Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How to Make a Handkerchief Pocket Pillow

In days gone by, everyone checked to make sure a hankie was tucked away in a pocket. This is a variation on the theme, but now the hankie has become the pocket.

Here's a quick tutorial on how to make a summery pillow. It takes no more than one hour, is easy and you need only basic sewing skills.

1. First of all, gather your supplies. You will need 2 squares of fabric (13 inches), one square of felt or quilt batting (13 inches), one handkerchief with a design in one corner, needle, thread, scissors, sewing machine (or you could do it by hand), and some pillow stuffing.

I used natural coloured linen, but a soft pastel would look lovely, too. Or a small print. You don't want it to be too busy because whatever you put into the pocket should be the focus.

2. Fold the hankie to make the pocket. First of all, fold it diagonally, right sides together.

Next, fold in one corner, about 1/3 of the way across the bottom,

and then the second corner.

Lastly, fold down the top layer of the handkerchief and voila, the embroidered corner is displayed front and center. Press to flatten the pocket.

3. Stitch the pocket to the pillow. I stitched it a couple of inches above the bottom of the square so that whatever you place into the pocket will be in the center of the pillow. Pin well, then

4. Handstitch the pocket to the pillow, using small stitches that hide in the folds of the pocket.

5. Layer the batting underneath the pillow front. This will ensure a smooth look to the front of the pillow. Lumps are not nice.

6. Place the back side of the pillow (the other 13 inch square) on top of the pillow top, right sides together. Sew around the pillow 1/2 inch from each edge, leaving a 5 inch opening on one side for turning. Pivot with the needle in the fabric at the corners. Turn pillow right side out.

7. Stuff the pillow. I use polyester batting. Make sure to get it evenly distributed, and tuck it well into the corners. You want a nice plump look.

8. Fold the seam allowances on the opening to the inside and pin closed. Slip stitch closed.

10. Add some fresh flowers to your pocket. Lavender is nice for a bedroom - very relaxing. The lavender will dry as it's not in water, but retains its scent. Other herbs would be equally pretty - a bunch of rosemary, even a single rose.

Or, tuck in a love letter, a bit of chocolate, tickets to a special event. It could be a pillow that makes its rounds throughout the house.

Enjoy! And if you make this pillow, send me a link to your photo!


  1. What a great idea!! we will be on the lookout for old hankies- what a great way to rejuvenate an old pillow too!!

    kari & kijsa

  2. Beautiful! You make it look so simple that I feel like even I can do it.


  3. Oh pretty. Isn't it wonderful how the simplest ideas can become beautiful projects. Love it!

    I am doing a pillow right now as well...I am teaching at Olds College this weekend...I'll post a pic when I am finished.

    Have a great weekend.
    Hugs, Nancy

  4. Soooo pretty! Thank you for doing a tutorial on this!

  5. Hi Lorrie,

    Thank you so much. I do have some vintage hankies and this would be a nice way to use them. Your pillow turned out beautifully. I am willing to give it a try.

    Happy Thursday,

  6. That looks so cute and looks like a great project for my teenage daughter.

  7. What a heartwarming, adorable idea for a pillow :)

  8. Wow - so pretty and easy to do! Very nice blog - I will be back to check it out some more!

  9. Very nice! I can't wait to get home and see it...I can smell the lavender from here...

  10. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Hi! I found you from Sew, Mama, Sew's Create & Celebrate post.

    I love this idea. My Mom tat's edgings for flowered handkerchief's and I've been wondering what to do with them. I think I'll try this but sew it closed and put some dried lavender inside.
    Thanks for sharing!!


  11. This is so feminine. Thanks for sharing how to make this lovely pillow.

  12. Hi Lorrie,
    if you don't mind could you contact me via my blog e-mail about this tutorial. It is in regards someone using your photographs.
    Kindest regards
    Karen B. ~ Todolwen


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