Sunday, February 15, 2009

Stethoscope Cover

I actually had someone ask me how to make a stethoscope cover. I was thrilled to be able to help someone out. I know being new at sewing or anything, it's really hard to understand some instructions. Especially without pictures. Videos are even better. I didn't do a video as I had no where to set the camera right. It's even worse when the instructions have all these terms, I'd be trying to refer to another website or a book at terms...........frustrating. I'm going to try not to use terms.

This particular type of stethoscope cover is very forgiving. There are quiet a few patterns on the internet for free and good instructions. This is the one I went with for my customers, it's kind of several internet patterns, then I just did what I needed that I think works for the customers. I've sold over 100 at my store and so far (knock on wood) no complaints.

The following pictures were taken using a Brother SE350, it's a computerized machine, it's the first stethoscope cover I've made using it. I normally use my Kenmore, non computerized machine. Straight stitch and regular zigzag stitch are all you need.

Ok, materials - material 6.5 inches wide 30 to 34 inches long. I do mine 34. I I cut several pieces with these measurements that way they are laying there ready. Here's the material, a simple rectangle. Remember when using prints, that the stethoscope cover runs up and down. This particular frog pattern doesn't really matter.

I don't have a serger so I take each of the 6.5 inch ends and fold them down about 1/2 inch, then fold again 1/2 inch. This way the raw edge is well enclosed and won't be fraying. I do this to both of the thinner ends (6.5 inch ones)

Don't worry about everything being exact, have fun. You can iron this fold down and then you probably won't have to pin in place. Then I sew it in place using a straight stitch. I don't have an exact width, as I use the edge of my presser foot on these. It's about half way between 1/4 and 5/8. My needle is set to the left side, you do not have to do this. You want to sew it within a quarter inch of the folded edge (left folded edge in picture below). Do this to both ends.

Both ends should look like the above picture.

Now it's time to add the elastic. The first time I did this, it was a mess and didn't think I'd be able to do it. Now I hardly need to look. Some say you should zigzag stitch this, some say it doesn't matter. If I was using wider elastic, I'd definitely zigzag, but I'm using 1/4 inch wide elastic and just use a straight stitch. I basically line up the elastic next to my hem stitch I just did. The elastic goes on the bottom of the stethoscope cover, this prevents the cover from slipping down the head of the stethoscope.

I start the elastic approximately 1/4 inch from the edge of the material. When the long ends are put together, you don't need the elastic double up on top of each other. I hope this makes sense.

When I start sewing the elastic, I don't start pulling it yet. I anchor it down first, which do this like you start any stitch. Stitch a few stitches forward, then backward, then back forward. After that, I start pulling on the elastic. I pull the elastic and stitch at the same time. Do this very slow until you get used to guiding the material, elastic and pulling at the same time. This is where I had a heck of a time at first, I just kept doing it really slow, would stop a lot to be sure the elastic and material are where I wanted before they'd go under the presser foot. This is where I'm a bad teacher, I should have measurements, seam allowance, etc.
When I'm pulling it, the width of the elastic gets thinner, I don't pull it tight enough to where it's half it's original width. I pull it to where its pretty taught. I stop my stitching about 1/4 inch before I reach the edge of the material, then backstitch. Cut the elastic off after the stitches stop.

This is the elastic part after it's been sewn.
Now it's time to sew the side. Put right sides togther. Line it up nice and even and pin in place. I start sewing at the top (no elastic side). I sew with almost a 5/8 seam. I actually use a zigzag stitch here to help prevent the material from fraying. Then I sew a straight stitch along the inside edge of the zigzag stitch. Sew from the very top of the cover to the very bottom. Be sure to do your backstitching at the top and bottom.
First picture is the right sides together at the top hem of the cover.

If I have a lot of edge, I will take the pinking shears to neaten up the seam. You don't have to do this.

The top of the cover needs something to hold the top up so it doesn't slide down the stethoscope. I've always used velcro. I now have the tool to do snaps. To do the velcro, I used the half inch wide velcro, be sure to get the type that doesn't have the glue/sticky stuff as this stuff gums up a needle really quick. I cut the velcro about 3/4 inch long. The at the top of the cover, inside, sew a piece to each side to where it can velcro together to keep the cover from sliding down. I now am doing the snaps, basically because its a few minutes quicker.Thats about it. Feel free to ask me any questions or to help clarify anything. This is by far thefirst real tutorial I've ever done.


  1. want to make these as a fundraiser for the american cancer society do you just put one snap inthe middle

  2. Yes, just the one snap and thats all. I used to use velcro, but now just the snap, to me it's easier.

  3. Hi Where did you get the snaps and the tool for the snaps? Do you know the brand name? I have a neighbor and a cousin who are nurses and want to make them these as gifts. Thanks!

  4. Hi Sandy,
    I wanted to tell you your instructions for the stethoscope cover was awesome...easy to follow. I made 9 this afternoon for my soon to be nurse daughter and her nursing gal pals.

  5. The snaps are from walmart, I bought the plier tool and the snaps came with it. I've had a hard time finding the snaps by themselves. I recently bought the stamp things for snaps at walmart, but haven't used them yet.

    I'm glad everyone's enjoyed the tutorial.

  6. Thank you for posting this. I am going to give it a shot. I am a nursing student and president of my class and would like to make these for my classmates for graduation next year!! 1 year left yay!! I suck a sewing so wish me luck! lol!

  7. OMIGOODNESSSSS!!!! I just wanted to say thank you sooo much for this tutorial. I just made one, laptop at my side, and it turned out beautifully! You give great directions. I googled the tut and after looking at a few others, I found your's and so glad I did! The girls at work tomorrow are gonna be wanting one of these!! ;)
    Many thanks!!

  8. OMIGODNESSS!!! I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful tutorial! I googled the tut and, after looking at a few, found your's. So glad I did! I just made one, laptop at my side, and it turned out BEAUTIFULLY!! You give great directions and you're so easy to follow. Thanks so much for sharing your talent with us. The girls at work tomorrow are gonna be wanting one of these!
    Btw, I buy the snaps seperately at my local Hobby Lobby. I'm sure Michael's or any local sewing/fabric store would have them too.
    Many thanks,

  9. My Goddaughter has told me she wants some now :) My only long is your piece of elastic?

  10. snaps can be set with the holder that is included in all snap packages and a hammer. You can buy the tool if you want to and will be using lots of snaps, otherwise its not really necessary.

  11. Thanks for all the comments. I have got to learn to use the blog more often. I had totally missed all these comments and am so sorry.
    We don't use this google account anymore and I really need to switch the blog to the account I use.