Handkerchiefs (hankies) were once more commonly used than they are today. You might remember when men carried fresh hankies in their pockets and had them at the ready for the lady in their life. Some women even carried pressed pieces of beautiful fabric. However, today hankies are considered ‘vintage’ pieces of attire.
You might have elaborately decorated or embroidered pieces that have been handed down through the family, but even without delicate decoration you can still take your old handkerchiefs and turn them into something new.
Now’s the time to pull those pieces from your cupboard or drawer and get busy with these simple ideas.
Old hankies are the perfect size for creating an invitation to a party or other social event. You could use them for birthday invitations, baby shower invitations for your daughter or daughter-in-law, or even as wedding invitations. You’ll want to iron away any wrinkles in the handkerchief, which will also provide you with a flat canvas. You could write the information straight on to the hankie, and when you fold in each of the corners to the middle of the hankie you will see you have a basic envelope with the information on the inside. Keep it closed by tying a small ribbon around the hankie.
If you have a hankie with intricate detail on the fabric, why not display it in a frame and highlight its beauty? You could even hang a collection of them for a unique and charming twist on the gallery wall. It’ll certainly be a talking point for any guests.
Just when you thought you rid yourself of those old pillow cases, here’s a craft that will have you creating more out of your vintage handkerchiefs. Pillow cases are fairly simple to make and involve two hankies. You’ll want to turn the seam side of one hankie up and the other one down, which lets you hide away the seams on the inside of the pillow case. Sew the two long side of the hankies and one of the short sides, which creates a pocket for the pillow case. Then turn the pillow case inside out, keeping the seams on the inside. You might even want to decorate the edges with some embroidery.
You can give your favourite sewist a place for their pins that’s a bit more personal than a run-of-the-mill cushion. Take one handkerchief and iron it flat. Fold three corners of the hankie into the centre. Hand stitch the hankie sides together, ensuring any lace edges meet. Leave one side open so you can stuff the filling inside. Stuff the cushion with cotton filling to your desired thickness. Hand stitch the opening closed. Turn the pin cushion down and in at the centre, sew a button. You can make your cushion look fuller by sewing the button through the pillow from one side to the other.
Old hanies make great braided bracelets, and they are pretty easy too. You’ll need your hankie, some thread or string, metal end caps, jewellery clasps and some jewellery pliers. First you want to cut your hankies lengthwise so that the strips are about 2 inches (5.08cm) wide. Gather the strips and at the very top tie them with a piece of string. Braid the strips and then secure with another piece of string at the other end. If you want to add charms to the bracelet, braid a piece of chain into the design at the beginning. Snip the ends of your braids as close to the string as you can. Apply some glue onto one end of the braid and attach a metal end clip. Leave to dry. Finally, add the clasp and charms and then you’ll have a beautiful bracelet. The perfect gift for the grandies perhaps?