Every suit needs a pocket square. In a sea of navy and gray get-ups, it helps you stand out and actually have some personality with your style. They can get expensive, though. A nice one can set you back anywhere from $10-$30. Isn’t it just a piece of fabric? Indeed it is! Which is why you can make your own handsome pocket square for a fraction of that.
There a few methods to go about DIYing this accessory, but they all accomplish the same thing, which is really just creating a hem on all four sides of the fabric. After first attempting multiple methods for the purposes of this article, I came to the conclusion that there would be just one method I’d recommend here: hem tape.
Many crafters and home tailors consider this stuff a modern miracle. It’s called tape, but the variety I use isn’t actually sticky at all. It’s basically a roll of tape-looking glue which bonds with fabric when ironed. Yup, you just iron on the hem.
I also tried a hand-sewn rolled hem, but after multiple attempts, I realized it just wasn’t going to look as good as I wanted it to. It’s hard to keep a consistent hem when doing it by hand, and it requires some sewing skills that should be learned separately. Same goes for using a sewing machine. If you’ve never used one, it will take quite a while for you to feel comfortable making a straight line, let alone traversing corners.
Hem tape is truly the way to go whether you need a new accessory for a business pitch, or a fun and unique gift for a friend or family member. Below, I take you through the steps for making your own pocket square; it won’t cost you more than a few bucks and couple hours.
The supplies for this project are minimal. My wife is an avid crafter, so I happen to have some specialized accessories as well as a bunch of spare fabric. Your necessities are:
- Fabric — cotton is your best bet here, but you can also use silk, flannel, blends, etc. I’ve seen gents use an old shirt for making a pocket square, so don’t feel like you’re limited to buying fabric at a store. If you are buying fabric, you don’t need much. It’s generally bought by the yard; you could get half a yard and have plenty of leftovers for when (not if) you mess up.
- Hem tape
- Fabric shears or rotary cutter. If you have a crafter in your home, a rotary cutter is the way to go (bottom left in the picture). If you don’t have one, just be sure you have a sharp pair of scissors. Fabric shears are best, as they’re super sharp — you don’t want your edges to fray.
- Cutting mat (optional) — this is strictly if you have one, but it makes life a lot easier for measuring and cutting.
1. Cut Your Fabric to Size
2. Cut the Corners
3. Iron Your Fabric
4. Apply Hem Tape
5. Rock the Square!
Last updated: July 28, 2016