As all of my readers know (all three of you), I have two cats. They're both female, and ten years old.
You wouldn't know it by their behavior. They still play like kittens, frequently during the day, and not always with their toys.
They love scrunchies. And hair ties. And pens. And pencils. And anything that skitters on linoleum, tile, or vinyl laminate. I can never find a scrunchie or hair tie when I need one. And prices on those damn things are going up like everything else--and have passed what they're actually worth.
Improvise, adapt, overcome. Build over, under, around.
I have a sewing machine, and basic skills. I can make scrunchies.
Yesterday was grocery/sundries shopping day. I took the kids to Walmart with me, and sent the imp (thirteen, now) to the toy section with instructions to stay there. I took the pixie with me into the small fabric and sewing department (three short aisles of sewing machines, fabric, notions, batting, and stuffing). She and I picked out seven fat quarters (each of which will make five scrunchies), and I got sixteen yards of quarter inch elastic (which will make a lot more than the three dozen plus scrunchies I've got fabric to make)...all for a bit under $14.
It would cost...about that...to buy two eight-packs of plain scrunchies.
I have five scrunchies made from yesterday's fabrics. One is on the pixie's doorknob. All of the rest...will be put away until the next time the cats have lost them all more thoroughly than we can find them. Basically, I took one of the fat quarters, and turned it all into scrunchies, and I don't want any of that pattern.
The rest of the fabrics, I'll hold two out of.
Scrunchies are easy enough that there's no real pattern out there, just instructions. I modified them a bit to suit what I wanted to do, my sewing machine (remember: one stitch only, one direction only, and the motor's prone to overheating when it's hot outside), and my skill level. And fat quarters made it easier than having a full chunk of a yard or more. See, the fat quarters? Are about eighteen or nineteen by about twenty-one or twenty-two inches. The scrunchie fabric should be cut to about 3.5" by...the full wide measurement of the fabric. So, 3.5" by 21 or 22." Hem one end as narrow as you can get it, then fold the thing in half, right sides together, and sew a long seam as close to the edge as you can get it. Then, turn it right side out, and thread about 6.5" of quarter-inch elastic through the tube, sew the ends of elastic together (far enough from the edge that it won't just unravel and pull apart under stress), and then tuck the raw edge of the tube inside the hemmed edge, and sew it shut.
Even going slowly to control the seam and doing the non-sewing bits, a scrunchie takes about twenty minutes to make, going from cutting the fabric to trimming the threads after it's fully finished.
Some of the fat quarters cost a whopping $1.47; others cost $0.97--call it between $0.20 and $0.29 per scrunchie. The elastic cost $3.97 for sixteen yards* with 6.5" used per scrunchie--about four and a half cents. Each scrunchie, then, costs about a quarter to make--thirty-one cents at most. And only about twenty minutes of my time for the entire process.
Someone with more experience--and a sewing machine where the motor doesn't need actual rest breaks**--could probably turn these out a lot faster than me.
(And there's a small remnant of each scrunchie that could easily be used for something else...like a braided rag rug, or cat toys to try to keep the cats from stealing the scrunchies...not that that will actually work...)
*Sixteen yards will yield around eighty-eight scrunchies. So, about seventeen fat quarters' worth of fabric per bundle of elastic...with enough left over for some doll clothes.)
**I am not complaining, and I probably would not use an electric machine much (if at all) if I had one.