Vintage Handkerchiefs

vintage handkerchiefs

I have a stack of vintage hankies that I pull out every once in a while.  I get them out thinking that perhaps I should pass them along to someone, or make something with them so they can do more than sit in a basket in my office.  I have around 4 dozen of them, and some are prettier than others.  A few have an initial of one of my daughters on them, and some will be saved for weddings and other events in the future.  Most of them are just begging to be reinvented in a lovely way.

These are a few that caught my eye recently.

"B" monogram vintage hankie

The cloth is thin and has a couple of holes, but I love the “B” monogram.  I’ve got a weakness for hand worked monograms, especially when they’re white on white.

"F" flower monogram vintage hankie

Another monogram.  The skill is obviously far behind the “B”, but I love the way the little “F” is worked in flowers.  The simple lines of flowers on the hem are shabby but sweet.

bouquet of flowers vintage hankie

This bouquet of flowers always makes me pause.  I think it’s wonderful, and I always admire the stitching.  All of these handkerchiefs are stitched by hand, and on such thin cloth!  I’m inspired by the workmanship that went into something you would blow your nose on.   A close up:

embroidered flowers on vintage handkerchief

Another flower, this time on an organdy handkerchief.

vintage hankie with pink flower

These two are especially beautiful to me.  I love the tatting around the edges.  So simple, but so beautifully executed.

vintage white handkerchief with tatting

vintage hankie with flower edge

And last but not least, my favorite of the bunch.  I love, love, love this rose and the way it sits in an aqua oval.

vintage handkerchief with embroidered rose

So there’s a little sampling from my stack of hankies.  The problem is, I’m not sure what I want to do with them.   Do you ever feel intimidated by the beauty of the supplies to the extent that you’re afraid to cut into them?  I’m this way especially with vintage items because I know they’re one of a kind and I don’t want it to be a waste.  Still, I’ve got to do more than just store them, so I’m looking for the right project and a bit of courage.   What would YOU do with them?

Hopeful Homemaker Linked to The Inspired Room


  • Stephanie

    Funny you would get these out and make an entry about them, I was on ebay the other day searching for vintage handkerchiefs or napkins because I want to make a valance for my kitchen. I was actually thinking about calling you to ask if you knew of any local shops that have a selection of linens. I know we have had this conversation before, but where did you get your linens??

  • I saw a curtain embellished with vintage handkerchiefs somewhere recently, and it was really cute. It seems like a great way to display them, especially some of the really delicate ones.

    I have small stash of vintage handkerchiefs that sat in a drawer for a long time because they were so pretty I didn’t know what to do with them. I finally decided to just use them as handkerchiefs because that’s what they were made for, after all, and I felt bad about throwing so much kleenex into the landfill. Of course, I’m sure there are people who are aghast that I would blow my nose into something so lovely (and, to be honest, I still haven’t been able to bring myself to use a few of the most delicate ones).

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