Thursday, November 12, 2015

Flannel Hankies for Hunters

Last winter, I made myself a few handkerchiefs out of some scrap flannel I had from old sewing projects. I tested them out at work, since being in the cold for hours straight tends to make anyone's nose run, and I decided I much preferred a handkerchief over a pocket full of Kleenex that invariably ended up soggy and shredded.  (Not to mention what a mess it made in the washing machine if I forgot to empty the pockets of my barn coat before washing!!)  Nope, Kleenex is out; I'm sold on hankies.

Which led to me deciding that this year I should make some flannel hankies to give as gifts to family members who also spend quite a bit of time outdoors in the colder season of the year.  Which led to me hunting down some camouflage patterned flannel in order to make hankies to give the sportsmen in my life (pun intended, ha ha).

Why would a hunter want to use a flannel handkerchief?  Well, I thought of a couple of reasons:

  1. No wads of soggy tissue to try to fish out of coat pockets and unfold with gloved hands.  When hunting, the less motion the better for maintaining your "I'm just a tree, don't mind me" persona.
  2. Flannel is nice and soft and warm feeling.
  3. A tissue is white, or some other pale color.  Who wants to create a flash of white when they are sitting in the woods dressed in clothes meant to make them look like a tree?  A deer's tail is white, and it is used to signal "Danger!" to other deer.  A camo hankie would be less noticeable when in use.
Seemed logical to me.  I guess time will tell if the recipients of my camo hankies agree or not. Anyway. . . 

Amazingly enough, my local Walmart currently is carrying flannel in the wooded camo type pattern (think of you major camo brands, it looks like that) and it is of nice quality. So I picked up a yard, and was able to get a dozen camo handkerchiefs out of it.  That's not a bad return on investment if your budget is tight and you are looking for a token gift for someone on your Christmas list. (And for those who don't hunt, just choose some other color/pattern of flannel!)

I make my flannel handkerchiefs just a little different than my 'regular' cotton ones (both are of 100% cotton fabric, but flannel behaves differently).

(See this post for info on how I make hankies.)

You see, normal fabric will unravel on the edges, especially the more it gets washed.  This is why most things are hemmed or have the edges serged.  Doing so prevents the fabric from unraveling.

Flannel, however, is more resistant to unraveling (also known as fraying).  So, for my flannel hankies I forego the hemmed edge and just run a zigzag stitch on all four sides.  Faster and easier.  I like fast and easy (caveat: as long as it produces good results).

So, all I did was wash, dry and iron the fabric.  Then I cut it into 10" x 10" squares.  Then I zigzag stitched around all four edges of each square.  Some I did in a 'natural' (ie. beige) colored thread, and some I did in black thread (because I ran out of natural, which is also my go-to color for piecing quilt blocks).

just two of the many camo hankies I created

Can't get any easier than that.  And did I mention I got a dozen hankies out of one yard of fabric?  That's a whole lot of gifts.  Of course, I plan to keep a few of those for myself.  Because when I'm out in the woods next week trying to get myself some venison, I don't want soggy, white, wadded up tissues scaring off the deer when my nose gets a little drippy!

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