Saturday, May 30, 2009

How to make a Handkerchief

To make a Handerkerchief

By Juneaux, Duchess of Netherwaullop

From: Renaissance magazine (issue#66)

Materials required:

• Fine linen, pre-washed. Yardage deter¬
mined by size of handkerchief desired. Silk
may be substituted.

• Cotton thread to match. Silk thread may
be used on silk fabric.

• Beads, pearls, lace, embroidery threads,
decorative devices as desired.

• Scissors, ruler, tailor chalk, third hand,
fine hand sewing needle.

Step One:

True the fabric first to achieve a successful square shape. True requires that the warp and weft threads should be at right angles to each other. This can be done by carefully pulling a weft thread (cross thread) loose from the fabric and use the resulting gap as a guide to cut across the fabric. Or, tear across the end of the fabric. Fold the fabric, right sides together, in half lengthwise. The newly created corners should match up evenly. If the selvedge edges and new corners do not match, the fabric is out of true (off grain) and will need to be coaxed back into alignment. Gently tug and press the fabric along the bias until it aligns.

Step Two:

Determine the finished size of the handkerchief. For a hand-rolled hem add approximately three-quarters inch to each side for a seam allowance.

Place the fabric wrong side up and draw the desired size square (Note: a square may be drawn on paper first and used as a pattern). Any embroidery, bead work or other applied ornamentation should be done before cutting out the handkerchief square; it is easier to do this work with a larger piece of fabric. Do not embroider, bead or apply ornamentation up to the cutting line, but leave an allowance slightly wider than the hem so that it can be rolled and sewn without interference. The decorative work will be finished after the hem is completed. Cut out the square.

Step Three:

If a sewing machine is available, make a row of machine stitching one-quarter inch from the edge on all four sides of the fabric square. Alternately, make the row by hand with tiny running stitches. Press the stitching flat.

Step Four:

Completing six inches at a time, trim any excess fabric from the edge by cutting close to the row of stitches. This eliminates bulk in the rolled hem. Trimming in small sections will minimize unraveling.

Use a third hand, sewing machine presser foot, or a weight to anchor the far corner of the side to be hemmed; the handkerchief fabric should be wrong side up. Pull that side taut. Hold the fabric edge between your thumb and forefinger. Use the row of stitching as a guide and roll the edge so that the right side of the fabric forms the hem. Roll it until the machine stitching is hidden within the roll; it should be tight enough to feel secure. Alternately, fold the fabric edge once to the wrong side. Press. Turn the newly folded edge again at one-quarter inch, or as desired. Press. The first technique will give a more rounded edge.

Thread the needle so that the hem is sewn with a single strand. Anchor the thread at the edge of the fabric using tiny back stitches instead of a knot. Stitch by bringing the needle out through the rolled hem and form a tiny stitch between the folded edge and the handkerchief fabric, catching only a few threads of the handkerchief. Slip the needle back through the roll for one quarter inch and repeat. (Note: a contrasting thread may be used as part of the decoration and additional threads may be caught to show the stitches). Re-position the third hand as needed.

Continue along the handkerchief's first side. Stop three-quarter inch before the end. Trim and roll the second side as the first, catching the first side in the roll to make the corner. Roll tightly to form a neat corner. Continue stitching. At the last corner, make a tiny knot and pull the thread tail into the rolled hem. Clip any remaining thread. Do not press the hem when finished.


The Muse said...

I just love this!...
Now, I'm off to try my hand at this 'forgotten' art!

Joanna said...

I'm so glad you liked it, I made one a long time ago back when I was in Highschool and I still have it. But I am really thinking about making another and hey, its a great way to go green by using Handkerchiefs instead of Kleenex!