How to Make a Handkerchief

DIY Sewing Projects Learn Stitching

Handkerchief is a simple sewing project that you can master in no time.

If you want to learn sewing, then you must make a handkerchief as your first cutting and sewing project.

A handkerchief is a small square of material of which the original purpose was for blowing noses or wiping faces when necessary - but can also be purely decorative as part of a formal ensemble. 

To make a handkerchief is an easy yet interesting thing to do because it prepares you to start your journey to learn more complex sewing projects.

Do you know, not many people know how to cut perfect squares of fabric to make a handkerchief?

1. You learn to get straight stitches neat.

Handkerchief making will help you practice your hands on straight stitching and folding ends.

That would boost your confidence to make your own clothes.

2. You learn to get bias fabric right.

It is important to know how to cut a handkerchief because it is a guide to cut a true bias strips.

You understand the difference between true bias and half bias. 

When you make a handkerchief, you can easily differentiate the look a fabric would have if cut on straight or bias.

3. A handkerchief prepares you for bigger sewing projects.

True bias strips are required for almost every second stitching project.

Be it neck line finishing, armhole finishing or design making, you need to know how to cut biased strips.

Using the same folding methods, you can make handkerchief skirt, dress, circular dress and so many other handkerchief dress projects.

4. Your mind starts working on time saving sewing hacks.

Moreover, if you try to measure all the sides of a handkerchief by 10″x10″ or 14″x14″ it takes a lot of time and accuracy is not guaranteed. 

But this method ensures you get a good square by least measurements.

What should be the perfect size of a handkerchief?

handkerchief DIY

You may wonder the ideal size of your handkerchief. So, what should be the right size of your handkerchief?

How would you decide size of your handkerchief.

A lot has been said about what should be the right size for a pocket square and nobody seems to have a definitive answer to this.

I’m gonna give you our opinion about what do we think is the real perfect size for a pocket square.

So how big should a pocket square be?

The answer is: "It depends on the fabric". You won't be needing the same size of a Pocket Square for a silk fabric than for a wool one for example.

You would have probably noticed that many brands tend to offer a standard-sized 33x33 cm pocket square no matter the fabric used.

Why 33 and not 32 or 34?

Well, the answer to this is quite simple, textiles tend to be sold per square meters.

What does this mean?

It means that if you chose 33cm, this would be the maximum size you'll be able to select to extract 9 (3x3) pocket squares per square meter, making a total of 99x99cm used out of the 100x100 available, which is the most efficient and cost-effective way to manufacture pocket squares. 

The problem is this -

in our opinion, 33x33cm for a silk pocket square is not enough. You’d want the pocket square to be big enough as to be able to “play” with it and try different folding techniques before placing it in your blazer’s pocket.

In order to do that, we strongly believe that Silk pocket squares should not be smaller than at least 38x38cm.

Bear this in mind and the next time you go shopping take a look at the sizes offered for this type of product, 33cm sized it's always a synonym of reducing costs!

At Moustard you will find that silk pocket squares are 40x40cm for the same reason I commented before, it is more expensive to produce, but you get a nice big handkerchief for that.

So, what happens with other fabrics such as wool?

In the case of wool, considering it is a material that tends to be thicker than silk, we believe that slightly smaller-sized (35x35cm) pocket squares should be considered, mainly because bigger sizes might create undesirable mountains in our blazer’s pockets 🙂

There is no strict rule that you can not make your handkerchief the size of your liking or not.

You can use a ruler, measure and mark on the fabric the size handkerchief you want to make, plus two inches (5cm).

Typically, a man's handkerchief is 12x12 inches (about 30cm) square.

A woman's handkerchief is measured 8x8 (22cm) square.

How to Cut and Sew Handkerchief

5 Good fabrics for making a handkerchief

  1. Cotton is often used for handkerchiefs, but the best quality ones are linen. Fine linen isn’t scratchy and softens with every wash. It’s also more absorbent than cotton and far more durable.
  2. For the most formal white tie events, only a white linen handkerchief will do.
  3. For the less formal black tie, one could also use silk, but although this makes soft little puffs. It is far softer, folds more compactly, lighter weight, And more absorbent.
  4. If silk is not an option for whatever reason, then maybe a synthetic microfiber type of cloth that is made to be absorbent and soft.
  5. If it must be natural but not silk, then hemp. It is still more absorbent than cotton and it is softer than cotton or linen.

In short, you can make your handkerchiefs by using cotton, cotton-synthetic blend, synthetic fabric, silk, hemp or linen.

Whereas, you can make a nice scarf using the same method but then the fabric you choose can be more flowing like chiffon, Georgette etc.

Though, sewing a handkerchief seems to be an easy task, but it is quite helpful in your journey to learn sewing as a beginner. 

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