Waste Not

attempting to waste less and live more deliberately

The Simplest DIY: Handkerchief Edition

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“Always carry two handkerchiefs…one to show and one to blow.” – Old Irish Saying

Yesterday, I spoke about hankies and how much I love them.  Now, let me show you how to make the simplest of hankies.


Fabric – I chose to use what we had on hand, quilting scraps. These were perfect for two reasons 1) They were just sitting there begging to be turned into something. 2) They are heavily patterned and therefore won’t really show stains. (note: this does not mean I can go without taking good care of them)

Cutting tool – I used a rotary cutter, but scissors will also do the job.

Straight Edge – Anything will do. I chose a quilting grid.

Thread – Again, I used what we had on hand.  If I wanted to be a bit fancier I could have chosen a specific color to compliment my fabric, but for me the black thread we had worked just fine.

Pins  – To hold the fabric in place while you are sewing.

Sewing Machine – You can also turn the edges down by hand.


1 – Gather Materials.


2 – Cut squares, I used a 12.5 inch grid as my guide.


3 – Pin edges in place.


4 – Sew edges down.


5 – Admire your work.


If you would like more complete instructions you can find them here.

Unique New York, Unique New York

What a perfect medium for expression.  This is a great opportunity to create a beautiful little world that you can carry around in your pocket. The possibilities are endless.  Here are a few that I thought were quite fun.

ImagePrinted ~ Instructions here.

ImageStamped ~ Instructions here.

Image Embroidered ~ Instructions here.

If crafting isn’t your thing, attaining a hanky is simple. Grab a bandana or ask your parents if they have any vintage hankies that once belonged to your grandparents.

Wisdom from My Mother

If cleanliness is your things (I hope so) don’t worry, you can still use a hanky! Check out the advice my mom gave me in regards to caring for a handkerchief.

“Great idea – I remember as a child, I used to embroider hankies for my dad. Sounds like a new project in my future. Anyway, in case folks think that laundering the hankies will add to the waste of other resources, I would recommend hand washing in cold water, using a little vinegar to sanitize, but really, how much space does a hanky actually take up in your routine of doing the laundry, whatever it may be. You might want to also consider hanging your hanky out to dry, either outside or even on a drying rack in your tub rather than using your dryer. I also like to spritz them with some lavender water, made from the lavender I grow in my garden. We also go through a lot of paper towels, so I have started making dishcloths, knitting and crocheting, from scrap yarn I have left over from previously completed projects. I like the idea of wiping the counter off with something I can use over and over again, rather than using a onetime paper towel and then pitching it. I keep a spray bottle of vinegar water handy to use as well.”

As you can tell, she’s pretty smart! ☺

I do hope you will give hankies a try.  You can choose vintage, craft your own, or just grab a bandana. Happy Nose Blowing!

♥ ali


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