I have a love/hate relationship with facial tissues. They are handy to have around for various things…blowing your nose, wipe a teary eye, wipe a runny nose. Unfortunately, they are never around when you need them. Or they are a blobby mess at the bottom of your purse, bag or whatever. Those little plastic pouches that the travel sized ones come in just don’t do a great job of keeping them neat and tidy. Or you forget to take them out of your pocket before they hit the washer. Not pretty.

And then there’s the environmental aspect of facial tissue. You are spending quite a pretty penny for something that’s single use (if you even get to use it before it’s unusable). They are flimsy. Most of the time, they won’t even hold up to a single blow. Or, they are the triple/quadruple super-duper heavy duty aloe coated tissues that will not decompose even if you poured a bucket of water on it. (You end up just smearing your snot around. Sorry about the visual on that but it’s another pet peeve of mine.)

This has been an especially bad allergy season in the bay area. I’ve been wheezing through the past couple of months. And in place of facial tissue, I’ve taken to using men’s cotton hankies that I used to buy for Martin every couple of years. But they are big. Really big. Not exactly dainty. And good quality cotton hankies cost upwards of $40/dozen.

I came across this post on Purl Bee several years ago on making your own rolled hem handkerchiefs. In fact, I went straight out and bought some nice fine cotton fabric with small prints and cut them into dainty lady-like sizes (9.5″x9.5″) that are just a little bit larger than regular facial tissue. I even took it along with me to SOAR 2008 (yes, that long ago), thinking that it is the perfect project on the plane.

But the problem was that I never could get past the hump on making nice neat hand rolled hem. I even broke down and tried using my rolled hem foot on the sewing machine. (Didn’t take to it either.)

This weekend, as I worked my way through the dwindling supply of scratchy facial tissue, I thought about those squares of cotton again. I pulled them out, and gave it another go on my test samples.

These look pretty good, don’t they? I think I’ve finally got it.They don’t have the soft rolled edge because I used my fingernails to do a rough pressing, but it works for me. It was just a matter of finding a method that worked for me. The hems definitely are not as neat and tidy, nor as refined, as the ones from Nordstrom.

I have no idea what to do with these little squares, since they are only about 3″x3″ for practicing the rolled hems and corners. They are too thin for coasters. In any case, I’m now ready to stitch up my own hankies.

Of course, this begs the question of how to carry a supply of clean and used hankies.

Anecdote 1: One of the things I remember about Martin, back before we were dating, was that he always had a fresh, pressed hankie at the ready. This was really helpful to a young freshman gal who was always having drama with her then boyfriend. I remembered thinking that some girl was going to be really lucky one day.

Anecdote 2: A clean handkerchief was a required part of my kindergarten uniform. We had to have a clean one pinned to our little coverall/aprons each day. I think I still have a picture, somewhere, of me all dressed up in my kindergarten uniform.