There are very few things I can claim to have sewn--one of the things I have made using a sewing machine is a set of homemade hankies.
I love using handkerchiefs instead of tissues. They feel so much better on your nose, and they never shred like tissues do. Best of all, they don't create garbage. All I have to do is toss them in the wash. And, if you can make some from material you already have, they're free. I know from experience how expensive it can be to keep buying throw-away facial tissues when several members of the family have a cold all at once!
The fact that I feel self-reliant and pleasingly old-fashioned when I use a homemade hankie is just a bonus. :)
The hankies I have, I made from a set of old flannel receiving blankets my aunt gave me. I think flannel is a perfect material to use as it's so absorbent, but I'm sure you can make hankies from just about anything, as long as it's fairly soft and it absorbs moisture.
As you can see, our hankies look quite worn! The flannel was already worn when I got it, and these have been washed probably hundreds of times since then. And they'll be washed a hundred times more before they wear through. I'm happy to think of how many tissues we've saved from going to the landfill, and how many pennies we've saved as well.
To make your own hankies, all you have to do is lay out the material you want to use, and cut it into squares. Be as neat and orderly about this as you wish. Personally, I just cut out big squares with some scissors, without measuring. None of my hankies are a perfect square, but I don't mind! Then carefully fold over a small hem, press it with an iron, fold it over again, press it again, and then sew around the perimeter with a straight stitch. Very easy! If I can do it, anyone can.
I found this post over at The Purl Bee showing a tutorial for making some fancy handkerchiefs for a Father's Day gift, which I thought was pretty neat. Perhaps I'll make some hankies for Chris--he doesn't like carrying around the ones I made, with pink stripes and little purple flowers. I wonder why? ;)