I’ve made handkerchiefs every year for Christmas for the children. I love handkerchiefs, and the children love them, too. I love that they don’t need to ask me for tissues at church, and when my two-year-old has a runny nose, she can reach for a handkerchief instead of emptying a box of tissues.

This year I decided to make scalloped-edged handkerchiefs for my two-year-old.

I really like to use old cotton sheets to make handkerchiefs, as they are very soft. I had a twin-sized bottom sheet wear out. I used the edges of the sheet to make these handkerchiefs. I cut 12″ squares for the handkerchiefs. I measured and marked three of them. I then made a small cut for the length and tore the sheet to get a perfectly straight edge. I cut a bit at each marked edge (every twelve inches) and after I had made the cut, I tore each of the handkerchiefs. I usually take a long time measuring and then I still get them crooked. Tearing ensured straight edges.

I sewed the scalloped edge 3/8″ away from the edge of the handkerchief. I then used a small pair of sharp embroidery scissors to carefully cut away the edges of the fabric from the outside of the scallops.



soft cotton (a sheet, muslin, or other cotton)


sewing machine


The total time for one handkerchief was about 25 minutes.

Today I made three handkerchiefs.


$0.05 per handkerchief for the thread. You can read about how I buy my thread here.

I also embroidered two handkerchiefs for 2 of my other daughters, with their respective initials. I will be sewing scalloped edges on these as well. It took me about 2 hours to hand embroider each one. I did while I watched shows in the evening on Hulu. I will work to make 3 more handkerchiefs for the other children for Christmas.

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  1. My machine has a stitch that makes scallops. I’ve seen it on several machines that have just a few options.I usually do a pressed and hemmed edge for handkerchiefs.You could ask a friend to borrow her machine (or come to her house with thread) to put scalloped edges on some handkerchiefs. I know a lot of people who own sewing machines but who never use them, and I have had offers to borrow others sewing machines before, so you could try asking friends.

  2. Brandy, I am in the market for a sewing machine. Do you have or recommend the one on your side bar. The Janome DC3050 Computerized Sewing Machine Any information on sewing machines is welcomed. I have never owned a new one. Thanks, Rebecca

  3. I have been borrowing my mom’s Janome ever since both of our 1959 Singers had the tensions go out 5 years ago (I had had mine repaired 3 times and it wasn’t working at all anymore). My mom replaced her machine with a Janome model that I cannot find on their site anymore. It has been really nice, and I love that it’s not a high-end model. I have been borrowing hers ever since, but I wanted my own machine, and I wanted it to do a hemstitch, which was the only thing I felt that my mom’s machine lacked.I saved up my Amazon credit from sales through my link for several months, and my husband has given me the rest to cover getting my own machine, and I ordered that one that you see on the right yesterday!I have been very happy with her Janome these last five years. I’ve used it several times a week for five years without any problems. I’m excited to have my own machine again and to finally be able to do a hemstitch and an entredeux stitch, which I have wanted to be able to do for a very long time. It also has a featherstitch, which the machine I have been using on my mom’s machine (I edges the bibs I made with it). Both the featherstitch and the hemstitch were the two things I wanted in a machine that the 1959 Singer couldn’t do.The reviews had it at 4 1/2 stars, and I reviewed it on the Janome site to make sure it had the stitches that I wanted. I’m pretty happy with the price, too, so, yes, I would recommend that one!From many discussions on the subject from a discussion board to which I belong, the new Singers are not good, the Brothers are loud and have troubles, and the Berninas are good but very high priced (Viking is expensive, too). Janome gets good reviews and I know I’ve liked it!

  4. I’m a hankie girl myself. What a great idea to use the good edges of old soft cotton sheets for hankies! I have been wondering what I could do with my pile of worn-in-the-middle sheets and now I know. Also fyi: Kenmore sewing machines are made by Janome! I found this out after doing a little research before buying my last machine from Sears and spent much less than if I’d bought the same machine branded Janome. I was fortunate to hit a Christmas sale at the time I was buying so that made the cost even less. I have been VERY happy with my Kenmore machine, knock on wood.

  5. I also have a Kenmore and I love it!! It has something like 256 different stitches, not that I’ve even attempted to use them all but its been such a good machine!!Love the hankerchiefs!!!Dana

  6. Brandy, That is SEW exciting about your new machine! It sounds like you made a great choice. I hope you will share feedback once you have used your new machine a bit. I own a Viking that is about 12 years old (hate it – it has been finicky since day one and it is a “good” machine) and an Elna 8006 Envision that I purchased used some time ago and am now just getting ready to use. I am hoping that I like it better than my Viking; if not, I might just have to sell them both and get a Janome!Michelle

  7. I have heard good things about the old Elnas. I hope yours works for you! Since it hasn’t been used for a while, make sure to oil your machine before you use it!I am excited to use the hemstitch. When I went to Joann’s, they didn’t have any wing needles anymore. I bought one years ago, but I’m hoping to find one that I can order (SOMEONE must carry one online–maybe Martha Pullen) because I found out that there are several sizes of wing needles.

  8. I just did a quick Google check and found that Nancy’s Notions (nancysnotions.com) carries Schmetz wing needles. Sewing Machines Plus (sewingmachinesplus.com) carries Singer, Schmetz and Klasse’ wing needles. There are probably other online suppliers as well. 🙂

  9. I just completed a Christmas gift for my son from a pattern I saw today on Craft Gossip (here is the tutorial: http://lucykatecrafts.blogspot.com/2012/11/beanie-sewing-pattern.html). It’s a beanie hat made from an old sweater. At Thanksgiving, he brought home his new wool sweater that he washed in hot water shrinking it beyond wear. When I saw the tutorial, a light bulb went on and I dashed to the sewing machine. It made me think of all your Christmas gift sewing posts!!! So he is getting a new hat for Christmas that took me less than 30 minutes to do and I am looking for more uses for the rest of the sweater. I am also looking closely at that sewing machine you are buying as it seems like a dream machine. I am sewing on my 20 year old Viking and I have about worn it out. Please update us with your thoughts once you have used yours awhile. I especially like that it is “simple” as I don’t want to get into computerized or embroidery machines.

  10. I just looked at a hat tutorial like that a few days ago, but it was only newborn size. I love this tutorial that you linked to; I can size it the right size for my needs and I was planning on making a hat from a sweater. I had decided I wanted this style instead of a slightly different style and I only had a tutorial for the other style. Thanks!Your son’s hat should be so warm since it is wool!I will let you know about the machine. It IS computerized; I wish everything on it was manual, like my 1959 Singer (which would do quite a number of wonderful stitches), but the Janome on which I have been sewing for 5 years is, too–all the new ones seem to be–and it has been so wonderful that I think this one will be, too. Plus, it has the stitches that I want–including several variations!!!–so I am excited!

  11. Not sure if you will see this or not Patti, but I would give that old Viking as much TLC as possible! It’s probably worth taking it in for a tune up. The older machines are better made than the new ones, plus I find they are more powerful and reliable. Many of the new ones have mostly plastic inside and don’t last.

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