Handkerchief Bandanna

Handkerchief Bandanna

What could be more summery than lounging on your favorite deck chair with your hair pulled back in a bandanna? Bandannas are a mainstay around here. Whether it is an old fashioned bandanna quickly tied around your head, a reversible bandanna meant to match multiple outfits, or the delicate bandanna featured above, bandannas are both functional and fun!

We like to add covered elastic to the back of our bandannas. This makes it easier for little kids to put on, and stops that pesky hair pulling at the base of your nape! In our FREE Open Patterns we are sharing the directions for making your own bandanna in a child and adult size. Directions are given for the handkerchief bandanna because it is the most difficult, but after you master the basics… which are easy peasy… you’ll have a bandanna to match all your outfits! This pattern also includes the instructions for the lavender bunch embroidery, but any embroidery pattern would work just fine. Whether you embellish your bandannas or leave them plain, you’ll be singing their praises before long. Check out our pattern for the Kerchief Bandanna. Enjoy! 



  1. I have some handkerchiefs I bought at a thift shop. Do you think I could use it for these?

    1. Yes! You can most certainly turn handkerchiefs into bandannas, it just takes a little math. Because your handkerchief would be finished with lace on all 4 sides I would not sew them together otherwise you would lose pretty edging.

      Start by measuring the handkerchief. Chances are it won’t be 16", which our directions are given for. Here is the formula for sizing in our directions:

      A note about sizing: We found using the 16" square works for children and adults, but you’ll need to change the elastic size and band size. To get a good fit, using a tape measure, measure your head where the bandanna will lie. To cut your elastic take your measurement, minus 16. (Example: Fairy’s head was 19 inches, so 19 – 16 = 3. I cut the elastic 3". My head is 22 inches, so 22 – 16 = 6. I cut elastic for me 6". For the band that goes under the bandanna: the height with always be 4" but to determine the length, add 3 inches to the elastic size. (Example: Fairy’s elastic was 3" so I cut the band 4" x 6". (3 + 3). My elastic was 6 inches so I cut the band 4" x 9" (6 + 3).

      Whenever you see the number 16" given in the directions above, put in the size of your handkerchief. Example. Let’s say your handkerchief is 14" and we were making this for a child with a 19" head measurement. Here’s how to do the math… 19" – 14" = 5", so we would cut our elastic 5" long. And for cutting the headband, the instructions tell us to add 3" to the elastic size, 3" + 5", we would cut our headband 4" x 8" (3 + 5).

      Now, for attaching the headband. Fold your handkerchief diagonally, with right sides out. Proceed with steps 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Because the inside of the handkerchief is not hidden (the front and back have not been sewn together), in order to insure that the raw edge of the headband is not seen, I would run a second line of top-stitching parallel to the stitching line that holds the headband in place, just beyond the raw edge of the headband. This will conceal the raw edge.

      Hope that makes sense without pictures. If you make one let me know how it works out since I haven’t tried it myself.


      1. Thanks so much. I’ll give it a try tonight.

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