Stitch Craft Create Blog

Six Fun Ways to Repurpose Vintage Handkerchiefs

Nothing can fill a sewer’s afternoon more creatively than sitting around with a pile of vintage handkerchiefs and thinking up ways to repurpose them. That is exactly what we did for a feature in the September/October 2009 issue of our sister magazine Sew Beautiful, and we think we came up with some really clever and useful ideas.

Our Handy Hanky Apron is designed after associate editor Amelia Johanson’s grandmother’s apron, which inspired the feature to begin with. Complete instructions for the Handy Hanky Apron, as well as our Bride’s Apron, are available on the Sew Beautiful website. Plus, read our ideas below for a window treatment, table runner, pocket treatment and pillows.


Handy Hanky Apron (left) and Bride’s Apron

Red, white & blue apron: This Handy Hanky Apron is made from only three handkerchiefs and a strip of ribbon. You could even personalize it with a machine embroidered monogram.

White apron: Our Bride’s Apron calls for four handkerchiefs, some silk-satin ribbon and two pearl buttons. It’s a great gift and absolutely adorable for any bride-to-be.


Window treatment and table runner

Window treatment: We couldn’t resist showing two no-sew ideas for kitchen or bathroom windows. Using curtain clips, suspend each hanky from one corner diagonally, and then tie them together corner-to-corner to make a long valance, or suspend them from two corners to hang square by overlapping two hankies and clipping the corners with one clip.

Table runner: Join hankies together edge-to-edge to create a table runner. Make a rectangle or plus-sign shape. For added interest, sew the hankies to a base fabric to create a border.



Pocket: OK, we even impressed ourselves after coming up with this cool pocket treatment. It just took its natural form from a diagonally folded hanky that looked pretty much the same on both sides. The top edge is tacked to a strip of stretched elastic with pearl buttons, creating the fluted pleats when relaxed. The pocket is applied with a straight stitch all around. Add to an apron, a skirt or a pillow.



Pillows: Decorate any chair, window seat, bed or porch swing with one of these easy hanky throw pillows. Add buttons and maybe even embroider a large monogram in the center – very home dec chic, indeed.

For more vintage design inspiration, be sure to check out A Sewn Vintage Lifestyle. This new book from Verna Mosquera, owner of The Vintage Spool pattern company and fabric designer for Free Spirit, teaches readers how to add a romantic, vintage charm to their everyday lives through 20 charming, useful and beautiful sewn projects.

Happy crafting,

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