Cancer treatments are brutal; they cause nausea, body aches, fatigue, chills, pain and the list goes on. Along with the unseen internal suffering, cancer patients also go through a physical transformation that can be emotionally traumatizing. Unfortunately, hair loss due to chemotherapy is inevitable and is the most visible sign of cancer. Not only do you lose the hair on your scalp, but your eyebrows and eyelashes as well.
Kathy Braidich, founder of the Turban Project, witnessed her coworker suffering from hair loss due to breast cancer treatment and decided to take action. It was then that Kathy made her first turban for her coworker to help fight through the emotional stress of hair loss. This sparked a bigger movement: Kathy brought this idea to her fellow Ladies of the Knights of Columbus and they quickly started creating more turbans for cancer patients in Licking County, Ohio. Thus the Turban Project was born. Since June 2012, they have turned out more than 5,500 turbans and courage caps.
These handmade turbans and courage caps are distributed to 14 local oncology and radiation treatment centers to the men, women and children going through hair loss, totally free of charge thanks to volunteers. The Turban Project currently has around 65 volunteers and approximately 20 of them sew the headwear. Volunteers cut and sew the turbans, embellish bands with fun designs and package them individually with a signed card. That’s where you come in!
We’re calling all Craft Ideas readers to get involved by donating or sewing to help these ladies reach more cancer patients in need. Their wish list includes: stretchy cotton fabric, fleece, yarn, thread, decorative buttons and monetary donations (every dollar donated goes straight to materials and helps to distribute turbans). Turbans can be made in 30 minutes and are a great project for novice sewers.
Send donations, finished turbans and courage caps to the Turban Project or adopt a local hospital and donate regularly!
The Turban Project
7871 Ridge Rd.
Frazeysburg, OH 43822
As always, we’d love to hear from you! Send photos of your turbans or courage caps to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll post updated information on our social site throughout the months. Please contact us if you know of a great organization that is promoting creative, crafty call-outs, or one that needs our readers’ help. Happy crafting!
Cotton knit fabric, 25”x13”
Embellishments of choice
Sewing machine and coordinating thread
Needle: sewing, darning
Carpet upholstery thread
*tip: Always clip thread close to stitch so it doesn’t itch or irritate patient’s head. Visit www.TurbanProject.com for video tutorials and instructions for sewing Courage Cap.
1. Cut 25”x13” rectangle from knit fabric with stretch on the 25” length. Cut one 4”x13” strip from 25”x13” rectangle as shown in Diagram 1.
2. Fold remaining 21”x13” rectangle in half to 10½”x13” and cut along curve shown on Diagram 2 and unfold. Form 2” hem along straight edge and sew in place with zigzag stitch; slightly stretch as you pull to prevent thread breakage when worn.
3. Straight stitch around curve with right sides together using ½” seam allowance. Stop and leave 1”opening at top of crown to run turban tab through later.
4. Fold ½” seam over and flatten against turban. Straight stitch fold until 1” opening to create channel seam.
5. Thread carpet upholstery thread through darning needle and knot. Punch thread through base of channel seam and knot three times to secure. Run back of needle through channel and push all the way through. Pull thread to gather fabric as desired depending on fabric type. Punch thread through base of 1” opening and knot three times to secure.
6. Fold 4”x13” strip in half lengthwise and stitch along open edge to create turban tab. Turn tab right side out.
7. Push tab through 1” hole at top of turban and loop around gathered seam with right sides together. Straight stitch across tab so it holds gathered seam snuggly as desired. Flip tab over so right side is facing out. Hide tab seam behind 1” opening, pin in place and secure onto turban with small stitches; Repeat to secure bottom of tab to turban.
8. Adhere or sew embellishments as desired.