As I near completion of the men’s sport coat I started six years ago, I am sprinkling in small projects that I can easily complete. It’s not really a deliberate move to make me more “productive,” although I’d love to give myself credit for that. It’s more like, that coat makes me feel a little underwater sometimes, where I’ve painstakingly hand-stitched the sleeve lining to the armholes only to realize that the facings aren’t straight and it all has to come back out…and turning to another project so I can step back from that one for a minute feels like a good thing.
In this case: it’s a companion project. My husband and I were at a men’s store that he loves about two months ago, looking at ties and pocket squares. The pocket square, I suspect, is making a comeback after seeming to be overlooked in men’s fashion for a long time? Back me up on that, someone.
The ones we liked were very, very expensive. Like, $75 for a 16″ square of cotton, expensive. And as we browsed the selection, I realized that while some of them were clearly exotic and imported, a lot of them were Liberty lawns. I have an impressive array of Liberty lawns in my studio, which I kinda famously bought one evening when I was enjoying a glass of wine and unwisely in front of my computer with my wallet nearby and a discount code burning a hole in my self-control.
I figured, why not? Let’s give it a shot to sew our own pocket squares. Worst case: they’re only OK. Best case: we discover limitless possibility.
I started by considering the hem. I wanted to do a tiny machine-rolled hem at first, I think because after all that hand sewing that needed to be ripped out of the sport coats lining where it was falling crookedly, I didn’t feel up to attempting a hand-rolled hem. But the corners really eluded me, they were just so teensy tiny I didn’t feel satisfied with the quality of the work. Since a pocket square is so small but also highly visible along the hemline, I figured the hem really needed to be excellent.
In the end, I made these identically to my fancy napkins tutorial, but used a scant 1/4″ hem along the edges, and mitered the corners. They look lovely, and I don’t think the slightly wider hem adds too much weight–if these were heavier fabrics, I’d be concerned that the thicker hem would drag the corners down when it’s worn in the sport coat pocket, but that hasn’t been the case so far.
I love a simple project. I love when sewing saves money by allowing us to feel “fancy” but without the price tag. It feels like winning. And even more than that, maybe most of all, I love the feeling when my husband comes into the kitchen in a suit and he’s fussing with the pocket square I sewed for him, excited to wear it for his digital conference that day, all dressed up to work remotely. Sewing, even small things, gives me such giant rewards when it makes our today better.