A few weeks back I shared some sources for how to wear the square, which you can read in a post called How To Rock A Pocket Square. If you have been shopping, you probably noticed how expensive pocket squares can be to purchase.
So here are my tips for making pocket squares for your honey (or yourself).
Decide how large you want your square. Most run around 12 to 18 inches on each side. Most are square, but some are rectanglular.
You will need:
Fabric – a fat quarter, if using cotton or other fabric available as a fat quarter; a yard if using silks or silky polyesters. If working with the latter, you will want to cut your square on the bias so that it ravels less. On eBay you can find some great deals on remnant fabrics that would be perfect for pocket squares.
Matching or contrasting thread – depending on the look you want
You can sew your square by hand or by machine.
If using a sewing machine, I like to cut silky fabric about an extra 3/4 inch all the way around, or cotton fabric an extra 1/2 inch on each side. At the corners, turn the fabric down about 3/4 an inch (or 1/2 inch for cottons) toward the wrong side. If you have slinky fabric, you may want to put a tacking stitch in, just to hold it down.
For silky fabrics, press your sides in by 1/2 and inch. Sew a straight stitch all the way around the square staying about 1/4 inch away from the outer edge at all times. Since you have turned in your corners, you won’t be able to have a continuous stitch on all four sides. You will need to start and stop on each side. After you have sewn all four sides, trim away the extra fabric (from the raw edge almost to the sewing line) being careful not to cut through the stitches. Press.
Now turn the first hem under itself and press again. Make sure the hems are even. Now sew again, being careful to sew over the line of stitches you have already made. You will be stitching over stitches on the under side and creating a new set of stitches on top. This time, your mitered corners will align, so you will be able to sew a continuous line all the way around the square.
For cotton fabric, press and 1/2 inch hem all the way around the square. At the corners, turn the points in to the backside about 1/2 inch. Press. Now turn the folded in sides, in again so that the cut edges rest in the fold. Clip the corners, so that the raw edges will be hidden in the hem. You can sew one continuous chain of machine stitches all the way around the pocket square.
After you have sewn the hem, press the fabric and you have a lovely pocket square!
If making a pocket square by hand: I used this method on a silky fabric that needed the smallest hem possible as there wasn’t enough fabric to waste. You will want to roll the fabric over twice, creating about an 1/8 inch hem, with the raw edges secured underneath. You will be crating a scalloped hem.
Press the edge of the fabric under by about 1/8 inch on one side. With your hands, roll a small portion by your starting point down again. Take a stitch in the corner. I have a thing about ends and knots showing, so I started my stitch under the turned up fabric, so that when the thread was pulled through, the knot did not show. I wrapped the needle around to the right side and pulled another stitch through at the same place.
You will be traveling to the left with your sewing. Wrap your turned down fabric over the first knuckle of your left hand’s point finger.
With your needle, run under the first layer of the turned down hem from the starting stitch, going left, keeping the stitch toward the turned bottom edge. Come up out of the fabric.
Now wrap your needle around to the right side of the fabric and come up right under where you just came out of the hem. Your thread will be on top of the hem, wrapping from the wrong side to the right side. Reap this wrapping stitch in the same place again, just for security.
Repeat the process until you have finished the side. Then start on the next side. Soon, you will have an attractive pocket square with a small scalloped edge.
The pocket square will not get any wear and tear, since it is just ornamental. It probably won’t even need to be cleaned.
There are lots of creative things you can do for a pocket square. I think a beautiful solid linen square with a bright contrasted, blanket-stitched hem would be easy to make and fun to wear.
Pocket squares are a great way to use fabric remnants. Really, any type of fabric you have would probably work as a pocket square. And, pocket squares aren’t just for men!
Now is a great time to start making some squares now as Father’s Day gifts.
Bonus information: The blue cotton fabric was a fat quarter that I purchased at Walmart for 97 cents. It took me about 30 minutes to cut, iron and sew.
The paisley, silky fabric came from Joanns. I believe it cost about $6. It took about 6 hours to hand sew the hem.