Introduction: Making the Survival Bandana

Making Survival and Martial Art Bandanas ...

A bandana should sit right at the top of your list of often overlooked survival gear. It is another one of those items that has hundreds of improvised uses but only if you have the right mindset for it ... and, as usual, my mindset is over the edge.

We've all seen websites showing "101 uses for a bandana handkerchief". What can’t you use a bandana for? This ubiquitous and option laden piece of cloth is part of so many survival gear lists. But I am modifying a simple cloth square (WAY over-sized) to its best advantage ... and, giving you a slightly over sized bandana as a Martial Arts flexible weapon as a bonus. A standard bandana is 22 in. square. The martial Arts bandana is 33 in. square, and the Survival bandana is 44 in. square. If you can't sew using a sewing machine, you'll need to enlist the expertize of your Mom, Grandma, Sister, Cousin, Aunt, Girlfriend, Seamstress, (OK, I'm sounding sexist, sorry) ... tailor, etc.

Step 1:

To begin ... You'll need bandana material (broad cloth), sharp sewing shears, a tape measure, a marker for cloth, a straight-edge, and a sewing machine (it can be sewn by hand, but it is easier and faster to use a machine).

(Refer to the illustrations for this section)

Purchase 2 yards (72 inches in length) of a 45 in. wide broadcloth material (100% cotton) that has
a suitable “handkerchief style” pattern. Note that there is a one-half inch wide white unprinted border on both the top and bottom of the material, leaving about 44 in. of usable printed material. Wash the material without fabric softener to preshrink it.

You will need to make four straight cuts, and one rectangular cut to make both pieces.

First, cut (1.) a 44 in. length for the Survival Handkerchief. Set this aside.

This leaves a 45 in. wide by 28 in. long remnant. From the remnant, along one edge (top or bottom, with the white border), cut out a 12 in long strip (3.) the entire length (the strip will be 12 in. by 28 in. This will leave a 28 in. by 33 in. remnant for the Martial Arts handkerchief. Set this aside.

From the 12 in. by 28 in. piece, remove the white border, and cut out a triangle
(2.) 11-1/2 in. for the base and side. This is for the large pocket. Set this aside.

From the remaining angle, cut out another triangle (4.) with a three inch base and height. This is for the small pocket. Set this aside.

From the remaining piece, cut out a pointed rectangle (5.), ensuring that the pointed end is dead center of the rectangle, making the rectangle two inches in height, and six inches in length. This is for the Coin Pocket. Set that aside. Discard the remaining remnant.

Remove any of the white unprinted border from the Survival and Martial Arts Handkerchief pieces.

Step 2:

To make the Martial Arts Bandana -

Place the material so the wrong side is facing you. Fold the edge over 1/8-inch and then roll it for an additional 1/8-inch to the seam line. This will hide the cut edge of the material while giving an attractive 1/8-inch rolled hem, so that the edge stitches will leave a proper, squared finish. Pin the hem in place. Miter the corners where the hems meet. This means to create a diagonal ¼ inch cut that points to each edge of the handkerchief. It eliminates the extra bulk where the hems would normally overlap. Sew the hems and remove the pins. The Martial Arts handkerchief is now complete.

NOTE: A standard bandana is 22 in. square, a proper fighting bandana is 33 in. square. Observe the lock and slip grips utilized in controlling the Martial Arts bandana.

To learn the Martial Art of using a bandana handkerchief as a flexible weapon, (Birang Silat) -

Step 3:

To make the Survival Bandana –

The Survival Bandana is 44 in. square, a standard bandana is 22 in. square.
Stitch a 1/8 wide rolled hem (uses ¼ in. of material) on each of the four sides. Be sure to trim off a ¼ in. triangle from each corner so that the edge stitches will leave a proper, squared finish. Do the same for the Large Pocket, Small Pocket and Coin Pocket pieces.

(Refer to the Line Drawing)

Turn the handkerchief so the dull (back) of the handkerchief is facing up. Pick one corner (A.) Place the finished side of the large pocket right angle matches the handkerchief corner.

Sew all pockets, wrong-side to wrong side. Sew the edge of the handkerchief to the edge of the Large Pocket (see illustration – a sheet of 8-1/2” by 11” paper is in the pocket).

(Refer to to the Deep pocket picture)

In the opposite corner (B.) repeat this process for the Small Pocket. (see illustration – a 1-1/2” by 2” Post-It is in the pocket)

(Refer to the Marble Pocket picture)

The Large and Small pockets are on opposite corners of the Survival handkerchief. If you fold the handkerchief in half, forming a triangle, these two pockets will be on top of each other. In corner (C.) repeat the edge stitching done for the Large and Small Pockets, but also sew the long sides of the pocket (NOTE – DO NOT Sew the opening at the top) to the handkerchief body). Refer to the illustration, below. There is a ball-point pen in the pocket.

(Refer to the Coin roll pocket picture)

In the remaining corner (D.), one inch in from the corner, sew a 1 inch button hole,(Refer to the Button Hole picture)

reinforce this by doubling the stitching. Cut open the hole between the stitches once done. (see illustration, there is a ball point pen in the button hole.) The Coin roll pocket and Button Hole are on opposite corners of the Survival handkerchief. If you fold the handkerchief in half, forming a triangle, these two will be on top of each other. The Survival handkerchief is now complete.

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