Sewing Your Own Handkerchiefs

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Handkerchiefs are a great beginning sewing project. All you need to do is hem the four sides of a square of fabric and stitch in a straight line. Homemade handkerchiefs make customized holiday or birthday presents, especially if you use the recipient's favorite color or take the time to embroider his initials on the handkerchief. Linen fabric works well. Other fabric options include lightweight, woven cotton or a cotton-polyester blend.

Things You'll Need

  • Linen or woven cotton fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Disappearing-ink marker (optional)
  • Embroidery hoop (optional)
  • Hand embroidery needle (optional)
  • Embroidery floss (optional)

Measure across the fabric, adding 1 inch to the finished handkerchief size, and cut out a square. If you want a 12-inch handkerchief, for instance, cut a 13-inch square. A 12-inch square is a good size for a standard handkerchief; for a bandanna or head scarf, a 24- or 25-inch square is more appropriate.

Fold the four sides of the fabric over 1/4 inch and press with a hot iron. Fold the sides over another 1/4 inch and press again. You should have a square of fabric with clean sides.

Pin along the folded edge of each side to hold the fold in place.

Sew along the four sides with a straight, short stitch. Stitch along the inside edge of the fold on the back of the handkerchief. Remove the pins as you sew — don't stitch over them, or your needle may break.

Draw the recipient’s initials or a small design, such as a flower or star, on one corner of the handkerchief if you want to add a decoration.

Loosen the screw on top of the outer embroidery hoop circle and pull the inner hoop out. Drape the handkerchief over the inner hoop so that the design you drew is centered on top of the hoop. Push the outer hoop over the inner hoop, sandwiching the fabric in between. Tighten the screw to hold the fabric securely in place.

Thread the embroidery needle with floss. Push the needle through from the back of the fabric to the front, starting at the corner of your design. Trace the design with straight, running stitches. Push the needle through the fabric to the backside, and tie a knot in the thread when finished.

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