How to Make Handkerchiefs

With the necessity of "going green," why not cut down on the use of tissues by making old-fashioned hankerchiefs? You can easily sew plain white ones in a large size, colorful ones in bright prints in a medium size for kids, or dainty small ones in old fashioned small prints for yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron And Ironing Board For Pressing Seams
  • Thread
  • Cotton Fabric

Purchasing and Preparing the Fabric

Buy your fabric. For the large size hankerchief, you will need a 17-inch square of fabric. For a medium size hankerchief, you will need a 15-inch square of fabric. For a small size hankerchief, you will need a 13-inch square of fabric.

Wash the fabric, but do not use fabric softener. Dry and iron the fabric flat.

Carefully cut the fabric in desired size squares. If you have a rotary cutter and a quilter's cutting board, the lines are all marked out for cutting; simply use a ruler to keep your cut straight.

With the right side of the fabric facing away from you, fold the very outer edges in 1/4 of an inch and press the fold. Repeat the folding (you're doing this to make sure there isn't an un-sewn edge to ravel), but after you have pressed the seam, stitch all four seams with a medium stitch. You can use a decorative stitch if your sewing machine has the option.

Now just press the hankerchiefs in quarters.


  • You can also use this technique for making linen napkins. Just make the large size hankerchief, but use a heavier cotton fabric.


  • If you don't wash your fabric first, your hankerchiefs will probably not keep their perfectly square shape when washed.