How to Make Handkerchiefs

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton fabric
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board for pressing seams

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.

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.