Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How To: Rolled Hem Hankies

I've been wanting to make hand rolled handkerchiefs for a while, because they are lovely and really handy. I used the Purl Bee tutorial which has great step-by-step photos. Each handkerchief took about an hour to hem, and the result was well worth it. I am gifting these to the friend in my life who I know uses hankies everyday, in the hopes they will be most appreciated. 

I also made some for the girls, but ran a quick zigzag stitch on the machine instead since I didn't know how much they would use them. They are a huge hit. They loved choosing their own fabric, and then tucking them into their coat pockets as we head out in the cold. But make no mistake, the hand rolled hem is where it's at. 

Hand rolled handkerchief
  • 9" x 9" cotton squares in the fabric of your choice
  • thread -- match well for a hidden hem look, or a contrasting one if you prefer
  • size 9 or 10 needle
  • make sure you are hydrated. The hem requires you licking your thumb and index finger to roll the hem tightly as you go along. You could use a wet sponge too, but where's the fun in that?
  • Lick your finger and thumb and roll the fabric toward you, with the wrong side of the fabric facing you. 
  • Slip stitch the rolled hem. Every 1/4 inch you'll catch a few of the threads from the backside just under the roll. This is the thread that will show on the front of the hankie if you choose a contrasting thread. See the Purl Bee tutorial for great pictures of this.
  • Take your time on the corners. They are a little tricky, as you are going to roll the next edge into the one you are finishing and tucking it together. It's hard to explain, but when you get to the edge it should make sense. My first corner was a bit wonky, but I got the hang of it as I kept going.
  • When you finish the edges, embroider a little design or initials if you like. 
  • Iron the hankie, but not the hem. You want it to be rolled and stay that way. 
Have fun!


Iris E. said...

Gosh, I LOVE those hankies! I am a hanky user myself, and treasure one that I purchased at Liberty of London. This will be a perfect gift for my mom who has a spring birthday, and if I start now...who knows, I may have them ready for her!

Great idea and I adore Purl SOHO.


Iris E. said...

Hanky update: I have one finished and one about 2/3rds done for gifts tomorrow for February birthday ladies! I will blog about it very soon...Thanks!

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