Self-made handkerchiefs

My aspirations to reduce my waste to the smallest amount possible (read: zero) shall be promoted also in the new year. I particularly like making things myself so I sewed handkerchiefs. 

To be honest, I’ve never really questioned tissues. They serve their purpose and real alternatives (except the good old nasal douche) do not exist to clean one’s nose quickly and on the go. But disposable tissues cause waste. Even if they are compostable, they need a long time to decompose and they are known to be packed in plastic. For people who are also plagued by allergies and hay fever, like me, quickly a lot of garbage emerges which can be easily avoided.

Taschentücher aus Stoff
Cotton handkerchiefs

Handkerchiefs made of fabric are the alternative. I still know them from my childhood with colorful characters or floral prints. At that time it worked well and no one questioned it, so why not back to the cloth? When I researched the web for cloth handkerchiefs I was surprised how few nice options there are for my taste and also the prices are not really favourable. Certainly flea markets are a great place to get affordable handkerchiefs. I wanted something decent with no frills and patterns – even when blowing your nose don’t miss out the style. I remembered the white pillowcase, which I had once bought in the wrong size and which was since then, waiting for a new sewing project, laying in between my fabric scraps.

You can just cut or tear cotton fabric easily in the desired size and then pull some threads in order not to let the fabric fray when washed. Of course you can also use jersey (e. g. an old T-shirt) and nothing should happen to the edges when washing. I think cotton is more adequate and it can be washed  on high temperatures in the machine to make it clean again. I also opted for the “neater” version with seamed edges.


You need the desired material, a pair of scissors and a sewing machine with presser foot for seams.

Taschentücher nach Wunschmaß
Handkerchiefs as you desire

Handkerchiefs are available in different sizes. Handkerchiefs for men are significantly larger. I wanted an inconspicuous size and took a tissue as a pattern: 20 x 20 cm, perfect also for the pocket .

Stofftaschentuch vs. Papiertaschentuch
Handkerchief vs. tissue – looking good, right?

Seam the cloths with the sewing machine and, if desired, fold and iron accordingly.

I am very happy with the result and the handkerchiefs work well in my daily life. On the go I use a small cloth bag. Gradually, I’ll sew even more until my material is depleted. We’ll see whether the amount is sufficient for a cold or hay fever.

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