Happy Earth Day, friends!
As someone who’s pretty eco-conscious, I’m always trying to find ways to reduce the amount of waste I create. Last year, I made Reusable Cotton Pads and Crochet Produce Bags. Creating these two items made it easier for me to forego their disposable counterparts. So this year, I wanted to make something new to cut out even more unnecessary disposable items from my life.
At the beginning of the year, I decided to sew some reusable napkins to use in place of paper towels. Before all this Covid stuff was happening, we had people over fairly regularly and we enjoyed hosting parties. The problem with parties? Someone always spills something and tries to mop it up with paper towel (even if it’s just water!). So this year, I decided to take that roll of paper towel away and force our guests to use cloth napkins that can be washed and reused.
After I made the cloth napkins, I realized that I use a ton of paper towels/napkins regularly when I go out as well. Whenever I use public washrooms (that’s “restroom” for you Americans lol), I always find myself using a couple sheets of paper towel to dry my hands after washing. And if I’m eating out, I always have to use paper napkins to clean my mouth.
So to deal with that, I decided to start carrying handkerchiefs with me when I go out.
I had already bought some handkerchiefs when I went to Japan, but I wanted to make some more so that I would always have a fresh one handy whenever I’m washing the dirty ones. And of course, because this is a crochet site, I’m going to be adding a crochet edging to my hankies to make them a little prettier!
In this post, I will not be showing you how to make the actual handkerchief because I’m not that great at sewing. However, here are some helpful posts from By Hand London that can teach you how to make a handkerchief with perfect corners:
Just a quick note for something I did differently when making the Perfect Mitred Corner. Instead of pressing my first seam by 1/2″ and then pressing another 3/4″, I chose to press my first seam by 1/4″ and the 2nd seam by 1/2″. The corner was still really nice, and I ended up with a larger handkerchief.
If you’re not a sewist (sewer?) but have a plain handkerchief handy, that’ll also work for this project.
**Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional costs to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. You can read a little more about that here!
I used two different “types” of fabric to make the handkerchiefs.
The first one (the white with multi-coloured florals) is the Petal Signature Cotton fabric in Eame’s Wildflower Meadow from Spoonflower. I bought a fat quarter of this pattern because it’s SO pretty and I really just couldn’t resist. This fabric is easy to sew, but it’s a little stiff and isn’t very “handkerchief-like”. If you want to buy brand new fabric to make into hankies, I recommend going with something a little thinner or softer.
The second one (the blue) is actually repurposed from an old shirt that I don’t enjoy wearing because of the way the shirt is sewn. I love the pattern, but the shirt looks HORRIBLE when you put it on.
I’m only using a part of this shirt to make into handkerchiefs, but I’m planning to use the rest of it to patch up my jeans later on!
This shirt is made of really thin 100% cotton which has that perfect handkerchief texture and softness. But because it’s so thin, it was a little harder to work with. So keep that in mind when working with more delicate fabrics if you’re a newbie to sewing like me.
THINGS YOU NEED
- Curio #10 Thread from WeCrochet/Knitpicks – I got my Curio thread 4 years ago, so some of the colours I used are now discontinued so I won’t be listing out the colours I used (there are more colours now though and I want them!)
- 1.50mm Crochet Hook
- Ruler that measures in cm/mm
- A pencil or washable marker to mark your cloth
- Darning Needle
- Sewing Needle – one that’s fine enough to go through your cloth
TERMINOLOGY USED IN THIS PATTERN
sl st: slip stitch
sc: single crochet
dc: double crochet
sk next # st: skip the next number of stitches and work the next step into the st after the ones you skipped
ch sp: chain space, the space you create when you chain and skip stitches
Setting your hankie up for crochet
Before we can get into crocheting, we will have to make sure we have something to crochet into. To set our hanky up, we will need to do a Blanket Stitch around the edges.
To determine how wide the gaps should be between each stitch, we will have to do a little bit of math. I’m not great at math, so if I can do this, most of you probably can too!
But before we can get to the math, we will need to mark the corner stitches. Measure half a centimetre at the corners from each side (see blue marks on photo below).
Then, measure the length between the two marks you’ve made on each side in centimetres (green). This is the number we will be working with, we’ll be calling it X. If you’re really good at sewing, then all your sides should be the same length. I’m not, so I had to measure each side separately just in case.
Here’s where things can get tricky, but if you have a calculator handy, you should be fine.
Take X and round it to the nearest number divisible by 3 and then add 1. So for example, on my 7.75 x 7.75″ handkerchief, my number (X) is 18.5cm, so I will be rounding it down to 18 (18 is divisible by 3) and then adding 1, which will give me the number 19. This number represents how many gaps we will need to have on each side, and we’ll be calling it Y.
Just to make that a little clearer, here’s another example. I made a smaller hanky that measures 6.5 x 6.5″. After marking the 1/2 cm marks from each side, the X measurement is 15cm. 15 is divisible by 3, so all I have to do is add 1 to 15. This means that I will have 16 (Y) gaps on each side for this smaller hankie.
Still with me?
Next, take X and divide it by Y. The resulting number is how wide the space between each gap should be. Here’s what my numbers look like: 18.5/19 = 0.97 (we’ll call this number Z). Your number should be between 0.85 to 1.05cm (these slightly more extreme numbers occur when you’re having to round up or down a lot) but should ideally be at around 0.95-1. Having a more standard-sized hanky (8×8″ or 12×12″) should help to ensure that your numbers are easier to work with. Z is the width of your gaps.
So starting from the half centimetre mark on one side, start measuring and marking the spaces. For my hanky, I made 18 marks with 0.97cm between the marks to give me a total of 19 gaps (not counting the 1/2 cm gap on the sides).
I then did the Blanket Stitch over these marks. I used a regular sewing needle with the Curio thread instead of using a darning needle. And because I’m not great at sewing, I will be inserting Treasurie‘s awesome tutorial video below.
After blanket stitching around your entire handkerchief, this is what your handkerchief should look like.
Crocheting around your Handkerchief
After your hanky has been set up, we can finally start crocheting the edging!
I drew a chart in case some of you prefer reading charts. I was too lazy to figure out how to make this chart digitally, so you guys get to just look at my hand-drawn, subpar chart.
Sides: With a slip knot on your hook, insert your hook into the first gap that isn’t on the corner and pick up a single crochet, 4sc (for a total of 5). Continue around the piece, making sure to make 5sc in each gap on the sides
Corner: 3sc into each side of the corner.
When you get to the end, sl st into the first sc. If you are changing colours, fasten off, and weave tails in.
If you are changing colours, pick up a sc on the first stitch of the side (highlighted in green in the photo below). If you aren’t, just skip to the instructions for the Sides below.
Sides: (Ch 6, sk next 4 sts, sc into the next st, ch 5, sk next 4 sts, dc, ch 5, sk next 4 sts, sc) repeat this until you get to the gap before the corner gaps, ch 6, sk next 4 sts, sc.
Corners: Ch 4, sk next 2 sts, dc, ch 4, sk next 2 sts, sc.
Continue going around the entire handkerchief.
When you get to the end, sl st into the first st. Fasten off and weave tails in.
Sides: Starting from the chain space immediately to the left of the corner, sl st into the ch sp.
Ch 6, sl st into the first chain, and then sl st into the ch space again to create a small picot.
Ch 6, sl st into the top of the dc from round 2, ch 6, sl st into the dc (green arrow below), ch 8, sl st into the dc (same space, green arrow below), ch 6, sl st into the dc (same space, green arrow below). This creates 3 chain-loops that kind of looks like a flower.
Ch 6, sl st into the ch-6 sp from round 2.
Repeat the steps above until you get to the ch sp before the corner. Repeat the first step to create a picot in the ch sp.
Corner: Ch 7, sl st into the top of the dc in the corner, ch 6, sl st into the dc, ch 8, sl st into the dc, ch 6, sl st into the dc.
Continue going around your hanky.
When you get to the end, sl st into the first sl st. Fasten off and weave tails in.
Washing your Handkerchief
After every use, you have to wash your handkerchief. To wash your handkerchief, place it into a mesh laundry bag (like the ones you use for bras and delicates) and wash with your regular laundry in your washer. I like to wash with cold water, but you can also wash in warm water.
Do not dry in the dryer. Instead, hang it to air dry. Hanging your hanky to dry will ensure that your handkerchief lasts longer and it also keeps the crochet edging from shrinking.
When you take your handkerchief out of the wash, you will notice that the crochet edging is going to look a little scrunched up. With clean hands, pinch and pull the picots to stretch them out so that they look nice and pretty.
And that’s it, you have just elevated your regular old handkerchief!
I made 4 hankies so that I could rotate between a total of 6 (I have two store-bought ones). Personally, I use my handkerchiefs when I go out and I only use them to either dry my hands or clean up spills when I eat. But I imagine these will come in handy once we are allowed to attend weddings because I’m super extra and I’m all about that dramatic tear dabbing.
And if you’re stumped on what to gift your mom on Mothers’ Day, these dainty crocheted hankies makes for great gifts!
Have a lovely Earth Day, everyone!
Please leave me a comment down below (or contact me) if you have any questions about this pattern. I would also love to see your creation so don’t forget to tag me (@olliehollycrochet) on Instagram or use the #olliehollycrochet!
If you find any mistakes in the pattern, please contact me and let me know! I do my best to catch my mistakes when I edit my patterns but I sometimes miss the little things.
You may sell products made from this pattern in small quantities but please clearly credit the design to me, Abby Sy of Ollie + Holly and provide a link to my blog www.OllieHolly.com. Permission is NOT granted for mass production or factory manufacturing of any kind. Thank you for being respectful and for your understanding!