tape - 20cm long

3. Bodkin elastic tape needle (you can also use safety pin)

4. Thread and needle

Note: Do adjust the size of fabric and length of elastic for the size of chou chou that you want to make. The figures I gave for this tutorial are for a normal sized chou chou.

First, on the wrong side of the fabric, draw a 1cm seam allowance along one of the width-wise edges and along one of the height-wise edges:


Next, with the right sides of the fabric facing each other, fold the fabric in half:


Sew the height-wise seam with running stitches (make each stitch about 3mm wide):


Open up the seam and iron it flat:


The next step is the trickiest part of the whole tutorial. As chou chou has a donut shape, using the normal way of folding the now cylindrical-shaped fabric in half with right sides facing and leaving an opening to turn everything inside out after sewing length-wise is not going to work. You will realize at a point that the fabric will not turn inside out fully and one portion will still be stuck within the donut. ><

There are 2 ways to overcome this:
A) Fold the cylindrical-shaped fabric in half length-wise with the wrong sides facing (you will only see the right side. Then, iron a 1cm wide fold (hem) on both edges, and top stitch around, leaving a 1.5 inch wide opening to insert the elastic tape. Secure the ends of the elastic tape together, and top stitch the opening closed.

B) A special way of folding the cylindrical-shaped fabric while still having the right-sides facing, then sewing around the edge with running stitches leaving a 1.5 inch opening. Turn the fabric inside out through the opening, then insert the elastic tape and secure the ends of the elastic tape together. Close the opening by sewing blind stitches.

I chose option B for this tutorial as I think option A does not look as professional with top-stitching by hand. I also think it's a good skill to learn when sewing donut-shaped pieces. But as I've said, this part is quite tricky and it's kinda difficult to explain just in words, so I've recorded this step and the rest of the steps down as a video clip.. Hope that this video is comprehensible enough.....

I seem to have truncated the end part a bit. After sewing the opening with blind stitches, remember to secure the thread with a (french) knot before cutting the thread off. Voila! You have just finished a chou chou~~

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