This Is How To Make A Pocket Square With A Sewing Machine

The pocket square is the perfect menswear accessory to elevate your look. While they may not be as practical as your favourite watch or sunglasses, a pocket square adds old-school charm, sophistication, and colour to the breast pocket of your blazers and jackets. 

Suited man fixing his pocketsquare

There are numerous options available in the market, but you can easily custom-make your own. Even if you aren’t a sewing expert, this tutorial article will help you master the art of stitching your DIY pocket square

Gather the needed materials and tools

You don’t need many tools to make a pocket square. Unlike handkerchiefs, a pocket square isn’t functional. This means you can select any fabric you like. For sewing projects, cotton fabric is recommended as it’s easier to stitch. However, you can also use silk. Feel free to experiment with different colours and patterns to match your desired theme or outfit. 

Aside from fabric, you require an iron, an ironing board, and a sewing machine or a needle and thread if you are hand sewing. Try to match your thread to the colour of your fabric so that it doesn’t show up on the top edge of your pocket square. However, if you want to experiment, you can use contrasting colours to create fun designs. 

In addition to the above, a rotary cutter or scissors and a cutting surface are extremely handy to cut and prepare your fabric. With these tools and no more than 45 minutes of time, you can make your own pocket square from scratch.

Make a pocket square in 4 easy steps

Are you ready to look dapper like never before? Follow these 4 easy steps to learn how to make a pocket square:

Step 1: Measure and cut fabric

To begin, you need to trim your fabric into a square shape. Depending on the material you have chosen, the recommended standard sizes are different. For example, cotton fabric should be roughly cut to a 30 cm square fold, while silk should be trimmed to approximately 35 cm.

Remember, when you finish your sewing project, you will lose around 2.5 cm in length and width due to seam allowance. So as long as it’s square, you can cut a larger or smaller piece of fabric depending on personal preferences. In addition, the size of the breast pocket on your chosen jacket can help determine the size of the fabric you cut. 

Use a ruler and pencil to mark out your fabric first. Then, using a rotary cutter and cutting mat, try to get as close to a square as you can. If you don’t have a cutter, you can use fabric scissors or a razor blade instead. 

measuring and ironing the pocket square

Step 2: Prepare the square for stitching

If your fabric is creased or crumpled, use an iron to flatten out your square till it’s completely smooth. This is optional but will make stitching much easier. Then, prepare the seams by folding over each edge of the fabric

To do this, start by making a fold on all four edges 0.6 cm inwards. Make sure each of the folds overlaps the other at a 90-degree angle. For neater folded edges, press them down with an iron before proceeding to the next. Be sure to pay close attention to each of the corners. 

After you’ve folded all four edges, you’re going to repeat the process again to make a second fold. This creates a rolled hem that ensures that there are no raw edges or fraying. Then, iron it once again.

sewing a pocket square with a sewing machine

Step 3: Stitching the seams

Follow your sewing machine‘s user manual to get it set up. Then, slide your square fabric with the wrong side facing up under the presser foot. Use the machine guides to align it, so you stitch around 2.5cm from the edge. 

Begining at any corner, add a few straight stitches to the fabric. Next, add a backstitch to secure the threadwork and keep it from opening up. Continue sewing the edges, ensuring all your stitches are as straight as possible. Gently use your hand to guide the fabric along the Serger machine. Try not to tug at the fabric, or it could tear. 

Leave the needle inside the fabric at the corners. Instead, lift the presser foot and rotate the square 90 degrees to continue. If needed, use a seam ripper, plier, or buck knife to help your fabric. Take your time to stitch all four corners. 

All you have to do now is reverse backstitch to seal your sewing and trim any loose thread away. To prevent bulky top corners, trim them off with a scissor before flipping your pocket square over.

stiching a pocket square

Step 4: Finishing touches

To finish off the DIY pocket square, fold it in half to create a closed edge to make sure it remains flat. Then use fabric adhesive or a topstitch. A topstitch is a great way to add more decorative elements to the finished DIY design. 

Depending on the type of machine you have, you can select various sewing patterns such as a zigzag (which is always a trend). Set the guides to 2.5 cm again, but this time stitch your design on the right side of the square so that the thread is visible. 

That’s it. You can now fold your finished pocket square in various ways for special occasions!

The best 3 types of folds

While it’s easy to stuff a pocket square into your top pocket, some situations require something more polished. These 3 folds will cover you for all types of events, from work to weddings. 

how to fold a pocket square

1. Presidential or TV fold

The TV or Presidential fold has been a popular choice since the 1950s. Made famous by TV game show hosts of the time, it’s a simple type of pocket square fold that is extremely versatile

To make a Presidential style fold, first double the square. Then, fold it again, this time a little less than half in the opposite direction of the width. The final step is to fold the square one more time, onto itself.

Next, place the folded square in your pocket, pushing the bottom corner and its edges in first. Ensure you leave at least 0.5 cm of the square showing over your blazer pocket. 

the one point pocket square fold

2. One-point fold

Another simple fold, the one-point, resembles an upward triangle. While it’s a little more complicated than a Presidential fold, it’s more prominent, making the effort worth it.

First, fold your square diagonally in half. Then, fold the left side of the triangle in, one-third of the way. Repeat this step on the right side of the new triangle and position it in your pocket with the pointed edge facing upwards. The One-point fold is easiest to make on cotton or linen squares. 

types of pocket square folds

3. “The plop” fold 

If you’re looking for a more laidback fold for your square, “the plop” fold is ideal for you. Essentially, it’s an open puff, not a fold, that’s stuffed inside your pocket.

“The plop” is a very relaxed style that can be worn with jeans, button-up jackets and even sports coats. All you have to do is shove the square in your pocket and slowly pull it back out to adjust it to your desired length. 

No matter how you fold your square, it’s important it adds to your overall aesthetic rather than taking away from it. Keep it simple and inconspicuous. 

FAQs

What is the perfect size for a pocket square

The standard length for this type of accessory is between 25 cm and 43 cm. However, based on the size of your pocket, this length can vary. You can cut your squares to any size you need. 

Can you wear a square fold without other accessories like a bow tie or tie? 

Depending on the occasion, you can entirely skip wearing a bowtie or necktie. In fact, a simple folded square will spruce up your suit by itself. Thus, it’s common for men to swap their ties for colourful squares and handkerchiefs. 

Does the material affect how the square is folded?

Silk pocket squares have a loose and wet texture. This makes it difficult for complicated folds to hold up as they tend to air up more. On the contrary, stiffer fabrics such as cotton and linen are easier to work with and stand out significantly. You can also experiment with other materials to find the most suitable choice for your fold. 

What is the difference between handkerchiefs and folded squares?

The main difference between the two pieces of fabric is how they’re used. Handkerchiefs are typically concealed in lower-suit or trouser pockets as they’re used for personal hygiene purposes. On the other hand, a folded square is purely decorative and used to enhance the look of your suit or tie. 

man with pocket square wearing elegant clothes
Now that you know how to stitch and fold a pocket square, you’re ready to take your style game to a new level. There’s nothing more appealing than a man in a suit who knows how to dress up his pockets. Regardless of your sewing experience, you can easily ace this project following the steps above.

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